24 Hour Inspire, Hicks Building, Hounsfield Road, University of Sheffield 30-31 March 2017, 17.00-17.00


Thursday 30 March


Catherine Annabel (Chair of Inspiration for Life) – Welcome

Professor Vanessa Toulmin – Sheffield: city of beer, art and music


Vanessa is Director of City & Cultural Engagement at the University of Sheffield and producer and curator of Festival of the Mind. A leading authority on Victorian entertainment and film, and on new variety and circus, she has completed extensive research on travelling showpeople.   She has acted as creative advisor to leading festivals in the United Kingdom including the Roundhouse in London and Showzam in Blackpool.  She is the author of several books, including The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon, Electric Edwardians, and Pleasurelands. Her recent publications include four major works on the architecture and history of Blackpool’s attractions: Winter Gardens, Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and the Blackpool Illuminations.


Vivacity Choir – ‘Drift Away’

Dr Andrew Parnell, Paul Evans, & Professor Richard Jones – Unweaving the rainbow: colour in art, physics and biology


How many colours are there? What do colours mean? Is the blue that I see the same as the blue that you see?  This talk will take you on a fascinating optical and mental journey, examining colour from the perspective of two leading physicists, Professor Richard Jones and Dr Andrew Parnell, and contemporary artist Paul Evans.  Lavishly illustrated with vibrant and colourful projections, the broad-ranging discussion will take in physics, biology, neuroscience, art, poetry and philosophy. You’ll never see colours in quite the same light again.  The talk will also feature a special showing of Paul Evans’ recent work ‘Homage to the Sphere’: an abstract, virtual reality colour environment that he created with Sheffield based design studio Human for Year of Making/Festival of the Mind 2016.


Conceived and curated by Paul Evans and Brian Lewis of Longbarrow Press, The Rose of Temperaments | Poetry and Colour is a collaborative project featuring poetry by Angelina D’Roza, A.B. Jackson, Chris Jones, Geraldine Monk, Helen Mort and Alistair Noon. Each of these award-winning poets has been allocated one of six primary or secondary colours: red, purple, blue, green, yellow and orange, and has created a poem based on that colour.

Paul Evans’ work has been shown throughout the UK, in Japan, and in New York. His achievements include the Eyestorm Gallery award for painting (2007), the Leverhulme Trust Residency, Cardiff University (2011) and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement ‘Engage’ Prize (2014).


Professor Marie Kinsey – Fake news: checking it out


Marie is Professor of Journalism Education, Joint Head of the Department of Journalism Studies and Director of Digital Learning and Teaching for the University. She spent the first 25 years of her career as a broadcast journalist and presenter for commercial radio, independent television and the BBC, mainly reporting on business, economics and finance. She spent many of those years trying to persuade news editors that stories about unemployment, inflation, GDP, swaps and derivatives were actually important. Given what’s been happening over the last ten years, it turns out that those stories actually were important! Journalism has changed beyond recognition in recent years, with the advent of digital publication, and the sheer amount of information available to journalists – and the public – has increased exponentially. It means that journalists face increasing challenges in verifying material. Marie’s talk will look at the phenomenon of so-called ‘fake news’ and some of the initiatives that are helping journalists sort the wheat from the chaff.


Dr Marek Szablewski – The sewers of Warsaw: from British engineering to escape routes from the Nazis


Marek, a senior lecturer in Physics at Durham University researching in materials physics, born and brought up in Sheffield, was awarded a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship in 2010-11. The aim was to research his hidden Polish family history and the journey that brought his parents to Yorkshire after World War Two. Marek travelled to Warsaw to work on this project, digging up information from archives and museums, talking to relatives and visiting sites of special interest in order to fill in the gaps in his late father’s stories and documents. After the war his father ended up in Britain, married and joined the toolmakers W Tyzack, Sons & Turner where he rose to become technical director. He died in 2008.  The history of the sewers of Warsaw was an unexpected side-track to this history. Designed and built by British engineers in the 19th century, they became an escape route for thousands during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. In 2010 Marek was lucky enough (!) to crawl through an original 19th c. Warsaw storm drain for a kilometre, an experience never to be forgotten.


Professor Wyn Morgan – How will Brexit affect your breakfast?

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The seismic shock that the Brexit vote had on the UK might have put some people off their breakfast while encouraging others to tuck heartily in to a full English. Either way, the decision to leave the EU could have significant consequences in all areas of the economy, not least of which is in food production and consumption. Professor Wyn Morgan’s talk is designed to give an economist’s view of what these effects could be in terms of agriculture in the UK and also for the prices consumers will face when buying their eggs, bacon and bread at the supermarkets.  Indeed, we might even cover the price of Brussels too …

Wyn took up the post of Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching (now Vice President for Education) in September 2015 having previously been Assistant PVC for Teaching and Learning at the University of Nottingham. He is an economist and his career encompasses both teaching and research interests but with a more recent focus on university-wide roles that promote innovation and development in teaching and learning. Particular emphasis here has been on the use of technologies to enhance student learning and to create flexibility in teaching and studying.


Dr Adam Smith – Rise of the machines: robots and fiction


Adapted from an undergraduate lecture first delivered on the York St John Science-Fiction module ‘Imaginary Worlds’, this paper poses a series of provocative questions about the relationship between famous fictional robots and their real-world counterparts. Why is contemporary popular culture so fully saturated with the figure of the robot? Is literature influenced by developments in robotics, or vice versa? And how can literary treatments of artificial intelligence provide a platform for exploring profoundly human issues such as slavery, agency, gender and sexuality?

