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A condensed look at our local engagement

Welcome to the Summer edition of our Community Newsletter bringing you news on how the University is making a positive contribution to local communities through our research, teaching and activities. Find out how we are welcoming visitors to campus through our public engagement activities, reducing our potential negative social and environmental impacts and the many opportunities for you to get involved with our activities.

In this issue we provide an update on the Sustainability Service activities including our Community Mentoring Scheme, the new Community Engagement Project Module current looking for third sector organisations across Leeds to take part, highlights from our annual awards and our work with Into University to design new flowerbeds for campus. Also in this edition, an update on campus developments, research giving new insights in to the cost of local flooding and the role of our city's parks, a new scheme to improve security standards in the Private Rented Sector, outreach activities working with local schools and coming public events and exhibitions to get involved with. 

I hope you enjoy reading our Summer edition, please share with others through social media or email using the buttons below. 

Taking responsibility to have a positive impact on society

Innovation and enterprise centre plans submitted

Earlier this month final plans for the Innovation and Enterprise Centre were submitted to Leeds City Council. The plans, position the new centre at the south edge of campus, close to the city centre. The new centre will substantially raise the profile of the University’s research and innovation capabilities, whilst also creating new opportunities for innovation, productivity and growth within the Leeds City Region and beyond.  A planning decision is expected in autumn, with start of construction scheduled for early 2017. For more information visit the Campus Developments website or subscribe to our email newsletter here. The University is also working to improve accessibility to campus for students, staff and visitors.  Ensuring our campus is accessible to all is of critical importance. View our newsletter for news on the changes we are making to campus.

Third Sector partners needed for new community engagement project module

The University of Leeds has a continuing commitment to be a positive partner in society and create mutually beneficial relationships with the wider Leeds community.  As part of this commitment, we have developed a second year undergraduate Community Engagement Project module.  The accredited taught module will involve students working closely with a third sector host organisation to scope, prepare for, deliver and evaluate a practical project. The end result will both benefit the host organisation and provide students with the first-hand knowledge, skills and experience of working within the third sector. We are now looking for organisations who would like to be involved in this initiative and feel they would benefit from hosting a student who would be tasked with designing and completing a substantive piece of work in collaboration with them. Any non-for-profit, community, volunteering, charitable organisation can apply to become a host.For more information contact Jen Dyer

Environment and Sustainability Networking Across Leeds

A new Environment and Sustainability Network, which includes Leeds based charities, community groups, voluntary organisations and academics from the University of Leeds, met for the first time in May. The event provided an opportunity for people from a range of organisations and backgrounds to come together and share thoughts on topics from the circular economy, to sustainable energy and green space use, as well as discussions on marketing, network co-ordination and driving behaviour change. Andy Goldring, CEO of the Permaculture Association and Director of Leeds Love it Share it CIC, led the event with Professor Paul Chatterton, Professor of Urban Futures at the University of Leeds.

Claire Bastin, Sustainability Manager at the University of Leeds highlighted the importance of events that give academics an opportunity to listen to members of the community, “one of the University’s strategic commitments is to align research to community need.” 

For more information or to get involved in the network visit the Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest Centre webpages. 

Community capacity building through mentoring 

The  Community Mentoring scheme, developed and delivered by the Sustainability Service, has been up and running with great success since last November. University staff mentors are matched with local organisations seeking support on a specific area of work.  Projects are wide ranging and reflect community needs – so far these include supporting the development of a funding bid, creating a marketing campaign and succession planning. 
Eleanor Rowley is a Team Leader from IntoUniversity Leeds South, an educational charity which aims to raise the aspirations of young people in the local area and give them the skills and support to achieve these goals. She says “My whole team has applied for the scheme - they are hardworking and motivated individuals who are always aspiring to increasing their knowledge. It is a fantastic way to build your team’s confidence and utilise the broad expertise and knowledge within the University. The greatest benefit in taking part in the Community Mentoring Scheme to us is contact and relationship building. The scheme has greatly supported our relationship with the university; we have met more contacts and been put in touch with lots of different groups within the University which has really benefited the work we do in the community.  It has also given us some really beneficial time to reflect on our own work with someone outside the organisation.”

