02-2004 Press Releases

New artist in residence at work in Queen's University Students' Union
An ink painting by He Weimin, artist in residence at 
the Students' Union at Queen's University
An ink painting by He Weimin, artist in residence at the Students' Union at Queen's University

One of China's outstanding young printmakers, He Weimin, has begun a three-month artist in residency in the Queen's University Students' Union.

Weimin's work has been recognised in China for many years as being one of the best examples that have grown from the current revisiting of the black and white woodcut since its revival during the 1930s. A major exhibition taking place in The British Library in London -‘Chinese Printmaking Today’ (running until 19 March) - includes his work. He is currently in Belfast working towards a PhD degree.

"The Students’ Union is very honoured and excited to have such a prestigious artist adding to the culture and diversity this building offers on a daily basis," said Jonathon Hill Student Union President. The work that He Weimin produces during his residency will be exhibited in the Queen’s Students’ Union between 4 –21 May.

Shan McAnena Curator of Art at Queen’s University admires Weimin’s skill: “His work displays his outstanding draughtsmanship and creative ability.  His work has helped to bring the best of China’s woodcut printmakers to world notice and he has exhibited and published widely. It’s a great opportunity for the local community to observe this acclaimed artist at work.” 

He Weimin says of his work and approach:
“The inspiration of my woodcut prints comes mainly from ancient Chinese Seals.  Their spiritual character, their unique and profound meaning within such a simple form has encouraged me to build up my own woodcut language.  Recently, I have been dedicated to the technique of printing woodcuts with water-soluble colour which has more than a thousand years of history in the East.  I am fascinated by this extremely flexible technique; it is also the most organic way of making prints.

“It is a natural thing for me to shift from woodcut to ink painting, from xieyi style to gongbi style, from black and white to colour, from looseness to delicate.  Xieyi style brings me into a world in which I can relax and enjoy the free movement of the brush.  Gongbi style guides me to a tranquil space where one drop of ink is enough to work a whole day with those realistic figures on a piece of silk.”

From now until the end of April, there will be an ‘Open Studio’ every Wednesday between 2-4pm on the first  floor of the Students’ Union. Everyone is welcome to drop in and watch He Weimin at work, ask questions and possibly even sit for the artist!

Weimin will also hold an ‘Ink Painting Workshop’ on Tuesday 16th March and his tutor, Reader in Printmaking David Barker, will give a lunchtime lecture on 9th March on the ‘History of Chinese Woodcut’. 
For further information please contact: Clare Leeman, Art @ Queen’s 028 9097 5353 art@qub.ac.uk or Dolores Vischer, 028 9097 5320

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Queen's welcomes world expert in economic development

One of the world’s leading experts in industrial location and economic development has taken up a position as a Visiting Professor at Queen’s University.

Professor Allen Scott, the fourth occupant of the First Trust Bank Chair of Innovation, is to spend the week beginning 1 March at the University where he will share his special knowledge of "Clustering, Location and Networks".

On Monday, he will talk to an audience of Northern Ireland’s top business people at a First Trust Bank Innovation Lecture. Entitled `Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Industrial Development: Geography and the Creative Field revisited’, his talk will highlight how much of the emphasis behind modern industrial models for growth relate to geography and the role of the region.

He will continue this theme in a series of masterclasses to public and private sector managers from across Northern Ireland, and to academic staff and students from the School of Geography at Queen's.

His masterclasses will focus on inspiring innovation and creating clusters – concentrations of competing, collaborating and interdependent companies and institutions which are connected by a system of market and non-market links, using examples such as the growth of the Hollywood film industry to illustrate the power of clustering on an international scale.

Professor Scott is Director of the Centre for Globalisation and Policy Research in UCLA. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a former Guggenheim Fellow and former visiting professor in the universities of Paris, Hong Kong and Sao Paulo.

In 2003, he was presented the Vautrin Lud International Award for Geography, given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to their fields of expertise.


For further information contact:

Claire Sinnerton, Tel 028 9097 1145

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

Notes for editors:

Professor Scott’s lecture on Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Industrial Development will take place at 6pm on Monday 1 March in Lecture Room G9, Lanyon building, Queen’s University Belfast. Media facilities will be available.

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Queen's hosts GPs annual conference

GPs and academics from all over Ireland will be gathering at Queen's University on Friday for their annual scientific meeting.

Hosted by the University's Department of General Practice, around 70 delegates will attend the 7th meeting of the Association of University Departments of General Practice. This will be the first time that the Association has met in Belfast.

Members include academics from the departments of general practice at Trinity College, Dublin, RCSI Dublin, University College Dublin, Galway and Cork as well as colleagues at the University of Ulster.

Among the topics to be discussed will be men's health, the uptake rate of the 'flu vaccine and the impact of mobile text messages on new patient medicals. There will also be discussions on research and health promotion issues such as walking to health, what prevents elderly patients claiming their full entitlement of benefits and how patients with first episode schizophrenia are dealt with in general practice.

