Colors: Green Color

From Shakespeare to translation and activism and the Imposteress Rabbit Breeder, Birmingham scholars to take part at Hay Festival 2021. Leading researchers and experts from the University of Birmingham’s College of Arts and Law are taking part in this year’s Hay Festival, in a series of online panel discussions and talks.

The speakers will cover a wide range of topics: Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall will discuss her Signing Shakespeare project in a panel discussion with actors and collaborators involved in the project, including the Royal Shakespeare Company; Professor Rebecca Gould and Dr Kayvan Tahmasebian will discuss the relationship between translation and activism; and Professor Karen Harvey will discuss her book, The Imposteress Rabbit Breeder. The talks form part of the ongoing partnership between the University of Birmingham and the Hay Festival.

Professor Hugh Adlington, Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer at University of Birmingham College of Arts and Law, said: “The Hay Festival provides a wonderful opportunity for sharing our thought-leading research with a keenly engaged general audience. Our line-up this year draws on a wide variety of linguistic, historical and performative expertise from across the College of Arts and Law, and shows the different ways in which arts and humanities research helps us to see and imagine the world around us.”

Heather Salisbury, Hay Festival artist manager, said: “We are delighted to be working with the University of Birmingham on our Lunchtime Lecture series. This spring we beam our programme to the world from Richard Booth’s Bookshop in the heart of Hay-on-Wye, welcoming writers, readers, thinkers and dreamers together to join our digital party. We’ll meet this moment of challenge and change with inspiration and vision, and place our trust in the wisdom of writers and thinkers to guide us through. Join us.”

The talks will take place online via the Hay Festival website between Wednesday 26th May and Sunday 6th June, and can be accessed live for free or via paid subscription to the Hay Festival Player.  Signing Shakespeare with Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall and collaborators takes place on Monday 31st May at 1pm. Translation as Activism with Professor Rebecca Gould and Dr Kayvan Tahmasebian takes place Thursday 3rd June at 1pm. The Imposteress Rabbit Breeder with Professor Karen Harvey takes place Sunday 6th June at 1pm.

All talks can be found live for free on the dates above at or afterwards via paid subscription.

Further details about the University of Birmingham’s talks at Hay Festival 2021 and speaker information can be found online.

Anxious parents waiting to hear if their three and four year olds have secured a place at their preferred primary school are being given advice on steps to take if they don’t get their first choice.

With national offer day for primary school places fast approaching (Friday April 16), leading national law firm Stephensons is advising parents who are unhappy with their allocated place that they may be able to appeal. Mike Pemberton, partner and head of the civil liberties & public law team at Stephensons, specialises in education law. Below he provides advice for those who haven’t got their first choice.

Mike comments: “When you consider that the initial allocation is going to have an effect on the next seven years of your child’s life as they develop through Key Stage 1 and 2, it is not surprising that national offer day can be stressful. The main thing though, is not to panic. Parents’ starting point should be to firstly look closely at the school your child has been given a place for – there may well be more merits in that option than you first realise. If, after that you still want to pursue your first choice, there is a nine-step plan you should follow:

1.    Find out who to appeal to – the type of school will determine who will consider your appeal, this could be the academy trust, local authorities or governing body.

2.    Check the admissions policy of the school – refer to the school or local authority website to view this and ensure that the correct policy has been followed.

3.    Find out the published admission number of the school.

4.    Look at the school’s oversubscription policy - has it been applied correctly?

5.    You may also want to check the School Admissions code of Practice 2014, School Admissions Appeals Code 2012 and relevant parts of the School’s Standards and Framework Act 1998.

6.    Gather evidence supporting any medical, social or other exceptional circumstances you wish to rely upon.

7.    An appeal must be made in writing so make sure you do this in good time. Whilst it is possible to appeal out of this time, this may cause delays and practically, in-time appeals may be considered first and result in more places. Also allow time to seek advice on grounds to appeal if you need assistance.

8.    Consider whether you will need assistance or representation at the appeal hearing. As a parent you’re entitled to be represented at an appeal by a friend or lawyer. If you decide on legal representation, it is a good idea to seek help as soon as possible – it can get busy at this time of year.

9.    Once an appeal is lodged it must be heard within 40 school days of the appeals deadline.

A University of Birmingham legal Fellow has been named the 2020 winner of the prestigious Oxford University Press Law Teacher of the Year.

