10-2008 Press Releases

30/10/2008: Stephen Rea and Frances Tomelty help remember Belfast's 'Northern Star'
28/10/2008: Canadian and Northern Ireland links highlighted QTV News Story
28/10/2008: Who do you think you are? Belfast family history explored in exhibition
28/10/2008: Current global credit crunch began with 9/11
27/10/2008: Gerry Anderson whets appetite for new 'out-to-lunch' series
27/10/2008: 'Don't see a good degree wasted', warns Queen's Students' Union
27/10/2008: 'Spooky' show sheds light on science
24/10/2008: National award for Queen's University
24/10/2008: Just over half New Lodge residents would contact police
23/10/2008: Nursing home residents receive inappropriate prescriptions
23/10/2008: Shakespeare pitches his tent in Ormeau Park
22/10/2008: 'Hunger' star to introduce opening night of QFT screenings
22/10/2008: An Adventure in Crumlin Road Gaol
20/10/2008: Queen's goes for THE hat-trick
20/10/2008: Queen's University projects awarded £1.3m by Invest Northern Ireland
20/10/2008: Big Lottery Fund furthers Alzheimer's research
20/10/2008: Sports and Books Bursary on offer
14/10/2008: 'Degree Plus' to give tomorrow's leaders 'competitive edge' QTV News Story
17/10/2008: Art treasures for a tenner at Queen's
16/10/2008: HRH The Duke of York visits ECIT
17/10/2008: Queen's Professor President Elect of research organisation
13/10/2008: Queen's academic joins illustrious Roll of Honour
15/10/2008: Town and gown celebrate 100 year relationship
14/10/2008: A Fistful of Celluloid - Morricone Season at QFT
13/10/2008: Gender jujitsu - How Sarah Palin knocked the media off-balance
10/10/2008: Girls are happier than boys at primary school
09/10/2008: Queen's brings the sixties to the big screen
09/10/2008: Irish university women to debate human rights
08/10/2008: Alzheimer's study at Queen's boosted by £228,000 grant
08/10/2008: Queen's gives thanks for 100 years of service
07/10/2008: National Poetry Day kicks off Heaney Centre autumn programme
02/10/2008: Next Generation of female leaders at Queen's

Stephen Rea and Frances Tomelty help remember Belfast's 'Northern Star'
Stewart Parker
Stewart Parker

Actors Stephen Rea and Frances Tomelty will be at Queen’s on Sunday evening (2 November) to celebrate the life and work of Belfast playwright Stewart Parker.

On the 20th anniversary of Parker’s death Queen’s Drama Department, in association with the Stewart Parker Trust and the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, will stage a series of readings and performances from the work of Belfast’s most visionary playwright.

The performed miscellany marks the end of a week of celebration of Stewart Parker’s work. This includes a major international conference evaluating Parker’s extraordinary artistic achievements, which will take place on Friday 31 October and Saturday 1 November.

Dr Mark Phelan from the Drama Studies department at Queen’s said: "Stewart Parker was one of the most original and innovative playwrights of his generation. Like Joyce and Beckett, his work has long been recognised internationally but has never been given its due in Ireland, especially in his native city. His work has a greater resonance and relevance today than it ever had in his own lifetime. Surely there is no greater signature of genius than that."

John Fairleigh, Director of the Stewart Parker Trust, which he founded in 1989 to assist emerging playwrights in Ireland said: "We are delighted to see Stewart's life and work commemorated in such a sophisticated and comprehensive way and are especially grateful to all contributors to Sunday's Miscellany in aid of the Trust's work."

Lynne Parker, Stewart Parker’s niece and Artistic Director of Rough Magic Theatre Company, will direct some segments of Sunday night’s performance. Lynne said: "It is a source of real pleasure to my family and I that people have responded with such support and enthusiasm to this dedicated event.

“Thanks to Dr Mark Phelan at Queen’s and all the contributors who have put Stewart so deservedly at the centre of cultural discourse in the city he wrote about with such passion. A whole new generation of theatre-makers will now see at first-hand the impact of this extraordinary writer."

The performance will take place at the Elmwood Hall at 7pm on Sunday 2 November. Tickets cost £12 (£10 concession) and are available from the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s box office or at  

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, , 07814 415 451.

Top of Page

Canadian and Northern Ireland links highlighted
Dr Indira Samarasekera
Dr Indira Samarasekera

    Centenary honour at Eaton events

Extensive academic links between Northern Ireland and Canada are to be highlighted at Queen’s today.

In a special Centenary event, one of Canada’s most well-known public figures, Dr Indira Samarasekera, President of the University of Alberta, is to receive an honorary Doctorate from Queen’s for distinction in mechanical engineering and services to higher education.

Voted one of the most 100 influential women in Canada, members of the public are invited to hear Dr Samarasekera deliver the annual Eaton Lecture this evening (Tuesday, 28 October). The University leader will be speaking on The Rise of the 21st Century University.
The Eaton Lecture series commemorates the establishment of the T. Eaton Company in Canada, founded by Timothy Eaton from Ballymena in 1869. The firm became one of the most important retail businesses in Canadian history and the great-grandson of Timothy Eaton, Dr Fredrik Eaton, an honorary graduate of Queen’s, will be in Belfast to attend the Eaton Lecture.

Usually based around the theme of business and community links between the two countries, Queen’s has broadened the event this year to include a Centenary Symposia to build on the strong academic links between Queen’s and the University of Alberta.  This international meeting will embrace activities in neuroscience, geography, chemistry, pharmacy, education and medical statistics. 

Queen’s will also be welcoming a delegation from the University of New Brunswick led by their President Dr John McLaughlin.

Speaking ahead of the international visits, Professor Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s said: “Queen’s has been an officially recognised Centre of Canadian Studies since 1986. In that time the University has acted as a valuable link between our two countries, and we are delighted to celebrate our strengthening academic links during this Centenary Year. 

“In honouring Dr Samarasekera, we are highlighting how such global connections are crucial to the future of universities in the 21st Century. It is my hope that the new collaboration between Queen’s and the Universities of Alberta and New Brunswick will further strengthen the long-standing links between Canada and Northern Ireland.   We are delighted that Dr Fred Eaton is able to attend this year’s Eaton Lecture - his family’s sponsorship of this series has done much to reinforce the common bonds between our two countries.”

Speaking ahead of her conferment Dr Samarasekera said: “The Eaton Lecture promotes the exchange of stimulating ideas between Queen’s University and Canadian academics and builds on strong generational ties between the people of Northern Ireland and Canada.”

Highlighting the importance of the Symposia and the Eaton Lecture, John McLaughlin President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of New Brunswick said: “I bring congratulations from Canada to Queen’s. I welcome the opportunity to develop closer relationships between Canada and Queen’s through the Eaton Fellowship Programme.”

The Eaton Lecture will take place from 5.00pm - 6.00pm in the Canada Room, Lanyon North, Queen’s University on Tuesday, 28 October. Members of the public interested in attending the Lecture should email to confirm their attendance.

For media inquiries please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Senior Press Officer, +44 (0)28 9097 5384, Mob: 07814 422 572,

Top of Page

Who do you think you are? Belfast family history explored in exhibition
'Queen's University in 1911'
'Queen's University in 1911'

A new exhibition exploring family life in Edwardian Belfast will open at the Linen Hall Library on Friday 31 October.

Belfast 1911: A day in the life of a city is organised by Belfast Family and Community History (BelFam) and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Professor Liam Kennedy from the School of History and Anthropology at Queen’s University is Director of BelFam. Professor Kennedy said: "Using photos, newspapers, black and white film and copies of original census forms from 1911, this exhibition provides a window into the past of this great city.

“The census forms in particular are a unique resource for anyone exploring their family history or seeking a deeper understanding of everyday life in the past.

“The exhibition gives us a fascinating insight into life in Belfast in the years before the Great War and Partition. Thousands of people worked in the city’s shipyard and linen mills. The Titanic was being built at Harland and Wolff and the SS Nomadic was just about to be launched. Catholic and Protestant families lived side-by-side on the streets off the Falls and the Shankill in a way that’s barely imaginable today.

“The exhibition is an important part of BelFam’s work in promoting an interest in local history and heritage, particularly in Belfast. We are making as much historical information as possible available to the public. The information from around 60,000 census forms from 1901 and 1911 are now available on our website at providing a useful tool for anyone who wants to find out more about their family history."

Belfast 1911: A day in the life of a city will be opened by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Tom Hartley, at the Linen Hall Library at 10am on Friday 31 October. 

For more information on BelFam visit 

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, , 07814 415 451.

Top of Page

Current global credit crunch began with 9/11
Dr Andrew Baker
Dr Andrew Baker

A Queen’s University academic has claimed the seeds of the current global credit crunch lie in the US response to the 9/11 terror attacks.