Adam is a Lecturer in English at York St John University where he currently teaches on a range of undergraduate modules.  He is an Honorary Research Fellow with the Sheffield Centre for Archival Practices. Until recently he worked as a Cultural Engagement Assistant on an AHRC-funded project anthologizing poems of protest printed in Sheffield’s radical press at the dawn of the nineteenth century.  For the past few years he has been a Co-Lead Educator on a Massive Open Online Course titled ‘Literature of the Country House’ and is a long-serving Co-Editor for the Media pages of CRITICKS (The Online Review Site for the British Society of Eighteenth Century Studies).


Dr Liz Chesworth – Play – performing beyond the everyday


Liz’s talk will focus upon the potential that play and playfulness afford for people of all ages to engage in activities that consider ‘What if?’.  She will draw upon examples from her PhD research and other contexts to argue that play enables us to consider the possibilities that may – or may not – lie beyond our everyday lives.

Liz is a lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Sheffield where she directs the MA in Early Childhood Education. Having spent fourteen years teaching in primary schools and children’s centres, Liz’s research continues to focus upon young children’s early educational experiences. In particular, she is interested in children’s play and the different ways in which play is understood in relation to learning and development. Over the course of her career, Liz has participated in many collaborative projects with artists, landscape architects and community organisations to develop playful and creative experiences for young children and their families.



Dr Paul Collini – Tuberculosis in the 21st century: the return of consumption?


Tuberculosis has plagued humans for millennia. By the end of the 19th century, fuelled by favourable conditions created by industrialisation and poverty, this insidious wasting disease, appropriately called consumption, was ubiquitous in both its epidemiology and popular literature. Germ theory, improved social conditions, vaccination and the advent of antibiotics in the following century turned the tide on consumption, cure became possible, sanatoria closed and its profile faded from the public consciousness. But TB has been around for a while and isn’t going to be defeated so easily; it has embraced the era of antimicrobial resistance. Thus the 21st century has heralded drug resistant TB and terrifying new acronyms like MDR-TB and XDR- TB. With almost no new drugs for 40 years, patients, even here in Sheffield, are again faced with a difficult to cure, chronic consumptive disease.  What will happen next?

Paul joined the University of Sheffield in 2006 and is an advanced research fellow in the Florey Institute and a consultant in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. His research and clinical focus is the relationship between HIV and the lung, and is departmental lead for Tuberculosis. His fascination with HIV and TB grew while setting up one of the first HIV treatment clinics in Ghana from 2003-2005 while a clinical lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.


Joan Upson – Uncommon law: a window on the organic development of English law


Law provided by Act of Parliament, otherwise referred to as legislation, or statute, is generally understood as exactly that, ‘law’, with the role of the courts being viewed as administering, or enforcing the will of Parliament. However, there is generally less awareness of the way in which the Common Law operates, with the courts developing the law on a case by case basis in response to the real problems of real people. Whether we take the view that the courts are ‘creating’ or ‘discovering’ the law, it is essential to understand that they are not merely administering statute, but continuing to develop an organic system of law rooted in our distant past.  This session will provide a brief window into the ongoing development of the Common Law, by reference to a particular cause of action – Rylands v Fletcher-  arising from the failings of Victorian engineering and an incident that resembled the great Sheffield flood, and other major incidents of the time, which remains relevant as an action in the modern context.

Joan is a Senior University Teacher in the School of Law at Sheffield University, with 30 years’ experience in Higher Education at Sheffield and elsewhere. She is the Director of the LLB programme, and module convenor and teacher on a range of law modules focusing on the Common Law.


Dr Liam Hardy – It’s getting hot in here: what should we do about climate change?


Dr Liam Hardy gives a quick update on the (dire) state of play regarding climate change.  He will then focus on the positive news and progress we have made, as well as what’s still to come, and what you as an individual can do to help.

Liam is a lecturer in astrophysics. He recently completed his PhD here at the University of Sheffield and is proud to call Sheffield his home. His research focuses on astronomical instrumentation and time-resolved astrophysics, including compact binary stars, transiting exoplanets, and transient events. He helped commission the high-speed imaging camera ULTRASPEC on the Thai National Telescope, and the fully robotic pt5m telescope on La Palma.   Liam has been an active campaigner on social and environmental issues with Sheffield People and Planet and Sheffield Green Party, and he co-founded the Carbon Neutral University Network.


Dr David Hayes – Law as mythology: embracing the irrationality of the rule of law


Are there any similarities between the roles that law plays in a modern society and the role of mythology in pre-modern ones? David Hayes argues that there are, and that the ‘mythic account’ of law helps us to clarify what law is and what it is for. By thinking about legal rules as a series of quasi-utopian constitutive fables, we can identify some of the fundamental assumptions underpinning the rule of law, both rational and irrational. Engaging – critically but not pejoratively – with both the rationales and ‘irrationales’ of law, this paper argues that, whilst the rule of law may have its uses, it ought not to be totalitarian, and we should not to dismiss its alternatives too quickly.

David is an early-career lecturer in his first academic position, which he took up in Autumn 2014. He lectures on the subjects of criminal law and criminology, and has published articles on the philosophy and theory of criminal law and justice. Before starting at Sheffield, David completed his PhD at the University of Nottingham, examining the lived experiences of community sanctions and what those experiences tell us about the use of these sanctions as punishment, rather than to reform.


Dr Bob Turner and Dr Nic Mullin – Life under the microscope

Bob and Nic routinely use their knowledge of physics to build and use microscopes to study life at high resolution. They will bring some equipment along to the 24 Hour Inspire and carry out a series of increasingly risky and ambitious microscopy experiments. Among these will be attempts to recreate the discovery of the cell using a wine cork and to track down the “probiotic” bacteria in yoghurt. In doing this they will explain how microscope technology and physical theories have helped us to understand living things.  Ultimately, they will find that even the best optical microscopes have their limits, and will talk about the technological revolutions currently taking place that are allowing us build up an increasingly detailed picture of life at the University of Sheffield.