For information about the scheme and how to make an application to become a mentee, visit:

Sustainability Awards 2016 

The annual University of Leeds Sustainability Awards were held this June, to celebrate and recognise sustainability engagement and progress on campus and further afield. The Vice-Chancellor presented the Awards and highlighted this years’ key achievements. Five awards were presented on the evening linking to the Sustainability Strategy themes of:  Embedding Sustainability through Collaboration, Building Knowledge and Capacity, Being a Positive Partner in Society and Making the Most of Resources.  An additional Sustainable Purchasing Award was also presented to highlight the University's significant progress in implementing a SMART framework to record the sustainability benefits from purchasing decisions.  Jen Dyer, winner of the Being a Positive Partner in Society Award, was recognized for her work in developing the Community Engagement Project Module which gives students the chance to work with third sector organisations, in addition to her work with the Sustainability Action Group and the Community Mentoring scheme. Caroline Wise, was also recognized for her Green Impact project to establish a city-wide database of charitable organisations to facilitate staff and students engagement, including increasing charitable donations of goods. The full details of all the winners and nominees can be found in the award programme.

Reducing the impact of student changeover 

The University recognises the significant impact that the changeover period has each year on the city due to the high volumes of waste generated. As part of addressing this, we have funded two student researchers to evaluate the economic, social and environmental impact of the changeover period  The researchers are currently undertaking interviews with students and other key stakeholders to formulate recommendations for how we can reduce the impact in future.

Leeds University Union's Leave Leeds Tidy campaign was again running throughout May and July to help students divert their unwanted goods from landfill for the benefit of local communities and supported charities.  The campaign combined door knocking and speaking to students and residents in Hyde Park, Headingley, Burley and Woodhouse.  Collections run throughout June at Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds University Union and University residencies for students to drop off their items. This year the project supported Leeds based charities Emmaus and St Vincents as well as the Take My Hand Foundation supporting refugees in Greece.  Donations are still being sorted but are expected to exceed targets.  This includes 5 tonnes dropped off at the Hyde Park Picture House collection. Feedback from students and residents have been positive and feel the campaign has had a positive effect in the area. Visit the Leave Leeds Tidy webpages for more information about this project.

Summer spells success for young Leeds musicians

Opera North will hold its first ever Orchestra Camp in partnership with the University's School of Music. The camp will run from 22-26 August and is open to young people aged 10 and above who already play an orchestral instrument. String players can be at any grade, while woodwind and brass players should be studying at grade 3 or above. Three of the days will also be suitable for percussionists. During the week, the young people will take part in instrumental activities, singing sessions, and drama and movement workshops, exploring all aspects of musicianship in an inspiring and stimulating way. Opera North Orchestra Camp is non-residential with sessions running from 9am-4pm each day.. Places are limited so anyone wishing to take part should sign up before 31 July. For more information or to make an application visit the Opera North Webpages.

What do the 'lungs of Leeds' mean to you? 

From Golden Acre and Gotts to Roundhay and Rothwell, there are more than 60 parks to enjoy in Leeds. Now researchers want to know what these green spaces mean to you. Academics at the University are exploring the role of public parks in the city now, compared to the purpose they served in the 19th and 20th centuries. The team wants people to dig out their recent and historical photos, in order to create a digital archive of park pictures. They are also asking residents to share their views of local parks through an online survey. The research findings will then be presented to Leeds City Council, to help shape the recreation spaces of the future. Share your views in  the survey or submit your park photos by visiting the project website. Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment and sustainability, said: "This research will be a very useful guide to us as we move forward with our future work in the city’s parks."

IntoUniversity flowerbeds 

The Sustainability Service welcomed back students from IntoUniversity in January and asked them to become ‘landscape architects’ for the day. The students participated in an active workshop about the importance of biodiversity. We asked them to design flower beds for our campus, to increase its biodiversity and make it brighter and more colourful. Three winning designs were selected and have been planted in front of the Parkinson Court for everyone to see.  The young people from IntoUniversity will return on campus on the 29th July to see their creations in full bloom when the flowerbeds are officially unveiled by the Vice Chancellor.  Sir Alan Langlands, the Vice Chancellors says "The University of Leeds encourages collaboration at all levels – that is why it was so exciting to see departments of the University work together with the local community in order to create something long-lasting and joyful for our campus". 