Dr Andrew Baker made the claims at the launch of a new Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree at Queen’s. The course - the first of its kind in Ireland - will give students a unique insight into how politics, business and commerce overlap and including what has caused the global economic crisis.

Launching the course, Dr Baker said: "While there is no simple, straight-forward explanation for the recent economic downturn, we can trace the roots of the crisis back to the 9/11 terror attacks. After 9/11 American people were encouraged to spend, spend, spend in the spirit of patriotism, to help restart the flailing economy.

“To fuel that spending, in the extraordinary political and psychological climate of that time, US policy makers actively encouraged levels of borrowing and lending that would never otherwise have been allowed.

“As their spending increased, many US home owners found themselves stretched to the limit. Unable to meet their mortgage repayments, many of their homes were repossessed.

“In the meantime, however, banks and financial institutions had used their customers’ mortgages and the value of their homes to create two new financial products known as mortgage debt securities and credit default swaps in an effort to spread the risk of mortgage defaults, but in reality this just expanded the amount of debt in the system.

“Unfortunately, when the decade-long property bubble on both sides of the Atlantic began to deflate, this house of cards came tumbling down. The homes that had underpinned loans between banks and their customers, and the spin-off trading between banks and other banks, decreased in value.

“With rumours abounding about the state of some banks’ finances, banks stopped lending to one another. Credit dried up, mortgages became much harder to obtain and property prices fell further. The share prices of banks then began to tumble. As the true extent of banks exposure to so called ‘toxic assets’ emerged, governments stepped in to take a stake in the banks, recapitalising them with public money.

“Many are quick to blame irresponsible individual bankers for the crisis. But the reality is that the free market society in which we lived encouraged risk taking and has created a complex system whereby losses in one sector, such as property, have implications for the entire economy. That system of financial complexity was created, endorsed and promoted by the regulatory and policy decisions of governments, as well as by the innovations of banks. The problem was that the complexity of the system was so great that too few people understood how it worked and its implications.

“The origins of this crisis are complicated, but are undoubtedly rooted in the relationship between politics and economics - a relationship to be explored by students on the Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree at Queen’s.

“Now more than ever, the world needs people who can understand the political structures that govern society; reflect on the ethics and logic of economic decisions; and understand how political actions affect economic matters and how government decisions are influenced by economic events.

“As politicians and economists try to steer the global economy through completely unchartered waters, there’s never been a better time to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics."

Anyone interested in the course can find out more at an Information Day at the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy at Queen’s on Wednesday 29 October at 1.30pm or visit the School website at

A similar Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree at Oxford boasts an impressive list of graduates including former Prime Ministers and Presidents, such as Harold Wilson and Bill Clinton, businessmen like Rupert Murdoch, politicians such as Imran Khan, and journalists including BBC political editor Nick Robinson.

Gerry Mallon, Chief Executive of Northern Bank, said: "The current crisis illustrates just how intertwined political, philosophical and economic issues are. The introduction of this degree at Queen’s could not be more timely.

“From the perspective of the local business community, this is a hugely encouraging development, as is the prospect of being able to recruit from a local pool of graduates who can combine political, philosophical and economic analyses together in one package." 

For more information on the BA Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Queen’s visit the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy website at 

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, , 07814 415 451.

Top of Page

Gerry Anderson whets appetite for new 'out-to-lunch' series
BBC presenter William Crawley serves up the next series of 'Out to Lunch' to Queen's Welcome Centre assistant Mary Clarkson
BBC presenter William Crawley serves up the next series of 'Out to Lunch' to Queen's Welcome Centre assistant Mary Clarkson

One of Northern Ireland’s best-known radio personalities, Gerry Anderson, will serve up his unique brand of acerbic humour in the first of the new ‘Out to Lunch’ series at Queen’s University.

Listeners can hear the multi award-winning broadcaster in conversation with BBC presenter William Crawley on Friday 31 October while enjoying lunch in the magnificent surroundings of the University’s Great Hall.

Gerry Anderson first joined the BBC in 1985 and has presented his popular Radio Ulster morning show since 1995.  His television work includes the talk show, ‘Anderson on the Box’, the travel series ‘Anderson on the Road’ and ‘Anderson in....’ and ‘Gerry Anderson’s Wild West'.
He is the recipient of many awards including the Sony Gold Award for Best Regional Broadcaster and Regional Television Presenter of the Year. He was inducted into the Sony Radio Academy Hall Of Fame in 2005, the first person from Northern Ireland to be so honoured.
The programme follows the sell-out success of the 'Out to Lunch' initiative launched last year by Queen’s Welcome Centre Manager Lynn Corken. She said: "We are delighted that so many local personalities are taking part in our latest series of lunchtime events. Given the popularity of the last series, we would advise people to buy their tickets as early as possible."

The series continues on Wednesday 26 November with local writers Gerald Dawe and Philip Orr, while cellist and composer Neil Martin and singer/songwriter Juliet Turner will be in the interview chairs on Wednesday 10 December.

Composer and musician Phil Coulter will be among the attractions in the New Year line-up when he is ‘out to lunch’ with William Crawley on Wednesday 18 February.

Each event starts at 12.30pm. Tickets, priced £19.50, can be obtained (in advance only) from Queen’s Welcome Centre, Lanyon Building, telephone 028 9097 5252 or email

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Corporate Affairs, +44 (0)28 9097 5310, Mob: 07815 871 997,

Top of Page

'Don't see a good degree wasted', warns Queen's Students' Union
Launching the DVD are Students' Union President Ciarnan Helferty (centre), Mike Gaston, Community Affairs Office and James Rea, student actor
Launching the DVD are Students' Union President Ciarnan Helferty (centre), Mike Gaston, Community Affairs Office and James Rea, student actor

A new initiative to promote a responsible attitude towards alcohol among students has been launched by Queen’s Students’ Union.

A new DVD – ‘Don’t See a Good Degree Wasted’ – which highlights the negative effects that alcohol can have on students’ health and studies, was shown to all new Queen’s students at the start of this term. The University also plans to make sure that all of its students have the chance to see the short film during their time at university.

The DVD, which takes the form of a timeline of a student’s night out, was written, filmed, produced and presented by Queen’s students in conjunction with the University’s Community Affairs Office.

Laura Hawthorne, Vice President Community in the Students’ Union, said: ““The very clear message in the DVD is that that there are consequences to unacceptable behaviour. For example, a night out with one drink too many can lead to a student facing University disciplinary action or worse, damaging their academic career. This DVD is designed to make all students aware of their responsibilities towards the local community, fellow students, property, and, ultimately, to themselves and their education."

The DVD builds on Queen’s ongoing work, in partnership with all key stakeholders, to ensure that students are aware of their responsibilities and the penalties they could face for breaching these. Among those taking part in the short film were students from Queen’s School of Drama, student officers from Queen’s Students’ Union.  Community Safety Wardens, Queen’s staff and local residents also took part.

The University has a 24 hour helpline (028 90 975219) which allows people, students and non students alike, to register complaints. Complaints can also be phoned through to Belfast City Council’s Community Safety Warden Team on 07920 186084.

The University investigates all complaints thoroughly and treats all incidents of student misbehaviour seriously.

Queen’s is one of the few universities in the UK and Ireland to operate an off-campus disciplinary code.

Top of Page

'Spooky' show sheds light on science

Big bangs, flashing lights and objects that glow in the dark are among the mysteries of science to be experienced by local school children at Queen’s University tomorrow.

Around 200 nine to 12 year olds from local primary schools will be making noise and chasing rainbows at the ‘Spooky Science’ show.

It is part of the 'Discovering Queen’s' initiative which organises a series of ‘taster events’ to raise aspirations among students who would not normally consider higher education. Around 2,000 pupils from schools in Northern Ireland take part in such events each year.

Tomorrow's interactive event, devised and performed by Belfast-based science educator Paul McCrory, aims to introduce young people to the wonders of science and awaken their interest in the world around them.

Stephanie Wilson, Co-ordinator of Queen’s Widening Participation Unit, said: “’Spooky Science’ is set to be a colourful and fun event  which also provides a valuable learning experience for young people at Key Stage 2. The show will explain phenomena such as light, sound, colour and how thunder and lightning work, through a series of hands-on demonstrations and a story of suspense and surprise.

“All young people with an interest in science, and their families, are welcome to what is sure to be an educational experience with a thrilling difference.”

The one-hour show will take place in Queen’s Medical Biology Centre, Lisburn Road, on Tuesday 28 October, at 10am and again at 12noon. Admission is free but by ticket only. Tickets are available by calling 028 9097 2904.

Media enquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5310 or email

Top of Page

National award for Queen's University
The University's Silver Sounds exhibition has won a major national award

Queen’s University has won the Times Higher Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts.

At a ceremony in London last night the University’s Naughton Gallery’s Silver Sounds Exhibition took the top award in the category, beating off competition from universities all over the UK.