The judges selected Emma Flint who is a Fellow in Learning and Teaching at the Birmingham Law School  for displaying exceptional teaching and educational research/legal pedagogy, plus the positive feedback she received from her students and academic colleagues. She was also praised for ‘Connecting Legal Education’, for the international legal education community of practice, that she co-created in March 2020 at the height of the pandemic to support academic colleagues with the pivot online and other aspects of legal pedagogy.

Emma was nominated by her law students, recognising her “humour, personality, and approachability”, and her “passion for learning and teaching that is infectious”. Her law students especially felt that Emma is “a one of a kind lecturer that deserves recognition for her work”.

Emma’s Birmingham Law School colleagues praised her educational expertise, legal pedagogical research and mentoring skills. Her teaching (both live via Zoom and asynchronous via Canvas, the University’s virtual learning environment) was observed during a rigorous judging process, which also involved interviewing Emma’s students and peers.


Emma Flint, Learning and Teaching Fellow, said: "I am delighted to be recognised by Oxford University Press as Law Teacher of the Year 2020. I genuinely love teaching law and feel incredibly lucky to be able to do so. I get the opportunity to be creative, innovative and learn from some of the best brains in the legal academy, particularly from my students”.

Head of Birmingham Law School, Professor Lisa Webley, said: “Birmingham Law School is very proud that Emma Flint has been recognised as the Oxford University Press Law Teacher of the Year 2020, all the more so knowing that she was nominated by our students.”

Emma’s nomination highlighted the various teaching methods Emma uses to engage the classroom, including her use of technology, such as Padlet, Poll Everywhere, Zoom and Twitter. Just by being herself, Emma’s students are always motivated to actively listen and ask questions, creating an environment where there is no barrier or feeling of ‘inferiority’”.

Students described Emma’s ability to encourage them to “think for themselves”, and “learn to make informed choices”, whilst also providing “a mechanism for her students to be assessed in areas of law that they have a passion for and using innovative and creative formats (such as blogs, videos, posters, Legal Design project work) beyond the traditional essay/problem question format.”

Emma is also part of the law school’s CEPLER employability team and has hosted events with lawyers from practice and worked with the Careers Network to help support her students improve their employability skills. She has also developed the Law Talker community of practice for students, an initiative where she works with her students in collaboration as ‘co-partners’, so they can act as peer mentors and credited in the nomination as “perhaps Emma’s biggest achievement”.

Further to this Emma has also published articles and book chapters on the use of social media, case-based learning, and e-portfolios within law schools. In 2021, she has forthcoming journal articles and a book chapter in an edited collection on how creative pedagogies, authentic assessment and legal design can improve legal education.

She currently works with the Higher Education Futures institute (HEFi) at the University in conjunction with their Beacon UKPSF professional recognition scheme and contributing to teaching on the PGCert/professional development programmes.

Make UK is one of the only training providers in the country to offer the EAL Level 3 course in robotics and automation, at its Technology Hub in Aston, Birmingham - with the added incentive to employers of grants to cover 50% of the course’s cost.

The EAL Level 3 in Robotics and Automation, which consists of 10 modules, is aimed at technicians and engineers who already work in the manufacturing industry looking to enhance or re-confirm their skills and understanding of robotics and automation engineering.

The Supplier Skills Programme, which is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and managed by Birmingham City Council, is offering businesses the opportunity to access grant funding to cover 50% of the course fee. Grants are available from £500 to £18,000.

Make UK is a strategic partner of the programme and can assist with the application process. The Supplier Skills Programme is open to SMEs which are:

●        Based within Birmingham, Solihull, Redditch, Wyre Forest and Bromsgrove

●        Able to match fund training costs (50% by the SME, the remaining 50% by the ESF)

Stephen Mitchell, Director of Apprentices and Technical Training at Make UK said: “There is a significant skills gap between where the majority of the workforce is now, and where it needs to be. While employers will be installing robotics and automated systems in factories, there will continue to be a need to develop the right skills to work alongside new technology in a factory environment.

“To help be ready for this change, which is already in progress, it is essential to adapt by creating reskilling and upskilling training plans for the workforce. We are proud to be one of the only providers able to offer this new qualification.”

