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‘Topping out’ ceremony concludes Oastler first phase

High Sheriff of West Yorkshire Chris Brown, the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan, and MD of the main contractor Morgan Sindall, Pat Boyle

Tue, 03 May 2016 15:42:00 BST

Topping out takes place at ground level when 16 metre steel truss is dropped into place

High Sheriff of West Yorkshire Chris Brown, the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan, and MD of the main contractor Morgan Sindall, Pat Boyle ►Pictured (left to right) are the High Sheriff of West Yorkshire Chris Brown, the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan, and MD of the main contractor Morgan Sindall, Pat Boyle.

A STEEL truss 16.2 metres tall that will be at the structural heart of the University of Huddersfield’s latest building was carefully lowered into place by a giant crane, guided by a team of construction workers.  But it took just a few turns of an Allen key for it to be secured by the trio of dignitaries called on to perform a special ceremony.

The event was a variant on the traditional “topping out” that marks a crucial stage in construction projects.  It usually revolves around the installation of a final beam at the top of a structure. 

On this occasion, however, the “topping out” took place at ground floor level as one of the twin trusses that will act as a frame for the main entrance to the building and support its roof was manoeuvred  into a steel “shoe” that will anchor it.  A stainless steel pin was then inserted and tightened by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Bob Cryan, the High Sherriff of West Yorkshire, Mr Chris Brown – who is also chair of the University Council – and Mr Pat Boyle, who is MD of Morgan Sindall Construction Infrastructure, the projects main contractors.

Steel truss Morgan Sindall is the firm that is constructing the £27.5 million Oastler Building, which overlooks the busy Aspley Roundabout, and it was designed by Huddersfield-based architects AHR Global.  When ready for use in early 2017, it will be a new home for the study of law and the humanities at the University.

The trusses were manufactured by the Elland Steel Structures Ltd, which has fabricated 674 tonnes of components for the new building.  They were trucked to the University in the early hours of Tuesday 4 May, so as not to disrupt peak-time traffic.

The University’s Department of Estates and Facilities encouraged the architects and the building contractors Morgan Sindall to use local manufacturers and suppliers as much as possible in the design and construction of the building.

The structure’s steel and aluminium frame will be faced with 2,092 square metres of glazing, fabricated by Huddersfield firm Dual Seal Glass Ltd and Brighouse Company HWA.  Other major contributors include the Myers Group, proprietors of Johnson’s Wellfield Quarry at Crosland Moor, Huddersfield.  It has furnished 1713 square metres of locally quarried stone and is a major supplier of concrete for the structure.

At a celebration lunch following the topping out ceremony, there were guests from many of the firms and practices involved in the project, including Morgan Sindall, AHR Global and structural engineers Tim Stower and Partners.

Professor Cryan said that the new Oastler Building would be an ultra-modern structure for a dynamic university, but one that would preserve the memory of one of the most inspirational figures in the history of Huddersfield.

Richard Oastler, who lived from 1789 to 1861 was based in Huddersfield when he began his famous campaign for a reduction in the hours worked by factory children.  He described their plight as “Yorkshire slavery”.  Oastler became known as the “Factory King”.

“As a university, it is important that we not only work for the benefit of our students, but also support the local economy,” said Professor Cryan in his speech prior to the luncheon.  “The building of this structure is a good example of those efforts and I am very glad that today that we can welcome senior figures representing key partners in the design and construction of the Oastler Building, many of them local companies.”  

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Four represent Uni at major Hong Kong Electronic Arts conference

Brass Art

'Freud’s House: The Double Mirror' by Anneké Pettican and Brass Art with Professor Monty Adkins

Fri, 29 Apr 2016 13:54:00 BST

Professor Monty Adkins and Anneké Pettican and PhD researchers Eva Sjuve and Jung In Jung will show their work at the ISEA International showcase

Professor Monty Adkins FOUR lecturers and researchers at the University of Huddersfield are to have work featured at a prestigious overseas conference that showcases world-class innovation in art, science and technology.

Anneké Pettican ISEA International was founded in 1990 as the Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts.  Its 2016 symposium takes place in Hong Kong between May 16 and 22.  Among the contributors will be University of Huddersfield Professor of Experimental Electronic Music Monty Adkins, who has contributed the soundtrack to an installation titled Freud’s House: The Double Mirror, co-created by design lecturer and artist Anneké Pettican, as part of the trio of artists that form Brass Art.  It consists of a filmed performance at the London house once occupied by Sigmund Freud.

Two PhD researchers at the University will also feature at ISEA International.

Korean-born Jung In Jung is an audiovisual artist who has developed the use of an electronic game control system as the basis for dance and audio pieces that are spontaneously shaped by the movement of the performers.  She has a background in film sound, and lectures on the subject at the University of Huddersfield, where her PhD on music and new technology is supervised by Dr Julio d’Escriván and Professor Adkins.

Swedish researcher Eva Sjuve – who is completing a University of Huddersfield PhD, supervised by Professor Michael Clarke and again by Professor Adkins – is a media artist, composer and developer who has specialised in the development of artistic applications for mobile devices.