The exhibition is unique because visitors can ‘hear’ as well as see the University’s silver collection, through using handheld computers to highlight objects and listen to the artists’ interpretations.

Ten internationally renowned sound artists created sound pieces to accompany 22 of the silver objects, exploring their origins and the reasons for their creation and use.

Commenting on the award, Queen’s University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “One of Queen’s most tangible contributions to the community it serves in Northern Ireland is its role as a patron of the arts. The Naughton Gallery at Queen’s is one of the most dynamic visual arts platforms in Belfast and plays a major role in enhancing the cultural and artistic life of Northern Ireland.

“I am delighted to congratulate our Curator of Art, Shan McAnena, and her colleagues in winning this well-deserved award for the ground-breaking Silver Sounds exhibition. This was a truly collaborative project which enables us to share the University’s silver collection with the wider community through both sight and sound.”

The Gallery’s Curator Shan McAnena said: “The gallery team is thrilled and delighted that such a creative partnership has been recognised in this way.

“We are particularly grateful to the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), and voluntary organisation ADAPT NI for their vision and faith in this project which helped to make this happen.”

The judges who chose Queen’s as the winner of the category praised the University’s work.

Felicity Allen, Head of Learning at the Tate Modern, said: “Queen’s has enabled artists to produce an original piece of gallery interpretation that has the potential to be a model for other galleries as well as providing new routes into the collection for existing and new visitors.”

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362,

Top of Page

Just over half New Lodge residents would contact police
Residents are willing to contact police about community safety

Just over half (51.9 per cent) of those living in the Greater New Lodge area of Belfast would contact the police directly about crime or anti-social behaviour, according to a new study by Queen’s University.

280 people living in the Greater New Lodge area of North Belfast were asked about their attitudes towards policing, community relationships with the PSNI and experiences of crime and anti-social behaviour, in a survey conducted by the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Queen’s School of Law. The research was supported by the Greater New Lodge Community Empowerment Partnership and findings will be published at the 174 Trust in Duncairn Avenue today (Friday 24 October 2008).

The key findings are:
• 70.2 per cent agreed the PSNI should come to the Greater New Lodge to provide information on crime prevention. 
• 82.9 per cent agreed local community groups should engage on the community’s behalf with the PSNI to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
• 81.2 per cent felt tackling the issue of ‘illegal drugs’ should be an urgent priority for police, followed by under-age drinking (77.9 per cent), physical assaults (73.2 per cent), interface/sectarian violence (71.1 per cent) and car theft (71.1 per cent). 
• 79.5 per cent of respondents stated they were more cautious than two years ago when leaving their home at night and 62.4 per cent are more aware of rowdy behaviour in the streets compared to two years ago.
• 58.2 per cent believed the Great New Lodge was a less desirable place to live in compared to two years ago. 8.2 per cent thought the area was more desirable.
• 51.9 per cent stated they would contact the PSNI directly about crime or anti-social activity. 22.7 per cent stated that they would not. 
• 35.1 per cent felt policing was changing in a positive way in the Greater New Lodge area compared to 24.2 per cent of respondents who felt it was not. 25.3 per cent were undecided.
• 52.6 per cent rated the PSNI’s response to crime in the Greater New Lodge area as very poor or fairly poor. 12.6 per cent felt the PSNI were doing a very good or fairly good job.  
• 54.3 per cent felt the PSNI were not effective in tackling the issue of anti-social behaviour in the Greater New Lodge. 15.5 per cent felt the PSNI were effective in this role.

Dr Pete Shirlow and Dr Graham Ellison from the School of Law at Queen’s conducted the research. Dr Shirlow said: "This is one of the few studies to consider crime, policing and victimisation in an urban working-class area of Belfast - an area that has suffered immensely during the years of political conflict and has a historically difficult relationship with policing.

“It seems this difficult relationship has manifested itself in a lack of confidence in the police’s ability to tackle crime, which in turn leads to high levels of non-reporting. Whilst a considerable number of respondents had been the victim of crime, many did not report it to the police. Those taking part in the survey recalled 413 incidences of crime in the previous three years, but 55.69 per cent (230) of these were not reported to the PSNI. 

“It is clear that crime and anti-social behaviour have had a significant impact on the people who live in Greater New Lodge, with 35.86 per cent saying anti-social behaviour had greatly affected their quality of life. The fact that the majority of those surveyed feel more cautious leaving their homes at night than they did two years ago, indicates that fear of crime is increasing.

“Police response to crime and anti-social activity is seen as inadequate, and this only serves to further weaken public confidence in the police. Local people want the PSNI to prioritise their efforts to tackle interface violence, illegal drug use, physical assaults and under-age drinking, and the vast majority (76.09 per cent) agree that the police need to liaise with community groups to learn more about the policing needs of the community.

“The results from this survey are positive, however, in that they highlight a desire for partnership with the PSNI."

Dr Graham Ellison said: "It is important that both the police and the community are aware of each other’s limits in tackling crime. The police depend on community support to help them control anti-social behaviour, and the community need to accept this. They can only tackle crime if it is reported by the public. Equally, the PSNI must recognise the impact or anti-social activity on people’s lives. The small things, such as a group of teenagers drinking cider up an alleyway, have a tendency to become a much bigger problem unless they are tackled quickly.

“The aim of this survey is to encourage debate with the Greater New Lodge about policing and community involvement in policing, and I hope it can go some way to helping local residents and the police build an agreed future on crime and anti-social behaviour."

Paul O’Neill from the Greater New Lodge CEP said: "Given the severe legacy of conflict and negative historical experience of policing it is hardly surprising that the people of the New Lodge might well remain distrustful of the police. But this study demonstrates a greater willingness among local residents than ever before for contact and engagement with the police on issues of community safety. Despite this attitudinal shift, it is obvious from the study that people feel strongly that the police are currently failing to deliver the type of service they need. 

“This report has provided clarity to the community sector on what their role and responsibility should be in relation to engagement with the police.  It also places an obligation on police to discuss with the community how a genuinely effective and accountable service could be developed. 

“Developing a policing service that is genuinely accountable to the community is not going to be easy. Some people feel that it may even prove impossible. If we are committed to social justice and the improving of the quality of life for our community and especially our young people, then we must at least try."

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, , 07814 415 451.

Top of Page

Nursing home residents receive inappropriate prescriptions

51 per cent of nursing home residents have been prescribed psychoactive drugs inappropriately. That is one of the key findings from research being discussed at a Changing Ageing Partnership seminar on Thursday 30 October at the Institute of Governance, Queen’s University Belfast.
Dr. Susan Patterson from the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s will detail the prevalence of inappropriate psychoactive drug prescribing for older people in Northern Ireland nursing homes. She will also discuss the importance of pharmaceutical care in ensuring appropriate drug prescription in nursing homes.
Dr. Patterson said: “Historically, psychoactive medication has sometimes been used in nursing homes to sedate the residents, when there is no clinical need.
“Pharmacists are the experts in medicines and they have a significant role to play in terms of finding and championing innovations that reduce risks for patients. This research has demonstrated that pharmacist intervention can reduce medication risks for nursing home residents.”
For more information on the Changing Ageing Partnership visit
For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320,    07814 415 451.

Top of Page

Shakespeare pitches his tent in Ormeau Park
A scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream
A scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream

Welcome to the world of Footsbarn.  The caravans have arrived in Ormeau Park and their magical tent is up.  Make merry and be part of a special carnival atmosphere for Shakespeare’s best-loved comedy.  The alternative travelling theatre company will entrance and entertain us with a riotous ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’ which runs from Thursday 23 October to Saturday 1 November. 

Footsbarn Travelling Theatre is one of the world's leading touring companies, transcending the barrier of language with a unique blend of visual theatre, masks, dance, puppets, magic and circus.

Founded by Oliver Foot and Jean Paul Cook in Cornwall in 1971, the first rehearsals took place in a barn owned by the Foot family, hence the name ‘Footsbarn’. 

In 35 years Footsbarn has produced nearly 60 plays, travelling the world over and is truly a multi-national group.  The actors possess a multiplicity of talents and theatrical techniques, all of which inhabit and enrich every performance. For the last 20 years Footsbarn’s home and base has been in the centre of France in the Auvergne, but they are almost permanently on the road. Footsbarn will not only brighten up dull autumn evenings in Belfast but give a tantalising taste of a unique nomadic lifestyle.

Welcoming Footsbarn to Northern Ireland and to Festival, Noirín McKinney, Director of Arts Development with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said “The Arts Council is delighted to welcome the internationally renowned Footsbarn Travelling Theatre to Northern Ireland and the Ormeau Park.   This production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is one of a number of events funded by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and promises to be an exciting adaptation of the Shakespearian classic.   This is a wonderful occasion to experience and enjoy a world class, accessible, magical arts performance in the unusual setting of a tent in Ormeau Park, so I would encourage local people and families to take advantage of this rare opportunity and attend what promises to be a magnificent event”.