Bob Turner is a Postdoctoral Research Associate working on the materials in bacterial cell walls that are targeted by the action of antibiotics. Nic Mullin is a Senior Experimental Officer who develops and applies Atomic Force Microscopy to measure forces and structures on a very small scale. Both work at the University of Sheffield.


Professor Allan Pacey – Balls of steel: hints and tips for good fertility

Allan Pacey

The newspapers are full of headlines about what may be damaging to sperm: too much booze, not enough exercise, tight pants or bacon sandwiches have all been implicated! But what is the truth? What are the real risks and what do young men need to think about if they are to successfully become a father?   Professor Allan Pacey examines the current thinking about what lifestyle and environmental factors may be affecting our sperm and what, if anything, men can do about it.

Allan is Professor of Andrology at the School of Medicine & Biomedical Science, Department of Oncology & Metabolism and Head of Andrology for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. His research interests include aspects of male infertility, from laboratory projects investigating the basic biology of human sperm to large epidemiological studies. In 2016 he was awarded an MBE for services to Reproductive Medicine.  Allan is an accomplished broadcaster and regularly appears on the Today programme and Woman’s Hour. You can follow his general musings about science, sperm, male fertility and the life of an academic at http://www.twitter.com/allanpacey.

Friday 31 March


Dr Matthew Malek – Murder at midnight


“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” – Confucius

From such beginnings, the revenge tragedy is born – a theatrical genre that goes back at least as far as Lucius Annaeus Seneca in the first century. Growing out of a single incident (usually a murder), matters spiral out of control and the body count rises, culminating in a spectacular final act that leaves nearly no one standing. The ‘modern’ revenge tragedy starts with Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy in the 1580s, and Shakespeare himself got in on the action – most famously with Titus Andronicus, the Bard’s bloodiest play. Titus contains 14 killings (9 of which are on stage), 6 severed limbs, 1 case of insanity, 1 live burial, 1 instance of cannibalism, and the only rape in any Shakespearean play. On average, that is an atrocity committed every 97 lines!  As the lights dim at midnight, Matthew Malek will take you on a tour of the murder and mayhem integral to Renaissance revenge tragedy, and touch on how this genre is still relevant today.

Matthew was born and raised in New York City. After completing his PhD on the Super-Kamiokande neutrino experiment in Japan, he worked on the Argentina-based Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory and also an Italian dark matter experiment. His travels brought him to the UK in 2006 and he liked it enough to stick around, moving to Sheffield in 2015. For his work on neutrinos, Matthew is a recipient of the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. When not hunting for exotic particles in remote corners of the globe, Matthew can be found ringing church bells or training for his next Olympic triathlon.


Jost Migenda – Neutrino: from poltergeist to peacekeeper


Neutrinos are ghostlike particles: they literally go through walls and rarely interact with ordinary matter at all. Yet they can still make important contributions to our lives. In this talk, Jost Migenda will introduce neutrinos and explain how we use them to enforce nuclear non-proliferation and to figure out the fate of stars.

After growing up near Berlin, Jost went to Munich to study Nuclear, Particle and Astrophysics. Since the end of 2015 he is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield and uses neutrinos to figure out what happens in the centre of a supernova – at the moment of explosion. Most recently, he spent a month in Japan where the experiment he is working on will be built.



Dan Jenkinson – How small molecules can make a BIG difference

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Dan Jenkinson will talk about the importance of molecules in the context of our lives and wellbeing. As well as giving some molecular examples from the world around us, from cosmetics to medicines, he will be talking about his own research, where making small changes to small molecules could result in big differences in the way scientists can investigate nature and new develop products.

Dan is a final year PhD student investigating how making small changes to molecules can make a difference in the Nobel prize winning field of super resolution microscopy – a daunting task indeed! After his PhD he plans to teach, and hopefully inspire school children to enjoy chemistry.




Dr Vanessa Hearnden – Fat or fiction: can the stem cells in our fat cure us?


A quick search online for “stem cell cure” will have you wondering why anyone with almost any chronic condition hasn’t been cured yet.  Stem cells can do anything, right?! Well maybe not … So, before you book your flight to an overseas stem cell clinic, let’s look a bit more closely at the evidence. Dr Vanessa Hearnden will discuss the hype around “stem cell cures” as well as the exciting research going on right now.

Vanessa joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 2015 as Lecturer in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering. Describing herself as a cell biologist working in Engineering, she thrives on interdisciplinary research. Her previous research has included growing tonsils in petri dishes, exposing cancer cells to toxic cocktails and asking volunteers to gargle salty water to test for viruses. More recently her research group has been focusing on how cells from human fat can be used to repair soft tissue damage.



Dr Ed Daw – The blues of physics

Jenny drawing of Ed

Ed is a Reader in Physics whose hobby is music. He has played in numerous bands, mostly on the piano.  Ed was part of the LIGO team responsible for the ground-breaking recent discoveries regarding gravitational waves.  These may or may not feature in his talk.  Blues piano most certainly will.


Dr Chris Sexton – Funny Business – the journey to being a stand-up comedian

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Until she retired in December 2016, Chris was Director of CiCS, a post she had held for over 20 years. One of the last things she did for the University was take part in a charity fund raiser for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity called Funny Business. Along with 8 other business leaders, she had to perform 10 minutes of stand-up comedy to a paying audience at Sheffield City Hall, never having done anything like it before. They had some mentoring from a professional comedian, but the material had to be written and performed by them. Chris will tell the story of how her material developed, what it was like on the night, and will finish by playing her award-winning set. Warning: it isn’t for the faint hearted, and contains after the watershed material!


Dr Aneurin Kennerley – Brain fizz: making your mind up!


