Great Future

94.5% of our undergraduate students go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating

(Destinations of Leavers Survey 2014/15)

Hudds LitFest – Writer’s new book revives the short story

Hudds LitFest – Writer’s new book revives the short story

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:23:00 GMT

Dr Michael Stewart’s new book, Mr Jolly, revives the art of writing short stories – Hudds Lit Fest, Saturday 18 March, 11am to 12 noon

Dr Michael Stewart WITH his first book of short stories now in print, the University of Huddersfield’s Head of Creative Writing, Dr Michael Stewart (pictured right), is better poised than ever to continue his campaign for a revival of interest in a form of literature once massively popular but which has mostly fallen from favour with UK publishers.

Mr Jollyis the title of his collection of darkly comic, but strange and unsettling tales.  Now, Dr Stewart – already an award-winning novelist and playwright – will discuss his approach to short story writing alongside other leading exponents when he takes part in a panel discussion at 2017’s Huddersfield Literature Festival.

Mr Jolly “I’ve actually been writing short stories for a long time,” said Dr Stewart.  “But it has taken a while to get this new book published because short stories are not as popular as they were – it took two novels to be published first.”

“I am always agitating for the form to be revived,” continued Dr Stewart, who also took part in a session on the topic at the 2016 festival.

“When the e-book came into being we were all led to believe that the short story would become popular again, because length wouldn’t be an issue.  But that’s not really happened, except in certain genres.”

Carys Bray and Tessa Hadley In other parts of the world the short story has retained its popularity, said Dr Stewart, who recently attended a conference on the topic held in Shanghai.  But in Britain, the days when a writer could earn a comfortable living contributing short fiction to magazines have gone.

‌Dr Stewart is certain that the form – which long pre-dates the novel – retains its literary value and at the University of Huddersfield he teaches a module on short stories.

“It’s great training, partly because its length makes it suitable to study over a two-hour seminar.  But also, if students learn to craft short stories, they learn about writing in a way that becomes more manageable than trying to orient characters over a 200-page narrative.  It is a very good way to learn some of the crafts and technique of story writing.”

The new collection from Michael Stewart, Mr Jolly, is collection of stories that have been written over a fairly lengthy period and published by various outlets.

“The theme is that there is no theme!  It is me trying to push the form really.  Each story is an attempt to do something different with the short story,” said Dr Stewart.  “There is a lot of black comedy and the stories are Twilight Zone-esque, meant to unsettle you a little bit.

“A lot of them take an imaginative leap into a kind of magical idea.  For example, the title story is about a character who makes a scarecrow to keep the birds from his allotment and forms a relationship with it.  Another story is about a world where bald-headed men hunt down long haired men, and a recurring theme in the collection is the image of a naked man – I like the idea of looking at us stripped down to what we really are.”

Appearing alongside Michael at the Huddersfield Literature Festival are short story writers, Carys Bray (photo courtesy of Colin NcPherson) and Tessa Hadley (photo courtesy of Mark Vessey)

  • On Saturday 18 March (11am-12noon) at the University of Huddersfield’s, Brontë Lecture Theatre, Dr Stewart appears alongside leading writers Carys Bray and Tessa Hadley to discuss short stories and their future.  Tickets (£3 and £1.50) can be reserved online.
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Professor invited to join Caribbean education policy group

Professor Paul Miller

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:00:00 GMT

Professor Paul Miller is the sole UK-based expert on the newly-convened Technical Working Group assembled by the organisation Caribbean Community

Caribbean Community Flag A MAJOR project to improve standards in education across 15 Caribbean countries has called on the expertise of the University of Huddersfield’s Professor Paul Miller.

He is the sole UK-based expert invited to join a newly-convened Technical Working Group (TWG) assembled by the organisation Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that will investigate the subjects of educational leadership and technical innovations, leading to policy recommendations.

The process will involve Professor Miller in a series of five two-hour meetings with the group’s other members, recruited from institutions in Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and the British Virgin Islands.  But they are virtual meetings, conducted online, so that he can remain in his office at the University of Huddersfield, where he is Professor of Educational Leadership and Management.

The first meeting has now successfully taken place and members of the TWG settled on its remit to advise CARICOM on the development of policies and standards to guide educational leadership and management at all levels of education; also to suggest samples of curriculums that make education relevant to society’s current and future development.

Countries in the caribbean Special attention will be paid to the qualifications framework and teacher mobility; education and its relevance to industry; plus issues that include teacher development.

‌Professor Miller said that the invitation to join the CARICOM working group as its International Expert Member came “out of the blue”.  However, he is Jamaican-born, has carried out research into Caribbean educational issues and his publications include a chapter providing Caribbean perspectives for the 2016 book Successful School Leadership.  He is author-editor of the 2013 book, School Leadership in the Caribbean: perceptions, practices, paradigms.  In addition, he was editor for a 2014 special issue of the journal Research in Comparative & International Education dealing with education for all in the Caribbean.  

Professor Miller has previously worked with Dr Marcia Stewart, who chairs the eight-strong TWG that he has joined.  She is manager of the Joint Board for Teacher Education and Chair of the National College of Educational Leadership (NCEL) in Jamaica.

CARICOM – which is headquartered in Guyana – is a body established in 1973 that draws together the English speaking nations of the Caribbean.  As part of its new project to develop polices and standards for education – from school to college and university – it has convened six TWGs.  The group joined by Professor Miller has a brief to cover teacher education, curriculum design and leadership. 

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Research uncovers extent of sexism in Hollywood’s male-female pay


Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:43:00 GMT

“…star female actors earn on average $2 million less than men…”

Dr Sofia Izquierdo-Sanchez HOLLYWOOD actresses such as Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep, campaigning to receive the same pay as their male co-stars, now have the facts and figures to support their stance, thanks to detailed research and sophisticated statistical analysis by a lecturer at the University of Huddersfield.

