Category: Features Page 1 of 3

Spotlight on: EDMaker Space

Reading Time: 6 minutes

At the end of a long, difficult week at work, do you put away your laptop, stretch out on the sofa and pick up your knitting needles? Do you spread out your pencils and sketchbooks? Do you fire up the sewing machine? Or do you switch on the TV and tell yourself you’ll try it tomorrow instead? You’re just not feeling inspired tonight.

One thing we’ve seen from this pandemic is that with all this extra time on their hands, people are reconnecting with their creativity. As we prepare to go into another kind of lockdown, and the long, cold winter months stretch out ahead of us, tapping into your creative side could be hugely beneficial. But being ‘creative’ can come with pressures, and it can be daunting to take the first step. So where to start?

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Phenomenal Women: Portraits of UK Black Female Professors

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Fewer than one per cent of university professors in the UK are black. Even fewer are black women. After the events that took place earlier this year, it’s clear that changes need to be made.

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Abundant Academy: emerging with new life and perspective for our new times

Reading Time: 4 minutes

We’re all well aware this has been a difficult year. As we approach the winter months, many of us may be feeling that the prospect of six more months of stress and uncertainty is too overwhelming to even think about. There are many different ways we can learn to recognise and safeguard our mental wellbeing over the next few months.

Our Chaplaincy team have built a new programme to help our community manage and protect their mental health and wellbeing. The Abundant Academy courses will run across two semesters and are open to all staff and students. While a small donation is needed for the core programme, there are alternative payment options available.

Here Revd Dr Harriet Harris, University Chaplain and Head of the Chaplaincy Service, explains a bit more about the programme.

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Tropical livestock are key to help feed the world

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Professor Appolinaire Djikeng is the Director of the Centre of Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH), based at the Roslin Institute. Here he talks about how the pandemic has shown the work done at CTLGH is more important than ever.

Professor Appolinaire Djikeng

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Black Lives Matter

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Earlier this year the murder of a black man in America sent shockwaves across the world. Despite a global pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests began. Here in Edinburgh, socially-distanced crowds gathered in masks to show that coronavirus crisis or not, enough was enough. This week bulletin talks to Denise Boyle, HR Partner – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and Caroline Wallace, Senior HR Partner – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, about how past months have shaped and influenced the work of their team.

“The events of this year – from the murder of George Floyd to the differential impacts of the coronavirus pandemic – have brought into sharp focus the reality of racism and racial inequalities in our daily lives,” says Caroline.

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Welcoming back our students

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Next week we’ll see the long-awaited return of some of our students. Although our campuses might not be the bright, bustling places they normally are come September, our staff have been working hard to make sure Welcome Week 2020 is as successful as ever. Here bulletin chats to Lesley Ross, Student Induction Manager in Student Recruitment and Admissions, about the challenges of organising the welcome period this year.

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Technicians in the Time of Covid: Lab in Lockdown

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In the University of Edinburgh we have more than 1,000 technicians – highly trained and experienced individuals with diverse skills working across all subject areas. Across the UK the technical community has been recognised as being at the forefront of the higher education and research sector’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the start of the UK lockdown, we shared stories from our technicians about the experiences at the University, shining a light on the work that they do. Almost five months after we spoke to her, Sarah McCafferty, Research Technician in the Genetics Core at Edinburgh Clinical Research Facility, takes a look back at what it has been like for her to adapt to home working, and returning to the lab during lockdown.

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Edinburgh fourth for Industrial Engagement

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Although the pandemic has brought a lot of aspects of life to a grinding halt, the dedication and readiness of University staff to combat this crisis in any way they can has been incredibly uplifting to see. Despite the circumstances of the last five months, there is still plenty to celebrate, especially among our community.

The recent results of Research England’s Higher Education Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey are an incredible achievement for the University despite the upheaval of the past months. The survey saw Edinburgh rise five places, to fourth. It continues an upward trend for the University, which was 15th in 2014 and ninth in 2018.

Edinburgh Innovations organises a networking event that gives organisations access to academic specialists who can contribute in solving their specific issues. Photo taken pre-pandemic.

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On your bike

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s not surprising that a recent report from Cycling Scotland has seen a huge increase in cycling since social distancing was introduced in Scotland. While we’ve all been stuck in our homes, many of us have turned to cycling, rather than walking or running, as another way to enjoy our limited time outside. Lots of us have got into (or back into) cycling as a way to stay active, and look after our mental health by getting that much needed fresh air fix.

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Staying on holiday at home

Reading Time: 5 minutes

As Scotland and the rest of the UK slowly easing lockdown restrictions, many of us are planning to get back out there and enjoy our summer. Here Kitty Wheater, Mindfulness Chaplain, explores how we can reclaim our holiday without leaving our homes.

Over recent weeks, Scotland has shifted towards re-opening dentists, hairdressers, and cinemas. There are new possibilities for physically-distanced socialising, and staying somewhere overnight. And many of us are thinking: could I… might I… go on holiday?

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Get your fresh air fix

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Now that lockdown is slowly lifting, and we can venture out a bit further from our homes, we asked staff where they’ve been going to enjoy the bonnie Scottish summer.

“We recently visited Tyninghame Beach (otherwise known as Ravensheugh Sands) near Dunbar. It is a beautiful sandy beach with dramatic views of Bass Rock. Parking spaces are limited so it never feels too busy. It’s a great beach to let our dachshund, Shelly zoom around off the lead, she absolutely loves the beach like we do!” – Kristin Mason, Digital and Comms Officer

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When Zoom fatigue becomes Zoom burnout

Reading Time: 5 minutes

We’ve been working from home for a long time, communicating electronically with friends, family and colleagues. Here Kitty Wheater, Mindfulness Chaplain, talks about digital exhaustion and the small things we can do to prevent it.

A couple of months ago I wrote about Zoom fatigue: that specific kind of tiredness created by hour after hour of meeting without meeting, presence without presence. ‘It’s the plausible deniability of each other’s absence,’ Gianpiero Petriglieri – professor of management at INSEAD – writes. ‘Our minds tricked into the idea of being together when our bodies feel we’re not. Dissonance is exhausting.’

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Capturing the city in covid times

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As we enter a new phase of Scotland’s route map out of the coronavirus pandemic, pause and take in our new photo gallery showing the University’s Central Area and the surrounding city in recent days.

The lockdown has brought many parts of Edinburgh to a standstill. As we begin to move into a new stage, let’s take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the University and city at the quietest Scotland’s capital has ever been.

Bristo Square, home to the University’s graduation venue, McEwan Hall, and student union, Teviot Row House

The Informatics Forum, where researchers develop innovations in virtual reality, bioinformatics, artificial learning, robotics and more

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