Learn about how the brain works. Is it possible to predict your decisions? Mixing live performing mentalism, physics and psychology; what could possibly go wrong?

Aneurin is an experimental physicist who came to Sheffield in 2002. He completed his PhD in neuroimaging techniques – specifically functional magnetic resonance imaging (Fmri) and optical imaging spectroscopy (OIS) – and became an MR physicist for the Department of Psychology. His research concerns the mathematical/biophysical modelling of neuronal activity to the Blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) Fmri signal for investigation of brain function. Aneurin is an amateur mentalist and is currently combining this hobby with thought identification using MRI: Is it really possible to read minds?

Follow Aneurin on Twitter: @MagneticDr_K


Laia Pasquina Lemonche – The invisible but crucial role of physicists in radiotherapy for cancer


Do you ever wonder how radiotherapy treatment for cancer works? Who controls and administers the treatment? How is it planned? Most people think all this is carried out by medical doctors, oncologists and nurses. However, the reality is that physicists and technicians work in the shadows making sure that the amount of radiation will be safe for the patient. They use an algorithm that simulates how the radiation will behave inside the body of the patient based on personalized Computer Tomography (CT). Laia’s final year undergraduate project during involved experimental work related to improving the existing algorithm that calculates the amount of radiation for radiotherapy of superficial tumours like breast or skin cancer. This improvement helped the medical physicists to predict with more accuracy the effect of radiation inside the real tissue of the patients and thus to calculate the needed amount of radiation in each point of the body to destroy the tumour whilst minimising damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. Laia will explain the crucial role of physicists in radiotherapy treatment and the basics of radiotherapy procedure.

Laia Pasquina Lemonche was born in Castellar del Valles, a small village near Barcelona (Spain). She did her Bachelor’s Degree in Physics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). In 2014 she did a one year Erasmus in the University of Ghent (Belgium) and then a Master’s in Advanced Nanoscience and Nanotechnology also at the UAB.  She is now a first-year PhD student at Sheffield in the field of Biophysics, working on the interaction between antibiotics and bacteria cells using biophysics tools such as Atomic Force Microscopy. Nowadays, antimicrobial resistance has become a major threat, and Laia’s project covers some fundamental questions in the field of microbiology that might help in the future win the battle against infections.


Aysha Musa – Jezebel – the monster behind the myth


The name Jezebel has become synonymous with promiscuity. Yet the biblical Jezebel from 1 and 2 Kings, whose name has been used through the ages, is far from sexually immoral. The biblical character of Jezebel is a loyal wife and ambitious Queen. So why has she come to be understood as a femme fatale? The answer lies in the biblical text, which was written by the Israelites, to whom Jezebel was a foreign queen. The Israelites opposed much of what she is constructed as representing, such as idolatry, foreignness and feminine power. Aysha Musa examines how Jezebel has been constructed with regards to her foreign identity and how this has led to her name being misconstrued and remembered as sexually immoral.

Aysha Musa is a PhD student with the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (SIIBS) at the University of Sheffield. She is working in the field of Gender, Sexuality, the Bible and Popular Culture. She graduated from the University with a first-class BA in Biblical Studies in 2013, receiving an Academic Award and the Sheffield Graduate Award. Aysha completed an MA at Sheffield in 2015. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the programme Religion, Theology and the Bible. Her PhD focuses on the constructions of gender and sexuality in the biblical book of Judges.


Catherine Annabel – This new Hades: Manchester as a mythical city

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 It might seem odd to posit the city of Manchester as an imagined place.  However, from the beginnings of its rapid growth in the early years of the Industrial Revolution, the real city was mythologised by the many from around these islands and beyond them who came to see the miracle or shock city of the age. Some saw it as an industrial Jerusalem, or compared it to Athens.  Others described a new Hades, a foul labyrinth, in which men toiled like demons to feed the monstrous industrial machine.  Michel Butor’s novel L’Emploi du temps, published 60 years ago, used its mythology to imbue its rain-drenched streets with a sense of dread and danger.  Around ten years later another young European, W G Sebald, arrived in the city, read Butor’s book, and began to write about his own Manchester, transforming the landscape of industrial decay into a melancholic landscape of loss and trauma.  Catherine Annabel traces the emergence of Manchester as a mythical city, and examines how both writers used their own experiences as exiles to set off echoes of other places and other times.

Catherine is a part-time PhD student in the Department of French and recently retired after many years working in higher education management and administration. She is the Chair of Inspiration for Life.


Dr Ines Henriques Cadby – Charming mathematicians and their pièces de resistance

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Invaluable work and contributions made by mathematicians to modern society surface into the spotlight decades after their conception and recognition within the field. You surely must have heard of Alan Turing, Ada Lovelace, and Hedy Lamarr, but there were many many others. Some led curious and difficult lives struggling to make a living from their passion, others were more fortunate. Circumventing stereotypes as in Bob Dylan’s lyrics “Some are mathematicians (…) I don’t know what they do with their lives”, we will talk about some charming characters and their brilliant work.

Ines received her PhD in 2010 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and held a Visiting Assistant Professorship at the University of California-Riverside, before joining the University of Sheffield in 2012, as an EPSRC Research Associate in the School of Mathematics and Statistics. Since October 2015, she has been working as a statistician in Design Trials and Statistics through an NIHR Research Methods Fellowship.  Her current research focuses on hospital performance and the quality of care offered to patients based on the analysis of large routine observational datasets.  Her work in pure mathematics has focused on commutative and homological algebra, with connections to representation theory, algebraic geometry and singularity theory.