Poster presentations will examine issues such as violence in general practices, teenage pregnancy, diabetes and the study of language as a barrier to primary care services for refugees and asylum seekers.

The key note speaker will be Professor Graham Watt, Professor of General Practice at the University of Glasgow. His address "The Long March - Academic General Practice in the UK" will look at recent progress, reflect on current problems and consider what the future holds, with a particular focus on ways in which the UK experience can inform developments in the Irish departments and primary health care systems.

The day will end with a gala dinner in the Great Hall at Queen's where delegates will get the chance to socialise. Further details can be obtained by visiting the conference web site at http://www.qub.ac.uk/cm/gp/AUDGPI/asm2004.html

For further information, contact: Dr Kieran McGlade, Department of General Practice, (028) 9020 4302 Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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24/02/04: Work experience on offer to students

A Work Experience Fair at Queen's University on Wednesday will bring together students and a range of organisations offering employment opportunities, including year-out placements, vacation work, working-abroad programmes, and part-time and voluntary work.

The Fair aims to make students aware of the diverse range of opportunities open to them, in order to help them build employability skills alongside their degree studies.

Students will have the chance to meet representatives from around 50 organisations – including Pricewaterhousecoopers, FG Wilson, Intel, Thales Air Defence, and the Northern Bank. A programme available on the day will include details of all vacancies, including those available with employers not represented at the event. Students will also receive advice on how to apply for the work opportunities and how best to use the experience for the benefit of their future careers.

The Fair, which is taking place in the University's Whitla Hall, is being organised by the Work Placement Centre, part of the University's Careers Service. The Centre is a unique, one-stop-shop which brings together all the work experience opportunities open to Queen's students.

Queen's gained funding for the Centre from the HEROBC (Higher Education Reach-Out to Business and the Community) Fund, which enables universities and colleges of higher education to develop links with business and the wider community, and funds initiatives that will contribute more effectively to economic growth and national competitiveness.

As well as providing information and advice, the Centre seeks to increase the range of placement opportunities and to promote the value of work experience amongst students, academics and employers.

"Many students are unaware of the rich diversity of opportunities open to them and may miss out on a valuable experience because they do not apply, or apply too late," says Deirdre Deery, Work Placement Development Officer.

"When a student calls in to inquire about a placement or even a vacation job to supplement their income, we guide them towards openings that fit their academic profile and future aspirations.

"This way, their early work experience is better integrated with their individual skills and interests, and can become a platform for a future career. As well as gaining experience, it will help them focus on how they want to earn a living in later life, rather than leaving this until final year."

For further information contact:

Deirdre Deery, Tel 028 9097 5597

Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

Notes for Editors:

The Work Experience Fair will be held in the Whitla Hall from 11.00am to 3.30pm on Wednesday 25 February. Media facilities will be available.

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Cultural and Creative Industries Seminar

A one-day seminar to examine the organisation and management of cultural and creative industries will be held in Belfast next week.

Organised jointly by Professor Paul Jeffcutt from Queen's University and Dr Andy Pratt from the London School of Economics, the seminar, entitled "Creative Organisation and Management?" will run on March 3 in the Wellington Park Hotel.

It is the second in a national series of research seminars on the Cultural and Creative Industries, supported by the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC) and Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB).

Speakers at the Belfast seminar will include Professor Allen J Scott from the Centre for Globalisation and Policy Research at UCLA, Professor Gernot Grabher from the Centre for Research on Socio-Economics of Space from the University of Bonn and Dr Sean Nixon, from the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex.

According to Professor Jeffcutt, the seminars aim to bring together national and international experts to debate key issues concerning the cultural and creative industries - a crucial part of the international knowledge economy.

"The overarching purpose of this research seminar network is to bring together and engage different research communities and to interrelate knowledge in the better understanding of Cultural and Creative Industries.

"Each seminar brings together invited experts from a wide spectrum of academic disciplines, public and industry bodies and features key national and international speakers," he said.

The Belfast seminar will explore dynamic relationships between creative organisations, work, workers and workspaces in the cultural economy. The research seminar will feature presentations by key international experts - Professor Allen Scott will discuss creative regions in the film industry, Professor Gernot Grabher will look at project organisation in software and advertising while Dr Sean Nixon will discuss workplace cultures and identity in advertising.

The Belfast seminar is hosted by Queen's University's Centre for Creative Industry. Subsequent seminars will focus on intermediaries and local networks, cultural diversity, professional development and social and economic impacts.

Further information about the series is available on the dedicated website: www.Ise.ac.uk/collections/geographyAndEnvironment/research/CulturalIndustrySeminar.htm

For further information, contact: Dr Paul Jeffcutt, Director, Centre for Creative Industry, School of Management and Economics, (028) 9097 3112

Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384


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Health is the prescription for Belfast Telegraph Lectures at Queen's

The future of healthcare will be prescribed for more than 700 sixth-formers from schools throughout Northern Ireland attending a major lecture series at Queen's University on Tuesday, 24 February.

