A tribute to Patrick Johnston – Vice-Chancellor of Queens University

There was palpable shock and genuine grief among the staff of Queens on Sunday evening following announcement of the death of the Vice-Chancellor, Paddy Johnston. A top flight academic and brilliant administrator had died suddenly in his prime when he had so much more to give. We were in the same year at St Columb’s College, Derry during the first half of the 1970s. He being a day boy and I being a boarder, and being in different classes of … Read more

Queen’s Hosts Interactive Showcase ‘Global Thinking Locally’ at Belfast City Hall tomorrow

  Queen’s University Belfast will be hosting an interactive showcase event at Belfast City Hall to demonstrate the impact the University has on the community in Belfast and across the globe. The showcase will take place on Tuesday, 30 May 2017 from 10am – 2.30pm in the Great Hall at Belfast City Hall. There will be over 30 interactive exhibitions from a range of Queen’s world-leading experts and researchers showcasing their work under the themes of Future Cities, Healthy Citizens, … Read more

Voices for the Voiceless: culture and community resistance (QUB ICRH)

EXCLUSION & MARGINALISATION: How do communities use culture to express and counter their exclusion and marginalisation? A screening of Ken Fero’s short film “Burn” looking at aftermath of 2011 English riots and killing of Mark Duggan followed by a discussion about culture and community resistance – Voices for the Voiceless on 15 October by QUB ICRH.

Cuts lead third level education down the path of the privileged

Eugene Tinnelly is a founder member of the Student Poverty Alliance Group. He writes for us about the cuts in higher education Education should be free. Whether it be primary level or third level, your access to education should not be determined by what’s in your wallet but instead, by what’s in your brain. People will say that’s an idealistic way of looking at it but tell that to the people of Denmark who receive universally free education. Unfortunately the … Read more

Stranmillis launch their Spring Lifelong Learning programme

One of the benefits of working from home is the possibly of sneaking off to the cinema etc. when things are quiet. Each year I am also tempted to do some of the lifelong learning courses at Queens or Stranmillis.  Unfortunately reality gets in the way and I seldom make it away from my digital shackles.  If you have some free time the courses are really worth a look. Are you running night/lifelong learning classes? Feel free to plug them in … Read more

QUB Student’s Union show signs of “Old Guard” mentality

Queen’s University Students’ Union from the 1970s until at least the mid 1990s suffered from extremely divided student politics. It even reached the stage that the Northern Bank was excluded from Freshers’ Fair; whilst assorted IRA members were made honorary life members and a number of members of the executive went on after graduation to gaol for IRA terrorist offences.(one popped back up again recently as a Deputy Headteacher) Bizarrely they also voted to ban Nestle products from the Students’ … Read more

Red Squirrels and Pine Martens in Fermanagh

Amid all the fevered discussion of recent days I thought something much lighter and fun was called for. From the BBC: Queens academic Dr. David Tosh has been trying to gain further information about the distribution of red and grey squirrels in Fermanagh with help from the Fermanagh Red Squirrel Group and the National Trust in putting up camera traps to photograph red squirrels. This has been somewhat successful but has actually taken many more photographs of the rarer and … Read more

Slugger online debate on ‘community asset transfer’ starts next week…

From next Monday, Slugger will play host to a series of blog essays and on-the-ground interviews on the subject of community asset transfer (see this piece on the Guardian’s blog for an idea of what it actually is). Here’s the Asset Transfer Unit’s description: …asset transfer is a shift in management and / or ownership of land or buildings, from public bodies, (most commonly local authorities), to communities, (community and voluntary sector groups, community enterprises, social enterprises, etc). The main … Read more

NI Universities show strong religious imbalance in student numbers

The Minister for Employment and Learning, Stephen Farry, was asked yesterday by MLAs Jim Allister and Gregory Campbell how many Protestants attended universities in Northern Ireland. The answer – only one third of students. Firstly let’s be clear – it doesn’t matter when students achieve a university place what religion they are. What I am more interested are the reasons behind the figures. Pupil numbers in terms of Secondary and Grammar schools in Northern Ireland can be found on the … Read more

Do local student sabbatical election winners go on to pursue political life post college?

With all this talk of Irish general elections and cricket victories, Slugger missed the chance to look at one of Belfast’s annual electoral events – the campaign leading up to the election of QUB Student Union sabbatical officers. The Gown has been following the process in detail with some great coverage in a series of blog posts looking at hustings, debates, interviews, turnout and the results. As often is the case, the campaign was brutal and emotional, and involved claims … Read more