Institutes, vlogging and the first “Jake” trailer

This month, I’ve been interviewing the heads of all four of the University of Leicester’s newly announced research institutes:

A man who knows far more about them than I do is Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise Professor Iain Gillespie. He gave me such a great overview of what the institutes would be doing that I recorded it and reused some of the content from my earlier interviews with the institute heads to produce a podcast about all four.

I even got to practise my photography skills at the launch event, snapping photos of various academics for the university website.

This month, the Bulletin also saw a boost in listens as the University was ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide.

There was more big news at the university this month as it was announced that the Leicester Conference is due to be held at a University of Leicester venue for the 70th time. The conference has been hosted on a university site every year since its inception in 1957, the same year that the university was also granted its Royal Charter.

This year, the residential conference, which is scheduled to take place 13-26 August 2016, will be held at the first class facilities of College Court, the University of Leicester’s conference centre and hotel in the heart of Leicester.

Organised by the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR), the event is designed to help attendees to develop their leadership and managerial capacity to effect change in work groups and organisations, and to improve their ability to work with complex and challenging issues.

Conference Director Dr Leslie Brissett has been telling me more about the conference and how the special relationship between the university and the Tavistock Institute first came about.

I’ve been doing a lot more writing recently and had my eyes opened whilst writing a piece about gentrification earlier this month. Where I used to just see the areas being renovated, now I’m more aware that by doing so, the subsequent rise in the cost of living forces many people out of the place which they call home, dispersing them to a new location.

A new study into the effects of gentrification is to be investigated by a University of Leicester social scientist. Loretta Lees, Professor of Human Geography in the Department of Geography at the University of Leicester, will be the Principal Investigator of the research project. She’ll be working with Co-Investigators Dr Nick Tate (Leicester) and Professor Phil Hubbard (Kent).

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), this new research will look at the impact of displacement from council estates in London on the tenants themselves as well as on the sites of relocation that they eventually move to. If you’d like to find out why tens of thousands of people are being forced out of their homes, take a look here:

I’m also working on a feature which should be ready for next month. I won’t tell you what I’ve been writing about just yet, but it involves drills and dinosaurs. (I feel like I’ve said too much already!)

Speaking of features, good news, Do Something, Jake fans! If you haven’t seen it already, Michael Mafrici has released a trailer for his making of documentary which he filmed behind the scenes of the production of the upcoming feature film. If you look very carefully, you can spot me five times!

I’m hugely looking forward to seeing the film when it’s all finished, especially after seeing this! If you too can’t wait for more DSJ news, make sure to like the Do Something, Jake Facebook page and follow @DoSomethingJake on Twitter.

A lot has also been happening behind the scenes of Project Kościuszko, aka Not only have I had to install a CAPTCHA to get rid of some of the spam comments that were being left on the site, but I’ve also started vlogging for the very first time on the YouTube Channel.

I’ve been shooting and editing on my iPhone 6s Plus, so will be looking into getting more vlogging equipment (for example, a tripod) sometime soon. My aim is to get kit small enough to travel with me in my cabin luggage meaning that I can always be in business wherever I am in the world. I suppose you could say this month marked the first time that was truly “in business” as the website started selling resources as opposed to just providing free information on how to speak Polish.

A bit of tinkering with the back end managed to reduce load times by about 60% and I’ve seen a jump of about 10 places in Google and a rise in AdSense earnings as a result. Unfortunately, the advertising isn’t yet bringing in enough to cover the site costs, let alone my retirement, but we’ll see how that changes as it slowly creeps up the Google rankings to that coveted number 1 spot. Regardless of whether it makes me a bit of pocket money or not, the site is clearly helping people and it was lovely to hear from James Halke who reached out to me via Twitter and told me his motivation for learning Polish.

If that doesn’t motivate me to keep doing what I’m doing, I don’t know what will!

I’m also extremely motivated to start my new job in September after meeting some of my future colleagues at afternoon tea in Birmingham. “What new job?” I hear you say. Well, I’m still hesitant to say anything publicly as I’m still waiting for someone to pinch me and tell me I’m dreaming, but once I’ve got a confirmed start date and know for certain that it’s definitely happening, I’ll reveal all. It’ll definitely mean big changes for me and possibly this blog too, but only time will tell.

I’ve also been gearing up for preparations for this year’s Leicester Carnival, as I’ll be playing a role in BBC Radio Leicester’s coverage this year. I can’t tell you too much about what I’ll be doing just yet, so make sure that you tune into BBC Radio Leicester from 1pm on Saturday 6th August to find out! Don’t miss out!

[dropcap background=”yes” color=”#333333″]And finally…[/dropcap]

Whilst working on the website, I decided to help myself to the chocolates that I’d bought my girlfriend as a present. She must have known that I was coming (and remembered that I don’t like chocolates with nuts in) and set this booby trap to catch me out!


Film zamieszczony przez użytkownika Nathan Ifill (@nathanifill)

Since there were 13 chocolates in the packet to start with and I pulled out all four of the ones which were Snickers in a row, I calculate that there was roughly a 0.14% chance of doing so. I can’t tell if I’m really lucky or really unlucky!

Featured Image: NotFromUtrecht


  1. YpUz3A This awesome blog is definitely interesting and also amusing. I have picked up a bunch of helpful stuff out of this blog. I ad love to come back again soon. Thanks a bunch!

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