"Healthcare of the New Generation" is the theme of the 2004 Belfast Telegraph Lectures at Queen's which have been organised by the University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Among topics to be covered will be changes in disease patterns, scientific developments, self-care and the future of dental treatment.

The series starts with a talk by Professor Peter Maxwell of the University's School of Medicine. Entitled "21st Century Medicine – 'Back to the Future'"" his lecture will discuss advances in the understanding of genetics and contend that longer term changes in lifestyle, environment and wealth will have more impact on health.

He will be followed by colleague Dr Richard Wilson whose lecture, "Translating Science to the Clinic", will focus on the ways in which basic laboratory science has revolutionised our understanding of cancer and led to the development of new therapies for prevention and treatment of the disease.

In "Dentistry: Trends and Options in the 21st Century", Dr David Hussey of the School of Dentistry at Queen's will examine how an older population, changes in disease processes and the development of new approaches to dental treatment are influencing the options for patients.

The ways in which we as individuals can strive to ensure that we maintain the health and function of our bodies will be discussed in the last lecture of the series, "The Body in Balance – A Prescription for Health", by Wesley Sterling of the University's School of Nursing and Midwifery.

The Belfast Telegraph Lectures are held annually at Queen's in memory of the late John E Sayers, the newspaper's editor-in-chief from 1961 to 1969.

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Queen's outlines nanoscience strengths to Sainsbury

The Vice Chancellor of Queen's University has welcomed the opportunity to outline its strengths in the nanotechnology sector during a visit by UK Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury.

Professor Sir George Bain said today's visit would enable the Minister to hear at first hand the innovative and cutting edge work being carried out by the University's world class researchers in the field of nanotechnology.

"As part of Nanotec NI we aim to play an active role in the UK Micro and Nanotechnology Network, helping to ensure the UK's place in the forefront of innovative research. Queen's is already a pioneer in the field of nanoscience and has established a number of flagship research centres in this area.

"These include ECIT, Queen's major microelectronics institute on the Northern Ireland Science Park incorporating the Centre for Research on System on a Chip and Advanced Microwireless Integration (SoCAM), the International Research Centre for Experimental Physics (IRCEP) and the Centre for Theory and Application of Catalysis (CenTACat), all of which will make a major contribution to the development of nanotechnology applications within the local economy," Professor Bain said.

Lord Sainsbury visited Queen's as part of a one-day fact-finding visit to Northern Ireland, during which he was briefed on Nanotec NI, a £11 million joint venture between Queen's and the University of Ulster, set up to develop a coherent infrastructure to exploit nanotechnology in Northern Ireland.

For further information contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications Office, (028) 9097 5384

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Women's Hour?

When the Women's Coalition faced the results of the count following the 2003 Northern Ireland Assembly election, it was a bitter pill to have to swallow.

But was this due to the polarisation of the electorate and a return to sectarian politics, or was there also reluctance on the part of voters to continue to support such an upfront 'women's' party in the midst of Northern Ireland politics?

A seminar to be held today will examine some of these fundamental questions raised by the 2003 election results. Data from the 2002 Northern Ireland Life and Times survey, which is a joint project between Queen's University and University of Ulster, will be used to take stock of public perceptions of women as political candidates and representatives.

Key points arising from the Life and Times survey are that:

Attitudes towards women and politics have become more positive since 1991, with voters now looking to parties to present them with more women candidates.

There is a perception that there are fewer barriers inhibiting women's political participation today as compared with a decade ago

The most widespread explanation for women's absence from political life is seen as resting in the personal choices made by women.

While the public is quite happy to have parties encouraged to put forward more women candidates, preferential treatment for women candidates is not popular.

The qualities women bring to political life are closer to the qualities identified in an 'ideal' representative than are those of political men.

Dr Yvonne Galligan, Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Women at Queen's University, who is presenting the seminar, said that in 2003 Assembly elections, 18 women were elected, representing an increase of 4 on the 1998 result.

"Therefore, the defeat of the Women's Coalition may be construed more as a reassertion of sectarian voting patterns rather than as a vote against women," she said.

The Life and Times survey is a constituent part of ARK - Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive (www.ark.ac.uk) - which makes social and political material based on Northern Ireland available to the widest possible audience. A Research Update based on this seminar is available on the ARK website at www.ark.ac.uk/publications.

Notes for editors: The seminar will be held at NICVA, 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast on Wednesday 18 February at 12 noon.

The Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey is carried out annually and documents public opinion on a wide range of social issues. In 2002, 1800 adults were interviewed in their own home.

The Life and Times survey is a joint project between Queen's University Belfast and University of Ulster. The questions reported on in this report were funded by the Economic and Social Research Council Full details and results from the Life and Times survey can be found on the survey website at www.ark.ac.uk/nilt

Yvonne Galligan is Director of the Centre for Advancement of Women in Politics and Reader in Politics in the School of Politics and International Studies, Queen's University Belfast. Lizanne Dowds is Deputy Director of ARK, based at the University of Ulster.

For further information contact: Dr Yvonne Galligan, Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics ( 028) 9097 3654/3664, Email: y.galligan@qub.ac.uk

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How do we think?