The production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is kindly sponsored by P&O Irish Sea. Tracy Robb, Marketing Manager commented: “We are delighted to be involved again this year with the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s and in particular with bringing Footsbarn travelling theatre across on our Liverpool - Dublin and Cairnryan - Larne routes. This event is one for the whole family to enjoy and its unique atmosphere and surroundings, along with its multicultural cast is sure to make it a show to remember.”

It’s the ideal Shakespeare comedy for Footsbarn, with its magical world of the not-so-innocent fairies, the farcical scenes of the lovers and the artisan clowns.  We are taken on a journey accompanied by live music, rich costumes, masks and pure comedy.

This is a family friendly event and audiences are strongly advised to wrap up warm.

Booking Information

Tickets are now on sale at the Festival Box office at or by telephoning 028 9097 1197 - open Monday to Friday, 8.30am-5.30pm, Saturday 10am-2pm.  You can also book in person at the Belfast Welcome Centre, 47 Donegall Place from 10am-5.30pm, Monday to Friday and 11am-3pm Saturday. 

The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s is supported by Queen’s University, Belfast, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council. 

Richard Gaston, Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s: +44 (028) 9097 1345, mobile:  07989 402678 or e-mail

For further information please contact: Catharina Hendrick, Belfast Festival at Queen's Press Officer, 028 9097 1356,

Top of Page

'Hunger' star to introduce opening night of QFT screenings

QFT is delighted to announce that Stuart Graham, one of the lead actors of the award-winning Hunger, will introduce the opening night of the film's run at QFT on Friday 31st October at 6.45pm. 

An established Irish stage and screen actor for twenty years, Stuart plays prison officer Ray Lohan in Hunger, which has won numerous awards at festivals around the world, including the prestigious Camera d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Susan Picken, QFT Manager said:

“We are delighted that Stuart is able to come and visit QFT for our opening night of this impressive and important local film. This is a rare opportunity to hear the inside story behind the making of a true landmark in Northern Irish cinema.”   

Booking for this special event is currently available from

For further information and booking for all Queens’s Film Theatre film events, please drop into the QFT at 20 University Square.

For further information, please contact Sarah Hughes, Press and Marketing Officer, tel. 028 90971398, email

Top of Page

An Adventure in Crumlin Road Gaol
Students perform during one of their Adventures
Students perform during one of their Adventures

Queen’s University is offering its students to chance to learn valuable career skills... in Crumlin Road Gaol.

Students from the University will stage a performance in the Gaol on Saturday 25 October at 7pm as part of a unique learning experience through Queen’s Centre for Excellence in the Creative and Performing Arts.

Students of the University’s MA Interdisciplinary Arts course are brought together for a series of ‘Adventures’, where they are encouraged to think ‘outside the box’.

Anna Newell, Artistic Director of the Centre for Excellence in the Creative and Performing Arts at Queen’s, said: "The unique part of the course is that all the students are brought together for a series of ‘Adventures’. They are asked to meet at a specific location - in this case Crumlin Road Gaol - where they are presented with their Adventure. This might involve putting together a performance piece, an installation, a recording or a piece of creative writing - whatever they feel is most appropriate for that venue.

“Led by arts industry experts, the students are encouraged to use their imagination, think outside their normal sphere of thought, collaborate under pressure and generally cope with being thrown out of their comfort zone. Although Arts based, it helps them develop the skills necessary for any career path."

Entitled ‘Site-Lines’ this performance will be led by Coventry-based site-specific theatre specialists Talking Birds who will be working with students from Queen’s MA Interdisciplinary Arts course to create a short performance in, around and through the Gaol.

The performance will be created over two days and will be an opportunity to explorethe possibilities for future, larger-scale performances at the North Belfast landmark.

Anna Newell continued: "The students will meet with visiting artists from Talking Birds and will work throughout the day to create a performance that can be seen by members of the public at 7pm on Friday evening."
Admission to the performance is free. To reserve your place call the Centre for Excellence in the Creative and Performing Arts on 028 9097 5034 or email   For more information on the MA Interdisciplinary Arts visit 

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320,   07814 415 451.

Top of Page

Queen's goes for THE hat-trick

Queen’s University has been shortlisted in three categories of the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2008. It is one of just six universities from 109 across the UK to have been shortlisted in three categories.

The awards, now in their fourth year, aim to recognise the ground-breaking work undertaken by UK higher education institutions.

At a ceremony in London on Thursday of this week (23 October) Queen’s will find out if it has won the top awards for Entrepreneurial University of the Year, Outstanding Contribution to the Community and Excellence and Innovation in the Arts.

Queen’s University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “These categories illustrate very clearly the breadth and quality of the life and work of Queen’s.

“To be shortlisted for one award is an honour but to be recognised in three categories is testament to the hard work of our staff and students across the university.

“We are proud to be recognised for the efforts we put into making our students feel welcome and creating an atmosphere they will remember for years to come.”

Entrepreneurial University of the Year
There have been many recent developments in enterprise education at Queen’s including the opening of a new enterprise centre, the first of its kind in the UK.

Enterprise SU is an interactive, informative and accessible space where students can get information on enterprise and employability opportunities 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Queen’s has also introduced a scheme to teach enterprise to primary and secondary schoolteachers so they can pass the knowledge on to children.

Enterprise education is embedded into the degree pathways in all sciences, with around 2,000 students awarded certificates for their work each year. Last year a senior teaching fellow David Gibson became the first recipient of a UK National Teaching Fellowship for Enterprise in Education.

Outstanding Contribution to the Community
The University’s School of Education’s Open Learning programme has demonstrated its contribution to the community by introducing a range of courses to engage positively with diversity and difference and to support activities which encourage reflection, reconciliation and understanding.

The School engages directly with the communities most directly affected by political violence by offering programmes which bring together police officers, civil servants, community activists and former paramilitaries.

Excellence and Innovation in the Arts
Queen’s Naughton Gallery’s Silver Sounds Exhibition has been shortlisted in the Innovation in the Arts category.

Launched in April, the project brings together academics from two universities, ten sound artists and new technology to present a three year display.

The exhibition is unique because visitors can ‘hear’ as well as see the University’s silver collection, through using handheld computers to highlight objects and listen to the artists’ interpretations.

Ann Mroz, Editor, Times Higher Education, said: “The Awards recognise the very best in higher education in the UK and we are delighted to announce that Queen’s University has made it onto the shortlist for three awards.

“Our senior advisory panel has been taken from all fields of academia and had to choose from hundreds of first-class entries – only the best made it through to our shortlist.”

The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony, held at Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London next Thursday, 23 October. Last year over 1,200 people from the field of higher education gathered to celebrate the sector’s achievements.

For media enquiries please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Senior Press Officer, +44 (0)28 9097 5384, Mob: 07814 422 572,

Top of Page

Queen's University projects awarded £1.3m by Invest Northern Ireland

Queen's University projects have been awarded a total of £1.3m by Invest Northern Ireland.

The money comes from the Higher Education Innovation Fund, which aims to raise productivity and deliver economic growth.

It will fund commercialisation of research, marketing and sales support for spin outs and support for companies in the digital engineering, environmental research and plastics sectors.

Projects include the Invest NI Enterprise Fellowship Scheme, where funding will be made available to academic staff at Queen’s to enable them to ‘buy out’ time from teaching and administration to focus on commercialising their research and establish new business ventures.

Since 1984 Queen’s has created over 50 spin out companies and funding for marketing and sales support has been awarded to help a number of these companies realise their significant potential for growth.

Funding has also been given to the Northern Ireland Technology Centre (NITC) to deliver a digital engineering project. Pilot projects with nine companies will form the basis for a wider promotional campaign highlighting the benefits of digital engineering to the Northern Ireland manufacturing industry.

The Plastics Industry is also set to benefit with funding for the Polymer Processing Competence Centre. It will increase it efforts to encourage the Northern Ireland plastics sector to develop new products in areas including medical devices, biodegradable plastics and recycling.

And finally, other environmental benefits are set to follow with funding for an environmental excellence project. Twenty small to medium enterprises will benefit from the knowledge of the Questor Centre at Queen’s for three years. Europe’s only industry/university co-operative environmental research centre, the companies will benefit from Questor’s research programme in terms of new product, service or process development.

Queen’s University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “We wholeheartedly commend Invest NI on its commitment to support the creation and growth of Northern Ireland companies through the funding of these exciting projects. 

“Queen’s, in turn, commits to effectively applying its wide range of technological knowledge and expertise to ensure successful project outcomes.”

Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, said: “As set out in our Corporate Plan for 2008 to 2011, Invest NI will commit an increased proportion of our resources to investments which seek to commercialise intellectual property from our public and private research bases.

“Universities have an essential role to play in this and in the overall development of the local economy.

“These projects, supported under the Higher Education Innovation Fund, will increase QUB’s capability to continue to respond to the needs of Northern Ireland business and assist them to develop and exploit product and service innovations.”

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362,

Top of Page

Big Lottery Fund furthers Alzheimer's research

Researchers at Queen’s are collaborating with other leading institutions on the genetics behind Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Research Trust is funding the research following an award of £427,240 by the Big Lottery Fund.

The project will investigate the genetics of late-onset Alzheimer's disease. The researchers will expand one of the world’s largest Alzheimer’s disease DNA collections. They will then use it to identify genetic variations that contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s.

Professor Peter Passmore from the School of Medicince, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s said: “Late-onset Alzheimer’s accounts for 99% of cases of the disease, and there are over 460,000 people in the UK with Alzheimer’s. Finding genetic factors that contribute to late-onset Alzheimer’s will form a basis for further research towards treatments.”

The findings will also be used to launch a public dissemination campaign to inform Alzheimer’s patients, their families and carers, of how genetics affects Alzheimer’s, and how this information might be used for diagnosis, prevention and treatment. The project will directly benefit over 63,000 Alzheimer’s patients and their family members, and also provide researchers around the world with a greater understanding of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, said: “we are delighted that we have secured this major funding, which will help advance our understanding of the genetics of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Identification of these genetic factors will spur further vital research toward the treatments that we so desperately need. We receive no government funding for our research and rely on public donations, so the award from the Big Lottery Fund is a huge boost to the work of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust.” Media inquiries to Lisa Mitchell, Senior Press Officer. Tel: 028 90 97 5384 or email

Top of Page

Sports and Books Bursary on offer

As the credit crunch starts to bite, Queen's University is issuing a timely reminder to encourage eligible students to take advantage of its Sport and Books Bursary scheme.

The means-tested scheme offers students £105 to spend on services or goods in the Physical Education Centre and the Bookshop at Queen's.

It can be used to purchase textbooks, general books and stationery in the Bookshop or to pay membership and course fees or for personal training sessions in the Physical Education Centre. Among those benefiting from the scheme is final year Environmental Planning student Karen Hart from Lislea in Co. Armagh.

She said: "This bursary has been a great help to me since I started Queen’s three years ago and I would heartily recommend it to others. I’m very keen on sport - in particular, swimming, camogie and tennis - and textbooks are essential, so I spent my bursary on PEC membership and course books on planning.

"My message to other students would be to check if they’re eligible for this bursary and, if so, to take advantage of it right away. It’s obviously only available until they graduate so if they don’t use it, they’ll lose it."

For media enquiries please contact: Anne Langford, Corporate Affairs, +44 (0)28 9097 5310, Mob: 07815 871 997,

Top of Page

'Degree Plus' to give tomorrow's leaders 'competitive edge' QTV News Story


A major new Queen’s initiative to underpin Northern Ireland’s skills base and to give the University graduates a competitive edge in the graduate job market has been welcomed by CBI Northern Ireland.

The University’s Employability and Skills initiative will be launched today by CBI Northern  Ireland Chairman Brian Ambrose who described it as “a radical and ambitious plan to create future business and professional leaders”.

The new scheme, which will ensure that students receive careers help and guidance from admission through to graduation, was developed after extensive consultation with graduate employers, parents and students.

It includes a unique programme to reward students for job-related skills in extra-curricular activities such as sport, voluntary work or part-time work. ‘Degree Plus’ will award students a qualification which will enhance their employment prospects. It acknowledges skills such as leadership, good communication, teamworking or management which they have acquired from activities other than their academic studies.

Mr Ambrose said: “As pressures increase on business, we in turn are ever more demanding on the type of young person that we require to help us compete in global markets. Today’s approach by Queen’s is a most welcome development and CBI NI is delighted to fully endorse an intervention which is ambitious and comprehensive. We not only require highly-skilled graduates but increasingly are looking for those complementary skills which are embedded in the new Employability and Skills Policy.

“It is timely that, when headlines are dominated with negative news, the University has shown the leadership that will help strengthen our long term competitiveness. The business community looks forward to a continued engagement with Queen’s as it rolls out this policy over the next few years.”

The University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students, Professor Ken Brown, said: “Queen’s graduates already have an excellent record in the job market but we aim to enhance their chances further. We recognise that universities play a crucial role in providing the talent and intellectual resources for the future and that we must nurture levels of innovation, creativity, enterprise and leadership alongside academic ability.

“This policy aims to do just that by encouraging students to engage directly with the University in unlocking their potential.”

Today’s development was also welcomed by Ciarnan Helferty, President of the Students’ Union.  He said: “Our students are well aware that, when it comes to finding jobs, they need to show that they do not just have a good degree but a range of other qualities to make them stand out from others. This policy provides not only what students want but what they need for their future careers.”

The new policy builds on the teaching of employability skills already embedded in the Queen’s curriculum and complements another new initiative under which careers guidance and information has been incorporated into new School level induction programmes this year.

Media enquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5310 or email

Top of Page

Art treasures for a tenner at Queen's
Anna Patrick from the Naughton Gallery at Queen's preparing for the Wish You Were Here: Postcards from an Unknown Artist exhibition
Anna Patrick from the Naughton Gallery at Queen's preparing for the Wish You Were Here: Postcards from an Unknown Artist exhibition

An opportunity to snap up a piece of original artwork for as little as £10 is on offer at Queen’s next weekend (24-26 Oct).

Over 80 leading artists from across Ireland have donated works to an ‘anonymous’ exhibition in the Naughton Gallery at the University called Wish You Were Here: Postcard from an Unknown Artist.

Beginning today  the works will be displayed for a week, before going on sale on Friday 24 Oct at 5pm when each item will cost £50. Any remaining work available on Saturday 25 will be sold at £25 per item and for £10 on Sunday 26.

A full list of participating artists will be displayed in the gallery but the works will be displayed anonymously. Artists include Neil Shawcross, Brian Ballard, Zoe Murdoch, Joseph McWilliams and Emma Connolly.

Sponsored by Royal Mail, the exhibition forms part of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

The generously donated artworks come from across contemporary practice including painting, drawing, photography, mono-prints and collage.

The participating artists have also been asked to nominate an emerging or overlooked artist for a solo exhibition at the Naughton Gallery in early 2010. All proceeds from the Wish You Were Here exhibition sale will go towards funding this.

Shan McAnena, Curator of Art at Queen’s said; “We are hugely grateful to all the artists who have generously donated works to this exhibition. This will allow us to hold a future exhibition for a new and emerging artist and produce a catalogue of work.”

Barbara Roulston, Head of External Relations for Royal Mail said: “Royal Mail has always been a strong supporter of the visual arts through its special stamp programme and we are delighted to be involved with this event – a first at the Belfast Festival – which offers everyone the opportunity to own a piece of art at a very affordable price.”

A panel comprising Peter Richards, artist and director of the Golden Thread Gallery Belfast; Gerry Devlin, artist and lecturer; Amanda Croft, curator and lecturer and Shan McAnena, curator and director of The Naughton Gallery at Queen’s, will consider the nominations and select the artist for the solo exhibition.

Wish You Were Here runs from Friday 17 October to Friday 24 October, Monday to Saturday 11am – 4pm. The sale of artwork will begin at 5pm on Friday 24th October.  For a list of participating artists and to view the donated works please visit

For media enquiries please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Press Officer, +44 (0)28 9097 5384, Mob: 07814 422 572,

Top of Page

HRH The Duke of York visits ECIT
The anechoic chamber in ECIT

HRH The Duke of York today visited Queen's University’s Institute of Electronics Communications and Information Technology (ECIT).

Prince Andrew has the role of UK Special Representative for International Trade and Investment and has a responsibility for maintaining government and commercial contacts and relationships in the UK and abroad.

ECIT was opened in 2004 representing a £37m investment. The Institute brings together research specialists in Electronics and Computer Science to work with companies worldwide in areas as diverse as public transport security, healthcare wireless networks and anti-virus and anti-spam protection and hardware encryption techniques.

The Duke was greeted by The Lady Carswell OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast and went on to meet Professor Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast who accompanied HRH during the engagement.

Welcoming HRH The Duke of York to the Institute, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “ECIT’s unique focus on blue skies and industrial research projects is playing a vital role in helping Northern Ireland take its deserved place on the global technology stage.

“It is therefore fitting that we welcome HRH The Duke Of York to Queen’s in its Centenary Year, not only as an honoured guest but in his role as UK Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.

“The research he sees today will be the communications technology of tomorrow.”

The ECIT building is a specially designed 4000 square metre facility which undertakes more ambitious real-world, ‘over-the-horizon’, research than is usually found in more conventional university environments.

