RSSPress Feed 26 Sep 2023 20:55:26 MDX alumnus makes waves at London Fashion Week with working class couture

Middlesex University students on the catwalk wearing bright clothingThe road since graduating from MDX with a Fashion Design degree in 2017 has not been smooth for Adam Frost. But his SS24 collection at London Fashion Week, 'Art is Abundance’ has been hailed a success by industry experts.

Adam, who describes himself as a queer designer, lit up the catwalk with his ‘Go big or go home’ mantra, with a collection that had an overarching theme of “Some of us may be broke, but we are visually rich.”

“When you don’t come from a rich background you have to work really hard,” Adam said, “Me and all my friends are poor - it doesn’t mean we aren’t successful.

“My parents always worked really hard and they were creative. My mum used to make things from bits or tartan. I have always been around people making stuff to sell in order to survive. I’m very aware of my current financial status whilst dreaming of a mortgage and a nice house.”

Working alongside 80 people for the show was a proud moment for Adam, who seeks inspiration from a variety of places including death, depression, sex and music. He grew up on a council estate and believes that his working-class background has shaped the designer he is today.

Blonde tall model wearing a haute couture dress

“My style is a visual artist making clothes so everyone looks like paintings,” he said.

“It’s about dressing in a maximalist way even if you’re just popping to Sainsbury’s, power dressing even though you’re on the minimum wage."

Adam’s collections consist of gender-fluid styles and items include PVC power-shoulder coats, tailored separates and colourful co-ords.

His MDX graduate collection was inspired by the exploitation of the artist – Andy Warhol getting shot, Roisin Murphy’s track exploitation, Amy Winehouse, and the feeling of being exploited by art schools at an early age.

It was this collection that was noticed by stylist Kim Howells which led to Adam gaining sponsorship from Schwarzkopf for his debut fashion show SS21.

“They only support four designers every season so I was really lucky,” he said. “They gave me funding for production for the venue and the stylist Kim Howells remembered seeing my graduate collection at MDX which was lovely.”

After working in a number of different jobs post-university, Adam concluded that it’s hard to work for someone else when having your own label is the ultimate goal.

“The dream is to have my own studio and be able to make art every day,” he said.

“Ideally I’d love a studio by the beach and commute to London to do Fashion Week. I would love to dress Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell or Björk. I’ve nearly dressed Lady Gaga three times now so hopefully fourth time lucky!

“This life is everything; if I am not creating I will seize up and die.”

Adam says one of his proudest moments to date was being featured on the cover of Katie Grand’s LOVE Magazine during lockdown.

Already working on his next collection, ‘I Want to Grow Old with You,” Adam, says he loves fashion for the feelings it evokes.

He said: “I want to make art fashion which is really inspiring. Fashion makes us feel better when we dress up; it empowers people and makes them feel good.”

The 30-year-old credits MDX for the hands-on, practical education he received.

“It gave me great training,” he said. “If you want to make clothes you can go there and learn to do just that. It’s rare for fashion schools to be like that. It’s also very grounding there and a great mix of people and different art forms with people just getting on with what they love doing.”

Meanwhile, another MDX alumnus Peter Hawkings has been appointed creative director of American luxury brand Tom Ford, a role he says he’s “been preparing for his whole life”.

And fashion and portrait photographer Danny Kasirye, who studied film and TV at MDX, features in Elle Magazine after shooting actress Florence Pugh for the October cover.

Danny, who is Ugandan-British, says his background in filmmaking heavily influences the way he approaches his still images but his aim is to bring a sense of joy and beauty to his work. He won the British Journal of Photography Portrait of Britain award in 2020.

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19 Sep 2023 00:00:00 MDX Jazz graduate performs in Mercury Prize winning group

A Middlesex University BA Jazz graduate is part of a five-piece London jazz band which won the 2023 Mercury Prize.

James Mollison, (pictured performing above) who graduated in 2017, plays the saxophone in the Ezra Collective which became the first jazz act in 31 years to win the prestigious music accolade – for their new album ‘Where I’m Meant to Be’.

The group - consisting of Femi (who also drums for Gorillaz) as drummer and bandleader, Joe Armon-Jones on keys, James on saxophone, Ife Ogunjobi on trumpet, and Femi’s younger brother TJ on bass guitar - originally came together in 2012 as teenagers at the youth band of Tomorrow’s Warriors, a music education initiative at the South Bank Centre in London.

This year’s Mercury Prize ceremony was held at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London, and was hosted by BBC Music’s Lauren Laverne and guest presenter Jamz Supernova.

An overjoyed Ezra Collective collected the winner’s trophy and cheque for £25,000, and then performed a song from the winning album called ‘Victory Dance’ to a standing ovation from the audience.

Ezra Collective

The Mercury Prize judging panel said of Ezra Collective: “Virtuosity, community, listening to each other to work out where to go next, who knew that such seemingly old-fashioned values would come to the fore on the winning album.

“It wasn’t easy to choose an overall winner from such an eclectic and exciting list, but ultimately the judges were unanimous: Ezra Collective are a living argument for putting the hours in, achieving musical brilliance, and tapping into a joyous spirit that ensures their album is as fun as it is impressive.

“The British jazz renaissance of the past decade has been one of the most significant developments in modern music.

“Now, ‘Where I’m Meant To Be’, with its touches of reggae, soul, Latin and Afrobeats, its call and response riffs and rhythmic intensity, is a landmark not only for jazz, but for contemporary music in general.”

The Jazz team at Middlesex University was thrilled with the news of James’ success, especially as this will be the final year of the BA Jazz programme before the team focuses on specialist short courses and research.

Ezra Collective

Rob Townsend, a Senior Lecturer in Music who also tours with the Steve Hackett Band, said: “It’s truly fantastic that the Ezra Collective have won the Mercury Prize this year.

“It’s the first time ever that a jazz act has won and especially poignant for the MDX Jazz Department as in our final year of undergraduate specialist teaching, one of our alumni is in the band.

“James definitely has his own voice on the saxophone drawing from influences within and outside the jazz tradition. James worked hard with Ezra Collective whilst studying at MDX and we’re delighted for him and the whole band.”

Dr Brian Inglis, Director of Programmes for Music at Middlesex University, said: “A jazz ensemble winning the super-prestigious Mercury Music Prize is an epoch-making event.

“It’s a great testament to the kind of educational experiences our students get in Music, and a wonderful legacy for our superlative Jazz colleagues as jazz at Middlesex moves in the direction of a new phase in its long history, focussing on continuing/complementary education and research.”

James joined a list of previous alumni including Led Bib, a band formed at Middlesex who were nominated for the Mercury Prize Mercury in 2009, MDX graduate Binker Golding is half of Binker and Moses who won the MOBO best jazz award in 2015 and another graduate David Mrakpor, as half of Blue Lab Beats, won a Grammy last year for his production work with Angelique Kidjo.

Jazz at Middlesex is repositioning itself in UK education and is drawing on its highly specialised team to offer short courses. World-renowned pianist and composer Nikki Iles is developing a short course offering Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for pianists. The jazz team are starting a long-term research project collating and celebrating the works of European women composers.

Find out more about studying Music at Middlesex University.

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18 Sep 2023 12:16:45 MDX academic will chair 100 powerful women leaders around the world

MDX Senior Lecturer and Diversity Lead Dr Doirean Wilson has become the UK Country Chair of the Higher Education Wing of G100, a global group of the top 100 powerful women.

G100 is an eminent and empowered group of top 100 women leaders in the world with a vision for the future, including Nobel Laureates, former Heads of States, Ministers, Businesswomen, Philanthropists, Investors, Entrepreneurs, Corporate and Community Leaders.

Dr Wilson will be working alongside women leaders who are engaged with diversity and inclusion, to develop a Vision Document that will provide suggestions and recommendations to institutions such as the United Nations and Governments worldwide.

“The aim is to create massive opportunities for women to promote gender equality, human fulfilment, and sustainable development,” she said.

Dr Wilson, who has worked at MDX since 2001, is a member of the Strategy Leadership and Operations academic department.

Her work focusses on Diversity Practice and Community Engagement; she wrote the university’s current EDI Module from her own research and advises the Met Police after being commissioned to promote their cultural awareness.

Ranked 13th Most Influential HR Thinker in the UK and Globally for 2023, by HR Magazine, known in the industry as “the leading title for senior HR professionals and business leaders", Dr Wilson was recently recognised as one of London Borough of Barnet's `Inspirational Women`.

She was headhunted by G100 founder Dr Harbeen Arora Rai, who also established ALL Ladies League (ALL), Women Economic Forum (WEF),  Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WICCI), and SHEconomy.

“I am ecstatic with the role as it demonstrates that my diversity work and insights are not only worthy, but of the highest standard,” said Dr Wilson.

Members of G100 include H.E. Rosalía Arteaga Serrano, the first woman to have held the positions of President and Vice President of the Republic of Ecuador; Dr. Maya Morsy, President of Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW), and H.E Violeta Bulc, former Deputy Prime Minister of Slovenia, and EU Commissioner for Transport.

As part of the HE Wing UK Country Chair role, Dr Wilson will invite and nominate a male ally and `He-for-She` Champion who will offer support.

She is also required to invite and Nominate City/District Advisory Council Members plus wing members across cities/Districts in the UK.

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17 Sep 2023 20:29:15 MDX's Dr Francesca Murialdo and Dr Rui Su win British Academy SHAPE Involve and Engage Awards

Artwork showing building on Kilburn High Road with people in front of them, in black and white with some block colourDetail for The Kilburn Tapestries, by MDX academic Helen Delany and Brenda Aherne aka Electronic Sheep

Two MDX academics are among the first tranche of researchers to receive pilot funding from the British Academy, the UK's national body for the humanities and social sciences, for an innovative public engagement research project partnering a regional cultural organisation such as a museum, gallery or library.