A new book published later this month provides a fascinating snapshot of attitudes in Northern Ireland at the turn of the 21st century.

'Social Attitudes in Northern Ireland: The Ninth Report' is based on data from the joint Queen's University and University of Ulster annual Life and Times Survey, and explores a wide range of issues that are central to life in Northern Ireland.

Topics include the extent of change in attitudes centred on religion, politics and community relations. Other chapters contribute to the more general social policy debate and include health, social capital, lifelong learning, men's issues, culture and attitudes to work.

Key points emerging from the book include:

There is strong support by both men and women for policy change and the introduction of expanded services to meet men's needs.

People in Northern Ireland want to be involved in health-care decisions that affect them. However, 78% believe that no account is taken of local views in relation to issues such as the closure of local hospitals.

86% of adults believe that learning in later life opens up a whole new world.

Two thirds of respondents think that people have no say in what the government does

Half of respondents feel that the ability to decide their times or days of work is very important.

Two thirds of respondents feel that a Northern Ireland Assembly should have most influence over the way Northern Ireland is run.

Community relations have fallen since the mid-1990s, especially among Protestants. There is little evidence that the implementation of the 1997 Race Relations Order or actions to promote better relationships between persons of different racial groups are having any significant impact on the extent of negative racial attitudes.

Katrina Lloyd, one of the editors, said the book is an essential resource on attitudes to social and political issues in contemporary Northern Ireland.

"Chapters have been written by an authoritative group of academics and those involved in informing policy-making within the community," she said.

Speaking at the launch Dame Joan Harbison, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland said: "It is important that we know what people are thinking and feeling if we are to have better public policy and a more equal society.

"This is particularly significant for the Commission because of our responsibility for overseeing public bodies’ statutory duty to take account of equality in all their policies. This book is a useful tool for all those concerned with social and political debate here, especially at a time when consultation and exchange is so important.”

Notes for editors: 'Social Attitudes in Northern Ireland: The Ninth Report' was edited by Katrina Lloyd, Paula Devine, Ann Marie Gray and Deirdre Heenan and published by Pluto Books.

The book will be launched on Wednesday 18 February 2004 at 1.30 at NICVA, Duncairn Gardens, Belfast. The keynote speaker will be Dame Joan Harbison, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey puts on record the attitudes, values and beliefs of the people in Northern Ireland on a wide range of social policy issues. Life and Times is a joint project between Queen's University Belfast and University of Ulster.

Full details can be found on the website at www.ark.ac.uk/nilt

For further information contact: Paula Devine, (028) 9097 3034 or Ann Marie Gray, (028) 9036 6689

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Heaney centre of excellence opens at Queen's

A world-class centre of literary excellence named after one of Queen's University's and Northern Ireland's most famous sons - poet and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney - was officially opened tonight.

Funded by the Campaign for Queen's - the most ambitious fund-raising initiative in the University's history - the £3 million new Centre will be an international base for high-quality research and creative writing with a particular, but not exclusive, focus on poetry in modern Ireland Queen’s Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Sir George Bain said the creation of the centre would underpin Queen’s – and Northern Ireland’s – reputation as a world literary force.

Speaking at tonight’s event, he said: "In bringing it into being, Queen’s is, quite simply, playing to its strengths for the benefit of its current and future students, and for the benefit of Northern Ireland.

"The Times Literary Supplement has said that poetry is now the activity for which the University is best known throughout the English-speaking world.

"This accolade owes much not only to Seamus’s reputation but also to his work in fostering the dynamic literary activity that is characteristic of the University.

“The establishment of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry will ensure that the University fulfils its aim – and its obligation – to preserve and enhance its thriving creative and critical tradition.

"The Heaney Centre will give a new and dynamic focus to the University’s contribution to the arts. It will be of immense importance in underpinning the spirit of scholarship and contributing to the cultural activity that will play a major role in a rejuvenated Queen’s and a regenerated Northern Ireland."

Guest of honour Seamus Heaney said the University had done him a great honour by giving his name to the new Centre for Poetry.

"The establishment of the Centre is a recognition of the epoch-making achievements of the poets, critics and teachers associated with Queen’s for the past half-century.

“It represents a bold commitment, an act of faith in the imaginative and intellectual work that has brought repute and respect to the University, and is a proper extension of that work."

The Centre’s first Director, Professor Ciaran Carson, also a Queen’s graduate and award-winning poet, said: “I am honoured to be the first holder of a post with such prestigious associations. I hope the Centre will become a forum for all kinds of debate about poetry.”

In addition to Seamus Heaney and Ciaran Carson, many other distinguished poets have emerged from Queen’s, including Paul Muldoon, winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Medbh McGuckian, and Frank Ormsby.

Among the Centre’s specific objectives are the development of large collaborative projects which will attract external funding, the establishment of an annual programme of lectures and seminars by poets and scholars, and the promotion of links between the academic criticism of poetry and the writing of poetry.

It is also the custodian of a copy of the Seamus Heaney Media Archive, described by the Vice-Chancellor as “a very valuable educational resource”.