During his tour, Prince Andrew was given an overview of the work of Aetopia, a company which specialises in digital media retrieval technology and the System-On-Chip Laboratory. He also viewed a demonstration of the Intelligent Sensor Information System (ISIS) project which can be used to recognise and react to unusual events and threats on buses, tube trains and aircraft.

The Duke saw first-hand the Institute’s anechoic chamber, a research facility which is used commercially to test and perform complex measurements on mobile phone, satellite and base station antenna and is the largest of its type in the UK.

He also viewed the techniques used for data encryption and the use of next generation hardware to ensure a virus free internet in the home.

Following words of thanks from Professor Gregson, Prince Andrew accepted an invitation to sign the visitors’ book before departing for the next engagement.

For media enquiries please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Press Officer, +44 (0)28 9097 5384, Mob: 07814 422 572,

Top of Page

Queen's Professor President Elect of research organisation

A Queen’s University Professor from South Belfast has been elected President Elect of the British Educational Research Association (BERA).

Professor John Gardner from the School of Education at Queen’s is the first educationalist from Northern Ireland to be elected to the post, which he will hold until 2011.

Professor Gardner said: "As the largest research organisation for the social sciences in the UK, the BERA aims to sustain and promote a vital research culture in education. It is a great honour to be elected President of the Association and I look forward to working at the highest level to promote and facilitate high quality educational research throughout the UK and Ireland."

Professor Tony Gallagher, Head of the School of Education at Queen’s, said: "The School of Education is very pleased with the election of Professor Gardner as President of BERA. John has a strong international reputation for his research and scholarship. His election is an outstanding honour and gives him an opportunity to lead the education research community in the UK and beyond."

For more information on BERA visit

Top of Page

Queen's academic joins illustrious Roll of Honour
Professor Patrick Johnston, Dean of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen's University Belfast
Professor Patrick Johnston, Dean of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen's University Belfast

A Queen's academic is to be honoured by St Columb's College in Derry for his work in the field of cancer care.

Dean of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Professor Patrick Johnston will receive the Alumnus Illustrissimus award at a dinner on Friday 17 October.

The award is presented annually to a past pupil who has achieved something of major significance or has made a considerable contribution in his own field. Award recipients are chosen by the St Columb’s College Past Pupils Union.

Professor Johnston, who was a member of the leaving class of 1976 at St Columb’s, is a world-renowned cancer oncologist. He was the driving force behind the development of a comprehensive cancer centre for Northern Ireland, encompassing a state-of-the-art clinical cancer centre and a £25 million major cancer research complex, the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen's.

Speaking about the award, Professor Johnston said: “I am very honoured to have had my work recognised in this way by my old Alma mater and to join a very illustrious group of individuals including among others Séamus Heaney, John Hume and Brian Friel.”

Mr Sean McGinty, Principal of St Columb’s College said: “Professor Patrick Johnston is a very worthy recipient of the College Union’s award of Alumnus Illustrissimus for 2008. His outstanding work in cancer research allied with his clear focus and inspirational leadership has led to the creation of a centre of research which will benefit not just cancer suffers in Northern Ireland but throughout the world. The College is proud to welcome home one of its most illustrious past-pupils.”

The President of St Columb’s College Union, Mr Michael Hegarty, said: “As Alumnus Illustrissimus 2008 Professor Johnston’s name is to be added to the list of those previously honoured, all of whom have made outstanding contributions in their respective areas of expertise. The Union is proud and privileged to bestow this honour upon him.”

Past winners of the Alumnus Illustrissimus award include Nobel Laureates John Hume and Seamus Heaney, physicist Professor Raymond Flannery, football manager Martin O’Neill and composer Phil Coulter.

Professor Johnston will be presented with an Eamonn O’Doherty bronze sculpture depicting St Columba leaving Derry for Iona at the dinner. He will also meet with medical students at St Columb’s College on Friday afternoon.

Top of Page

Town and gown celebrate 100 year relationship
Belfast's Lord Mayor Councillor Tom Hartley, host of a special Centenary Dinner for Queen's University
Belfast's Lord Mayor Councillor Tom Hartley, host of a special Centenary Dinner for Queen's University

A special Centenary dinner to celebrate the close relationship between Queen’s University and the city of Belfast is being hosted by Belfast City Council this evening.

Part of Queen’s Centenary celebrations, the event will take place at Belfast Harbour Commissioners, to recognise the valuable partnership which has spanned over 100 years.

Belfast, which was already a prosperous centre of commerce, became a city in 1888, and celebrated the Centenary of the City Hall two years ago.

Queen’s, founded as Queen’s College Belfast in 1845, became an independent university in 1908 and is celebrating its centenary this year with a wide range of events.

The two institutions share many links. Many of Belfast’s leading citizens, including several members of Belfast City Council are Queen’s graduates.

Both institutions are partners in the Community Warden Scheme in South Belfast, a joint approach to enhancing community relations between students and residents in the university area.

Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s, Professor Peter Gregson, said: “Belfast City Council has helped create a vibrant cosmopolitan and social atmosphere in the city, which is now rated as a must-visit destination by tourists, and an attractive place in which to invest.

“This is in turn, enhances the University’s ability to attract high-quality students from beyond these shores.

“Looking to the future - to the next 100 years and beyond - I hope that our partnership can really make a difference in continuing to transform this city and region.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, CouncillorTom Hartley, said: “Queen’s occupies a central position in the civic life of Belfast.

“It maintains an international reputation as a major research intensive university which underpins its success in delivering a top class academic education to its students.”

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362,

Top of Page

A Fistful of Celluloid - Morricone Season at QFT

QFT has launched a selection of cinema classics to celebrate the visit of Ennio Morricone to Belfast. The legendary film composer Ennio Morricone will open the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s this weekend.

From Friday 17 to Thursday 30 October, A Fistful of Celluloid will feature just some of the cinematic highlights of over 40 years of Morricone’s glittering career.   The season will feature a range of his spaghetti western classics as well as the Northern Ireland premiere of one of his more recent works.
Launching the Morricone season, Susan Picken, QFT Manager said: “It is rare that Belfast plays host to a real live cinematic legend, so what better opportunity to rediscover the genius of Morricone than with this unmissable season of his work at QFT?”

The season will open on Friday 17 October with a screening of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, a gripping thriller where a writer gets trapped between two panes of glass when he witnesses an attempted murder in an art gallery.

The following day, QFT will present a talk by the well-known critic and award-winning broadcaster, Sir Christopher Frayling, a huge admirer of Morricone who will provide a fascinating insight into the maestro's work. The event will be followed by a special screening of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, with a joint ticket available for both the talk and the film for £9/£6 QFT members.

Western fans are in for a real treat on Saturday 25 October, as QFT screens the entire ‘Dollars’ trilogy - A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - back-to-back, featuring the iconic Clint Eastwood as the Man with No Name. Tickets for this triple extravaganza are available at the special price of £15/£10 QFT Members.

Morricone shows the diversity of his talents with his futuristic score for horror movie The Thing. John Carpenter’s Antarctic sci-fi extravaganza, screens at QFT on Saturday 18 October. The Unknown Woman, a thriller about a young Ukranian woman with dark secrets which will have its Northern Ireland premiere at QFT on Sunday 19 October.

The Mission screens on Tuesday 21 October, while Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven deserves special attention on Wednesday 22 October.

Marlon Brando stars as the machiavellian Englishman William Walker in Burn! (Thursday 23 October), a drama on the politics of war. The season comes to a close on Thursday 30 October, with Fists in the Pocket, the incendiary debut of the exceptional director Marco Bellochio, which tells the story of a fiercely explosive portrayal of a family on the brink of implosion.

For further information and booking for all Queens’s Film Theatre film events, please visit or drop into QFT at 20 University Square.

For further information, please contact Sarah Hughes, Press and Marketing Officer, Queen’s Film Theatre, on telephone 028 90971398 or email

Top of Page

Gender jujitsu - How Sarah Palin knocked the media off-balance
Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin

The impact of the Republican Party’s decision to nominate Sarah Palin as Vice-Presidential candidate will be discussed at Queen’s on Tuesday.

Professor Kathleen Knight from Columbia University in New York will share her views on how Palin’s nomination disarmed the American media and the Democratic opposition.

The talk is hosted by the European Governance and Gender research group and the Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics at Queen’s.

Dr Yvonne Galligan, Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics said: "Sarah Palin’s nomination shows how gender can be manipulated to serve other ends. Political women in Northern Ireland know this, the question is, does Sarah Palin?"

Professor Knight said: "Sarah Palin’s nomination for Republican Vice-Presidential candidate disarmed the media and the Democratic Party setting them off-balance to an extent that neither has managed to fully recover.