Dr Adrien Chauvet – Shining light on molecular motions using high power lasers


Adrien Chauvet’s goal is to use the latest laser technology to understand what nature does so efficiently: photosynthesis. Converting sun light to chemical energy is the key to solve today’s energy needs, and plants have been perfecting this job for the past billion years… so why not learn from them? The issue comes when we are looking at objects and reactions that our eyes cannot see because they are too small and too fast. The solution comes with the help of laser technology: lasers are precise and fast, even “ultrafast”; (ultra)fast enough to watch chemistry “live”.  Adrien will then take you on a journey in which he explains how we can make molecular movies that help us understand nature, and hopefully, help us solve some of our society’s biggest challenges.

Adrien obtained his PhD in Biophysics from Purdue University working on photosynthetic protein complexes. He then moved to Switzerland in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) under a Marie-Curie postdoctoral fellowship followed by a senior postdoc position at the University of Geneva, working on new techniques for the elucidation and control of ultrafast photo-chemical processes. In 2016 he was appointed to a lectureship in physical chemistry at the University of Sheffield.


 Dr Chris Blackmore – How happy are we?

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Chris Blackmore will tell the story of how the #happysheffield project came into being, from a walk past an electricity substation to a projection on to the City Hall as part of the 2016 Festival of the Mind. He will share some of the results of the project, which tracked levels of eight different emotional states in Sheffield across the Festival period.


Chris joined the University of Sheffield in 2002 to work on an online Psychotherapy Studies training course. Since that time, he has developed expertise and interest in online learning, and helped launch the University’s first MOOCs in 2013. He has a research interest in the role of emotions in online learning, which was the topic of his doctoral thesis, completed in 2016, and the impact of being online on health and well-being. He is developing an interest in the use of emotional content in learning analytics, and the application of Virtual Reality to healthcare interventions and to learning and teaching practices.


Dr Adam Whitworth – Going native with employment support research: reflections on my year of national and regional policy making


What happens when you leave the ivory towers and take you employment policy research expertise into the real and messy world of policy design, negotiation and implementation? The arena of UK employment support policy is changing, with shifting national roles rubbing against an increasing city-region clamour for devolutionary powers. And UK academia is changing in parallel, leaning ever more strongly towards ‘impact’ but with no notion of what that really is or how it both draws from, and feeds back to, the core intellectual business of the academic. 24 months out ‘native’, leading employment support policy work with national and regional policy partners. The ever growing realisation that the academic and policy worlds are beyond far apart, yet at the same time a plethora of achievements, opportunities and learnings to reflect and build further on. Dr Adam Whitworth says: ‘It’s been a privilege, a thrill, an exhaustion, and an eye opener. I’ll try to do it justice in 30 mins’.

Adam is a graduate of Oxford University (BA Politics, Philosophy, Economics), where he continued for his Masters and PhD. Adam is a mixed methods researcher who has experience of qualitative methods and GIS as well as extensive quantitative and statistical skills. He has particular expertise in secondary data analysis of small area and survey data as well as large and complex administrative datasets (e.g. WPLS, NPD, police recorded crime data). He has worked on projects funded by a range of different sponsors including the Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Work and Pensions, ESRC National Centre for Research Methods, South African Department of Social Development, Welsh Government, National Audit Office, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Sheffield City Council and Gingerbread.


Dr Cormac Behan – Does prison work?


Cormac begins by considering the objectives of imprisonment. He will explore why the prison has emerged as a form of punishment and examines the place of prison in twenty first century society. He will also reflect on whether the prison is an overused method of punishment in modern penality.

Cormac teaches criminology at the Centre for Criminological Research, School of Law, University of Sheffield. His research interests include penal history, prisoners’ rights, comparative penology and prison education. Cormac was born in Dublin, Ireland. Prior to taking up this position, he taught politics and history in Irish prisons for 14 years. He is the author of Citizen Convicts: Prisoners, Politics and the Vote (Manchester University Press) which will be published in paperback in June 2017.


Dr Claudia Mazzà – Mind your step! A journey into walking biomechanics

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Have you ever thought of what happens to your muscles and bones when you take a step? This is what we try to understand by studying walking biomechanics. In this talk Claudia will show you how we use measurement and computational modelling to capture those features, otherwise unperceivable, that characterise our movement. This allows us gaining information on the specific motor functions and on the overall motor strategy that are adopted to perform a motor task, in the attempt of understanding of the key factors that affect internal loading and, thus, injury, tissue degeneration or regeneration, as well as motor control and its adaptation, energy consumption, and fatigue.

Claudia received her PhD in Bioengineering in 2004 from the University of Bologna. She carried out her PhD and post-doc related research activities at the Department of Human Movement Sciences at the University of Rome “Foro Italico”, where she was appointed as Assistant Professor in January 2006. She joined the University of Sheffield as a lecturer in 2013.  Claudia’s research has always been focused on human movement analysis and on the definition of quantative methods for the clinical assessment of an individual locomotor and postural ability. Her most recent work concerns the use of wearable inertial sensors and the mechanisms that rule upper body movements during walking.


Dr Komarine Romdenh-Romluc – What is art?


From Salvador Dalí’s surreal landscapes to Caravaggio’s hyper-real paintings of mythical figures. From Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits to ritual masks from Sub-Saharan Africa. From American quilts to Inuit sculpture. We generally know art when we see it, but can we say what all artworks have in common that makes them all works of art? Different people give different answers to this question. Some claim it’s essential for art to express emotion. Others say things only count as art because gallery owners, artists, and critics say so. Some theorists argue that the ability to make art evolved to help us survive, so that ‘art-behaviours’ are part of what make us distinctively human. Komarine Romdenh-Romluc considers some of these views.

