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94.6% of our undergraduate students go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating

(Destinations of Leavers Survey 2013/14)

Funding confirmed for major Holocaust Heritage Centre

Holocaust Heritage and Learning Centre for the North of England

Fri, 22 Jul 2016 13:35:00 BST

The Holocaust Heritage and Learning Centre for the North of England is being developed in conjunction with Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association

Holocaust Heritage and Learning Centre for the North of England NEW funding of almost £1 million means that the University of Huddersfield will join with the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association to create a major centre for memorialisation of the Holocaust.

The University’s Heritage Quay archive will house the Holocaust Heritage and Learning Centre for the North of England.  As a repository for memories and physical artefacts from the large numbers of Holocaust survivors and their families in Yorkshire, it will attract at least 20,000 visitors annually, including school parties.  It is expected that the Centre will be open to the public from October, 2017.

Plans for the Centre were first revealed in May 2015.  They will now go ahead after the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) announced an award of £604,000 to the Leeds-based Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association (HSFA).  Also, the Pears Foundation has awarded £100,000 and the Association of Jewish Refugees has granted £50,000.  Individual donations take the total funding to over £900,000.

Lilian Black The HSFA is chaired by Lilian Black (pictured), who is delighted by the HLF announcement.

“The legacy of the Holocaust survivors in Yorkshire is now secure and will be made available to pupils, students and the wider community for teaching and learning,” she said.

Ms Black, whose father Eugene survived Nazi persecution and genocide, delivered the 2016 Holocaust Memorial Lecture, which is an annual fixture at the University of Huddersfield.

“There has never been a more important time for us all to work together to combat all forms of persecution,” she said.  “The membership of the Association knows only too well where discrimination leads and it is their dearest wish to make sure our past is not our future.

Holocaust Heritage and Learning Centre for the North of England “The breadth of support we have received has been amazing, ranging from individuals, companies, charitable trusts and of course our partners and the University of Huddersfield.  Thank you everybody for making this a reality – it is an expression of our faith in humanity and that good will prevail ultimately.”

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, Professor Bob Cryan, said: “We are delighted to be partners with HSFA in this vitally important project.  We look forward to the development of the Learning Centre here at the University to the benefit of children, young people and communities across the North of England and further afield, ensuring learning about the Holocaust for generations to come.”

The Centre will provide a permanent home for memories and artefacts of the many survivors and their families who have lived in Yorkshire.  They include people who were refugees or in hiding from the Nazis, who were herded into ghettos, or sent to concentration and death camps.  There were also many who escaped to Britain via on the Kindertransport.

Material such as diaries, letters, clothing such as camp uniforms and film footage, plus the personal testaments of survivors will be included in the Centre.  Heritage Quay, where it will be housed, is an award-winning archive centre, established as one of the best in the Higher Education sector and uniquely accessible to the public.

The bodies that have supported the new Centre have confirmed the importance of the project:

  • Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Holocaust survivors in Yorkshire bear a living witness to some of the most significant and horrific moments of the 20th century.  We are delighted that National Lottery players are able to support the creation of this Centre, to provide a permanent legacy for survivors as well as a space for people to reflect on these events and learn from them.”
  • Trevor Pears, Chair of the Pears Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this new Centre.  Its location in Huddersfield, as part of a vibrant university campus, fills a very clear national gap in provision and will create tremendous opportunities for partnerships and collaboration, as well as educating the next generation.”
  • Andrew Kaufman, Chairman of The Association of Jewish Refugees, said: “It gives us great pleasure to sponsor this dynamic project that will deepen and enhance Holocaust education and memorialisation in the UK and which reflects our intention to perpetuate the legacy of Holocaust refugees and survivors who made new lives in this country.”
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£400k project researching the redoubtable reformer Emily Hobhouse

Emily Hobhouse

Thu, 21 Jul 2016 14:42:00 BST

‌Dr Rebecca Gill joins three other universities for the The Emily Hobhouse Letters project backed by the AHRC

Emily Hobhouse THE formidable Emily Hobhouse earned obloquy in her native Britain when she fought tirelessly on behalf of women and children herded into concentration camps during the South African War (1899-1902).  But she was much more than a single issue campaigner.

‌She also agitated for female suffrage, became closely involved with humanitarian relief work during the First World War, helped to launch the Save the Children Fund, and made an attempt to develop an arts and crafts movement in South Africa as a way to unite the country.  She formed friendships with major figures such as India’s Mahatma Gandhi and had no qualms about confronting British prime ministers.

Now, the University of Huddersfield’s Dr Rebecca Gill – who specialises in the  history of humanitarian organisations – is part of a £400,000, three-year project that will analyse Hobhouse’s voluminous correspondence and present a new, more rounded view of a figure who played a distinctive part in many of the forces that shaped the world during the early 20th century.

‌Dr Gill teams up with Dr Helen Dampier, of Leeds Beckett University, and Dr Kate Law, of the University of the Free State in South Africa for a project backed by the Arts and Humanities Research Council titled The Emily Hobhouse Letters.  Their research will lead to a book and to a touring exhibition that will be mounted in UK and South African venues.

Emily Hobhouse Hobhouse – who lived from 1860 to 1926 – was dedicated to liberal causes and an opponent of the South African War, which was fought between 1899 and 1902.  When she took up the cause of South African civilians interned in British camps she was widely regarded as a traitor in her home country.  But she was undeterred in the face of hostility when, for example, she came to Huddersfield in 1901, hosted by local Quakers, and gave a talk on the treatment of Boer women.

