08 - 2011 Press Releases

Wartime Berlin comes to Queen’s

Academic and film-maker, Professor Des Bell and historian Dr Fearghal McGarry, both from Queen’s, are taking on one of their biggest assignments to date with the production of a film on the enigma that was Frank Ryan.

Ryan, born in Limerick in 1902, was a teenage IRA volunteer, irregular in the Civil War, dissident republican socialist of 1930s Dublin and International Brigade  volunteer who fought fascism in the Spanish Civil War, and ended his life working for the Nazis in wartime Berlin.
Dr McGarry has written a book on Ryan's life and, with support from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, he and award-winning director Professor Bell, are making the educational documentary film about Ryan's contradictory life.

The film aims to supplement McGarry’s work, bringing it to a popular audience, including use in the Irish history curriculum in secondary schools. The film will comprise archive material, interviews and re-enactment of elements of Frank Ryan's life.

The filming will take place in Belfast, Armagh, Dublin and France and has support from the Irish Language Broadcasting Fund of NI Screen.

Speaking about the production Professor Bell said: “For the second time in a year Nazi insignia will fly over Belfast as a Queen’s University film crew stages a reconstruction of wartime Berlin on campus.  Last year the BBC shot ‘Christopher and his Friends’, using the City Hall as a stand in for Berlin.  Now the University's Whitla Hall takes on this filmic role.
“Belfast is an unusual choice of stand-in for war time Berlin but as the makers of 'Christopher and his Friends' have shown, with the right attention to design and period detail, Belfast with its fine mix of 1940s buildings in neo-classical style can create a believable picture of Berlin of the time.

“So if you spot a swastika-draped building in the University in the coming days don't panic! It’s not a neo-Nazi rally of disaffected students but a film crew hard at work on an educational project.”

For media inquiries, please contact Claire O’Callaghan on 00 44 (0) 28 9097 5391 or c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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The Titanic Story under spotlight with Queen’s Open Learning
June Clawson, School of Education
June Clawson, School of Education
The chance to dive into the history of Belfast’s most famous creation is now on offer at Queen’s.

The Titanic Story: History and Legacy is part of a new Centenary lecture series offered to mark the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and the course will be held in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum to coincide with its exciting new exhibition TITANICa.  This course is just one of over 200 courses offered as part of the new Autumn Open Learning programme at Queen’s University.

From massage to music, painting to public speaking, counselling to ceili dancing, and history to Hebrew, Open Learning at Queen’s offers everyone the chance to try something new and enjoy learning in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. The latest round of courses begins at the end of September and online registration is open now at www.qub.ac.uk/edu/ol

Dr Tess Maginess, Senior Teaching Fellow and Open Learning Co-ordinator at Queen’s School of Education, said: "This Autumn we have a new Centenary lecture series which looks at the major events of 1912.  This, of course, includes The Titanic Story: History and Legacy as well as Reassessing the Home Rule Crisis and Gunpowder and Bible.

"Alongside old favourites, we have a huge selection of new courses this year including Short Film Script Writing and Citizen Journalist which is an introduction to ‘blogging’ and new media to platform personal expression.  There are also new courses in our expanded language programme focusing on literature - French Literature in French, Italian Culture and Travelling in Italy and Italian Literary Club to name a few.  We also have new languages including Hebrew and Arabic available this year.

"If you want to know more about Northern Ireland we have courses from On the Banks of the Lagan: A History of the River to The Protestant Working Class in Northern Ireland: Politics and Culture from ‘Pre Troubles’ to ‘Post-Conflict’.

"If you feel like indulging your literary and artistic side you will not be disappointed.  The very successful Blackbird Bookclub, funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, returns featuring Michael Longley, Malachi O’Doherty, Sinead Morrissey and many more.

"We’re also offering a huge range of new practical courses including Thinking Like a Lawyer, Climate Change: Science and Society and A Practical Guide to Green Living.  The old favourites, Lunchtime Yoga De-Stress, and Wine Appreciation return this Autumn.

"Queen’s Open Learning programme has something to suit everyone. People do not need to have any prior qualifications to participate. Our courses usually take place one day or evening every week and are ideal for anyone who wants to pursue a new hobby, learn more about a topic in which they have a particular interest, or advance their personal development. We have many courses running in centres across Northern Ireland.