Komarine joined the Department of Philosophy at Sheffield as a Senior Lecturer in Autumn 2015. She previously taught at the University of Nottingham. The main focus of her research can be called ‘phenomenological philosophy of mind’, which means – as the name suggests – that she is interested in using ideas from the phenomenological tradition to address issues in contemporary philosophy of mind, although she also writes about other things too. A lot of her most recent work has been about Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology.  Komarine is currently thinking about agency, and how we might understand action in the light of various experimental data that seem to threaten the idea that our doings are ever under our conscious control.


Professor Jackie Labbe – Dead Victorian children

Professor Jackie Labbe, Pro-Vice-Chancellor - Arts & Humanities,

Victorian children’s literature regularly features children being eaten, tortured, and brought to the brink of death.  Why?  This talk will range widely across texts familiar (Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass) and those less so (works by Juliana Horatia Ewing, George MacDonald, Jean Ingelow, and Charles Kingsley) to discuss the morality and attractiveness of dead and nearly-dead children in texts aiming both to instruct and entertain.  Who survives – and who doesn’t?

Jackie is Vice-President and Head of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.  Her research focuses on the poetry and fiction of the British Romantic period. She has published widely on the poetry of the Romantic writer, Charlotte Smith (1749-1806), and her interactions with other key figures such as William Wordsworth and Jane Austen. She has also written on gendered constructions of landscape perception, the centrality of the romance and the melodrama in the period, and aspects of Victorian children’s literature. She is interested in the ways in which form and content are mutually inflective; how history and culture underpin writing; the varied ways in which authors interact and become mutual readers; and an inclusive and historically-informed canon. She is currently working on a book about the modal interactions between Smith and Austen.


Dr Casey Strine – Seeking Refuge in Ancient Israel: Better or Worse than Contemporary Great Britain?


It is widely believed that 21st century life is better than life in the ancient world. For dentistry, this is unequivocally true. What about for those seeking asylum from persecution, war, or violence? Have things changed for the better from ancient Israel’s declaration of cities of sanctuary (Exodus 21:12-14; Numbers 35:9-34; Deuteronomy 19:1-13; Joshua 20:1-9) to the announcement by Bloomington, Minnesota, USA, that it would be a ‘sanctuary city’? Dr Casey Strine looks at what provision ancient Israel made for involuntary migrants and ask in what ways the contemporary system for identifying and settling refugees does or does not improve on this ancient practice.

Casey’s initial training was in Industrial Engineering. He began graduate studies after just over five years in management consulting and IT project management, completing a Masters of Divinity, specialising in biblical studies and languages, and then a DPhil in Theology at the University of Oxford. His doctorate, completed in 2011, has been published under the title Sworn Enemies: The Divine Oath, the Book of Ezekiel, and the Polemics of Exile. Casey served as College Lecturer in Old Testament for Oriel College, Oxford and then as research fellow in the Arts & Humanities Research Institute at King’s College London. He is now Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow and Lecturer in Hebrew Bible at the University of Sheffield.


Dr Amber Regis – Charlotte Bronte’s face

Amber Regis_SA

When Charlotte Brontë died in 1855, the majority of her readers had no idea what she looked like and many had never heard her name. Despite revealing her identity to her publishers in 1848, and making her sisters’ first names public in 1850, Charlotte continued to publish as Currer Bell. The Brontë name was known in literary circles, but Charlotte was reluctant to give up “the advantage of being able to walk invisible.” All this changed two years after her death. In 1857 Elizabeth Gaskell published The Life of Charlotte Brontë. This biography made her name and face public: next to its title-page, where Bell and Brontë were bound irrevocably together, was an engraving of the only professional portrait of Charlotte taken from life. George’s Richmond chalk sketch now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, but its journey from parsonage to national museum — taking in the countless copies and adaptations that comprise its 167-year history — reveals our persistent re-imagining of Charlotte Brontë: our fascination with her life and work, and our desire to see her anew.

Amber Regis is a Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature. She has particular research interests in life-writing and literary afterlives, and she has recently published a critical edition of The Memoirs of John Addington Symonds (2016). Her co-edited collection, Charlotte Brontë: Legacies and Afterlives, will be published in July 2017.


Dr Kristin Hildenbrand & Professor Karina Nielsen – A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way

This talk aims to answer questions laypeople might have about leadership through looking at leadership from multiple perspectives. The first part deals with the century-old question of whether leaders are born or made. The characteristics of people that emerge as great leaders are discussed, and contrasted with research on leadership development. Then light is shed on the ingredients of effective leadership and ways in which people that are not born leaders can release their ‘inner leader’ are discussed.

In the second part of the talk Dr Kristin Hildenbrand and Professor Karina Nielson will drill into the most widely researched leadership style: Transformational leadership. These leaders are those existing ways of doing things, challenge their employees to perform above and beyond the call of duty through the formulation of an attractive vision at the same time as they take into consideration each employees’ potential for development. Kristin and Karina discuss the effects of this type of leadership on employees’ performance and wellbeing, in line with the happy-worker-productive worker thesis.

Kristin is a Lecturer in Leadership and Organizational Behaviour in the Institute for Work Psychology at Sheffield University Management School. Her background is in Psychology (University of Mainz, Germany) and she completed her PhD in Work Psychology at Aston Business School in 2016. She has held positions as Lecturer and Graduate Teaching Assistant at Aston Business School and Coventry University and since September 2016 teaches various modules on Leadership, Leadership Development and Organisational Behaviour at the University of Sheffield. Her research focuses on the link between leadership and employee well-being and work-life balance.

Karina completed her PhD in Applied Psychology at the University of Nottingham, UK in 2003 and then returned to her native Denmark to work as a researcher, senior researcher and professor at the National Research Centre for the Working Environment in Copenhagen.  Karina joined the Institute of Work Psychology at the Sheffield University Management School in October 2016. Prior to this, she was Professor of Work and Organisational Psychology at the University of East Anglia.