The SHAPE Involve and Engage Awards are designed to promote creative methods of engaging the public in cutting-edge SHAPE research (which stands for Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy). The awards, worth up to £8000 each, support researchers to co-design innovative projects that connect local communities and audiences with SHAPE research topics, and meaningfully involve them in creating new research outputs.

In partnership with Kilburn Library and Paprika Collective, Director of Interior Architecture and Design Programmes at MDX Dr Francesca Murialdo has been awarded funding to develop Kilburn Museum Lab. This is a key element in plans for a Kilburn Museum, a nomadic cultural space in the NW6 district with a mission to encourage community participation.

The Museum Lab will foster understanding and appreciation for different cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, exploring intersections of place, space and community through workshops and engagement initiatives.

"We are delighted to announce our successful funding: a significant step in our long-term plan to create a cultural hub committed to positively impacting Kilburn’s social fabric" says Dr Francesca Murialdo. "This project extends and builds upon our recent collaborations with Kilburn Library and Paprika Collective, as well as our partnerships with local governments, organizations and individuals."

Photo of a group of mostly young people in winter outfits, standing in a circle in a yard by a railway archMDX Interiors students on a field trip to Kilburn

Fiona Tarn, Head of Libraries for Camden Council, says: "Camden Libraries are delighted to be working with MDX and Paprika Collective on this exciting project. Camden Libraries are developing a local 'What If' approach to their libraries, encouraging the community to engage and participate to help shape their local library, and this project will be a creative way of supporting that ambition in Kilburn.

Director of PAPRIKA Collective Dr. Ada Xiaoyu Hao says that "Kilburn, with its rich history and cultural diversity, presents a unique opportunity to capture and celebrate the diverse voices of the collective heritage. As a not-for-profit grassroots arts organisation based in Kilburn, we are excited about working in collaboration with students, educators and researchers from the Interior Architecture and Design programmes at MDX and Camden Council’s Kilburn Library".

Meanwhile, Senior Lecturer in Tourism at MDX Dr Rui Su has received funding for Taste of Memory, a project in partnership with London Metropolitan Archives to explore the collective memories of British-Chinese chefs by means of oral history, examining how they negotiate their identities and cope with challenges.

Dr Su and colleagues will organise a one-day Food, Migration and Memory festival at London Metropolitan Archives, including an immersive multisensory exhibition with interactive games, "tasting memory", "colouring memory" and "collage".

Historic black and white photo of an East Asian chef, in traditional chef's hat and a white coat, slicing a slab of meat with a big kitchen knife. The chef is smilingA Chinese merchant sailor, who served as chief cook, carves meat in the kitchen of the Chinese sailors' convalescent home in Liverpool (Ministry of Information Second World War Official Collection, 1943)

Three skills training workshops will leverage via online conferencing international scholars and a wide interdisciplinary network focused on food, migration and memory.  "I hope that this project will foster cultural exchanges and social inclusivity for scholars, practitioners, policymakers and communities across the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums sector and beyond," said Dr Su.

Symeon Ververidis, Engagement and Learning Manager at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) says: “We are delighted that this grant will allow us to work with Ming-Ai, Middlesex and the University of Nottingham to discover and share the history of the British-Chinese community.

"We look forward to taking these stories to new audiences, believing that everyone should be able to explore, discuss and celebrate London’s extraordinary history. This ambitious project will establish community ownership in a place where people of all ages and backgrounds can contribute, explore and share collective histories".

Chungwen Li, Dean of charitable educational organisation Ming-Ai Institute said: "The British Chinese communities in the UK have a long history in the UK catering industry, and have been engaging with the British food culture intensively. We have a long-standing partnership with Middlesex in providing Chinese culture heritage programmes. Ming-Ai has a digital platform, British Chinese Heritage Centre, to preserve and collate the cultural heritage of the British Chinese. This project will enrich its oral history and exhibition collections".

Carol Xiaoyue Zhang, Associate Professor in Tourism Marketing at the University of Nottingham, said: “We are thrilled to announce the successful funding of this interdisciplinary research and knowledge transfer project which represents a significant step towards giving voice to minority communities. We will continue our efforts to make contemporary society more open and diverse, in and beyond this project”.

Professor Julia Black, President of the British Academy, said: “Our vision is to see public engagement fully embedded in research. So we are delighted to support these partnerships between researchers and cultural organisations which will do just that, galvanising local communities and target audiences related to their research themes.

"I know that the review panel were struck by the sheer creativity, innovation, diversity and variety held not only within our disciplines, but in how researchers feel they can meaningfully engage with audiences through arts and culture institutions which sit in the hearts of communities.

"On behalf of the Academy, I offer my warmest congratulations to those who have received awards. We hope that their partnerships will inspire and spark new meaningful connections between communities and the humanities, social sciences and arts".

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13 Sep 2023 22:04:31 MDX Associate Lecturer wins early career research award for heat acclimation work

MDX Associate Lecturer in Sports and Exercise Science Dr Luke Oates has won the Professor Edward Winter Early Career Research Award through BASES, the accrediting body for sport and exercise scientists in the UK.

Established in 2020, the award recognises and honours Professor Winter, who made a substantial contribution to the discipline of Sport and Exercise Science.

The accolade is worth £1,000 through BASES membership and conference fees.

It also includes a place on various committees over the next year and taking part in webinars, podcasts and a magazine interview.

Dr Oates's application had to demonstrate how he meets the BASES values through his research, teaching and applied work.

He said: “It means a lot to me to be recognised for my research. It will be an excellent opportunity for me to network and collaborate with other researchers and practitioners and great to be involved in decisions being made within BASES.”

Dr Oates is currently working on a Short Term Heat Acclimation in an ageing population study with MDX colleagues Dr Laura Wilson from MDX London Sports Institute and Dr Emma Ward from Psychology.

He said: “We are looking to see if four days of acclimatising people aged 65+ to the heat can have positive adaptations that will have protective effects against the negative impacts of the heat. “

Other projects include research within netball assessing what it takes to win at an international level and successful centre passes and turnovers within the Netball Superleague and working with Jon Cree and Professor Anthony Turner, looking into footwork within fencing.

Last year Dr Oates gave his expert opinion on the heat risks for England World Cop players competing in 27 degree temperatures in Qatar.

His passion for sport was ignited as a child when he played football and cricket. Currently in training for the London Marathon, Dr Oates’s two main areas of interest are physiology and performance analysis.

“I have an intrigue for my own physiological responses during exercise e.g. what is my heart rate or body temperature when running,” he said. “I am also a bit of a stats person so have always enjoyed that side of sporting performance.”

After studying BSc. Sport and Exercise Science degree and MSc. Exercise Physiology at Loughborough University, Dr Oates completed his PhD last year at University of Hertfordshire (Physiological and thermoregulatory demands of fencing).

He says his greatest achievement to date is completing his PhD.

“A global pandemic, change of jobs, buying a house and starting a family all during this time made it a rollercoaster ride,” Dr Oates added.

Having worked at MDX since 2019, Dr Oates says the university is "very special to him".

"I am lucky to work with a great group of people. I have been able to develop my skills as a lecturer and be a part of some excellent research projects. We also have some of the best facilities for Sport Science within the new West Stand, it is a pleasure to come into work in the facilities we have.”

For more information about studying sport at MDX click here.

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11 Sep 2023 00:13:12 MDX Film academic Professor Eddie McCaffrey wins Innovation Award from University Alliance

Headshot of a middle-aged man with long hair, a faint bristly beard and glasses. He is wearing a navy shirt and tie and a PhD gown and hatProfessor in Film Production at MDX Dr Eddie McCaffrey has won the Innovation Award at the University Alliance's annual prizes. He prevailed over Oxford Brookes' Geo-thermal team and learning centres at the University of Greenwich and the University of South Wales to earn the award, which celebrates the impact of exceptional innovation in higher education.

The Creative Campus Network, a collaboration between more than 40 UK academic institutions and more than 50 screen industry employers was initiated by Eddie. He developed the Network to reduce silos, address industry skills shortages and empower Film and TV Production students and graduates to gain industry experience.

Eddie's pioneering work has led MDX to be a lynchpin of the Mayor of London’s Creative Skills Academy – a partnership between MDX, Film London, Capital City College Group and London Higher which helps underrepresented young Londoners into screen industries. So far, the Academy has helped 2153 young people gain training/education, offered 1153 work experience in the sector and helped another 169 get paid work or placements.

In curriculum development, Eddie led MDX's 2022/23 partnership with ScreenSkills to co-create Work Ready Skills and Experience graduate competencies guidance and resources. He previously devised, in collaboration with academics from Goldsmiths, Bournemouth, Ulster and Edinburgh Napier universities, the UK-wide Covid-19 Guidelines for Student Productions. The Covid-19 Supervision certified training he led with production safety and wellbeing body First Option enrolled over 3000 students across 10 universities.

This year, he brokered a unique partnership between an independent film production company and a university, to offer 15 students and graduates paid work on a professional film, Bermondsey Tales, in exchange for access to university facilities and equipment.

Award Ceremony Stage

"I’m delighted to win this award. Film, teaching and students are my passions so to be rewarded for doing this is fabulous." Dr Eddie McCaffrey, Middlesex University

Eddie became an Advance HE National Teaching Fellow in 2021. He has been teaching at MDX since 1998, and continues to work professionally in film alongside lecturing.

Eddie's submission for the award says that his work "exemplifies our 2031 Strategy themes of inclusivity, equity and sustainability. His vision and innovations embody MDX’s community principles and creative and collaborative approach".