New Safer Leeds Safer Homes Security Standard launched

A new scheme which aims to improve security in private rented properties has been launched. The Safer Leeds Safer Homes Security Standard gives tenants the assurance that  an accredited property will be safer against burglary. Landlords and agents will also receive due recognition for their efforts in making their properties more secure. Developed through a partnership approach, the new standard utilizes and builds on the expertise of partners from across the city with a proven track record with improving security standards including the University's Residential Services, along with input from colleagues at Leeds City Council, Leeds Trinity University,  Private Rented Sector in Leeds, Unipol Student Homes, Safer Leeds, and West Yorkshire Police. In addition to advice on improving the physical security of properties, the scheme will also improve communications on crime prevention,  for the benefit of landlords, agents, and tenants alike. The scheme is being piloted in inner north west Leeds, and if successful will be rolled out city wide. Further information is available through the West Yorkshire Police webpages.

Counting the cost of the floods 

Businesses in Calderdale have lost £47 million so far as a result of the Boxing Day floods. That’s one of the findings of a study into the impact of the floods on Calderdale’s business economy. Calderdale Council, the University of Leeds and social enterprise Upper Calder Valley Renaissance surveyed flood-affected businesses across the borough. They received 280 responses and have published a report detailing the findings.  The evidence is being used to inform the work of the Calderdale Floods Commission, to plan a way forward for businesses as they continue to recover from the floods.Mark Thompson, Calderdale Council’s Acting Director of Economy and Environment, said: “The report confirms the enormity of the damage and the need for further financial support – the total economic impact to the Calderdale and Kirklees regional economy is around £170 million. However, it also highlights that yet again, in the face of the worst floods for a generation, Calderdale businesses have come together to help each other and are largely starting to bounce back.”  For more information about the research and a full copy of the report see the School of Earth and Environment webpages.

The World Triathlon Leeds took place on the 11 and 12 June and attracted thousands of spectators in a celebration of the city's success in the sport. Athletes based at the Leeds Triathlon Centre dominated the weekend, claiming eight medals across five events, including a Brownlee 1-2 in the finale. The University is a key partner in the Leeds Triathlon Centre and many of our current students and notable Alumni train here, including Olympic heroes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee. The Brownlee brothers are two of the best triathletes in the world and proved why they have been a force to be reckoned with on the world stage of triathlon by winning the gold and silver medal in the elite men’s race in their hometown. The University is proud of our notable alumnus and our current student athletes with world-class ambitions. With the addition of a new £4.5M elite triathlon training centre. supported by some of the best coaches in the world, we will be able to support and develop even more talented athletes with Olympic potential from across the UK. For more information about Triathlon at Leeds, see the Sport and Physical Exercise webpages.

Exploring the potential of smartphones

Smartphones – at least two thirds of us own one, and we’re using them (or even relying on them) more and more. The University’s Educational Engagement team are working with Google and employers in the Leeds City Region to develop a series of activities to help people unlock the potential of mobile devices. Workshops have been well received by students in local secondary schools, as well as parents – many of whom particularly enjoyed recognising some of the earlier smartphones in our ‘match-the-phone-to-the-year’ challenge. Following on from this, a successful pilot scheme with Natural England exploring digital mapping, allowed participants to access and create their own walking routes and virtual tours using mobile devices. This - along with further work around photospheres (360° photographs) and virtual reality - has attracted interest in using smartphones in science and technology teaching and community engagement from lots of different groups, including; volunteers helping to temporarily house refugees in Greece, community groups in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and science educators in Chile.

