Reflections on the 2015 24 Hour Inspire

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Our third 24 Hour Inspire.   Who would have thought, when Tim did his solo 24 hour lecture marathon back in 2011, that in 2015 this event, planned in his honour, would now be a key point in the University’s calendar, that we would have three successful events under our belt, and already a really exciting list of speakers for the next one?

Already there are elements of the event that seem to be so popular we wouldn’t dare change them – the ‘night shift dress code’, to which all speakers between midnight and 6 am adhered, the bell (aptly enough, named in honour of a former Physics Head of Department who died of cancer some years back) which we ring if a speaker threatens to overrun, the music (including the highly popular Ed Daw blues piano slot in the early hours), and the diary room, the recordings from which have featured in the short films made each year to capture the spirit of the event.

diary roomanna topakas  chella filming          combley bell

As always we relied on a host of people to make it work. The people who introduced our speakers, sold tickets and cakes, made mercy dashes to Sainsbury’s for extra supplies, kept the speakers to time, and filled bin bags with empty cans and wrappers. The people who got our brochure printed, and sent out press releases, and tweeted like mad before and during (we were trending for a while there, overnight, beating the X factor, and William Hague, amongst others). The people who made beautiful music in the foyer, all through the night (and the people who put their music on an EP to raise funds for us). The people who made sure that the AV worked, that the diary room was ready to record people’s comments, and who made the film of the event ready to show after the last speaker had finished. The people who designed and made our beautiful bunting. Everyone who donated food and drink and books, and of course bought tickets, food and drink and books…

kieran and dance troupeticket desktuck shopbunting mike and ian

The speakers themselves came from across the University, and beyond it.   There was a glorious range of topics, and lots of demonstrations and live experiments, and audience participation..

.lightnate  2party poppersir image 2

We said we were covering ‘life, the universe and everything’, and we weren’t kidding.  We heard about population growth, sperm donation, future life with AI and robotic tech, editing other people’s lives, making life, and the big question – what is life? We covered light, photons, particle detection, neutrinos, structural colour, and the universal future…   And not forgetting Ladybird Nature books, ISBNs, whiplash, psychogeography and the history of condoms!

There was lots of laughter, and some tears too. It was a buzz, a blast, a joy to be a part of, and a delight to organise. This event was born out of great sadness and loss, but even that first time, as we grieved for Tim, it was a celebration too, of his life and legacy, his humour, generosity and warmth. And this year, colleagues and family of Victoria Henshaw, a lecturer in the Department of Town & Regional Planning, who died of cancer in 2014, aged only 43, in their sadness and grief, joined us in celebrating her life, her legacy, the things she – and Tim – held dear. The joy of finding stuff out, and of passing on that joy to other people. Of collaboration and collegiality – people working together to make things happen, to share ideas, to solve problems. Of creativity and imagination.   Who knows what will come of the conversations, the interactions that have taken place today – friendships, research collaborations, ideas, broadening of horizons?

And on the day we raised £2639! That’s not all – our online fundraising page is open till the end of May, and so we hope the final total will be even more.   The money will go to help both with end of life care, through Rotherham Hospice, and with supporting young people with cancer, through Impact Young Heroes.   That’s worth celebrating too.

So, a huge thank you to all of the following, who contributed in their different ways to making the third 24 Hour Inspire such a wonderful experience. I hope we haven’t missed anyone but apologies if your name isn’t there and should be….