Eddie McCaffrey said:

“I’m delighted to win this award. Film, teaching and students are my passions so to be rewarded for doing this is fabulous. The UK screen industry is a success story and they are absolutely desperate for staff but the problem is that so many people have to start at the bottom and work unpaid. But if you don’t have support to work for nothing you’re often excluded from this sector. The scheme I’m involved with Film London and the Mayoral Office is looking to change this and find dynamic and talented young people and give them a break. It’s a huge team effort and this award is for everyone involved.”

Commenting on Eddie's win, MDX Interim Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sean Wellington, said: "Congratulations to Eddie - he pushes boundaries in film and television. Either by developing guidelines for studying film during the pandemic or helping underrepresented Londoners get jobs in creative industries. The Award is very well deserved.”

MDX joined the University Alliance, the mission group representing leading technical and professional education institutions, in 2022. Also nominated for a University Alliance award this year from MDX were Simbo Ajayi and David Clover, who lead on MDX's Student Learning Assistants scheme.

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06 Sep 2023 08:00:00 International students should have a say in how universities are run

Having a say in key university governance structures is one the recommendations in a report released from London Higher and Middlesex University today (6/9).

"Expressing the International Student Voice: What International Students in London Tell Us About Their Experiences of Studying at University" has been prepared for the International Higher Education Commission (IHEC) and offers valuable insights into the perspectives of international students studying in London.

The report captures the outcomes of a roundtable discussion held at Middlesex on June 20, 2023, and some recommendations. The discussion brought together international students from various London universities, and a range of backgrounds and academic levels. The aim was to gain a deeper understanding of the international student experience in London and to provide recommendations for enhancing their university journey.

The report highlights a range of factors that influence international students' experiences in London:

  1. Reasons for choosing London: International students are drawn to London for its world-class education, career opportunities, cultural diversity, and vibrant city life. London has been consistently ranked as the Best Student City due to its outstanding universities and global openness.
  2. Expectations and arrival: While universities facilitate a welcoming environment, the bureaucratic challenges of arriving in the UK can be isolating for international students. Paperwork related to visas, insurance, and accommodation, along with difficulties in obtaining necessary documents, can affect students' entry into the country.
  3. Study experience: London universities generally meet the high academic expectations of international students. However, some may face challenges adjusting to different teaching methods, and there's a need for greater preparation to accommodate students with educational backgrounds different from English GCSEs and A-levels.
  4. Cost of living and employment: The rising cost of living in London is a significant concern for international students, who often find it challenging to balance their expenses. Limited working hours, especially for those on Tier 4 visas, can hinder students' ability to earn extra income. The paper suggests collaboration between universities and businesses to provide better work opportunities for international students.
  5. Transport and accommodation: London's extensive public transport comes at a cost, often impacting students' finances. High accommodation costs push students further away from the city centre, affecting their commute times and overall experience. Better accessible and affordable housing options are needed to alleviate these challenges.
  6. Student support and societies: Universities offer essential support services, but international students can face difficulties accessing healthcare. Engagement in clubs, societies, and student unions helps create a sense of belonging and community.
  7. Representation and governance: The report emphasizes the importance of including international student perspectives in higher education governance structures. The creation of an international student panel within regulatory bodies and academic forums is suggested to ensure their voices are heard on key decisions.

"The crucial thing is for us to treat international students as people, not numbers, and to make sure we are listening, responding and co-designing with them.” Professor Nic Beech, Vice-Chancellor, Middlesex University

Based on the findings, the paper offers several recommendations to enhance the international student experience in London:

  1. Employability and cost relief: Collaborate with London businesses to simplify the employment process for international students, providing them with diverse work opportunities to cover living expenses.
  2. Better accessibility to essentials: Retain cash payment options at on-campus shops to ease the financial burden on international students awaiting bank account setups.
  3. Integration and sense of belonging: Partner with local councils to provide pre-arrival information about borough services and community groups, encouraging students to integrate into local communities.
  4. Transportation: Review off-peak travel restrictions for student travelcards to ensure flexibility in travel without added costs.
  5. Representation and governance: Ensure international student representation in key governance structures at both institutional and national levels, giving them a voice in important decision-making processes.

Commenting on the paper, Dr Diana Beech, CEO of London Higher said:
"This paper provides a comprehensive understanding of the experiences and challenges faced by international students studying in London. As CEO of London Higher, I am committed to ensuring that our vibrant city remains an attractive and supportive destination for students from around the world. The findings in this report will guide us in collaborating with our member institutions and partners to enhance the overall experience for international students, from their arrival to their academic journey and beyond. By addressing the issues highlighted in the report and implementing the recommended actions with our partners across London, we can collectively create a more inclusive and enriching environment for all students in London."

Professor Nic Beech, Vice-Chancellor at Middlesex University London said:

“Much has been written about international students, but our consultation emphasised that international students do not form a homogenous group and the range of their educational interests and concerns is not so different to those of UK students. The crucial thing is for us to treat international students as people, not numbers, and to make sure we are listening, responding and co-designing with them.”

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29 Aug 2023 08:01:58 MDX student selected for prestigious national leadership programme with The FA

MDX student Georgia Rosenberg can’t wait to become a part of the rise of girls and women’s football after being offered a place on The FA Universities Women’s Leadership Programme.

The 20-year-old was encouraged to apply for the prestigious programme after becoming involved in the MDX football team shortly after starting a Sport and Exercise Rehabilitation degree in 2021.

The application process is very rigorous and this is the most competitive year the programme has ever seen.

Based on FA commissioned research, the programme aims to support females with aspirations to work within the women’s game to be competitive when they enter the job market.

Georgia will have the opportunity to develop skills, behaviours, confidence and her professional network, as well as be supported in defining career goals and ambitions by exploring and understanding the diverse opportunities that exist in women’s football.

“I was offered the opportunity as they believed I could create a positive influence to the women’s game in the future due to my love and passion for the sport,” she said.

“The programme involves unlocking the potential of young females who aspire to work in the sport and teaching the best way to promote it to girls and women.”

Georgia's dream is to complete a Master’s Degree in physiotherapy and then join a championship or premier league club.

“There’s no better career than mixing the sport I love with the job I’ve dreamed of since I was 15,” she said.

She was drawn to MDX for the modern facilities, cultural diversity and communal atmosphere on campus.

“I have loved every second,” Georgia said. “The cohort and lecturers are calm, fun and understanding and will help in any way they can.”

Georgia started playing football at the age of six and competed in small tournaments before moving to Garston Ladies club where she was a member and regular lead goal-scorer until she was 16.

She has already competed for Great Britain and spent two years with Pro Direct Academy, playing against teams such as MK Dons and Cambridge.

The women’s football team at MDX was a vital part of Georgia’s university choice and she was proud to be  named captain in her second year.

She said: “The diversity of girls that join the football team is incredible and there’s always a positive team spirit which provides an amazing atmosphere. The sport staff are brilliant and very supportive in helping the women’s team grow.”

Georgia believes that the Lionesses’ achievements with the Euros and the Women’s World Cup have given a “massive boost to women’s football and inspiring girls to play.”

“It has even shown with the team at MDX, where people have joined due to being motivated," she said. “The England team have had a huge positive impact to the awareness of the women’s game, and I would only expect more publicity and engagement for the future.”

So what advice does Georgia have to girls or women who might want to become involved in the beautiful game?

“Jump right into it,” she said, “There is no judgement. Don’t be afraid that you may not be as good as other people, everything comes with practice, but having the right team around you is one of the best motivational boosters.

“Football for me has not only become an escape from uni and work, but it has become my personality and I would love to see as many females getting involved as possible. You won’t know until you try!”

Georgia will undertake her first FA leadership residential course in October followed by two more next year.

Jon Cree, MDX Director of Undergraduate Sport Programmes, said: "The London Sport Institute are extremely proud of Georgia’s achievement. We are looking forward to learning from Georgia’s experience whilst also supporting her in her studies to make sure both her degree and career are a success."

For more information about studying sport at MDX click here.

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29 Aug 2023 00:00:00 Professor Nic Beech receives three awards from the British Academy of Management

Nic Beech

Middlesex University’s outgoing Vice-Chancellor Professor Nic Beech has been awarded three prestigious business awards from the British Academy of Management (BAM) for his “unparalleled service” when previously serving as its chairman and president.

These awards, the Richard Whipp Lifetime Achievement Award, the Cooper Medal for Outstanding Contribution and Leadership and the BAM Medal for Equality, Diversity, Inclusivity and Respect, are due to be presented at the BAM annual conference at the University of Sussex in Brighton on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

"Nic's long service to the BAM Executive has meant that this is the first opportunity we have had to formally recognise his contribution. Nic is truly a remarkable person, who has given so much to our community, to the benefit of so many, over his entire career." Professor Katy Mason and Professor Emma Parry, BAM

The BAM, which has more than 2,000 members, is a leading authority on the academic field of management.

Commenting on the Nic's awards, Professor Katy Mason, President of  BAM and Professor Emma Parry, the organisation's Chair said:

“Nic’s dedication to our Academy, over more than twenty years, is recognised through our most prestigious awards. The Richard Whipp Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates Nic’s outstanding contribution to our Academy, our business and management community, and to Higher Education more broadly - in the UK and internationally.

"The Cooper Medal for Outstanding Contribution and Leadership speaks for itself. Nic stepped-up to the BAM leadership at a time when BAM’s future was unclear. As the Academy’s longest serving Chair and President, he put BAM onto a sustainable financial footing, restructured and re-energised the leadership, welcomed new communities into BAM and created a culture where Equality, Diversity, Inclusivity and Respect (EDIR) could flourish and impact other institutions. His leadership is without equal.