Dr Maginess concluded: "With online registration at www.qub.ac.uk/edu/ol it has never been easier to sign up for our classes.  Many courses fill up quickly so we would encourage people to enrol early, online or by post.  Visit our website or telephone 028 9097 3323 / 3539 for more information."

For media inquiries, please contact Claire O’Callaghan on 00 44 (0) 28 9097 5391 or c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk 

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Student advice for A-level results
Head of the Admissions and Access Service at Queen's University Jennifer Dwyer has issued advice to students receiving their A-level results today.
Ms Dwyer said: “This can be an anxious time for A-level students and their families and it is important that they have as much information as possible to make informed decisions at this time.

“The University receives A-level and AS-level results directly from UCAS and candidates do not need to communicate their results to the University.  Students will be contacted if any results appear to be missing.  Those who did not take an examination listed on their application should let the University know as soon as possible.”

Decisions made by Queen's, the University of Ulster, and Stranmillis University College are posted on a website hosted by Queen's on the morning of Thursday 18 August and updated twice each day.  The address is www.qub.ac.uk/ucas-decisions.  This also carries the most comprehensive details and is the simplest way to find out about the status of an application and Clearing vacancies.  Details are also published on the UCAS website at www.ucas.com

Applicants who achieve the exact grades or points specified in their conditional offer should have their place confirmed through UCAS following the publication of results.  These applicants do not need to telephone the university or college.  The only official notification is sent by UCAS.  If accepted, students should respond to the appropriate university as soon as possible following the instructions given in the AS12 letter they will receive.

Students who do better than expected can, through the Adjustment process, hold their offer while they look for an alternative course. It is likely to be difficult, however, to find a vacancy on a high demand course. Full details are available on the UCAS website www.ucas.com/students/nextsteps.

Students who average out or narrowly miss the grades required may still be accepted for their original choice.  This will depend on vacancies being available, and it may be a few days before this can be confirmed.    A* grades at A-level may be taken into account in borderline cases. Queen’s has provided all students holding offers with an Enquiry Form which should be returned to the University as soon as possible if they want to be considered for an alternative course, in the event that they are unsuccessful for their original choice.   Assuming Queen’s can help, a changed course offer would be made. This is simpler than going through Clearing.

Any student unable to gain admission to either their firm or insurance choice and who is not offered an acceptable alternative course will be eligible to participate in the Clearing process. Details of Clearing vacancies appear in the national press, on www.ucas.com and on university websites. Students must be pro-active, as Clearing vacancies are likely to disappear very quickly.

Alternatively, some students may decide to repeat one or more subjects and reapply for 2012 entry. Any student considering this option should check with the institution concerned about receiving an offer as a repeat candidate, and remember the entry requirements may be different.

Jennifer Dwyer added: “It is crucial to make decisions sensibly at this time of year and not to accept alternative courses, or Adjustment or Clearing places without careful consideration. There are many people who can help.  Students unsure about which option to pursue should discuss their situation carefully with their parents, their school or college or the Careers Service of the Department for Employment and Learning.”

Queen’s will be operating advice lines following publication of results to ensure that students receive the guidance they need. These will operate as follows: Thursday and Friday 18 and 19 August from 9.30am to 6.00pm; Saturday 20 August from 10.00am to 4.00pm and Monday and Tuesday, 22 and 23 August from 9.30am to 5.00pm. The number to call is 028 9097 3838.  Further details and FAQs are also available on www.qub.ac.uk/ucas-decisions

In addition, a personal advice session will be held on Monday 22 August in the Whitla Hall from 2.00pm to 5.00pm.  A separate session for Medical/Dental applicants will also take place in the Larmour Lecture Theatre (Physics Building) at 2.30pm on the same day.

For media inquiries please contact the Communications Office on 028 9097 3087 / 3091 or comms.office@qub.ac.uk

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National engineering honour for eminent Queen’s professor
Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones
Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones
One of Queen’s most eminent female professors has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones is one of only nine women recently elected to the Academy, which honours the UK’s most distinguished engineers.

