Clearing, burkinis, and a brand new job

August was a tad busier than usual, which is strange because people usually wind down when they’re leaving a job! Instead, this month saw me running the media operations for Clearing; doing a bit of filming; interviewing people about Islamic dress, asthma pills, and ancient craters; writing about student discounts and scholarships; and releasing a brand new episode of the CSR-focused PROUD Podcast. On top of that, I also had a wedding to go to (Congrats Xana and Martin Worthington!) and moved house. Exhausting!

Carnival craziness!

If you missed the heads up in my July post, I was part of BBC Radio Leicester’s Carnival crew, covering Leicester Carnival live on 104.9FM for the first time in history! I’ll be the first to say that I have truly missed being on the air, so it was great to be a part of such a fantastic event. Andrea Bennett made a little photo collage of some of the crew:

Now unfortunately, unless you listened to the show already, it’s too late to listen back. Rest assured, the whole thing was flavoured with Caribbean spirit from start to finish. Even in the morning as I reported into Monica Winfield’s show, it was clear that the carnival vibes had filtered their way across the city. If you did get a chance to listen, you’ll have heard me alongside Herdle White, Kevin Ncube, Everton Osborne, Jo Hollis, Dale Neal and a whole host of special guests. As you can probably imagine, all of us were having far too much fun on the airwaves! If I’m allowed back, count me in for next year!

Clearing: University of Leicester makes hundreds of offers

As for Clearing, there’s not really much to say that I haven’t already said.

I went all out – audio, photo, video, text, media engagement, media releases – you name it, I was doing it. In fact, I’m amazed that the media operations went as swimmingly as they did, especially since I was doing it all by myself. My gym membership proved to be useful as there was a lot of running involved, but the final result is something that I’m extremely proud of. Check out my Clearing mega blog here:

Jonathan Sisson introduced me to the app Hyperlapse which allowed me to create the video that you see below.

Definitely check out Hyperlapse if you get a chance, even just to use its image stabilisation capability. (I say this like I actually know what I’m talking about, but I assure you that I don’t!)

Burkini ban: “We need to create more understanding”

In the middle of the month, word of the day was “burkini”, as journalists around the world struggled to spell the Islamic dress which was banned from French beaches. “People should have rights in this modern world – in this democratic world – to participate as equal citizens irrespective of what dress they are wearing…why is wearing a dress which covers your body any problem? It shouldn’t be a problem”, said Dr Saeeda Shah from the University of Leicester’s School of Education. “Why is this constructed as something negative?”

In this interview, Dr Shah reveals to me her thoughts behind the Burkini ban: Why she believes that the burkini empowers Muslim women, how banning such clothing can damage societies, and why she believes that a campaign against Islam is being built.

Adult education: There’s no age limit to learning at Leicester

Charlotte Barratt works in the Widening Participation team at the University of Leicester: “I work mainly with mature students: My work involves encouraging people over the age of 21 to come to university, to highlight their options and to try and encourage them to come and join us as we do have a growing community of mature students here.”

Charlotte believes that many people come out with excuses as to why people think they can’t come to university. “Usually, people say things like ‘I’m too old’, ‘too poor’…or ‘too stupid’ to come to university.” She says that it’s mainly because they believe that they’ve missed their chance, something which her and the Widening Participation team are striving to put right.

This month, Charlotte and I met up to dispel some of the myths surrounding becoming a mature student.

Do you know someone who is interested in going to university later on in life? They can find out more information here:

The PROUD Podcast – Heart disease, video games and tennis

In this episode of the PROUD Podcast from the University of Leicester News Centre, Professor Toru Suzuki explains the link found between red meat and heart disease discovered by Leicester researchers (01:07), we hear how the marginalised status of women in the video game industry is going to be challenged by a new international research project involving the University of Leicester (05:19), we reveal which university sports facility has been crowned Leicestershire Community Venue of the Year (09:21), plus we find out why the university is linking up with Leicestershire football club Barwell FC to address discrimination in local sport (12:21).

As I was already producing and reporting on the podcast, I roped in Mariyah Mandhu and Alex Phillimore to present. It was their first time and I think they did amazingly well. You can judge for yourself here:

Asthma pill could reduce symptoms in severe sufferers, research shows

There was some good news for asthma sufferers this month. The first new asthma pill for nearly 20 years has the power to significantly reduce the severity of the condition, a ground-breaking study funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the EU (AirPROM) led by the University of Leicester has found.

Professor Christopher Brightling, who is a NIHR Senior Research Fellow and Clinical Professor in Respiratory Medicine at the University of Leicester, led the study at the NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, which is based at the Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.

He told me all about the discovery.

Do Something, Jake: University staff and students to appear in movie

When a press officer is in a film, it’s bound to get a bit of promotion. Well, after a bit of investigating, I found out that the film that I worked on last year actually has several connections to the University of Leicester. In one of the most obvious win-win situations that I have ever seen, I managed to promote exciting things that university staff and students had been getting up to, plus give the film a plug in the process – all as part of my job.

To find out what the four things connecting “Do Something, Jake” and the University of Leicester are, check out my blog:

Chicxulub crater: Leicester researchers investigate what killed the dinosaurs

A team of scientists, including University of Leicester researchers, has now reached the midpoint of an International Ocean Discovery Programme investigating the Chicxulub crater site – the location of the meteorite impact associated with a mass extinction event 66 million years ago that wiped out most forms of life, and is largely believed to be what killed the dinosaurs.

Situated off of the coast of Mexico, the Chicxulub crater is the only impact crater on Earth with an intact peak ring: a circular structure within the crater also observed on other rocky bodies and planets such as the Moon or Venus.

IODP Group Principal Investigator Professor Sarah Davies and Dr Erwan Le Ber gave me an overview of the Chicxulub crater project, how the University of Leicester is involved and where they have got to to-date.

To find out more about the Chicxulub project, complete with animations, photos from the expedition from the ground (and from space!) and a fact file full of fascinating figures, read my mammoth blog post here:

Gender discrimination: New study examines issues relating to gender and trade

A University of Leicester law researcher has presented to the EU Parliament on gender discrimination when buying and supplying goods and services.

Dr Eugenia Caracciolo di Torella from the Leicester Law School has prepared a report for the EU Parliament and also presented to a Parliamentary committee.

In her research, co-authored with Bridgette MacLellan from the University of Canterbury, NZ, Dr Caracciolo takes stock of how, after more than a decade, the Directive has been implemented and to what extent it has affected the EU and the Member States’ gender equality framework.

Dr Caracciolo has been telling me more about the research.

My new job – the worst kept secret in the world

Just in case you weren’t already aware – I’m changing jobs. Despite my mum, nan and girlfriend almost bursting at the seams whilst trying to contain their excitement, I have been surprisingly quiet about my career change. Why? It all seemed a bit too good to be true!

So Nathan, tell all – what is the new job? Well, I’ll be an Actuarial Trainee for KPMG from September! Here’s my new office in Birmingham:


It’s a bit of a change from what I’m used to! I’m extremely excited and can’t wait to get stuck in. I’m very much looking forward to this new challenge, especially since it comes more than three years after I graduated. There will be a lot to learn, but there will be a ton of new and interesting opportunities too. Bring it on!


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