“Nic’s leadership has also influenced the establishment of a new medal this year - the BAM Medal for EDIR. As the inaugural recipient, this medal celebrates Nic’s longstanding commitment to EDIR, which has led to substantial change at BAM and beyond.

“Nic’s long service to the BAM Executive, has meant that this is the first opportunity we have had to formally recognise his contribution. Nic is truly a remarkable person, who has given so much to our community, to the benefit of so many, over his entire career.”

“I’m delighted and honoured to receive these awards from BAM. Effective and empathetic leadership recognises that the strengths of diversity and inclusion result in a more motivated workforce which is good for business, managers and staff. The research is compelling on this and we need to promote engagement between business and academics to make ethical and business improvements. Every day we hear stories of disillusioned staff and low morale. This is not what good business management is about and I committed to supporting BAM to promote good practice and leadership.” Professor Nic Beech, Vice-Chancellor, Middlesex University

Professor Sean Wellington is now the new interim Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University as Professor  Beech is  stepping down to become the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Salford.

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24 Aug 2023 15:12:35 Interiors students help imagine the future of Kilburn in trailblazing local authority-community collaboration

A blurred image of a young man in black walking past a glass windowMDX Interiors BA and MA students have taken part in a pioneering collaborative project, supported by Brent and Camden Councils, engaging with the local community in Kilburn to imagine the future of the area.

KilburnLab – led by Director of Interior Architecture and Design Programmes Dr Francesca Murialdo, a Kilburn local, and department colleagues Naomi House, Jason Scoot, Michael Westthorp, and Gareth Williams, involved exploring with local residents and other stakeholders ideas for the adaptive reuse of places in the neighbourhood.

Impetus came from Camden, one of the two successful applicants that secured £40,000 of funding and support through the Greater London Authority’s High Streets for All Challenge to scope a pilot Community Improvement District (CID).

The CID pilot in Kilburn High Road aims to provide local people, community organisations and businesses a say over the strategic direction of high streets, and follows longstanding calls from Kilburn Neighbourhood Forum and others for better co-ordination between Camden and Brent, the local authorities which cover the area.

A line-up of models of shop-fronts, with a display board in the backgroundStudents built 3D miniatures of shops along a stretch of Kilburn High Road and later, a laser-cut street map of the district. Their imaginative concepts for the future of the disused Kingsgate Community Centre, which closed during the pandemic, were displayed on campus at MDX Degree Show Metamorphosis, and at Camden Council-run Kilburn Library Centre in June as part of the London Festival of Architecture.

The High Road shops model was displayed at an event in January at the Kiln Theatre convened by One Kilburn, a local authority initiative aiming to bring together all those interested in improvements to the area. In June, a workshop facilitated by MDX staff and students about the Kingsgate Centre, fed in to the student exhibition at the Library.

“To work with a big community, there are so many opinions there,” says Iwona Porebska, in the final year of her Interior Architecture BA when she took part in the project. “It’s difficult to compromise things for everyone to be satisfied with the outcome".

Display panels which include architectural drawings in a modern library setttingIwona contacted community organisations such as charity Kilburn State of Mind, which addresses loneliness and isolation, and tried to adapt spaces in the Centre to accommodate two organisations. She enjoyed the experience of engaging with these groups as if they were real project clients. She listened intently to local people from different backgrounds and observed how they engaged.

“I felt like I was part of it,” she says. “I did a visit to the Kingsgate Centre and met the guardians taking care of it. They remembered all the facilities – it had a place to eat, a dance studio mainly for kids. They gave me ideas about what the building was and what could be preserved.

“When I was a kid in Poland, I went to a community centre as well,” she says. “I could sense some similarities. If my community centre closed, I would be missing it”.

Master’s student Fatima Pooladvash designed a Robotics Hub for the Centre, offering coding and robotics classes and workshops.

“It was definitely enjoyable to engage with locals” she said. “I found that most of them appreciated Kilburn’s diversity as a special feature of the area, and want to preserve this in proposed designs”.

Matteo Spiga, who came to MDX for the final year of his BA degree after initially studying architecture in Italy, says he didn’t know what to expect at the start but warmed to the project “as I like to talk to people; one-to-ones, asking questions. It was more about the community than the development of the Centre”.

Knowing that he wanted to do something different involving nature, his design was for a community centre “for everyone”, including burrows and voids above and below ground for urban wildlife to shelter in, and hides for people to observe them from. “As humans, we tend to believe we’re the only ones who can use space: I wanted the opposite,” Matteo says.

Men and women in conversation around a room, with a table in the centre laid out with a 3D mapDavid Kaye, co-chair of Kilburn Neighbourhood Forum and a lifelong Kilburn resident was impressed with Iwona’s design for the Kingsgate Centre, with a debating chamber doubling up as a performance/music space in the middle: “A very democratic space – people can join the meeting or be on the edge of it”.

“I was very impressed by the books [of designs] produced by the students – I thought they were quite amazing products,” David added. “The model of the High Road really works as a focus of discussion”.

David’s Forum colleague Sally Holder, who comes from a voluntary sector and community development background, attended an open day for the project in a local park and the exhibitions at MDX and Kilburn Library.

"I was blown away by the creativity and innovation I witnessed,” she says. “Talking to the students, they conveyed enthusiasm, pride and professionalism. It was refreshing to see Kilburn High Road from their perspective”.

"It perfectly aligns with the Neighbourhood Forum’s goals, and I believe it will generate valuable stories to enrich our consultation process”.

“To me this is what education should be about — the students contribute and learn by putting theory to a real life situation”. Sally says she would like to see the same approach used in other areas embarking on regeneration.

“It has been wonderful to see how the students’ initial work and presentations evolved into the final output,” says Gabi Abadi, Principal Regeneration Officer at Camden Council.

Sue Sheehan, the council’s Principal Participation and Partnerships Officer, says the project represents a unique approach of proactively asking the community what they think is needed ahead of a neighbourhood regeneration scheme.

“This work was going on anyway,” says Sue. “Why not have this partnership [with MDX] and conversation? The students are a resource - they are sharing their imagination, and this fuels other people's”.

Gabi says any concerns about working with students, as a transitory community, in a sensitive local context were allayed. “The students and institution have gone beyond extraction and have built trust and positive relationships locally”.

“Maybe students can have conversations and relationships with residents that we can't as councils. The councils can help give a real-life concept - almost a hypothesis. That helps students to build their skills”.

A close-up view of a laser-cut 3D map“The future of Kingsgate Community Centre is a real project. I hope when we go out for local contributions and input, we can use students' work as an evidence base”.

“It's been an easy partnership,” says Sue. “We hope the conversations continue afterwards”.

"It's so lovely to be involved in something so vibrant and inclusive,” says Kilburn Community Library Manager Priyanka Sharma, who joined the library just as the exhibition of student work was being installed.

“The fact it was so heavily arts-based made all the difference. An exhibition is always going to be more appealing than a surgery or forum.

“Kilburn has a very strong sense of identity and pride that you don't get in many other places in London. There's a strong understanding of people's heritage. People come into the library all the time saying they remember what the High Road was like when they were children”.

“We were getting a lot of positive feedback from residents. We had people from local shops and services coming down for events, perusing the signage boards.

“Having students in and their insight is original and fresh in itself – since Interior Architecture was what they were studying, it brought a nice level of professionalism and instilled a sense of trustworthiness among the public. When people saw it was a passionate and enthusiastic group of young people doing this work, you saw their demeanour change”.

The KilburnLab project formed just one part of MDX’s involvement with the 2023 London Festival of Architecture. Other elements were an exhibition of student ideas for adaptive reuse of sites in Golders Green (Interior Architecture and Interior Design Year 2); an exhibition exploring the links between architecture and clothing (Fashion Foundation); two In Conversation events at MDX’s Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture; and architectural walks around Hendon - sketching with architect Nuno Pais - and the Grahame Park Estate.

Click here to learn more about studying BA Interior Architecture at Middlesex

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14 Aug 2023 00:00:00 New Contemporaries star Holly Sezer talks about exploring gender fluidity and queer beauty in her bold portraits

Holly Sezer

Holly Sezer is a figurative artist working in media including oil painting and photography. Her final year work, featuring a series of portraits of her partner and muse, celebrates gender expression and gender fluidity, sexuality and womanhood.

She seeks to create work which is understandable and relatable to a wide range of people.

“I love eye contact, being straight up and seeing people. The gaze is super-important to me,” Holly says. “I play with how the viewer is going to interact with my work”.

Her inspirations include artist and writer Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, known for her portraits of imaginary black subjects. Before putting brush to canvas, Holly’s artistic process involves shooting photos and collaging them to create compositions. “I love Pinterest, I love searching for found images, and thinking how they could work well in juxtaposition,” she says.

One of Holly’s paintings of her partner draws from a 1975 album cover image of US soul singer Minnie Riperton.

“She’s lounging - powerful, so feminine,” says Holly. “This painting was the beginning of my now-series of large portraits using block colour backgrounds, and a learning point for me as I battled with clashing colours and shapes. Both the tiger and the girl stare directly at you, as the viewer you are choosing who to look at and see if they are on the same team”.

Another work, My Greatest Friend, a triple portrait of her partner, is about “trust… Being your true self, letting others see that and the acceptance of not everyone being supportive, having your own back because no one can love your true identity like you. Being comfortable in your own company”.

Holly SezerHolly was an academic high achiever at school in North London, but she says art was “the first thing I found enjoyable *and* was super good at”. One particular teacher pushed her to develop her practice. Applying for Fine Art at university was “a no-brainer” she says, “to get that creative freedom that you don't get in the school system. Art was a hobby, it turned into my passion and now I can see it as my career”.