The unique record of every word Seamus Heaney has written and presented for radio and television was produced by Flying Fox Films, who also produced a film about the poet, commissioned by the Department of the Environment, for the Visitors’ Centre at Bellaghy Bawn, close to where he grew up.

For further information contact:
Professor Ciaran Carson, Tel: 028 9097 1074
Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

Notes for editors: The official opening of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, which will include poetry readings and music, will take place in the Great Hall, Queen’s University at 5.30pm on Monday 16 February. Media facilities will be available.

Seamus Heaney graduated from Queen’s with first-class honours in English language and literature in 1961 and lectured in the School of English from 1966 to 1972. Three times winner of the Whitbread Award, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996.

Ciaran Carson graduated from Queen’s in 1971. He has won a number of prestigious awards for his work, including the T S Eliot Prize in 1993. Also a gifted musician, he is a former literature and arts officer of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. In October 2003 he won the £10,000 Forward Prize, the United Kingdom’s most prestigious annual poetry award, for his ninth collection, “Breaking News”.

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Paintings of the West Bank and Gaza en route to Naughton Gallery
'The Inconvenience of History I'.  One of a series of paintings depicting the title of John Keane's new exhibition showing images of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
'The Inconvenience of History I'. One of a series of paintings depicting the title of John Keane's new exhibition showing images of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

 'The Inconvenience of History'

Acclaimed artist John Keane, whose exhibition of paintings of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is currently on show at a prestigious London gallery, is set to bring his work to the Naughton Gallery at Queen's at the end of March. The Belfast exhibition will be the first stop on an international tour, when the paintings will be displayed in the West Bank later in the year.

John Keane accompanied Christian Aid staff on two tours to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 2002.  The first was in April 2002 in the immediate aftermath of the Israeli incursion into the West Bank. Based on this trip, John has produced an insightful series of paintings entitled 'The Inconvenience of History'.

John Keane was appointed official artist by the Imperial War Museum for the Gulf War of 1991 and gained notoriety for his controversial depiction of Mickey Mouse in Kuwait City after the hostilities.  His work has often addressed conflict and has included subjects ranging from Central America to Rupert Murdoch, as well as an interpretation of the events around 9/11. John has had numerous exhibitions in the UK, Europe and the US. 

On his trips with Christian Aid, John visited the town of Jenin to see a Palestinian refugee camp that had been all but destroyed by Israeli tanks and bulldozers during the fighting.  He also travelled to Bethlehem, Ramallah, Gaza and Megiddo (the biblical Armageddon). 

John took video images and pictures of bombsites and spoke to people experiencing hardship and poverty.  He used these images and interviews as inspiration for this exhibition. 'The Inconvenience of History' is a deeply personal account of what John saw. He said:

"My visits to Israel and the West Bank left me feeling the utter inadequacy of attempting to convey the reality of daily lives there to anyone who has not witnessed it first-hand, despite the prolific news coverage we receive.  So in full comprehension of that fact I have tried in the work I have produced to explore ideas generated by what I saw through a very personal filter, bearing in mind that history can have an awkward habit of confounding preconception."

Commenting on the title of his exhibition, John said that history plays a more important role in the course of contemporary events in the Middle East than in any other part of the world. He added:

"Those taking one side or another will invoke from history facts to justify their cause, while choosing to ignore others that do not fit their argument.  The act of forever invoking selective history to justify the acts and attitudes that continue to impede peace today suggests that history itself is, to put it mildly, an inconvenience. 'The Inconvenience of History' refers to the fact that history has a habit of confounding the justifications that are made in its name."
Shan McAnena Curator of Art at Queen's University Belfast said she was delighted that the Naughton Gallery was able to attract an artist of such high international status as John Keane.  She said, "The paintings for this exhibition are particularly powerful and of extremely high artistic merit.   The exhibition in our gallery in March and April will be a great opportunity for people in Northern Ireland to see this contemporary and thought-provoking work."      

The Ulster Museum exhibited the work of John Keane in a major exhibition in 1997 and owns several paintings in its permanent collection.  In 2001 he completed Mo Mowlam's portrait for the National Portrait Gallery - and is also currently painting a portrait of Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir George Bain on a Queen's University commission.

'The Inconvenience of History' will open at the Naughton Gallery at Queen's on 31st March and will run until 4 May 2004.


1. Christian Aid approached John Keane in April 2002 and took him on two trips to Israel and the Occupied Territories to meet local NGOs and gain an insight into the work Christian Aid funds in the region. Christian Aid is an international development agency working with nearly 600 partner organisation in 55 countries worldwide to fight poverty and injustice.  To find out more about  their work visit their web sitewww.christianaid.org.uk
2. The Naughton Gallery at Queen's is open Monday - Friday 12 noon - 4pm and Saturdays 10am- 4pm.

