“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.

Liz Thomas’ Inaugural Lecture

Last night I went along to the inaugural lecture by Professor Liz Thomas, Director of the Widening Participation Research Centre here at Edge Hill. I recorded some video on my team’s Flip camera but I’m not sure how well it’s come out so until I have time to do something with them, here are a couple of videos Liz showed during the lecture.

Curtis Jobling talks animation

My superinterweb monitoring for mentions of “Edge Hill” (and variations) was the first I knew who would be talking at the British Animation Awards screening last night:

CurtisJobling: Off to speak at Edgehill University this evening as they’re one of the hosts of the British Animation Awards. First visit, should be fun!

Curtis Jobling is an illustrator famous for being the creator of Bob the Builder (series link) and Frankenstein’s Cat. He was at Edge Hill to introduce the Public Choice screening and talked for half and hour about how he got his break in animation and some of the projects he’d worked on. Curtis was kind enough to let me film the talk – once again forgot to take a tripod so it might be at a slightly funny angle. The Curious Cow interstitials created for Nickelodeon are available online.

Unfortunately prior commitments meant I was only able to see the first couple of shorts and I can’t make today or tomorrow, but I recommend popping over to the Studio Theatre if you can. Starts at 6:30pm and admission is free!

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.