She chose MDX as “the facilities and studios were the best I'd seen - super-bright and airy”. After a challenging first year of her degree due to the lockdowns, she was in “every single day” as soon as she was able, she says, making “great bonds” with peers filling up university spaces with artworks.

She picks out lecturer Tansy Spinks and technicians Aaron, Leo (wood workshop) and Will, Bart and Catherine (photography) for their help and support.

Holly Sezer

She also relished the opportunities for collaboration with students on different courses – “you literally travel a floor and you're making connections with other creatives”.

She has been selected for the prestigious New Contemporaries exhibition, which brings together the UK’s best young artists each year, and has work entered into the ArtGemini Prize.

“Every day I wake up and I want to make artwork,” she says. She hopes for a shift towards better representation in galleries and at the summit of the art world – “Queer women are here, we’re a presence, we're not just stereotypes but we form deep bonds and connections that I hope you can feel with my work”.

Find out more about the New Contemporaries exhibition.

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13 Aug 2023 21:01:37 MDX alumnus working on technology of the future in Dyson robotics team

MDX alumnus Robin Read is grateful for the ‘transformative and deeply insightful’ education that has allowed him to develop a career in robotics.

When he started his Product Design Engineering degree on the Trent Park campus in 2005, all Robin knew was that he ‘wanted to build things’.

“The course was fantastic as it exposed me to a really broad range of aspects relating to Design and Engineering,” he said.
“I was given sketching lessons, learnt about different approaches to prototyping, how to use software and how to build electronic circuits. I even built my first mobile robot in the first year!”

The final year project allowed students to work with metal machining equipment, laser and water jet cutters and 3D printers.

Fifteen years on from graduating, Robin is enjoying a successful career in the robotics industry but still finds himself still drawing upon things he learnt while at MDX.

“When I look back, the course was truly pivotal for me in two ways - firstly it helped me discover what my passion is - building robots. Secondly, and crucially, I came out with a really strong skill set but was also able to identify what skills I still needed to develop in order to really feel ready to go into robotics.”

After studying for an MSc in Robotics then a PhD in Human-Robot Interaction from Plymouth University, Robin became aware of a robotics programme at Dyson.

He now works in the company’s Future Robotics Research group, leading a small team of engineers looking at Human-Robot interaction.

Robin said: “The general goal and mission of our work is to look to the future. We look at the emerging, cutting edge technologies in the robotics world and explore and understand how those could be used to enhance or enable future Dyson robots over the next five to 10 years.”

Robin’s team focusses on building autonomous robots that work in the home environment.

“While we currently only sell robotic vacuum cleaners, we’re pursuing all kinds of weird and wonderful ideas in the background, and we're particularly interested in the world above the floor,” he said.

So what does a typical day look like for a Future Robotics Researcher at Dyson?

Robin said: “I need to consider and steer what we do, but most of my time is focussed on the practical engineering that goes into building working prototypes.

“I tend to be primarily software focused (as that’s where most of the magic happens in robotics) but I work with Mechanical/Mechatronic/Electronics Engineers as well as Product Designers as part of the process. Because of my background, I have a good feel and appreciation of the different aspects; why they are important and how they interact and impact each other.”

Robin’s main career aspiration is to put at least one robot out in the world that has a positive impact on people, and ideally have gone on the full journey from product/idea conception all the way to production where something comes off the end of a production line.

He said: “Building robotics is really hard and complicated, and requires such a diverse range of skills and steps. One day I hope to be able to point to a robot and tell people that I worked on it.”

Robin’s advice to prospective students and those going through clearing is: “It's okay to not be sure what you want to do after leaving school and studying on a course that has breadth can play a really big role in helping you discover what you want to do because it can expose you to so much.

“Be open minded to what modules you'll take, some might not take your fancy, but some might really surprise you.

“Get an idea of what equipment you will have access to during the course and make sure that you understand what doors it might open for you. Going to university is perhaps one of the investments into your personal skills development you will ever make and it's worth being sure that you're investing your time and energy in the best way and in the right area.”

To find out more about Design Engineering courses at MDX click here.

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11 Aug 2023 13:00:00 MDX gets standout results for student voice and academic support in 2023 NSS scores

We are very proud of our results in NSS 2023 which demonstrate that our students have an excellent experience studying their undergraduate course at Middlesex.

In the Times Higher Education rankings of universities with more than 1000 responses to the survey, Middlesex came:

  • 5th out of 20 London universities for students' overall positivity about their studies
  • 25th out of 114 UK universities for students' overall positivity about their studies
  • 7th out of UK universities for how we act on student feedback
  • 5th in London for how we communicate about mental health with our students
  • 5th in London for our students’ freedom of expression.

"These results are testament to the hard work and commitment of staff across the institution. Our response rate of 79% demonstrates  the value we place on the 'student voice' as a learning organisation." Professor Christine Broughan, Interim Provost Vice-Chancellor, Middlesex University

We are delighted that these results reflect how we listen to - and act on - student voice and feedback from students about their course. They show we prioritise mental wellbeing and giving everyone space to be themselves in our community.

Professor Christine Broughan, Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience, said

“Middlesex is committed to providing the best possible transformative education for our students. These results are testament to the hard work and commitment of staff across the institution. Our response rate of 79% demonstrates the value we place on the ‘student voice’ as a learning organisation.”

The NSS asks students who are about to graduate for their opinion on the quality of their course. The results were published 10 August 2023 by the Office for Students (OfS) and the Times Higher Education rankings published on 11 August 2023. The survey only included undergraduate students.

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08 Aug 2023 00:00:00 MDX and Barnet Council stage innovative project to support micro-businesses impacted by Covid-19

Middlesex University and Barnet Council joined forces to support local micro-businesses severely impacted by Covid-19 with the Barnet Business Growth Programme which offered an inspiring series of workshops and internships.

The project began with the Centre for Enterprise, Environment and Development (CEEDR) at Middlesex University surveying around 500 micro-businesses to understand their business needs and post-pandemic aspirations.

This survey found 76% of micro-businesses were very small and had less than five employees, while nearly one quarter 23% were less than five years old.

Research findings helped tailor a series of short courses and workshops for 100 micro businesses which were designed to support their growth as well as develop their business skills, commercial awareness and entrepreneurial mindset.

These courses, which were delivered by MDX academics, were focused on subjects such as ‘business growth and sustainability’, ‘making reasoned and justifiable business decisions’ and ‘digital and social media – a marketing road map’.

One workshop was delivered by esteemed MDX alumni Danish Bagadia, EMEA Head of Media Governance, Operations and Performance Marketing at Google.

After the courses, 50 companies benefited from having a Middlesex University graduate intern to work alongside over a six-week period.

One of the interns Joyita Tasnia, an MSc Engineering Management graduate, said: “It actually expands your horizon, you can get to learn a lot about the community and the people. You can make connections and build networks. And these are all things important for your career.”

Another intern Johan Valenzuela, a BA Business Management graduate, said: “It’s good to work with people who are doing start-ups because I also have the dream of doing a start-up.

"So, working with somebody who has that kind of vision and that kind of experience is something good which I can learn from in the future.”

Barnet businesses also revealed how the expert courses and internships had been a massive benefit.

Shahab Uddin, from Barnet Combat Academy, who took on a graduate intern Petra Flipovicova, BA Music Business and Arts Management, said: “I would most certainly do it again, it’s been a great help to grow the business and also to grow me as a person.

“For me it was great to have her on board and to have the insight that she has and to use her knowledge and skills, particularly with social media and marketing.”

Through the workshops, Shahab revealed how he had started using Google advertising which had become a “very effective tool for his business”.

Monika Mudra, who runs MM – Meaningful Massage, said: “The programme helped me develop my business from the accountancy side. It makes it easier for me to see the numbers and after I can really see what programmes, packages or sessions to sell.”

In a report on the project Alan Stuart, Director for Careers and Employability, commented on the “hugely positive feedback and testimonials” from businesses who took part.

“This provides strong evidence that with further ideation and strategic thinking around marketing and promotion – from both Barnet and MDX, the provision of such a programme, the networking opportunities enabled, the internship offer and experience of the University’s facilities does have the potential to make a real, sustainable and positive impact on businesses who engage.”

The Barnet Micro-Business Growth project, which cost 476k, was negotiated and secured by Mr Stuart and project managed and delivered by MDXworks.

Oliver Pinch, Business Engagement Manager at Barnet Council, revealed more than 4,000 businesses were created in Barnet in 2021.

He said: “Barnet is a very entrepreneurial borough, dominated by small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs. It’s great to see so many of these investing in their development through practical training and access to a graduate intern.

“This programme was part of a package of Covid-19 business support delivered with local partners like Middlesex University and reaching almost 1000 companies in Barnet. We’re proud to have supported so many businesses and created a legacy of online resources and webinars.”

There are a number of playlist testimonials from businesses and graduates which can be viewed by following the links: business owners, students, and businesses and students together.

Find out more about the Barnet Micro-Business Growth Programme and the work of CEEDR.

Barnet Council also offers support on Growing Your Business.

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07 Aug 2023 23:59:10 lmmersive installation that blurs boundaries between science and art comes to MDX

A mechanical interactive installation designed and manufactured by MDX staff and students is on display at the university’s Living Pavilion.

The ‘Globe of Dislocation’ was part of the ’Prime Landing’ Immersive Installation in ‘Longitude Punk’d’ which was displayed at The Royal Observatory Greenwich from 2014-2015.

It was a celebration of eccentric and amusing inventors, astronomers and explorers of the past which saw nine British steampunk artists commissioned to create works inspired by the technical inventions that were presented to the Board of Longitude between 1714 and 1828.