For further information, contact: Shan McAnena Curator of Art at Queens, 028 9097 5383; Dolores Vischer Communications Office at Queen's 028 9097 5320; or
Geri Martin Media Assistant Christian Aid Ireland: 028 9038 1204

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Finding love through a mouse

With St Valentine's Day looming later this week many singletons will be looking for their perfect partner. In the past romance often blossomed at work, in a pub or club, or through friends, but now more and more people are turning to the Internet to find true love.

According to Dr Monica Whitty, from the School of Psychology at Queen's University, there are a growing number of people who are exclusively using online dating sites to find a partner.

Her research, which interviewed 60 Australian participants using an online dating site called RSVP, has shown that people from a wide range of age groups are logging on in a bid to find that special someone.

"My data suggests that a good cross section of the population are doing this and for a variety of reasons -  some don't like meeting in pubs and clubs, some are shift workers or are really locked into their careers so don't have time to meeting in other people. Other people have children to look after so don't have the time, while others would have given up on finding a relationship had it not been for Internet dating.

"And contrary to common belief, the online dating population are not all middle-aged, they are not all unattractive and they are not all geeks. Different sites cater for different needs - some just use them for finding sexual partners rather than developing any long term commitments, some are married wanting affairs, while others are to form long term committed relationships," she said.

However, the anonymity of the net means that many people paint themselves in a favourable light so that six foot bronzed god you were chatting to might just have been stretching the truth a little bit.

"People do quite a bit of lying or exaggerating on these sites especially about their age and their looks. In other cases they omit certain information in order to attract others, such as they whether they have children."

But research has shown that the most successful romances on the Internet are among those who have been the most honest.

"If someone is caught lying or embellishing aspects of themselves then this can be a bit of a turn off as it makes it difficult for the person to trust them. The problem here is finding the balance between selling oneself by appearing attractive and being 'real' or genuine," said Dr Whitty.

For further information contact: Dr Monica Whitty, School of Psychology, (028) 9097 5654 Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Queen's to honour award-winning scholars

Queen's University's top students will be the guests of honour at a special event on Tuesday night (10 February).

The University's annual Scholarships Dinner - one of the highlights of the academic year - honours the recipients of its major awards, including entrance, undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships.

Among the guests will be Helen Groves, the top 'A' Level entrant to Queen's in 2003. A former pupil of Banbridge Academy, Helen, who won the Sullivan Entrance Scholarship, David Russell Lappin Scholarship and Megaw Scholarship, is now studying medicine at Queen's.

Representatives from the Northern Ireland schools whose pupils won 'A' Level Entrance Scholarships to Queen's have also been invited.

The guest list also includes Patrick Santiago Del Viso Hopkins, Chi Hui Yang Zhang, Robert Mehaffy and Ciaran Norrby, former students of the Julio Verne Instituto, Toledo, Spain; Shenzhen University, China; North West Institute of Further and Higher Education and the University of Ulster at Magee College respectively, who won the Dr George Alexander Baird Entrance Scholarships for non-'A' Level entrants.

Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir George Bain said: "The awarding of scholarships has a crucial role to play in attracting top-quality students to Queen's. These award-winning students are the leaders of tomorrow and we are delighted to be able to honour and celebrate their achievements.

"Queen's is proud of being one of the most socially inclusive universities in the United Kingdom. Events such as the Scholarships Dinner illustrate very clearly the growing diversity of backgrounds from which students are coming to Queen's."

 Former pupils of the following Northern Ireland schools won Entrance Scholarships in 2003: Antrim Grammar School; Ballymena Academy; Banbridge Academy; Bloomfield Collegiate School, Belfast; Friends School, Lisburn; Larne Grammar School; Limavady Grammar School; Lurgan College; Methodist College, Belfast; Mount Lourdes Grammar School, Enniskillen; Omagh Academy; Omagh CBS; Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt; Royal School Armagh; St Louis Grammar School, Ballymena; St Louis Grammar School, Kilkeel, St Malachy's College; Belfast; St Michael's College, Enniskillen; St Patrick's Grammar School, Armagh; Strathearn School, Belfast; Sullivan Upper School, Holywood; Thornhill College, Londonderry; Wallace High School, Lisburn.

The guest speaker at the event will be Raymond Pollock, Principal of Banbridge Academy.

For further information contact: Conor O'Neill, Tel 028 9097 3004

Editor's Note: Photographic facilities will be available at the pre-dinner reception in the Canada Room, Lanyon Building, from 7.00 to 7.30pm on Tuesday 10 February.

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'Lean' course at NI Technology Centre
John Bicheno (centre) from Cardiff University who is delivering the lean layout and scheduling course at the Northern Ireland Technology Centre with organiser Colm Higgins (left) and William Morris, Knowledge Transfer Partnership consultant.
John Bicheno (centre) from Cardiff University who is delivering the lean layout and scheduling course at the Northern Ireland Technology Centre with organiser Colm Higgins (left) and William Morris, Knowledge Transfer Partnership consultant.

Companies from across Northern Ireland will be taking part in a two day training course at Queen's University, aimed at understanding the technical and managerial issues of layout and lean scheduling.

