“Welcome, please don’t spit.”

Ursula Curwen, Programme Leader for MA Youth and Community Work from the Department for Social and Psychological Sciences guest blogs about last week’s lecture.


This is how Camila Batmanghelidjh, Tehran meets East London, greeted young people into her first youth project or so she told us at her lecture on the 14th June. Everything about her is larger than life from her colourful handmade clothing to her attitude to those who make policy. Her view is, quite simply, that if you offer a damaged child love (unconditional but challenging) you stand a very good chance of enabling them to heal or cope with his world. She delivered a calm but impassioned presentation and, as a trained psychologist, backed her thinking with all the research data you could want about brain function and emotional well being.

Somehow you can’t help but admire a woman who would put on the line her own money to care for the hardest to help children but, as she asked, when an abused child is supposed to be taken to a meeting with the welfare services by the very person who is their abuser then how can the system work? The workers, she believes, need to be where the children are and in fact it is support services that are ‘hard to reach’ not young people.

The audience were on their feet as she concluded and reaching for their wallets to contribute to the 12 million she has to fundraise each year. Several had even volunteered to help her during the question and answer session. Children are fortunate indeed to have such an advocate.

June Events

Over the last month the Corporate Events team has been busy confirming the programme of 125 events. Here’s a few highlights from next month:

Camila Batmanghelidijh Lecture – 14th June

Betrayals or Solutions: What’s on Offer for the Vulnerable Children of Britain

Camila BatmanghelidijhCamila will be joined by Edge Hill Chancellor Professor Tanya Byron as she delivers a free lecture Betrayals or Solutions: What’s on offer for the vulnerable children of Britain?

With more than half a million children referred to the child protection register each year, Camila will identify a need for a new paradigm shift on intervention and safeguarding our children, exploring what a potential new model could offer in terms of solutions.

Camila Batmanghelidjhis a trained psychotherapist and high-profile social entrepreneur, founding the Kids Company – a charity she set up in 1996 that supports children with behavioral, emotional and social difficulties in inner-city London. She was awarded Woman of the Year in 2006 and is a prominent media and social commentator on the social, economic and psychological well-being of children and young people.

Child and Adolescent Conference – 15th June

Getting it Right from the Start

Tanya ByronThis conference will identity the challenges that face the children and young people’s workforce in promoting emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Keynote speakers will address some of the challenges providing an opportunity for questions and discussion. The afternoon will provide a range of workshops focused on innovative practice.

Throughout the day there will be table presentations for delegates to engage with key service representatives. The conference celebrates the collaboration between Edge Hill University and Alder Hey Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Speakers include Professor Tanya Byron, psychologist, government adviser and Edge Hill University Chancellor.

Early Years Conference – 16th June

Let Me Be Me: Conversations about the ‘Unique Child’

The 2010 Early Years Conference is taking place on Wednesday 16th June 2010 at Edge Hill University’s Ormskirk Campus.

The theme of this year’s event is the ‘unique child’, following on from last year’s successful theme of ‘playfulness’. The spirit of ‘Let me be me’ is inspired by the poet Peter Dixon, focussing on the need for space and time for children to explore their own unique responses to the world. This, in turn, allows them to be nurtured as independent, imaginative and empowered thinkers and learners.

As well as keynote presentations, the conference will include a variety of practical and interactive workshops that delegates can choose to take part in to explore this theme further. Keynote speakers include Professor Pat Broadhead, from Leeds Metropolitan University and Sarah Argent a freelance theatre director specialising in theatre for young people.

An audience with… Stuart Maconie

As previously mentioned, Stuart Maconie will be coming to Edge Hill for a special event next month. Details have just been released so apply for your ticket now.

We might get to hear some memories of his time at Edge Hill, like this one he recounted at the award of his honorary degree:

Stuart Maconie“Music was one of my main loves when I came here. I remember when I came to take my place in Lancs Hall with my mate Nigel, with our array of musical instruments and the fledgling band we had at the time. We once got kicked out of the music rooms which had pianos because we were told they weren’t for bands. They were for people to sit and play Debussy’s tunes, not for two or three blokes from Wigan to thrash about making a racket. At the time I thought it was the man trying to stop my music but I realise now that it was perfectly reasonable.

“Quite soon after I got here, the Hall President, who was a nice Welsh bloke called Dewi, was very into rugger, very into Chris Rea, very into all the kind of music and things that me, being a lad from Wigan, at the time thought terrible. We once heard about a letter that he had written home that said: ‘I was rather hoping for some good fellows to go drinking with who could form a rugby team with me, but all I seem to have got is some punk rockers with electric guitars.’ I, of course, thought this was wildly exciting and it made my chest swell with pride.”

To attend this free event on Thursday 29th April, email the Corporate Events team at [email protected], quoting reference 03, to book your place. The event starts at 6pm.

Please do not post a comment requesting a ticket – you need to email the address above!

Peter Davies: Taking the Next Step

Last night I went along to Edge Hill’s Alumni Network event to see a talk by Peter Davies, a corporate lawyer who has worked for the likes of Microsoft, IBM and Apple. He was sharing his experiences of changing direction and starting a new career – he himself trained as a teacher at Edge Hill College before leaving his first school after the first year to study a Masters and then on to Law school for a successful career.

The event was also an opportunity for past students to come together in the surroundings of the fantastic new Business and Law building and “network”! Mary Bernia explains:

The full video will hopefully be available in a few days but you can watch a sneak preview I took using the Web Services Flip Camera before the battery ran out:

British Animation Awards


Viewings of the Public Choice award in the British Animation Awards are coming to Edge Hill in a little over a week. The Public Choice programe is where the audience choose their favourite animated films from the past two years. Edge Hill (along with 26 other venues) is showing screenings during February and as part of the 125th Anniversary celebrations, the ones at the Rose Theatre are free!

Screenings are from 6:20pm – 8pm, Monday 8th through Wednesday 10th. I might see you there!

Gary Younge Jesse Jackson Lecture

A couple of weeks ago I went to see Guardian writer Gary Younge present “Obama’s America; Dickensian Time – the best of times and the worst of times”, the first Jesse Jackson lecture (well, second if you include the one from Rev Jackson!) at the International Slavery Museum. It was a really interesting talk and now you can see it yourself.