Dr Nate Adams  – How small is small? (Primary School talk)


Dr Nate is a biologist, and enjoys all things squishy. He deals in the ‘small’, but how small is small to a biologist?  Nate explores the science, techniques and machines that have made it possible to explore the hidden worlds around us. Expect some mild peril and a big bang to finish things off!

Nate is a research associate in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, studying how plants turn green – mainly by firing lasers at the molecular machines that construct the pigment of life.  Outside of the lab, Nate presents science on stage, screen, radio, and online – popping up all over the place to blow stuff up. Recently Nate worked with SmashFestUK to get a world record with the tallest liquid nitrogen trashcan explosion – it was mega.


Outreach staff and participants – Reaching out with outreach – a young person’s perspective

Deciding whether and where to go to university – and what subject to study – are big choices to make.  That’s why, here at the University of Sheffield, we’ve created a wide range of programmes and events that develop and support students from under represented back grounds.  Through taster days, practical hands on activities and advice from staff and current students, our scheme participants get an understanding of what it‘s like to study specific subjects at university.  Come along and hear from outreach coordinators, who run the schemes, about the work they do, and participants who have been involved, how they have benefited, the sessions they have been involved in, and how the schemes have supported them in their Post 16 journey.


Val Derbyshire – Becoming a heroine

Val Derbyshire

Just what does it take to become a heroine in a novel?  Must she be beautiful?  Must she be sensitive and kind?  Or is it more important for her to be clever and adept at managing people?  Commencing with a novel from 1788, Emmeline, or the Orphan of the Castle by Charlotte Turner Smith (1749-1806), Val Derbyshire will demonstrate just how very cunning and disingenuous a heroine has to be in order to win the day.  Smith was an author who is little heard of today but who was extremely popular in her own time, influencing the works of Walter Scott, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.  With this in view, what Smith’s writings teach us about romance have filtered down through these latterly more popular authors into modern romance writing today.  Progressing from eighteenth-century romance to the romantic novels of a famous company like Harlequin Mills & Boon, it is possible to trace this provenance in contemporary romance publications.  Val will therefore go on to consider how heroines behave in these more modern texts and illustrate how it is important for a heroine to be more clever than beautiful, more duplicitous than kind in the fiction of today.

Val is a postgraduate research student in the Department of English Literature, studying the evocation of place and space within the works of 18th-century novelist and poet Charlotte Turner Smith. She has an interest in the romance genre generally, from the 18th-century up to and including contemporary fiction.   This also embraces a lifelong love affair with Harlequin Mills & Boon romances.


Dr Jonathan Aitken – More robots, more fields

Jonathan Aitken

Field Robotics is a growing area within the discipline. It involves practically going out of the lab and into natural terrain, and operating there within a dynamic environment. Dr Jonathan Aitken will cover what we’re doing at Sheffield and how we are using our natural facilities to advance our work – and why doing things in the real world becomes even harder with wind, rain and unfriendly terrain! He also wants to discuss the safety implications that are going to be inherent in the development of future systems, and the constraints that these will place on developments, especially with regard to regulation. Ultimately, we need to be able to safeguard our future systems, to deploy intelligent solutions in a framework that is both easy to understand and capable of dealing with the challenges present in an unknown environment.

Jonathan is a Research Fellow working in the Autonomous Control Laboratory within the Autonomous Systems and Robotics Group of ACSE. His work focuses on autonomous reconfiguration of robotic systems, especially on quadcopter platforms. He also has interests in computer vision, spatial awareness of robotic systems and operation of multi-robot teams in the field, and was co-organiser of the UK Field Robotics Challenge in 2016. Additionally, he holds permission to fly Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) or drones up to 20kg within the UK for commercial work.


Professor Ingunn Holen – Breast cancer: how research has made a difference


“All that money spent on cancer research and still there is no cure.  What a waste!” This is quite a common statement but is it true or false? Professor Ingunn Holen shows how research has had enormous impact on the way breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, and how this has changed the outlook for someone diagnosed today compared to in previous decades.

Ingunn is a biologist who has worked in cancer research for more than 20 years. She joined the Academic Unit of Clinical Oncology as a Lecturer in 2001, and is currently Professor in Bone Oncology and Head of the Breast Cancer Laboratory Research Team. Ingunn studied Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Oslo, Norway and was awarded her PhD in 1995, before moving to Sheffield to take up a post as a post-doctoral research associate.  She is particularly interested in how cancer spreads and colonises new sites, including the skeleton. Ingunn works closely with charities, including Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity and Breast Cancer Now, to increase public understanding of cancer research.


Ryan Bramley – Orgrieve


When the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, announced late last year that an inquiry into police misconduct on 18 June 1984 – ‘the Battle of Orgreave’ – would not be sanctioned based on the fact that “there were no deaths (or wrongful convictions)”, the chair of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, Joe Rollin, claimed that campaigners had been ‘”led up the garden path”. In light of recent evidence of police misconduct, the falsification of official accounts and the wrongful arrest of 95 protestors, Orgreave without an inquiry seems like a death without a funeral; absent closure, ex-mining communities continue to grieve for injustices past. By unpicking the art, poetry, and films that continue to be inspired by the events of 18 June 1984, Ryan argues for the acknowledgement of a ‘social grieving’ – a development of Avery Gordon’s theory of ‘social haunting’ – and how a better understanding of social grief might further reinforce the importance of an inquiry to those who continue to grieve for Orgreave.

Ryan Bramley is a PhD student based in the University of Sheffield’s School of Education. He holds degrees in English Language and Literature (BA) and English Literature (MA) with specialities in poetry, film, and non-professional writing communities; the 1984-85 Miner’s Strike is a recurring focal point in his work. His current doctoral project, ‘Filmmaking as a Community Building Practice’, looks at why post-industrial communities in Yorkshire have turned to television as a mode of localised media representation, and the extent to which local television can build a greater sense of community in areas that are still socially haunted by enduring legacies, such as that of the Miners’ Strike.