Accommodation & Commercial Services, Ron Adam, Nate Adams, Rowland Atkinson, Sean Barton, Peter Bath, James Baxter, Georgie Beardmore, Martin Bentley, Donna Binyon (Impact Young Heroes), Joanna Booth, Cliona Boyle, James Bradford, Tash Bright (, Sharon Brown (Impact Young Heroes), Sarah Browne, Robin Byles, Ashley Cadby , Heather Campbell , Campus Services, Amy Carter, Susan Cartwright , Joanne Coates, Frances Cobb, Alex Colley, Rachel Collier-Wilson, Robert Cooke, Davide Costanzo, Harriet Coulthard, George Credland,  John Cully, Kieran Darcy, Shemina Davis, Ed Daw, Ian Dawson, Development & Alumni Relations Office, Jamie Doherty, Neil Dummigan, Katie Edwards, Eran Elhaik, Stephen Ellison (Impact Young Heroes), Sam Fargher, Somer Finlay, Catherine Fletcher, John Flint, Jessica Forsyth, Tom Foster, Jonathan Frazer,  Jenny Freeman (Leeds University), Joe Gaunt, Gillian Gehring,  Issy Gessey , Heidi Gilchrist, Anne Giblin (Rotherham Hospice), Tom Goodfellow, Lokesh Gurung, Harriet Hales, Melanie Hannah, Chris Hardy (S6 Foodbank),  Christopher Hartin (Routledge), Tricia Hart, Mary Harvey, Angela Harvey-Watson, Rhoda Hawkins, Gary Hewitt, Hicks porters, Tracy Hilton, John Hines, Jamie Hobbs, Lynette Hodges, Jane Hodson, Chris Howett (Inspiration & Co), Katherine Inskip, Amanda Crawley Jackson,  Cath Jackson, Peter Jalowiczor, Jez (John’s Van), Lydia Jim, Richard Jones, Tom Kennelly, Aneurin Kennerley, Marie Kinsey, Ian Knowles,  Pieter Kok,  Jackie Labbe, Tom Loades, Graham McElearney, Claire MacGourlay, Nick McGrath, Pat McGrath, Ursula McGuone, Olly Manning, Matt Mears, Media Team, Sarah Medway, Pete Mella, Sally Merrett, Julie Milner, Paul Mitchener, Anne Möller, Susan Molyneux Hodgson, Amy Moores, Ana Morales Garcia, David Mowbray, James Mullaney, Vaish Nagam, Marieke Navin (MoSI), Hoi Lam Christy Ng, Rod Nicolson, Bobby Nisha, Greg Oldfield, Penelope Ottewell , Tamzin Owen, Allan Pacey, Clare Parkin, Andrew Parnell, Emma Pearce,  Jeanette Peat, Monifa Phillips, Kate Pickering (Impact Young Heroes), Hannah Postles, Tony Prescott, Print & Design Solutions, Public Engagement & Impact team, Amy Pullan, Kate Purdue (Rotherham Hospice), Emily Quigley, Chella Quint (DECSY), Paul Graham Raven, Rebecca Raynor, Amber Regis, Sam Richardson, Keely Robinson, Morag Rose, Tony Ryan, Daniel Saunders, Clare Scott, Chris Sexton, Thomas Sexton,  Layla Shaffi, Beth Shaw, Sheffield Live!, Tim Shephard, Kelly Simpson, Ilya Smertenko, Ian Spooner, Richard Steadman Jones , Miles Stevenson, Cory Stobart, Nicola Strafford, Philip Strafford, Marek Szablewski (Durham University), Drew Tarmey (Manchester Medical  School), Louise Taylor, Porl Taylor & Co, Harpreet Thandi, Sam Thomas, Lee Thompson, Nicola Thompson, Stephen Thompson, Maddy Thorniley, Deborah Tilbrook, Rosie Tilbrook, Andrew Tildesley (Sheffield Live!), Anna Topakas, Vanessa Toulmin, Gill Valentine, Rosie Valerio, Alistair Warren, Dave Weir, Mike Weir, Andrew West, Ben Wesson,  Jim Weston, Paul White, Daniel Wild, Bethany Wiles, Glyn Williams, Victoria Williamson, Hannah Wilson, Colleen Winter, Angela Wright, Yellow Bus Events

Thanks to all who provided us with sweet and savoury snacks and soft drinks throughout the event – and to S6 Foodbank for making sure that the items that were left over did not go to waste.

Special thanks to the families of Tim Richardson and Victoria Henshaw for their support.

Our fundraising page – still taking online donations :

This year’s film, based on Diary Room footage:

An EP created for us by Porl Taylor & Co – download it here:

Chris Sexton’s blog of the event:

And the films of the 2013 and 2014 24 Hour Inspires:

2 thoughts on “Reflections on the 2015 24 Hour Inspire

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