Certificate of recognition for contribution to Leeds men's health & wellbeing

Barry Ewart, Leeds Institute of Medical Education, has received a Certificate of Recognition on behalf of Leeds Men's Health & Wellbeing Network from The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Gerry Harper on the 21st of June. These awards recognise the outstanding contribution of small groups and charities to the citizens and communities of Leeds. Part of Barry's role is to network with voluntary groups so they may become involved in medical education and he can also give his time back to the community. In this capacity Barry has been supporting Leeds Men's Health & Wellbeing Network for 16 years now including being Secretary for the last 9 years which has helped to give them a voice in the city. Leeds Men's Health & Wellbeing Network were also instrumental a few years ago in lobbying for a report on men's health in the city which has just been successfully launched. For further information email Barry

The Edge, The University's  on-campus and city centre Health, Fitness and Wellbeing sports centre,  is currently running a Summer Membership Promotion for those interested in trying out a short term membership Try our facilities anytime for 10 consecutive days at a cost of only £20! On offer is an extensive Exercise Class programme including Yoga and Group Cycle, a 250+ station fitness suite featuring the latest technologies and a 25 metre, 8 lane swimming pool used for training or just a relaxed dip. The facilities are open to anybody regardless of fitness levels and experience, with help on offer from all areas to ensure customers make the most of their visits.

Feasting monks and strange foods

Jousting knights, feasting musicians, food demonstrators and artists again descended on Leeds at the start of July as the University hosted the 23rd International Medieval Congress (IMC). This annual academic conference brings together over 2,200 medievalists and researchers in related disciplines from all over the world .It is also a platform for the University to engage with heritage organisations from across the city and also bring the Middle Ages to the local community.  A programme of public events and activities on this year’s theme ‘Food, Feast & Famine' took place and included historical food demonstrations, a grand feast featuring adaptations of medieval recipes by Great Food at Leeds, and a tasting of traditional English cheeses.This year the Institute for Medieval Studies have also put on additional event to bring the Middle Ages to even more people.   This included, interactive stalls at the University's Be Curious festival exploring the health of knights and veterinary medicine in the Middle Ages, busking at the Kirkstall Deli Markets with free tastes of food made from medieval recipes, and a Medieval Day in partnership with Royal Armories where visitors to Leeds City Museum were invited to try calligraphy or bookbinding, or to design their own coat of arms and even try on medieval armour. For out more about the International Medieval Congress and any upcoming public events by visting their webpages.

Launch of the Yorkshire Year of the Textile 

Yorkshire’s rich textile heritage is providing inspiration for a year of artistic activity. Funded through Arts Council England funding, the programme features textile and public art interventions, literary and performance strands with textiles as their theme, with events aimed at all ages and open to all. The programme was officially launched on 29 June by Diane Howse, Countess of Harewood and the Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands, on the 60th anniversary of Cunliffe’s Man-Made Fibres sculpture .  The first knit workshop took place at the Leeds Wool Festival at Leeds Industrial Museum, on 4 June, followed by a series of History Threads workshops looking at William Gott’s important 1815 Pattern Book of Dyehouse Recipes for dyeing wool  and a Knit-Lit workshopwith artists Elizabeth Gaston and Jane Scottwhich. An exhibition on Revolutionary Fabrics takes place over the summer at the M&S Company Archive on our western campus. Our next event is on Wednesday 20 July a Knit-Lit workshop with artist Elizabeth Gaston and poet Helen Mort – learn how to finger knit a community canopy to hang on campus over the summer and share textile memories through poetry.  For full details of this and all up-coming event, see The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery events website or the Facebook page.

Also on campus, you can visit The Synthetics Revolution at ULITA – an Archive of International Textiles: an exhibition looking at man-made fibres and everyday fashion. This exhibition showcases collections from ULITA and the Yorkshire Fashion Archive, and is part of an EU-funded research project,  the Enterprise of Culture (based in the School of History). See here for more information.

Footsteps into art exhibition

A weekly exhibition, will showcase the work created by pupils from five local schools as part of the Footsteps Into Art project at The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery Education Space from Monday 11 July. Footsteps into Art is a project to introduce primary level pupils to fine art practices in a gallery setting. Over the past year, pupils have been working hard to learn new art skills and create interesting and unique pieces of art, all drawing inspiration from the University art collection. Each week, the changing exhibition will focus on work from one of the five participating schools, with the exception of the two weeks beginning 1 August which will bring together work from all five schools for an overview of the project. The exhibition runs from Monday 11 July to Saturday 27 August 2016.