“In essence, the Palin nomination has presented us with a perfect example of ‘political jujitsu’ - using an opponent’s strength to induce a fall. Whether or not this is successful will only be revealed after America goes to the polls on 4 November.

“Palin’s selection as John McCain’s running mate reinforced McCain’s conservative credentials and attempted to balance his age with youth.

“While the media and the public focused on the very real possibility that America might elect its first ever black President in Barack Obama, Palin’s nomination attempted to trump race with gender and provide some voters with a rationale for a decision against Obama. 

“As the first woman to run on the Republican Party’s presidential ticket, Palin reaped the benefits of everything feminists had fought for, yet she opposed most of their core values. Her nomination therefore outraged liberal feminists across the US. Media debate on her ability and experience was quashed with claims of sexism and other bias in reporting, and questions on her family values and child-rearing practices, particularly following the revelation of her teenage daughter’s pregnancy, have been met with an unprecedented screen of privacy."

Professor Knight’s talk, Gender Jujitsu: The Media Dilemma over US Vice-Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, will take place at 4pm on Tuesday 14 October at the School of Politics, 21 University Square, Belfast. Admission is free.

Kathleen Knight is Senior Lecturer in Political Science at Columbia University in New York. Her teaching and research interests include media and politics, political psychology and women in politics.

For more information on the Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics at Queen’s visit 

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, , 07814 415 451.

Top of Page

Girls are happier than boys at primary school

Just over one quarter (26 per cent) of primary seven boys are completely happy coming to school, compared with 44 per cent of girls, according to a survey carried out by Queen’s University and the University of Ulster.

The Kids’ Life and Times Survey found that boys were less happy than girls with writing, reading, spelling, working by themselves and coming to school. The survey also found that just over half of primary seven children think pupils in their school have been bullied.

A total of 3,440 P7 children across Northern Ireland took part in the Kids’ Life and Times Survey. This is the first time all P7 children have been given the chance to express their opinions on the issues affecting them, such as happiness in school, bullying, health and wellbeing, and the Transfer Test.

The survey was carried out by ARK, a joint research initiative by the two universities, and the findings will be launched at Queen’s University today (Friday 10 October).

The key findings from the survey are that:
• 84 per cent of girls compared with 76 per cent of boys said they had been ‘mostly happy’ at their primary school.
• 44 per cent of girls and 26 per cent of boys were completely happy coming to school.
• 51 per cent of children think that children in their school get bullied. 5 per cent think that pupils in their school get bullied a lot and a further 46 per cent that pupils get bullied a little.
• 22 per cent of children said they have been physically bullied at school either a lot (4 per cent) or a little (18 per cent) while 39 per cent have been bullied a lot or a little in other ways.
• 10 per cent of children have experienced bullying by text message or on the Internet
• 44 per cent of children wanted to keep the Transfer Test and 35 per cent wanted to get rid of it.
• 19 per cent of children felt under a lot of pressure when they were doing the Transfer Test, 23 per cent felt no pressure at all and 55 per cent felt somewhere in between the two. 43 per cent of children said the main source or pressure was from themselves.

Dr Katrina Lloyd from Queen’s University said: "The public and the media often debate topical and controversial issues like bullying in our schools and the future of the Transfer Test. But we rarely ask the children themselves what they think about these things. The Kids’ Life and Times Survey gives children the opportunity to express their views on the issues that affect them.

“The survey findings provide a valuable insight into children’s experiences of school life. The discrepancy between the number of girls and boys who are completely happy coming to school, and the fact that almost a quarter of P7 children said they had been physically bullied at school, raises issues that must be addressed by those who make the decisions and policies that affect our children’s school experiences."

Professor Gillian Robinson from the University of Ulster said: "The years spent at primary school are crucial to a child’s development - not only in terms of what they learn but also their general wellbeing. It is important that those involved in educating our children understand the extent to which they do or do not enjoy being at school and the pressures they are under. I am sure this survey will help inform education policy makers in making decisions that affect thousands of school children across Northern Ireland.

“As with all ARK surveys, the results of the Kids’ Life and Times Survey will be made widely available, and a copy will be sent to every primary school in Northern Ireland."

The Kids’ Life and Times Survey was funded by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. The survey findings will be available at on 10th October at 12.00pm.

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, , 07814 415 451.

Top of Page

Queen's brings the sixties to the big screen
Dr Brian Kelly and Dr Todd Weir at the 'Turning Point 1968' exhibition at Queen's Welcome Centre
Dr Brian Kelly and Dr Todd Weir at the 'Turning Point 1968' exhibition at Queen's Welcome Centre

Queen’s Film Theatre (QFT) is staging a 1960s film festival to mark the 40th anniversary of 1968 - a year of change around the globe. The festival includes a special screening of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is rarely seen on the big screen. QFT has been granted special permission by Kubrick’s family to show the film.

Every day from Friday 10 until Thursday 16 October, Turning Point 1968 will screen a major film of the cinematic revolution of the 1960s.

Rolling Stones ‘rockumentary’ Sympathy for the Devil, and controversial documentary Rocky Road to Dublin, which examined the state of 1960s Ireland and was censored for more than 30 years, will also be shown as part of the University’s Turning Point 1968 celebrations.

The film festival is part of a series of 1968 commemorative events being held at the University. Professor Todd Weir from Queen’s School of History and Anthropology said: "Turning Point 1968 involves a series of events and an exhibition at Queen’s Welcome Centre to mark four decades since the cultural and political revolution of the late sixties.

“1968 was a turning point in the history of Northern Ireland and many other countries around the world. The rise of the civil rights movement here, in which many Queen’s students played a leading role, the student protests in Paris, the growth of feminist and gay rights movements, and the global protest against the Vietnam War were expressions of a new political culture that was emerging across the globe.

“1968 is also the year in which QFT first opened its doors, so the film festival is the perfect way to celebrate the cinema’s 40th anniversary, whilst remembering how the events of the late sixties impacted on politics, culture and the arts around the world.

“Following a successful programme of events earlier this year, our autumn line-up also includes a conference on 10 October, bringing together scholars from around the world to reflect on the legacy of 1968 in Northern Ireland, France, Turkey and the USA. An exhibition of 1968 memorabilia in Queen’s Welcome Centre offers a glimpse of the events that took place in Belfast and elsewhere in the late 1960s, and some of our lecturers will meet with local secondary school pupils to tell them about the sixties’ protest culture.

“Although 40 years have passed, the legacy of 1968 can still be seen and felt around the world. Turning Point 1968 at Queen’s will explore the events of that era, their lasting impact on society and connections between what happened in Northern Ireland, and indeed at Queen’s University, and other events around the world."

For more information on Turning Point 1968 visit All QFT events are available to book online at

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320, , 07814 415 451.

Top of Page

Irish university women to debate human rights
University women will debate human rights

The role of women as agents for change in tackling human rights issues will be examined during an all-Ireland conference at Queen’s University on Saturday.

Around 50 women graduates from throughout Ireland will attend the event – the annual conference of the Irish Federation of University Women – which is being hosted at Queen’s this year as part of the University’s Centenary celebrations.

Speakers will include Northern Ireland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People Patricia Lewsley who will talk on “The place of children within the Human Rights framework and our goals for the future”.

Also taking part will be Queen’s Law lecturer Eileen Fegan who will speak on “Raising Women’s Rights Awareness in the Wider Community” and Canadian educationalist Phyllis Scott, Vice-President of the International Federation of University Women.

 “The themes we will discuss are universal,” said Hilary Bracefield, President of Queen’s Women Graduates Association. “These issues affect women and girls in every country, and the conference will debate topics ranging from the role of women in rural parts of Ireland to inequalities in wider society.

“The Irish Federation of University Women has a strong voice as an advocate for human rights. The theme at the last conference in Cork was the growing problem of sexual trafficking of women into Ireland. Arising from our discussions a working group prepared a paper to go to the Irish Government which helped to lead to the setting up of a special unit to advise the government on the extent of the problem. It will be interesting to see what the outcomes will be from our conference in Belfast.”

Media enquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit on + 44 (0) 28 9097 5310 or email

Top of Page

Alzheimer's study at Queen's boosted by £228,000 grant
Dr Stephen Todd
Dr Stephen Todd

A Queen’s academic has been awarded £228,000 to further his research into how Alzheimer’s disease progresses.

Dr Stephen Todd, from Bangor, who works in the Department of Geriatric Medicine at Queen’s, has been announced as the only Beeson Ireland 2008 scholar after a transatlantic panel peer-reviewed his proposal.

The Beeson Award is the highest international accolade in Geriatric Medicine and is made to high calibre individuals seeking to advance research into ageing and medicine for older people.

The funding is being provided by the American Foundation for Aging Research (AFAR) and the Atlantic Philanthropies.