She also refused to be intimidated by men in power.

“She is one of these formidable early 20th century women who had that sense of entitlement to scold!” said Dr Gill.  “She didn’t think twice about writing to Campbell-Bannerman, when he became the Liberal Prime Minister, as part of her campaign for Britain to give South Africa its independence.”

Dr Rebecca Gill ◄ Dr Rebecca Gill

Most of the correspondence at the heart of the Emily Hobhouse Project is archived in South Africa – where Hobhouse lived for several years – and an important goal is to place the country in an international context.  Dr Gill will pay several research visits to South Africa and a special conference is to take place at the University of the Free State towards the end of the project. Also, a partnership has been formed with the War Museum in Bloemfontein, the town where Emily’s ashes were taken after she died in London in June 1926.

“South African history has been rather parochial, because of the apartheid years,” said Dr Gill.  “We are trying to show how South Africa is part of an international story, and how figures like Hobhouse and Jan Smuts were involved in setting up formal international organisations.  We will work in the archives of the Save the Children Fund and the League of Nations in Geneva to try and follow this story back to Europe and try to show how South Africa’s politicians and activists contributed to the foundation of the new international order.”

Mahatma Gandhi ► Mahatma Gandhi pictured in 1902 in South Africa

‌The research has only recently started, but already there has been an unexpected finding.  While dwelling in South Africa in the early 1900s, Emily Hobhouse ran a weaving and spinning school as part of her aim to unite Boers and Britons and create a self-sufficient arts and crafts culture in the country.  At this period she befriended Mahatma Gandhi, who would later follow a similar course in India.

Artefacts from Emily Hobhouse’s craft enterprise – including designs for lace – have been discovered, and they will contribute to the research project.

“The objective of the school was to make sure that women of respectable birth in South Africa didn’t slip down the class ladder, and to re-equip homes that had been ruined in the war.  It was also about giving South Africa a sense of identity,” said Dr Gill.

One issue that the research team must confront is Emily Hobhouse’s attitude to black Africans.

“This is a big question for us,” said Dr Gill.  “Emily was interested in peace and reconciliation, but the priority was to build peaceful relations between the white populations.  She doesn’t talk about native rights.

“The charitable view is that she prioritised good relations between whites because only then would you be able to raise questions about the black population.  Then again she was embedded in circles with Smuts and Boer leaders who were either overtly segregationist or segregationists by default.  We are trying to get to grips with her attitude.”

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Young entrepreneurs get ‘bit’ between their teeth

Alex Malkin and Dale Green

University entrepreneurs Dale Green (left) and Alex Malkin - photo courtesy of Simon Dewhirst

Thu, 21 Jul 2016 10:44:00 BST

Bithive Innovative social media platform Bithive is just the business for Huddersfield entrepreneurs Alex and Dale

‌TWO University of Huddersfield students who met at special enterprise sessions for ambitious entrepreneurs have teamed up to create an innovative social media platform that they believe will have a global impact by revolutionising the way communities work.

It is named Bithive, and creators‌‌ have now launched it as a new business venture.  They are seeking investment to enable them to employ staff to accelerate the development process, which involves coding a website and mobile app.  The aim is to go live next year.

The platform allows groups of people to create online communities about their common interests, for a limitless range of topics such as video games, movies, music, celebrities, hobbies, tourism or even physical communities, such as villages or schools.

“There isn’t really a platform at the minute that focusses just on communities on the internet,” said Alex, who has now graduated with First Class Honours from his architecture degree course at the University.  He is CEO of the newly-launched company.

“Facebook does have ‘groups’, but it’s not its main feature and there are a lot of problems, such as the fact that Facebook forces people to use their real names,” he added.

Dale said: “The Facebook experience is centred around individual users.  Bithive is all about the community”.

Bithive Both Alex and Dale – who is in the final year of his computer games programming course – describe themselves as “proud nerds” who have been immersed in computers, coding and website development since their early teens.

‌Dale – in charge of technical development at Bithive – already has a company named Greeny Games and Alex’s activities have included creating an online video game journal called LambdaGeneration.  When that started to receive a million hits a month, the seeds of the Bithive concept were sown, when he realised there was a gap in the cyber market for a dedicated, user-friendly platform that would make it easy to set up communities where people could share ideas, gossip and information about any subject that enthused them.

Alex and Dale met while attending the Enterprise Team Event Series – talks for those interested in self-employment, freelancing and business start-up that are  part of the programme offered by the Enterprise Team, at The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Centre, which operates from the University of Huddersfield.

Dale was on the Enterprise Placement Year built into his degrees course, while Alex, as a graduate, was taking up the opportunity of free support and advice available to former students for up to five years after graduation.

The two were introduced by Business Adviser Catherine McGrath, and when Alex started to describe the Bithive concept, Dale soon saw the possibilities.

Now, as they seek investors, they have received a boost by winning £1,000 at a pitching session that was part of an Investment Readiness Programme hosted by West Yorkshire Society of Chartered Accountants.  One of the organisers was Paul Greetham, also an Enterprise Team Business Adviser at the University.

The Bithive duo recently moved into a dedicated office in the Media Centre in Huddersfield, where they are both working on Bithive full-time.  They aim to secure an investment by the end of the year that will enable them to build a strong team to develop, launch and maintain the platform.  But even when success comes their way, Alex, Huddersfield-born, and Dale, from Bradford, are determined to remain locally based.

“We want to start a Silicon Valley in Huddersfield,” said Alex.

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