One of those who gazed through a fictional lens into an alternate reality that might have happened along a twisted timeline, was MDX senior lecturer in product design and engineering, Wyn Griffiths.

“I was lucky enough to be part of a group who took over the Royal Observatory Greenwich for ten months, flipping it into a fictional version of itself - creating ‘Longitude Punk’d’,” he said.

“The whole venue became an immersive experience, inviting visitors into a counterfactual mix of fiction and reality, blurring the boundaries between art and science / fact and fiction, with fantastical inventions alongside real historic objects.”

Wynn described the Globe of Dislocation as a ‘a story adventure to transport and immerse visitors within an experience, aiming to enable curiosity, joy and reflection’.

Other themes explored include creative upcycling and repurposing of materials to illuminate sustainability.

The recommissioning of the Globe of Dislocation coincides with the 10th Anniversary of Longitude Punk’d next Spring.

Wyn said: “The exhibition was a great success, with a total audience of 282,795 paying visitors each entering the ‘story-world’ and the physical exhibition through the Royal Observatory Courtyard, where this installation represented the start and end of their journey and ‘opened the wormhole’ into the experience.

“We open the ‘wormhole’ here again, ten years on, to celebrate that anniversary and to continue the public conversation where we try to distinguish fact from fiction, we look again, and we look closer.”

Wyn has enlisted the help and technical expertise of MDX staff Neil Melton, Colin Moss and Ahmed M Patel. Product Design and Engineering students and graduates: Harry Bradshaw, Tremayne Gilling, Curtis John, John Regan, Alek Thomas, Victor Toh, Zed Callaghan and Chris Whellams also supported the project.

The Living Pavilion was designed and built in 2019 to be used as a multi-purpose activity, learning and wellbeing space for the University.

Designed and developed from conception to delivery by Architectural Technology students in collaboration with the Estates team and industry professionals, it embodies the learning-by-doing approach which is a pillar of the University's philosophy.

With a similar focus on creative collaboration and manifestation of sustainability practice as the Globe of Dislocation, Wyn believes that the principles underlying the two structures and their visual relationship ‘creates a new narrative and interpretation.’

It is hoped that the position of the pavilion, which is on a main public through route on the Hendon campus, will bring the Globe of Dislocation to a new audience.

It will also be used for Product Design and Engineering teaching and project sessions during the 2023/24 term.

To find out more about engineering courses at MDX click here.

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01 Aug 2023 23:57:11 Gangster film crewed by MDX students shines spotlight on new avenues for industry-academia collaboration

Three young women at a film shoot in a church. A blonde young woman in a black sleeveless dress is central with two film crew members on either side. They are all smilingMDX students on a film crew were “better than a lot of the people I've employed from the industry”, says the director of a feature who formed a pioneering partnership with the university. He adds that he hopes the collaboration will be the first of many.

Industry peers tried to warn off Seraphim Film Productions' Michael Head from his directorial debut plans, including one who thought the students would “ruin your film”. But in the event “there wasn't a weak link,” says Michael, hailing the students for their talent, experience and above all teamwork: “personally I would use exactly the same crew again for my next film,” he says.

The opportunity to work on half-a-million pound-budget gangster film Bermondsey Tales: Fall of the Roman Empire came about through a meeting between MDX Film academic Professor Eddie McCaffrey, and director and industry/institutional relationship broker Adam Morley, now Creative Industries, Culture, Digital and AI Sector Lead for Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The two spoke about what would be needed to help students access film set roles, more senior than a runner, after graduating, challenging industry perceptions that they are unqualified for more skilled hands-on work. The pair then met with new production company Seraphim, who are focused on developing commercially-driven film and TV projects for the UK and the international market: and so this innovative collaboration began.

MDX offered Seraphim facilities, kit hire and space for a film unit to set up in the Grove Building. The university will receive a percentage of the film’s profits, and around 50% of production jobs, including key positions like First and Second Assistant Camera, went to students. Seraphim agreed to sign a safeguarding document, to ensure students were protected and nurtured.

Five men in black suits and white shirts stand in a lineMichael also wrote the film, based on true stories of his family, which goes back five generations in Bermondsey ("not Krays level but pretty notorious and well-recognised in the area"). Filming took place within half an hour’s travel from MDX. The students were all paid and worked for four weeks, for five days a week and on average, 10 hours a day. “They learned a lot about professional behaviour, protocols, and not to panic on a film set, and the industry learned a lot about students,” says Eddie McCaffrey.

As well as the excitement of a starry cast - including Gary Webster (Ray Daley in Minder), Linda Robson, John Hannah, Vas Blackwood, Vicki Michelle, Adam Deacon, Maisie Smith in her first role since EastEnders and comedian Dapper Laughs - the scale and longevity of the project was an invigorating new experience for the students.

"We had four weeks non-stop. It was way bigger than anything we had done" says Ben Bogdan-Hodgson, who was Best Boy, or second-in-command to the Gaffer, the senior electrician on the shoot.

Then there was the compartmentalisation of tasks on a professional set, and the rare opportunity to work in prominent technical roles.

"With students, you are probably involved in everything on a project," Ben says. "With this, you literally came into work: you know what your role is and you just did that.

"Industry crews normally stick to the crews they're in" says Ben. "The Gaffer works in the industry. Meeting that contact means being able to be in touch with more professionals”.

A large group shot of men and women, dressed in summer clothes, standing on a staircase. They look up at the camera"When you go to a networking event, you have something to actually say" says Rafael Pastana, First Assistant Camera on the project.

"It was very beneficial for us, especially for gaining skills we didn't have before" says Alina Ilin, who was Third Assistant Director. "I had the challenge of working with more than 50 supporting artists. The first lesson was to learn how to delegate - the runners are there for me. I hadn't been in that position before so I didn't know".

“There were a load of people that it was their first job" says Michael Head. "It shouldn’t have worked. So the fact that it did shows a lot about one's attitude".

“On many occasions I didn't realise the students were students,” said Seraphim CEO and co-producer of the project Rohit Nathaniel, who had an acting part in the film. “They weren't there for the journey. They were there because they really wanted to be there”.

Previously an investment banker and with experience working on a range of skills and enterprise initiatives, Rohit thinks the project yielded much mutual benefit: "We've got the opportunity to work with budding people who've got the passion, enthusiasm, potentially new skills that the industry doesn't have”.

The best thing was “the smoothness of the operation,” he added.

Interviewed by students about the project, he said: “When I went to the BFI for your showcase, to see who I consider our production team go up and get their awards, to see you thanking us for the opportunity, it was a big thing”.

"I felt we were a family all together and supporting each other," says Alina.

Michael Head and Eddie McCaffrey see the project as a crucial step in the way industry interacts with the world of film education. A second film is slated for next month, and a third could potentially happen in December. As a key partner of the GLA Creative Skills Academy and the BFI’s Metro London Skills Cluster, MDX is in a position to bring other universities on board with this initiative.

Currently for graduates launching film careers, “there's no pathway,” says Michael. “It's not the education failing the industry, it's the industry failing the education”.

Through his work at MDX, Eddie is trying to demonstrate to the film and TV industries and representative bodies that new models can work. “We have the potential to change the attitude of professionals about skills, graduates, unis. It’s not a silver bullet but certainly an interesting way to go,” he says.

"It allows us to prove to the industry that our students are indeed industry-ready," says Dr James Charlton, Deputy Dean for Student Success in the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries. "When we put them on a film set and they show how brilliant they are, that's absolute proof".

A related project is a pilot placement for students on the Media, Broadcast and Production T Level, now mooted to start running from 2024, allowing them to spend two weeks at MDX, one of them working on a real production in the TV studio. This would again demonstrate how industry and Higher and Further Education can all work together, and offers an opportunity for every stakeholder to learn.

“When we write up the post-film report [for Bermondsey Tales], we can say ‘try this, try that, or don’t this or that’” says Eddie. “Everything is developing and we’re learning something new.

But innovation needs support. “At the same time you need a senior management team, academics and a university which is open to working like this, and MDX deserves credit for that.

“If we don’t innovate, the curriculum will stay the way that it’s always been – and in today's environment, that’s not good enough".

To find out more about studying Film at MDX, click here

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MDX-backed Creative Academy Hub launched to help underrepresented Londoners

Next steps for Connected Campus for Creative Industries announced at MDX-hosted event

MDX Lecturer David Heinemann wins Research in Film Award for Voices Apart

01 Aug 2023 20:18:18 Pioneering MDX sustainability research giving overlooked communities a voice

A team of MDX researchers have been awarded funding to further explore how to improve unsustainable practices in the fashion and textiles industry.

Dr Patrick Elf, Safia Minney, Dr Andrea Werner and Prof Fergus Lyon from the Centre of Enterprise, Environment and Development Research (CEEDR) are challenging the unsustainability of the UK fashion and textile sector from the perspective of key suppliers in Bangladesh and India.

Their Regenerative Post-Growth Fashion (RPGF) project draws on multiple social science disciplines to address a number of critical key challenges in the industry including exploitative labour practices, overconsumption, and pollution and emissions related issues.

It also explores how a rapid transformation of the global fashion and textile system from unsustainable practices to regenerative, post-growth alternatives is possible.

The team uses practice-based research to highlight good practice initiatives and collaborations between UK buyers and suppliers in India and Bangladesh to reduce waste, and promote livelihoods and healthy ecosystems.

Often over-looked communities are given a voice and a radical bottom-up approach (starting with small parts and working towards a bigger picture) is used for data collection.

MDX will receive one of nine ACCESS Flex Funds after being selected from more than 60 applications from universities and research networks from all over the UK.