Dr Sofia Izquierdo-Sanchez (pictured left) is co-author of a new paper titled Hollywood’s Wage Structure and Discrimination.  It shows that star female actors earn on average $2 million less than men.

This can partly be explained by factors such as male predominance in the action blockbusters that are the biggest money-spinners.  But “sex segregation by movie genre” accounts for just 11 per cent of the male-female pay gap, according to the researchers.

They calculate that when all observable differences between male and female actors are accounted for, there is still a 55 per cent disparity, leading to a gender pay gap caused by Hollywood sexism, in the view of Dr Izquierdo-Sanchez and her fellow economist and co-author Dr Maria Navarro Paniagua, of Lancaster University.

“This unexplained gender compensation gap can be attributed to a taste for labour market discrimination against female actors,” they write.

Now – during the Oscar season – they plan to send their findings to the agents of top stars who have spoken out against the pay gap.  At the 2015 Oscars, Patricia Arquette (pictured below right) used an acceptance speech to call for wage equality in Hollywood and Meryl Streep is outspoken on the issue.  Despite her success, she still receives less than men, she has claimed.

Patricia Arquette It was hearing an interview with Ms Streep that triggered Dr Izquierdo-Sanchez’s research.  “We realised there was no complete academic paper that analysed the labour market in the film industry.  We were surprised that nobody had done it before,” she said.

The new article includes the case study of the movie American Hustle: “Christian Bale worked 45 days for $2.5 million upfront and 9% of total profits, Bradley Cooper worked 46 days for $2.5 million and 9% of total profits, while Amy Adams worked 45 days – the same number of days as Christian Bale and just one day less than Bradley Cooper – and was paid $1.25 million and 7% of total profits.”

Dr Maria Navarro Paniagua Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Portman among the other stars who have called for “equal pay for equal jobs” and they are among the names who will be supplied with the findings of Dr Izquierdo-Sanchez’s research.

‌In order carry out the analysis, covering 1980 to 2015, she and Dr Navarro Paniagua (pictured left) used sources including the International Movie Database (IMDb) and Box Office Mojo.  Their sample consisted of 267 different actors – of which 38 per cent were female – formed into 1,344 male-female movie pairs.

The goal was to research various aspects of the economy and wage structures of Hollywood, with the gender pay gap being a key theme that emerged.  The article has several tables and graphs and the authors deploy a range of advanced statistical methods.  This culminates in the use of the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition technique – a well-established formula for understanding wage differentials – in order to investigate the levels of discrimination against female actors.

The authors believe that their findings have social and economic implications that go beyond the world of highly-paid Hollywood superstars:

“First, the film industry is the largest of the creative industries in the US.  Second, it is an industry with a substantial influence on consumer behaviour.  The impact of this paper not only highlights the current issues regarding superstar payments but also, given the exposure of people to the film industry, the existence of this discrimination could lead to similar practises to be spread across other sectors.”

  • Dr Izquierdo-Sanchez is Senior Lecturer in Economics in the Department of Accountancy, Finance and Economics at the University of Huddersfield’s Business School.  She is also Deputy Director of the Research Centre for Productivity Improvement.  Her fields of research have included the creative industries.
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Uni welcomes the Year of the Rooster

Chinese New Year

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 12:29:00 GMT

Bringing in the Chinese New Year‌, or Spring Festival, has become an annual event at the University

Chinese New Year CHINESE New Year, also called Spring Festival, has more than 4,000 years of history and is the grandest and most important annual event for Chinese people.  This year is the Year of the Rooster and students at the University of Huddersfield celebrated it in style with a day – and night – full of dancing dragons, exotic fans and intricate craftwork.

On campus in the daytime the University’s Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Hong Kong student societies celebrated the Lunar New Year and enjoyed showcasing their cultures, crafts, food, fashion and activities, giving other students and staff the chance to enjoy a South-East Asian experience.

When dusk fell an evening gala took place in the University’s St Paul’s Hall, with a variety of cultures displaying singing, dancing, puppetry, juggling and gymnastics.  The University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor International, Professor Dave Taylor, opened the event.

‌The President of the Chinese Student and Scholar’s Association Huddersfield (CSSA-HUD) and member of staff, Dr Zhen Tong, read out a letter from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Manchester, who offered their personal congratulations to all of the students taking part in the celebrations.

The evening event was also attended by Andrew Mandebura, Director of International Development and Tony Wong, Head of International Partnerships.  In addition, key members of the International Office as well as senior officials from the University’s schools and other student societies were present and enjoyed the great performances.

The University’s International Student Experience Manager, Alan Tobi, said: “Each year the whole campus looks forward to these celebrations with great anticipation.  It is very satisfying to see how proud our students are to showcase their cultures and make a significant contribution to the diversification and inclusion on campus.”

Chinese New Year Nationalities from around the world helped the Chinese students to celebrate the Spring Festival.  British student Melissa Carroll, attended the evening gala and said the whole event left her feeling motivated and really positive.

“I was with my friends and we were all amazed at the talent on offer at the evening gala,” said Melissa.  “I don't think any of us can juggle a table on our feet!  It completely took us all by surprise and was a lovely way to spend an evening.”

The University has nearly 1,000 Chinese students and operates four regional offices in China with its headquarters in Beijing and offices in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xian.

The University also has regional offices in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Nigeria and UAE most of which are managed by University of Huddersfield graduates, part of the commitment the University has to graduate employability.

  • The University’s International Office holds an array of activities throughout the year for international students to showcase their cultures and have fun.  On 27 February until 03 March is the highly-anticipated International Week where students can become involved with sport tournaments, food festivals, film festivals, cultural events and workshops.  More information about International Week can be found online.
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