Dr Kate Shaw – ICTP Physics Without Frontiers: worldwide physics outreach

kate shaw.jpg

Scientific research is an international endeavour, vital for sustainable development, yet in many developing countries little investment is made. Access to science education and research must be available for all, we don’t know where the next Mary Curie or Albert Einstein will come from!  The ICTP Physics Without Frontiers program travels the world to inspire, train and motivate physics and mathematics students in developing countries, helping build the next generation of scientists. Kate Shaw takes us on a tour of worldwide physics outreach, and you may find some surprising outcomes!

Kate is a researcher in the high energy physics division of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, working on the ATLAS experiment. Kate’s present research focuses on luminosity calibration as well as Higgs boson and top quark physics. Kate is also the outreach co-coordinator for ATLAS and coordinator of the ICTP Physics Without Frontiers Program working to support physicists and students in developing countries.




Professor Angela Wright – Of mourning and melancholia: the later works of Mary Shelley


Angela Wright will dispel the myth that Mary Shelley was a one-hit wonder as the author of Frankenstein, by examining some of her later works  that were written in the wake of her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley’s death. She will examine how for Mary Shelley writing acts as catharsis for her grief by looking at her essay ‘On Ghosts’ and her apocalyptic novel The Last Man (1826). Angela aims to demonstrate that her later works are just as complex and accomplished as the first work that has made her so famous.

Angela is Professor of Romantic Literature at the University of Sheffield and currently co­President of the International Gothic Association. She is the author of Gothic Fiction (Palgrave, 2007), Britain, France and the Gothic: The Import of Terror (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and co­editor (with Dale Townshend) of Ann Radcliffe, Romanticism and the Gothic (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Her study of Mary Shelley’s writings will be published by the University of Wales Press later this year under the title Mary Shelley. She is currently undertaking Leverhulme-funded research for a new project called Fostering Romanticism and has recently been commissioned to co-edit a three-volume work for Cambridge University Press, called The Cambridge History of the Gothic.


Professor Simon Goodwin – Is climate change really bad for the earth?


Humans are changing the planet, and the media often report those changes as ‘apocalyptic’ or ‘disastrous for the Earth’.  Are things really that bad?  Are humans the worst thing that has ever happened to the planet Earth?

Simon is Professor of Astrophysics.  His main research interests are star formation and the dynamics of young stellar systems, but he is also interested in the science of aliens – do they exist, what are they like, and how can we find them?


Professor Tony Ryan – Where necessity is the mother of invention: Zaatari Refugee Camp


Last summer Tony Ryan visited two settlements on the frontline of the greatest humanitarian crisis of modern times. The Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps in Jordan are run by UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, and are home to tens of thousands of people fleeing violence in Syria.
Resources are scarce in a camp like Zaatari, where 80,000 people are squeezed into six square kilometres. Nothing is left to waste. Now that most people live in caravans, decommissioned tents are used to provide additional shelter for belongings. The poles are used to make toys, or stockpiled alongside countless bicycle frames and other potentially useful scraps of metal.
I walked into a warehouse full of mattresses, no one seemed to know quite what to do with them – but my mind raced to our Grantham Centre project on polymer foams  as artificial soil for high-tech horticulture in microcosm farms. What if the knowledge of Grantham Centre researchers and the resourcefulness of Syrian refugees could be combined to give every family in Zaatari camp a vegetable plot made out of recycled mattress foam?  I will bring you up-to-date with this story and our polyurethane tomato patch.
Make no mistake, the people who end up in these camps face daily struggles that many of us cannot imagine. But those I met embodied values that are often forgotten by those of us in more privileged parts of the world: an adaptable approach to solving problems, an aversion to waste, a sense of community. As hard as we must work to live in a world where no one is forced to flee their home, there is much we can learn from Syria’s refugees.

From 2008-2016 Tony was the Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Science at the University of Sheffield. His research covers the synthesis, structure, processing and properties of polymers and he was in at the beginning of polymer nanotechnology. He has co-authored more than 200 papers and 8 patents and written a book on polymer processing or how things are made from plastic.  Tony is a regular contributor to TV, radio and newspapers. He was born in Leeds and got his three degrees from UMIST. Married with two daughters, Tony is a creative cook, a keen cyclist and an occasional mountaineer with a weakness for gadgets.  He was made an OBE in 2006 for ‘Services to Science’.


Catherine Annabel – Closing words

The 24 Hour Inspire Fringe…

Thursday 30 March, 15.00-Friday 31 March, 16.45: Radio Inspire, broadcasting here: forgetoday.com/radio/radioinspire

Thursday 30 March, 16.30-Friday 31 March, 17.00, C floor: Art exhibition, including work by Peter Bath, Lorna Byrnes and Rachel Collier-Wilson, Homage to the Sphere virtual reality exhibit, and interactive Colour Wheel

Thursday 30 March, 16.00-Friday 31 March 16.00, D floor: Help build a Lego Arts Tower – buy a wristband and add a brick!

Thursday 30 March, 17.30, D floor – an opportunity to taste some of Sheffield’s fine beers

Thursday 30 March, 20.00-20.45, D floor – Route 57: The University of Sheffield’s creative writing journal launches its latest edition, with live poetry reading

Thursday 30 March, 20.45, D floor – Ice & Fire: Asylum Monologues: The first script created for Actors for Human Rights project, Asylum Monologues is a first-hand account of the UK’s asylum system in the words of people who have experienced it. This extract will focus on two accounts and last approximately 25 minutes.   Directed by Sam Holland with actors from the Sheffield College.

Radio Inspire!

radio schedule








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