Cake and crafts at the M&S memory cafe

The M&S Company Archive contains over 70,000 objects telling the story of M&S, from the first stall on Kirkgate Market to one of the UK’s leading retailers. Working with people with Dementia their carers and their families this collection of treasures is evoking memories and encouraging conversations. In addition to memory boxes and outreach visits, a M&S Memory Café in now held monthly at the archive based at the western campus of the University. Visitors get a closer look at objects from the collection before taking on an archive-inspired craft project, followed by plenty of tea and cake! In the last few months the cafes have looked at the history of horticulture at M&S to inspire decorated plant pots, vintage fabric prints have been the inspiration for block printed textiles and laminated bookmarks were created using 1950s fashion imagery. The M&S Memory Café takes place on the third Friday of every month from 1pm to 3pm. The Memory Café is free but places must be booked in advance by calling 0208 718 2800 or emailing the Archive.  

Health: looking at life from cradle to grave exhibition

A free exhibition put together by researchers from the University's School of History, Institute for Medieval Studies and the School of Philosophy, Religion & History of Science will look at how we have experienced health and medicine over the centuries. The exhibition focuses on birth, illness and aging, and includes original artefacts, fun interactives and lots of interesting pictures and ideas. Go along and find out how attitudes towards aging, mental health, lifestyle, hygiene and childbirth have changed.  The exhibition is funded by the Wellcome Trust ISSF fund. See it at St James’s Hospital, Bexley Wing (until 1 August) and Holt Park Library (until 1 September). In the autumn the exhibition is due to visit libraries in Normanton and Hemsworth in the Wakefield area. The research team would be interested in hearing from anyone interested in hosting talks and workshops in relation to the exhibition. Contact: Join in the conversation and see photos via #healththroughtime.

Middleton Park Schools Heritage Day

On 18th May, children from primary schools around Middleton  took part in the annual Schools Heritage Day at Middleton Park. The event, organised by the Friends of Middleton Park community group provides the opportunity for children to get out of the classroom for a day and take part in a range of activities including flowerbed design, charcoal making, looking for mini-beasts and crown green bowling. This year saw a new tree-measuring activity hosted by researchers and students from the Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest (LEAF) Centre at the University of Leeds, together with a local charity, the United Bank of Carbon (UBoC). As part of this activity, the children identified trees within a section of the park, and learned about why trees are important for the local environment as well as the climate. The children were taught how to take basic measurements of the trees and learned about why this information is important for scientists.

Upcoming Public Events

Health: Looking at life from cradle to grave exhibition St James’s Hospital, Bexley Wing (until 1 August) and Holt Park Library (until 1 September)
This exhibition looks at how we have experienced health and medicine over the centuries.(15th-20th century).The exhibition focuses on birth, illness and aging, and includes original artefacts;fun interactives and lots of interesting pictures and ideas. Go along and find out how attitudes towards aging, mental health, lifestyle, hygiene and childbirth have changed.

22 June 2016 - Thursday 1 December 2016, The Synthetics Revolution: man-made fibres and everyday fashion
A collaboration between the Yorkshire Fashion Archive, ULITA and the Enterprise of Culture project has culminated in an exhibition charting the rise of synthetic fibres in everyday clothing. Find out more.

16 July, Dressed in Time: M&S Pop-Up Archive at Trinity Leeds
Come and see original items from the collection, and find out more about what the archive do. Find out more.

20 July, Knit/Lit Workshop
Join textile artist Elizabeth Gaston and poet Helen Mort in this relaxed and creative workshop, where you can learn to knit using your fingers and listen to textile-inspired poetry. Just drop in. Find out more.

27 July, A Midsummer Night’s DREAMING Under The Southern Bough 
Global theatre collaboration celebrating Shakespeare and his Chinese counterpart Tang Xianzu. The play is a contemporary adaptation and reimagining of famous works by these playwrights. Find out more.

28 July, Creative Collaging – Family Friendly Workshop
To celebrate the arrival of artist Harry Thubron's 'Untitled' collage , this workshop invites families to find out more about the technique of collage and learn how to do it to create your very own masterpiece! Book your place.

1 August - 25 August 2016, Yorkshire Pals Exhibition and Event
Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery will be hosting a pop up exhibition from the York Army Museum. This pop-up exhibition explores the stories of local Yorkshiremen who joined the British Army at the start of the First World War. Follow their tale throughout the four years of the conflict, and the impact their experience had on the region. Find out more. A curators talk will accompany the exhibition. Find out more. 

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