Patrick Elf, Senior Research Fellow in Sustainable Business, said: “The RPGF project will explore how a rapid transformation of the global fashion and textile system from unsustainable practices to regenerative, post-growth alternatives is possible.

"It will draw on ‘on-the-ground realities’, giving diverse communities a voice and (re) establish low-carbon practices as alternative thus demonstrating the value of good practice initiatives and collaborations between UK buyers and suppliers in India and Bangladesh to reduce waste, and promote livelihoods and healthy ecosystems."

A spokesperson from ACCESS said: “The projects all met our key aims around innovation, making the social sciences more visible and having an impact on today’s climate and environment crisis, and which take forward our guiding principles of co-production, sustainability and equality, diversity and inclusion.”

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21 Jul 2023 20:50:40 “As a gay man, it fills my heart with joy to bring visibility to a community that has previously had nothing”

Co-chairs of the MDX LGBT+ Network at the University Ant Babajee and Dr Robert Vesty are on a mission to promote the inclusion of the LGBT+ community within Barnet.

In collaboration with Inkluder CIC, the first LGBTQ+ led community organisation in the borough, and Barnet Council, the pair will help organise the first Barnet Pride in the Park on Sunday 20 August.

The event will include an inspiring exhibition courtesy of award-winning photographer Chris Jepson who earlier this year photographed around 20 LGBTQ+ people from across Barnet.

MDX students, staff and alumni feature in The Identity Project, which celebrates LGBTQ+ people and promotes Barnet’s diverse and inclusive community.

MDX senior lecturer in performance art TJB, a pansexual, queer, non-binary, trans-person with invisible disabilities was photographed for the project.

Speaking about identity, xe said: “I value it. I respect that it’s fluid and try to encourage that others respect that as well.”

Councillor Zahra Beg, Cabinet Member for Equalities, Communities & the Voluntary Sector said: “We’re thrilled to be holding this event. We are a council that cares, and we want to create a safe space for everyone to come together, celebrate their identity, and promote equality and acceptance for all.”

Ant, Customer Relationship Management [CRM] Manager at MDX, said that Barnet Pride in the Park was for everyone: “Even if you don’t know anyone in your social circle who is gay, queer or trans, which is unlikely, as we are spreading our rainbows everywhere, isn’t this a wonderful opportunity to come along to a lovely event in the park, meet people and create a little bit of understanding?”

Former BBC journalist Ant, who has been an MDX employee since 2016, said that there had been “zero visibility for marginalised communities in Barnet” for too long.

“That’s not because LGBTQ+ people don’t live, work and study here; it’s because there’s not been any kind of community organisation,” he added.

“Now there has been lots of time and energy put in from lots of community groups, and the dream eventually is to establish an LGBT+ community café and events space in the borough.

“MDX has joined the partnership as the largest employer in the borough and we’re working all together to towards bringing visibility of LGBT+ people.”

Ant described 2023 as a “fantastic year” for MDX, which started with the university jumping up to place 58 and achieving a gold award in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.

Around 50 members of MDX LGBT+ Network supported Pride in London as well as London Trans+ Pride with Middlesex Pride and UK Black Pride still to come next month.

MDX also won University of the Year from the Queer Student Awards, which recognise the work that schools, colleges, universities and employers are doing to create inclusive spaces that support young LGBTQ+ people.

Ant said: “We are a very community-facing university: you only have to walk into our quad, which is a wonderful community space, and you can sit there and learn and find out about people who are from completely different backgrounds to yours and have completely different life experiences to yours.

“It’s really important for MDX to be at the heart of creating understanding and trying to create a more equal, fairer, friendlier, kinder society.”

Ant, a HIV activist who has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness about the virus following his own diagnosis in 2007, was recognised as a Change Maker of the Year by Stonewall back in March.

He said: “I’m incredibly fortunate that I work for a university that allows me to bring all of myself to work, and it means I don’t have to hide and pretend that I’m something I’m not, because that’s exhausting.

“LGBTQ+ people exist in all walks of life in all areas of society. We’re just there. We’re part of your communities and helping us to feel like we can be ourselves and we don’t have to pretend that we’re something we’re not just because we might face stigma, prejudice and discrimination is so important.”

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14 Jul 2023 11:47:39 Students and alumni from MDX Arts and Creative Industries faculty continue to excel as work is recognised by industry critics

Students and alumni from the Arts and Creative Industries faculty at MDX are winning prestigious awards across a variety of categories.

Here is a roundup of some of the latest achievements:

Third year BA Illustration student Daisy Ferreira is looking forward to three-month paid internship at a major UK animation studio after winning the prestigious Secret Story Draw Awards competition.

Daisy won Best Character Design in her category and was also named as one of the nine overall winners in the competition, which is aimed at helping BAME artists to enter the animation and illustration industry.

Daisy chose to illustrate a piece of writing called Back Story for her submission, which took four weeks to complete.

Her character was a boy writing about someone he knew before they had found fame.

“I had to figure out a way to encapsulate the essence of the character,” Daisy said. “I could tell he was very outdoorsy and someone who would get himself into trouble without meaning to.”

After doing some initial designs Daisy started from scratch, basing her new and improved character on a combination of her two brothers.

“I completed one full body image and two expressions,” she said, “It made it a lot more believable basing him on someone I knew.”

Daisy’s dream is to do narrative and editorial work and start up as a freelancer, which she hopes will become a reality after the internship.

After such a positive experience at MDX, Daisy hopes that more BAME artists will have the opportunity to bring their skills to the illustration and animation industries in years to come.

She said: “There is a lack of diversity at the moment I believe that better stories can be told when there are lots of different points of view.”

Nine MDX students were nominated in six categories for the Royal Television Society’s London Student Awards 2023.

Fran Christie won in the Best Sound category for The House in the Middle of the Sea.

Directed by Marcel Ruizendaal, the film follows the Brouwer family through their day-to-day lives while stuck in the attic after the Nazis bombed and flooded large parts of the Netherlands to halt allied troops.

Fran’s work also won a Learning on Screen Award, with judges describing this film as “absolutely marvellous; intriguing, interesting and well-researched.”

They thought it expertly captured all the boredom of confinement and off-screen menace whilst effectively telling an important story.

The second RTS winner was Marco de Rosso in the Best Writing category with his film Sidetracking.

After a rough break-up, two young hitchhikers go their separate ways and each talk to the strangers they meet on the road and reflect on whether to get back together or not.

Also commended in the Learning on Screen Awards, where judges described the film as an “accomplished piece,” praising its sound editing and strong acting performances.

Marco said it “felt great” to win the RTS award, adding: “It's always hard to judge one's own work, so these prizes are an important reminder that other people see potential in it too.”

He described Sidetracking as not strictly autobiographical, but a collage of true events and conversations that happened either to me or to friends of mine while travelling.

“I spent years on the road in my early 20s, and felt that some aspects of the backpacking experience had never really been put on film or talked about in a way that felt true and relatable to me, so that's part of what I tried to do with this project,” he added.

Since graduating from last year, Marco has been making short films, which he hopes will be successful at festivals.

La Valse à Mille Temps, directed by Zakee Talib, was also highly commended in the Learning on Screen Awards, in the music video category. It features Wayne, a lonely old man whose family have all left him, leaving him alone in a country cottage.

Judges described it as “a throwback to French slapstick comedy which was funny and fitted the music well”.

MDX alumna Michelle Williams Gamaker’s one person show featured at the South London Gallery throughout June.

Our Mountains are Painted on Glass explores race, identity, her love of cinema and the power of storytelling.

Caption: Michelle Williams Gamaker, Thieves, (behind the scenes still with Ananya Jaidev as the Silver Maiden), 2022. Photo: Ellen Jane Rogers

The British Sri-Lankan artist also premiered a new film work as part of the show, titled Thieves.

Known for her inventive filmmaking and screenwriting, Michelle draws on and celebrates the classic movies she watched growing up. She reimagines marginalised characters as they claim leading roles in her film and tell the story as their own, challenging the racial discrimination of the film industry.

Thieves was awarded a Film London FLAMIN Production Award 2022.

Michelle told South London Gallery: “I see this mode of filmmaking as critical affection. I deeply love old cinema classics, but they are riddled with injustices that can no longer be overlooked. I lean heavily on the magic of cinema, and I turn the fiction machine on itself by sabotaging the casting process.”

Michelle was joint winner of Film London’s Jarman Award (2020)and has an extensive national and international profile, including prestigious BFI London Film Festivals (2017, 2018, 2021), Aesthetica (winner of Best Experimental Film, 2021) and Raindance (2022).

She also has an international profile and was the joint winner of Film London’s Jarman Award in 2020. Her work is in the Arts Council Collection and her entire filmography has been recognised and preserved by the BFI National Film Archive.

MDX BA Creative Writing & Journalism student organisers of the North London Story Festival won the MDXSU award for student-led event of the year. The award recognises the success, innovation, creativity and inclusivity of the event and the excellent project management and organisational skills of our students.

Lauren Ferraro led the student committee of Jacob Drucker; Nerea Fernandes; Taryn Crowley; Lillian Cadwallader; Arshiya Shahjahan; Akaylah Forbes.

Lauren said: “This year the theme of the festival was The Future of Storytelling; a vast topic that allowed us to not only expand our guest list but also our mindsets. We investigated Artificial Intelligence, how humans consume stories, how technological advancements change the way we tell stories, how cyberspace is now a part of storytelling, how writers can capitalize on these new technological advancements, and much more.

“To be shortlisted for a Middlesex SU award brought more pride to the already existing gratification. When we were given the event of the year award, we were ecstatic!”

Marina Sanchez, a recent BA Fine Art student won the Engine Room competition, an international Sound Art Exhibition held every other year.