The course, which runs today and Friday in the Northern Ireland Technology Centre, will be delivered by lean expert and author of the "Lean Toolbox", John Bicheno, from Cardiff University.

Organised as part of an ongoing Department of Trade and Industry project ICT CARRIER - OPTIMAN, in conjunction with the Knowledge Transfer Partnership Centre, the course will include topics such as strategic issues of location and layout, types of layout and making best use of opportunities.

According to organiser Colm Higgins, the course includes numerous exercises and simulations, allowing the participants to understand the issues, identify suitable systems and to lead an implementation.

With a high level of interest the course has already been oversubscribed but there are plans to run a second course and anyone interested in participating is asked to contact Colm Higgins on 9097 4330.

 John Bicheno, who is based at Lean Enterprise Research Centre at Cardiff University's Business School, directs the MSc in Lean Operations. At the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, he became Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering, before which he had 11 years experience in operations management.

For further information, contact: Colm Higgins, (028) 9097 4330, email: c.j.higgins@qub.ac.uk  

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Queen's man elected president of College of Anaesthetists
Professor Howard Fee
Professor Howard Fee

Professor Howard Fee, Head of the Department of Anaesthetics and Intensive Care Medicine at Queen's University has been elected President of the College of Anaesthetists, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

The College is responsible for setting and maintaining training standards in the specialty and for the continuing medical education of anaesthetists in the Republic. It recently acquired its own building in Merrion Square and has an ambitious development plan.

As President, Professor Fee will advise government on all aspects of anaesthetic services in the Republic. The vast majority of Northern Irish anaesthetists are Fellows of the College of Anaesthetists in Dublin and many of them participate as examiners or contribute to the College's educational programme.

At Queen's Professor Fee established QUMED, a research and development centre in the School of Medicine, and was instrumental in acquiring one of the first hi-fidelity medical simulators in the UK. Both adult and baby simulators now play an important role in the training of our medical and dental students.

Professor Fee, who also serves on the Board of Governors of RBAI, will serve a term of three years as President.

For further information contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Schools' Out? How young people feel about the 11+ and education

Thousands of 10- and 11-year-olds are waiting anxiously for the arrival this Saturday of the results of the latest transfer test. These results will have an impact on their educational careers and perhaps on their entire future lives. The 11+ has been the focus of media attention recently with the publication of the Costello Report recommending that the 11+ be abolished by 2008.

But what do young people think about the 11+ and school in general?

'School's Out' is a new report published this week (5th February) by ARK (Northern Ireland Social and
Political Archive), which is a joint project between Queen's University and University of Ulster. The report was authored by Paula Devine and Dirk Schubotz of ARK and the Queen's University Belfast Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research.

'School's Out' is the first report to be published based on data from the Young Life and Times Survey.

This survey is carried out annually and records the attitudes and experiences of 16-year-olds in Northern Ireland. The survey's aim is to provide an independent source of information on what young people think about the social issues of the day. Last summer researchers asked 902 16-year-olds about a range of Issues, including their experience of school.

Key points emerging from the report are:

  • Most of the Young Life and Times respondents experienced religiously segregated education.
  • 70% of respondents felt that the 11+ tests place too much pressure on 10- and 11-year-olds.
  • However, 76% agreed that selection has to happen at some time in a child's education.
  • Respondents' experiences at school were mostly positive, and there was little difference according to the type of school. However, boys had less positive experiences than girls.
  • 84% of respondents expected to return to school or college in October 2003, i.e. to remain in full-time education beyond age 16.
  • 70% of respondents expected to attend a university or college in two years time, with more young women likely to think so.

Commenting on the report's findings, Ark Research Director Paula Devine said that: "In general, respondents were deeply critical towards the current 11+ selection procedure." She added, " While the majority of respondents reported an overall positive experience of school at age 16, young men in the survey reported significantly worse experiences of school than young women did. At a time when there is much debate about how boys are performing badly at school, reinforced by society's emphasis on obtaining qualifications, these experiences of school are a matter for concern for teachers and policy-makers alike."

The Young Life and Times survey is a joint project of the two Northern Ireland universities. The full report can be found on the ARK website at www.ark.ac.uk/publications


Notes for editors:

1. The Young Life and Times Survey is carried out annually and records the attitudes and experiences of 16-year-olds in Northern Ireland. In 2003, 902 young people aged 16 completed the survey in one of three ways: online, by self-completion questionnaire or by phone.
2. Young Life and Times is a joint project between Queen's University Belfast and University of Ulster.
3. The survey has been funded by the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland 2000-2004, Measure 2:1 - Reconciliation for Sustainable Peace.
4. Full details and results from the Young Life and Times survey can be found on the survey website at www.ark.ac.uk/ylt

For further information contact: Paula Devine, Research Director, ARK/Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research, Queen's University Belfast Tel: 028 9097 3034

Email: p.devine@qub.ac.uk

Dirk Schubotz, ARK/Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research Tel: 028 9097 3947

Email: d.schubotz@qub.ac.uk


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Queen's medics energised by NIE
Jordan Adams, from Ligoniel Primary School, gets to work on Professor Ken Bell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Students and Learning, at the launch of the Medics in Primary Schools programme in the Elmwood Hall. The initiative allows second year medical students at Queen’s to teach a health education programme to children from a number of primary schools in greater Belfast.
Jordan Adams, from Ligoniel Primary School, gets to work on Professor Ken Bell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Students and Learning, at the launch of the Medics in Primary Schools programme in the Elmwood Hall. The initiative allows second year medical students at Queen’s to teach a health education programme to children from a number of primary schools in greater Belfast.