The grant will allow him to continue research showing that an enzyme called beta-secretase had higher levels of activity in patients with Alzheimer’s compared with older people without the disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society there are 700,000 people with dementia in the UK with numbers set to rise to one million by 2025.

Dr Todd’s award will be used for a three year project entitled Investigation of Platelet beta-secretase Activity in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Dr Todd, who graduated from Queen’s in July with an MD, explained: “The grant involves retesting as many as possible of 400 previous volunteers five years after their initial test.

“We hope to determine if the initial level of beta-secretase activity influenced how the disease progressed over that time, or for people who had no memory problems initially, if it predicts subsequent development of memory problems.

“This could be helpful to doctors in the future who may be able to advise patients and their relatives with greater accuracy how their disease will progress.”

Beta-secretase is a key molecule in forming plaques which are thought to be crucial in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

To measure the activity of beta-secretase in special blood cells called platelets, Dr Todd will use a method devised by Dr Janet Johnston and colleagues in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s.

This is more convenient for patients than obtaining brain samples or samples of Cerebrospinal fluid - the substance that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

The funding will also enable the team to examine beta-secretase activity in people just newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s who are about to start being treated with a dementia drug.

The team aims to determine if the level of the enzyme can predict response to the drugs. About 150 people will be recruited for this part of the study.

Last year Dr Todd’s Queen’s colleague Dr Bernadette McGuinness was the first person to win the Beeson scholarship when the award was made for the first time outside the United States.

In order to receive the Beeson Award candidates must have the support of a team in an institution recognised as having a commitment to ageing research and teaching.

Dr Peter Passmore, Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Queen’s, said: “I am delighted that Dr Todd has achieved a Beeson Award. This is the highest international accolade in Geriatric Medicine.

“It will enable him to develop his career in Academic Geriatric Medicine and significantly complement the work of the first Beeson Scholar, Dr McGuinness, as well as the existing programme in dementia studies here.

“The Beeson Awards have greatly enhanced the interaction between Queen’s University and centres in the USA and have added to the growing international reputation of dementia research in Northern Ireland.”

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362,

Top of Page

Queen's gives thanks for 100 years of service

A special Service of Thanksgiving for Queen's University’s 100 years of contribution to the community will be held in St Anne’s Cathedral on Wednesday night.

Among those taking part in the ecumenical service will be local church leaders, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson, President of the Students’ Union Ciarnan Helferty, the University’s Chaplains, and representatives of Queen’s students and staff.

The Service will include the presentation of gifts symbolising all aspects of the University’s activities, including the student experience, its contribution to the professions, culture, the medical and physical sciences and knowledge transfer and the work of the Queen’s University Foundation.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “The University has much to celebrate and much for which to give thanks. The story of Queen’s is the story of its people - the staff, students, alumni and friends who have made the University what it is today.

“This unique service - one of the highlights of the Centenary programme - gives us the opportunity to come together in gratitude for their achievements over the past 100 years and to demonstrate our faith in the University’s future.”
The Dean of St Anne’s Cathedral, the Very Reverend Houston McKelvey, said: “The Cathedral and the University have remarkably similar stories in that both establishments were nurtured in our emerging and changing city. We each are part of that major formative period in the development of this city’s life and environment. This service will not only recognise the University’s leading role in the community over the past century but also acknowledges all those who are contributing to its vision for the future.”

The Service of Thanksgiving will be another landmark in the Queen’s Centenary celebrations which include the Royal visit by The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in March. This historic event was also attended by one of the University’s most eminent alumni, President of Ireland Mary McAleese.

In May, leaders in law, politics, academia and community work from around the world gathered at Queen’s for the Mitchell Conference on the lessons to be learned from Northern Ireland’s experience of peace-building and regeneration. Named after the University’s Chancellor, Senator George Mitchell, this event included the conferment of honorary degrees on former UK and Irish premiers Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern for their contribution to peace in Northern Ireland.

And, in July, one of the most important figures of the 20th and 21st centuries, Nobel prizewinner Nelson Mandela, was named the University’s Centenary Honorary Graduate.

Media enquiries to Anne Langford, Press and PR Unit on 028 9097 5310 or email

Top of Page

National Poetry Day kicks off Heaney Centre autumn programme
Professor Ciaran Carson
Professor Ciaran Carson

Three award-winning poets will be featured in an event being held at Queen’s to mark National Poetry Day on Thursday. (October 9)

Debut:Poetry, a free event which is part of a national tour, kicks off the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry’s autumn programme and is open to the public.

Each of the poets who will read from their work has received an Eric Gregory Award for writers under 30.

Paul Batchelor is based in the north-east of England and his first collection, The Sinking Road, will be published next June. His work has been described as rich, rewarding and original.

Frances Leviston's debut collection, Public Dream, was shortlisted for the prestigious 2007 TS Eliot Prize. Her poems have been published in the Guardian, Poetry London and the Times Literary Supplement.

Kathryn Simmonds is a prize-winning poet, whose debut collection, Sunday at the Skin Launderette, is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

The event, which takes place at 7pm in the Council Chamber at Queen’s, is being run in Association with the Arts Council of England. Tickets are not needed.

Other highlights of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry’s autumn calendar include the Booker Prize Discussion Evening on Monday 13 October when a distinguished panel of critics, writers and broadcasters will discuss this year’s shortlist.

On 16 October, the Centre’s Director, Professor Ciaran Carson, will launch his book entitled Ciaran Carson: Collected Poems, which brings together material from his 11 collections ranging from The New Estate in 1976 to this year’s For All We Know.

A Louis MacNeice Centenary Poetry Reading, part of the Ulster Bank Festival at Queen’s, is being held on 30 October at Queen’s. The event, funded through Awards for All, features Christopher Reid and Matthew Hollis. Tickets are free and can be obtained through the Festival Box Office on 028 9097 1197.

Several events are planned for National Novel Writing Month in November. On 5 November aspiring writers are invited to sign up to write 50,000 words in a month. Each Wednesday in November novelists and writers will be on hand to offer advice and encouragement.

The programme also includes lunchtime readings in the Seamus Heaney Centre.

For more information go to

For media enquiries please contact: Andrea Clements, Press and PR Unit,+44 (0)28 90 97 5391, Mob 07980 013 362,

Top of Page

Next Generation of female leaders at Queen's
Yvonne Galligan helps Bronagh Cleary, from Fermanagh District Council, to climb the career ladder
Yvonne Galligan helps Bronagh Cleary, from Fermanagh District Council, to climb the career ladder

Queen’s University is helping the next generation of female leaders reach the top in business and public life.

The Next Generation Programme at the Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics at Queen’s is a unique one-week course that aims to prepare women for leadership in their chosen careers.

The programme, which welcomed its eighth intake of students last week, is now accepting applications for the next course which will take place in January 2009. The programme aims to help women redress the gender imbalance at senior management level in organisations across Northern Ireland.

Dr Yvonne Galligan, Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics, said: "Women make up less than one third of all managers and senior officials in Northern Ireland. Employers have told us that their female employees, whilst very capable, often lack the confidence and motivation to progress to senior positions. The Next Generation programme aims to redress this gender imbalance by equipping women with the skills employers want and the mindset they need to reach the top.

“Next Generation is the only course of its kind in Ireland. Exclusively for women, it addresses more than just professional skills. Expert facilitators provide training on everything from public speaking and conflict management, to stress-busting techniques and advice on how to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

“Since it began in 2004, over 120 women have completed the course, and well over half of them have since climbed further up the career ladder or started their own business. The course attracts participants as varied as community workers, councillors, lecturers, accountants, solicitors and police officers. Whilst many participants are at middle management level, the course also attracts women in top level positions who, despite their success, still lack confidence in male dominated workplaces.

“The Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics provides a supportive environment for like-minded women to meet and inspire each other through the Next Generation programme. The Centre is now the premier site of research on women and politics in the European Union. It places an important emphasis on developing women’s leadership capacities and Next Generation is crucial in its efforts to prepare women for public and political leadership."

Máire Hendron, an Alliance Party Councillor on Belfast City Council, has just completed the course. She said: "Everyone should have an opportunity to take part in this course, from a work and a personal point of view."

Bronagh Cleary, Development Officer at Fermanagh District Council, said: "I came to this course with very high expectations and every one of them was met."

Joe Blair, Workplace Manager at Business in the Community said: "For Northern Ireland's economy to thrive, there is a real need for employers to better utilise the skills and abilities of women in the workplace.  Business in the Community supports the Next Generation programme's record in developing women's leadership skills and we highly recommend this course to all employers. Developing women's full leadership potential through Next Generation will make a valuable contribution to giving Northern Ireland a strong position in the competitive and challenging environment all companies face today."

The Next Generation programme takes place twice a year at Queen’s University. For more information or to download an application form visit

For media enquiries please contact: Anne-Marie Watson, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 5320,, 07814 415 451.

Top of Page