The manufacturers’ organisation, Make UK is the representative voice of UK manufacturing, with offices in London, Brussels, every English region and Wales.

The University of Wolverhampton has outlined its plans for the next 10 years, focusing efforts on people and place to help the economy emerge from the Covd-19 pandemic.

A new 10-year strategic plan, Vision 2030, has been unveiled, outlining the University’s plans to transform the workforce through inclusive student success and world-class research. Work on the plan began before the Covid-19 pandemic, but the University says its purpose has never been more vital to the resurgence of the region and its communities.

The plan includes a list of goals which outline what success would look like in 2030, including a personalised approach to learning centred around individual students, research with clear benefits to society and a network of science and innovation parks. Vision 2030 also highlights the importance of the environment and sustainability, with the aim of being carbon neutral and a focus on recover and reuse to achieve zero waste.

The launch of the Plan follows the recent announcement of the outcome of Research England’s Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), which looks at the diverse contributions of universities to help level up their local areas. This identified the University was in the top 10% nationally for public and community engagement and also in the top 10% for local growth and regeneration.

Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor, said: “Our new strategic plan, Vision 2030, cements our commitment to our Place – our regions and our communities, and also our People – our students, staff, graduates and partners. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the needs of our people and place have never been more prominent and the importance of education and skills will be at the forefront of economic and social recovery.

“The first pillar of Vision 2030 is around Inclusive Student Success, aiming to improve student outcomes and satisfaction and removing barriers to ensure all can participate and achieve their potential. It focuses on ensuring students can learn in a manner that suits their circumstances and preference, combining technology such as online learning at a time of a student’s choosing and more traditional face-to-face learning methods.

“The second pillar focuses on place, and the belief that universities are about transforming society, ensuring the needs of their area and people are at the heart of what they do. An example is the way the University delivers healthcare education in multiple locations – Wolverhampton, Walsall, Telford and Burton – helping each area to become self-sufficient in health professionals. This also includes working in partnership with local healthcare trusts on research and training.

“Through our dual aims of Inclusive Student Success and Place, we will cement our position as the University of Opportunity. Our purpose is to deliver higher education at the point of need and offer people the opportunity to excel, whatever their background and circumstances.”

Other aspects of the strategic plan include how academic provision will be developed, focusing on working in partnership to invest in the economic needs and demands of the area; investing in new industries to promote entrepreneurship and enterprise skills while also continuing to invest in traditional university subjects with developments in the arts, the sciences and technologies.

Global Acts of Unity is launching a national t-shirt design competition asking young people aged 14-18 from across the country to express what ‘unity’ means to them for a chance to win a £100 voucher and £500 worth of supplies for their school and have their t-shirt made.

Last year, Global Acts of Unity ran a national poetry competition, Words of Unity, where students were asked to write what unity meant to them in a poem. This year, it is running a creative arts competition: Unitees, which asks students to use the power of words and illustration to express ‘unity’ in a stylish and wearable t-shirt design.

The design can be inspired by different forms of creative expression such as a short poem, a rap, spoken-word lyric, a snippet of a song, slogan or strapline, and can be accompanied with a picture or illustration to bring it to life.

The competition has been launched by Global Acts of Unity which was set up by Mike Haines OBE. In 2014, Daesh kidnapped and killed David Haines to sow hate and division. In response, Mike created Global Acts of Unity to honour his brother and defy the terrorist’s aims.  

Mike Haines OBE, founder of Global Acts of Unity said: “There is always a very powerful reaction from young people when I tell my family’s story and I’ve been inspired by so many on my journey, but I want to hear from so many more young people. That is why we have created ‘Unitees’ to invite young people, as the leaders of tomorrow, to add their powerful and unique voices to this call for unity, acceptance, and understanding.” 

Mike Haines added: “Young people have lacked consistent personal interaction and conversations with their peers over the past year, and through various reports, we have seen an increase in their vulnerability as they are more exposed to unsafe and unmonitored online spaces. That is why there is no greater time for unity and this competition creates an opportunity for them to express themselves openly and creatively and celebrate the importance of tolerance and understanding.”

The competition is open from 16 April to 18 June 2021 and the National Association for Teaching English (NATE) has verified that it is in line with the national curriculum and Key Stage 3 English learning resources. An assembly and classroom downloadable toolkit for teachers are available on the Global Acts of Unity website.