A unique children's health programme, Medics in Primary Schools, will be launched today by Queen's and Northern Ireland Electricity in Belfast's Elmwood Hall.

The programme develops a closer relationship between the medical profession and the local community, and involves a series of visits by undergraduate medical students to primary schools across the greater Belfast area.

The medics will guide the school children through a health education programme including medically related topics such as diet and nutrition, the skin and heat and energy, whilst hopefully providing positive role models encouraging primary pupils to consider a medical career.

The medical students not only gain experience in communicating information to schoolchildren from a variety of backgrounds, but it also gives them an opportunity to help and support young people.

Professor Ken Bell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Students and Learning at Queen's, said: "This unique programme, carried out in partnership with NIE, is a special study module offered to second year medical students at the University and is one of the best examples of how Queen's reaches out into the local community in which is it is rooted.

"It not only gives our medical students the chance to improve their communication skills while working with children from a variety of backgrounds, but it also brings alive real issues about personal health to the students of the future, who are encouraged to think about a career in medicine or any of the related health sciences.

"Now in its fourth year the initiative has gone from strength to strength and currently involves 38 students working with 35 schools in the greater Belfast area," he said.

Dr Andy McCrea from NIE said: "We are delighted to be able to support this programme as it gives children a practical understanding of how their personal health and wellbeing can be affected by their surroundings.

"A healthy child is one who lives in a warm well insulated home so, as part of the programme, NIE provides a 'Caring for the Community' thermometer card so the children can learn how to read temperatures and relate this to their own home and how it is insulated."

For more information, contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, Queen's University, (028) 9097 5384

Kerstie Forsyth, NIE, (028) 9068 9309

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All-Island awards for University spin-outs
Colin Duncan, Domhnial O Neill, Severine Dubroecq and Patrick Cullen of Andor Technology, winners of the Medium Business category in the 2003 All Island Innovation Awards.
Colin Duncan, Domhnial O Neill, Severine Dubroecq and Patrick Cullen of Andor Technology, winners of the Medium Business category in the 2003 All Island Innovation Awards.

Queen's University spin-out companies have scooped half the prizes in the 2003 All Island Innovation Awards, organised by investment bodies and sponsored by major companies on both sides of the border.

Scientific imaging company AndorTechnology won the "Medium Business" category, while biotechnology company Fusion Antibodies won the "New Technology Business" category for the second year.

Andor Technology was awarded the prize for its innovative microscopy imaging camera. Established in 1989, Andor has a highly-skilled, multi-disciplined workforce of 110 employees, based in Northern Ireland, France, Sweden, Japan and the USA. Its cross-functional teams developed the world's most sensitive imaging camera for low light microscopy.

Fusion Antibodies Ltd, established in 2000, develops and supplies antibodies to the pharmaceutical industry. Based in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, it is involved in the commercial production of small antibody fragments that act as a carrier of medical treatments to tumours. A strategic alliance with a US company is now generating significant revenue and new research and marketing partners are being identified.

Congratulating the winners, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research & Development Professor Roy Crawford said their success provided further evidence of the invaluable contribution made to the local economy by university research.

"Both companies are the result of sound business ideas based on discoveries made in our laboratories. Qubis Ltd, the Queen's University business incubator unit, provided the initial financial backing and entrepreneurial know-how. More than 30 enterprises have blossomed in this way over the past 20 years, and we expect many more to follow in their footsteps. They represent Northern Ireland's gateway to the global high-technology economy," Professor Crawford said.

The awards, organised by Invest Northern Ireland, Forfás and InterTradeIreland with sponsorship from the `Irish Times' and BT, were presented at a gala event in the Hilton Hotel, Belfast. The event was hosted by Bruce Robinson, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment, and attended by the Irish Minister for Trade and Commerce, Michael Ahern, TD.

Speaking at the event, Mr Robinson said: "Future economic success will spring from continued investment in innovation. Innovation is at the very core of what gives companies a competitive edge in the global marketplace..I have no doubt their example will inspire other local companies to follow their lead and put R&D at the heart of their business."

Also speaking at the awards, Minister Ahern emphasised: "Our future competitiveness and prosperity will depend on our ability to move further up the value chain; to bolster the innovative capacity of our economy." He commented: "This competition underlines the fact that innovation, the exploitation of new ideas, is absolutely essential to safeguard and deliver high-quality jobs, successful business, and better products and services for everyone."

For further information, contact: Robert Baxter, Communications Office, Tel (028) 9097 5323

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