As holder of the Boxmore Chair in Polymer Engineering in the University’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, she is an international leader in polymer engineering and free surface plastic moulding processes, and the winner of several major research grants.

She has also played a leading role in promoting women in science, engineering and technology, serving as Chair of Women in Science and Engineering in Northern Ireland, and as a member of the Queen’s team who won first prize in the national Athena awards in 2003.

Among the first to congratulate Professor Harkin-Jones on her election was Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson, himself a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

He said: “Professor Harkin-Jones has successfully combined an exceptional career in ground-breaking polymer research with an outstanding contribution to the advancement of women in science and engineering, and this honour is extremely well-deserved.”

Professor Harkin-Jones’s accolade was also welcomed by Director of the University’s Gender Initiative, Professor Yvonne Galligan, who said: “Eileen’s election as Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering is a tribute to her eminence as an engineer. In this male-dominated profession, she has been recognised by her peers as a leader in the field.

“Eileen has long been a role model for women in Queen’s. She has combined an active academic career with motherhood and family life. Her story is that of many women working in industry and academia today, and her achievement is celebrated by us all.”

For media inquiries please contact Claire O’Callaghan on 00 44 (0) 2890975391 / 07814422572 or c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s University ‘positive’ on inheritance tax law proposal to boost charities

Queen’s has welcomed the Government’s proposal to boost charitable giving by introducing a lower rate of inheritance tax for those leaving a gift in their will to charity. The incentive is part of a wide-ranging philanthropy package which was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the March 2011 Budget.

Income from legacies is channeled through The Queen’s University of Belfast Foundation, a registered charity, and is used to fund vital medical research, scholarships, the recruitment of world class staff and capital projects. It is hoped that the new scheme, which will apply to estates over the £325,000 threshold where 10 per cent or more has been left to charity, will encourage more people to consider leaving a legacy.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has stated that the Government’s proposal was designed to encourage more individuals to consider leaving a charitable gift in their wills. To incentivise this, he has reduced the inheritance tax levied - on those who do give - from 40 per cent to 36 per cent.

Susan Wilson, Legacy Marketing Officer in the Development and Alumni Relations Office at Queen’s University, said: “Making a will is an intensely personal matter and, after proper provision has been made for family and friends, a gift to charity can be transformational. This consultation provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the impact of leaving a charitable legacy.

“Say, for example, your estate is worth £500,000. If you choose to leave 10 per cent (of the taxable balance of your estate over the £325,000 threshold) to charity, the donation is worth £17,500. This means you also reduce the amount of tax payable on the remainder of your estate from 40 per cent to 36 per cent. Your beneficiaries will receive £425,800, whilst the charity benefits by £17,500.”

She went on: “£17,500 makes a huge difference to the work that is carried out on a daily basis at Queen’s. For example, it means we can buy a machine that copies a gene within a cell, allowing our scientists to study the genetics of cancer. Around 30 per cent of people who leave legacies to Queen’s choose to fund medical and cancer research, helping position Queen’s as a world leader in cancer care.

“£17,500 can also fund a PhD student for three years, improving their experience and the quality of the work they produce, helping support the local economy by keeping our best young people from leaving these shores.”

The change in legislation is designed to boost the government's ‘big society’ scheme and offer alternative funding for charities that have been hit by cuts in government grants.

Around 70 per cent of UK residents die without leaving a legal will. It is hoped that this change in law will persuade people to start thinking about making a will and the real benefits a legacy can bring.

“While this legislation targets those with estates over the £325,000 threshold, it is important to remember that legacies aren’t just for the wealthy,” said Susan.

“Back in 1984, a University cleaner left over £3,000 plus the proceeds from the sale of her house to cancer research at Queen’s. She was not a wealthy woman, nor was she a graduate of Queen’s, but her support and the support of others like her is invaluable to the University and can make a real difference to the quality of our research and teaching.”

For more information on leaving a legacy to Queen’s, please contact Susan Wilson on 028 9097 3162 or email susan.wilson@qub.ac.uk

Media inquiries to: Anne Langford on 028 9097 5310, mob. 07815 871 997, a.langford@qub.ac.uk

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