Her sound installation piece, Wailsong, is a lament on the toxic effect plastic is having on marine wildlife.

Marina said:It is almost impossible to avoid the use of plastic in our everyday lives and most people do not consciously put plastic into the ocean. According to scientists, there are 170 trillion tonnes of plastic in our oceans now.

In this installation, the speakers represent our oceans and wildlife, and are filled with small pieces of plastic.”

Marina recorded the sounds of plastic and whale sounds sourced online in her studio.

The composition plays through two speakers filled with small plastic straw pieces.

“I am interested in the physicality of the speakers vibrating which causes the plastic to move and fall onto the floor creating another layer of sound,” she said.

“The composition struggles to be heard through the layer of moving plastic.

“Wailsong invites the viewer/listener to participate in creating this sound piece. To play the installation the viewer/listener is invited to gently fill both speakers with the small plastic straw pieces.  Then press the start button.

“I liked the idea of audience participation in this piece, it allows the piece to be both playful while also referencing the action of putting plastic in the sea.”

Marina described her MDX experience as “fabulous”.

She graduated in 2015, after completing her degree part time.

“I became interested in sound in my fourth year at a time when I felt quite stuck with my work. Sound offered me another way of understanding the world. I am grateful to the MDX for providing this intro to sound.  I was also fortunate to be able to work with a sound technician who helped me with the technical side.”

Recent MDX BA Product Design graduate Harry Miller-Adams undertook a year-long placement to intern at London Design consultancy LAYER.

One of the projects he contributed to has recently won the Packaging Award for the Core77 Design Awards 2023.

Harry also won the Institution of Engineering Designers award for Best Final Year Project with his project, Kettle.- an innovative pour-to-boil appliance providing instant hot water.

MDX BA Film student Jana Bedmarova won the David Wolf Kaye Future Potential Award for film within the Earth Photo 2023.

Jana’s work, Wireless, combines film, spoken poetry, dance and music to explore our purpose on  earth and how global changes affect personal changes.

It is currently exhibited at the Royal Geographic Society.

She said: “Wireless in a world full of wires, seeking the spiritual wires that connect one with Earth. It's Earth breathing in the forms of art.”

Jana won a cash prize of £250 each towards the cost of her next project, and mentoring by a leading photographer or filmmaker.

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04 Jul 2023 15:03:27 Graduation Week - 2023 cohort reflect on their university highlights and ambitions

A group of students in academic caps and gowns, two of them holding bunches of yellow flowers, embrace outside the College BuildingThere was a joyful atmosphere on Hendon campus to match the intense sunshine in the last week of June, as at nine packed ceremonies new graduates were awarded their degrees watched by their loved ones. Graduates from a wide range of programmes across the university reflect on their experiences:

BSc Midwifery graduate Nadia Khenchelaoui passed her degree with flying colours, achieving First Class Honours, despite facing a very difficult situation outside university.

She had started her programme in 2018, but deferred because of personal issues.

Nadia, who has a son, said she suffered from physical and mental abuse and was involved in legal proceedings during her course.

She said: “It was torture waiting for court dates every couple of months [with] the stress of not knowing what the outcome would be. It was also very horrible to keep re-living all that had happened repeatedly. The anxiety of it all was horrendous.

“I was dealing with studying for exams, having to do different things for my course and being a mom all at once.”

A student in her academic cap and gown smiling in front of the College BuildingNadia, who has now moved back to Ireland, said the experience has “made her stronger” and praised the help from lecturers and placement staff.

She said: “I was placed in a Trust where the Clinical Practice Facilitators (CPF) went above and beyond to make sure we were ready for exams.

“I gained so much knowledge through both theory and practice - the professionals in both have equipped me for the world of midwifery. I will forever have these skills and use them throughout my career.

“I had such an amazing experience at MDX. I've had amazing support from the lecturers especially Jo Killingley: she has been my rock and I will be forever grateful to her.

“I've also made lifelong friends (Marcella and Judy) who have supported me throughout the whole time and after the degree. My sister Natalie has been the main person, my number one, that has supported me and without her I wouldn't have been able to complete my course.

“I've done it all for my son: my big boy.”

A female student with dreadlocks and glasses, wearing an academic cap and gown, smiles at the cameraMeanwhile, Nadia's coursemate Nicolette Porter has achieved remarkable success having won the Student Midwife of the Year at the 2021 Student Nursing Times Awards.

Nicolette, who is autistic, found time to produce two research papers with Midwifery Lecturer Emilie Edwards and fellow student Sophie Rayner on how the NHS can better understand and help neurodivergent staff and students.

She was accepted for the prestigious Council of Deans of Health's Student Leadership Programme and regularly wrote well-researched articles on a monthly voluntarily basis for the NHS Trust student newsletter called the Hummingbird.

Speaking about her time at MDX, she said: “Although this time coincided with the pandemic and pursuing a healthcare career at such a difficult time, I really enjoyed my time at Middlesex and being around such passionate and like-minded students made me feel like I'd found my place.

“Since graduating I've been working at an East London hospital on labour ward and I'm enjoying applying the theory I've learned throughout this degree into my practice.

“In the future, I hope to do a Master's degree in Women's Health and pursue teaching the next generation of midwives. "

Female student in Graduation cap and gown flanked with academics in academic caps and gownsBEng Computer Systems Engineering graduate Andrea Pereira is the winner of this year's Dr Anita Singhvi Prize for best female engineering student.

Andrea's final year project was a Digital Twin (a digital representation almost indistinguishable in its response to inputs from the real thing) of a communications network.

Using publicly available Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) data, which simulates the technology used by telecoms service provider networks, she deployed machine learning to find anomalies in the network and respond accordingly. She programmed the Digital Twin to reroute automatically on detecting faults.

Andrea says she was initially sceptical about choosing Digital Twin work as it is a very new area. It was also a challenge as it "doesn’t have a lot of context," she says.

"You need to expect you’re going to fail and continue until you get it right" - eventually reaching a "far more advanced solution" than seemed possible at the start.

Andrea's lecturer Dr Huan Nguyen, Director of MDX's pioneering London Digital Twin Research Centre was however "really encouraging and supportive". She now hopes to continue the project beyond her degree using real telecommunications data.

Two rows of students in a classroom at MDX smiling at the cameraOriginally Andrea was keen on studying biomedical engineering and chose computer systems engineering instead as it would give her the freedom to go into different fields, such as aviation, rail or hospitals, and apply solutions there.

She grew up in Dubai and began her studies at another university in India, before electing to transfer to MDX and the UK. Acclimatising herself to different teaching approaches on different continents, and studying during and after the pandemic has been "a journey," she says.

She praises all her lecturers, including "amazing" Dr Ramona Trestian, Associate Professor in Computer Science. "It's very rare to get an opportunity to meet professors when you end up liking all of them," Andrea says. The module leaders "were absolutely amazing – always pushing us forward, getting us ready for industry".

At the start of her second year, when there were still restrictions and hybrid working, "we got Arduino kits and Graduate Academic Assistants assigned to us. It was very encouraging, a very interactive experience – I would recommend MDX to anyone".

She likes the diversity of London and Hendon campus, and the social side has been beneficial too. "London makes you really independent" she says. Whereas in Dubai until recently students weren't allowed to do paid work while studying, in London "I was so excited - I ran for a job!" Andrea says. "I really enjoyed getting my first paycheck". She worked both as a Student Learning Assistant at MDX and independently as a tutor.

While planning to progress to a Masters, before this she intends to get industry experience "to get an idea what I like and what I want to do".

Three students, one with a camera, in a kitchen making a filmGrowing up very dyslexic, BA Film graduate Bilal Bounit has always found it much easier to communicate through visual language. At MDX he made a series of documentaries with a small crew. “I’m interested in real stories and real people, and expressing my ideas in that way", he says.

Bilal's spent his first year, during the pandemic, studying at home, not meeting fellow students. In a flatshare for his second year, he was keen to learn how to cook. One of his projects was a short filmed in the kitchens of shared houses, showing students of different nationalities cooking favourite rice dishes.

Serendipitously poet Dan Simpson saw and was impressed by the film, and subsequently invited Bilal to collaborate on a commission for the London Transport Museum to mark the 200th anniversary of black cabs. The project aimed to address how cab drivers have often been sidelined in accounts of the capital's transport systems.

Bilal followed three cabbies, each talking to a poet about their lives and the state of the world. The poets then create compositions with and about the drivers, performed at the end of the film.

Bilal's final year project, experimental in its cinematography and sound design, continuously shows the view from a train carriage window, with different music coming in and out. The work is about both physical travel and "metaphorical journeys in memory and time" says Bilal - "a really good opportunity to not try and make sense with reality, and for open, expressive feelings and thoughts".

Bilal was drawn to the buzz of London but also liked the leafiness and feel of Hendon campus: "I love the Grove so much" he says. He worked in the Kit Hub and values the quality of AV equipment for hire. His inspirations include documentary makers Casey Neistat and Mark Isaacs.

He admires MDX's Film academics, for their knowledge, experience and how available they make themselves, picking out Film Production lecturer Vesna Lukic. "There’s so many different things they offer you to get into industry. There’s always opportunities to do freelance jobs through uni," he says.

Bilal's most recent MDX project has been working for four weeks as a floor runner for a gangster film by Fugitive Film Productions, alongside 15-20 other MDX students and nine graduates, in a partnership brokered by Senior Lecturer Eddie McCaffery. MDX was the unit base with two set builds on campus, and locations within a 30 minute drive away.

"I got involved in a professional production, around the corner from where I live, and it paid," Bilal says. "I got to make all these contacts and to experience what a professional set looked like. An absolutely perfect experience".

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