Professor Adkins is delighted by the ISEA International success.  “It is quite something that Huddersfield is represented three times at such an important international event,” he said.

Brass Art Brass Art

Professor Adkins collaborated with the group named Brass Art, the collective co-directed by Anneké Pettican, alongside Chara Lewis and Kristin Mojsiewicz.  Their current projects include a trilogy of pieces named Shadow Worlds/Writers’ Rooms in which they use Microsoft’s Kinect to record performances at locations associated with famous writers, including the Brontë Sisters and Sigmund Freud.

The Brass Art trio produced their Freud performance in the house that the Viennese psychoanalyst occupied after he fled the Nazis, until his death in 1939.  Ambient sounds in the house were recorded and incorporated into the soundtrack created by Professor Adkins.  The audio-visual work was premiered at the Freud Museum in London.  It has been shown at the International 3 gallery in Salford and has now been accepted by the ISEA International jury.  It will be installed at Hong Kong’s Connecting Spaces hub, where two angled walls will be specially constructed for continuous projections of the four-minute work.

The jury that selected Freud’s House: The Double Mirror commented that: “This project taps into the almost mystical reverence we have for the domestic and work spaces of famous people, and is very interesting especially in light of the subject matter, Freud, and the manner of execution”.

Jung In Jung Jung In Jung

Jung In Jung At ISEA International, Huddersfield PhD student Jung In Jung will show and discuss her 14-minute performance piece Locus, filmed in Athens with two dancers whose movements were tracked using the vintage control system named Gametrak.  This is now obtained on the second-hand market, but Jung In is demonstrating that it has new creative potential.  Performers are connected via wires and this means their movements can interact with Jung In’s electronic soundtrack.

“I thought why not go back to older technology and use it more creatively?  That fitted very well with the theme of the conference in Hong Kong, which is concerned not just with improvements in technology, but with how technology can be developed,” said Jung, who presented Locus at the University of Huddersfield’s Electric Spring Festival earlier in 2016.

Jung In’s background in sound engineering and audio-visual art has led her to create several sound installations and she has worked with an architectural practice when it requires interactive sound for exhibitions.  Her academic research led her to complete degrees in London and Edinburgh before coming to Huddersfield for doctoral study.

Eva Sjuve

Eva Sjuve The title of ISEA International in Hong Kong is Cultural R>evolution and University of Huddersfield PhD researcher Eva Sjuva believes that the composition she will present is highly relevant to the theme.

She teaches interaction design at Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and her work has been featured at conferences and exhibitions around the world.  Eva is also the founder of Moolab, a platform for creating artworks using new technology.

She contributed to the 2015 edition of ISEA International, in Vancouver, with a work named Metopia, also the title of her PhD dealing with music composition for a wireless sensor network.  She chose the University of Huddersfield because of its reputation for both new music and music technology.

Metopia is about how one can compose music in the age of Big Data,” says Eva.  “I have created a wireless sensor network that senses the state of the local environment, including toxic gases, and makes it into several music compositions with different kinds of coding techniques, including machine learning.”

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School of Applied Sciences secures Athena Swan Bronze Award


Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:47:00 BST

“…we are very proud that we are the first school at our University to achieve a departmental award…”

Scientists A CAMPAIGN to ensure gender equality among both staff and students at the University of Huddersfield has received a new boost.  The School of Applied Sciences has earned an Athena SWAN Bronze Award, bestowed by the Equality Challenge Unit.

The University as an institution already holds a Bronze award, achieved in 2015.  Now, Applied Sciences is the first individual school to earn the distinction, after making a highly-detailed submission to the ECU.  Other schools will follow suit by drawing up their own Athena SWAN submissions and once they are successful, this will pave the way for the University of Huddersfield to apply for a coveted Silver award.

“We are very proud that we are the first school at our University to achieve a departmental award,” said Dr Gemma Sweeney, who drafted the submission after collating detailed evidence of progress made in encouraging the recruitment, retention and career development of female members of staff and students.

Scientists The School has established a 20-strong Self-Assessment Panel that meets regularly to monitor progress towards gender equality, and implement the Action Plan, and its findings helped Dr Sweeney draw up the School of Applied Sciences submission, which can now be viewed online.

The process of working on the submission and seeking data from the departments within the school – chemistry, pharmacy and biological science – was a valuable exercise its own right and pointed to areas of gender imbalance that needed to be addressed, said Dr Sweeney.

The fact that the School of Applied Sciences can now include the Athena SWAN Bronze Award in its recruitment literature will in itself help to attract female scientists, added Dr Sweeney.

“Gender equality is very important to us and the fact that we now have the Bronze award for the School proves our commitment to it.  We have redesigned our recruitment advertising literature and prospectuses in order to make our School as attractive to females as possible.”

The Dean of the School of Applied Sciences, Professor Jane Owen-Lynch, is an active supporter of the Athena SWAN agenda.  She said: “I am thrilled that our work has been recognised with this award and am very grateful to Dr Gemma Sweeney for her tireless work in bringing this submission to fruition with the help of the School committee.  Together, we have developed a comprehensive action plan and we can now move forward to fulfil our joint ambition to benefit the careers of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and look beyond this Bronze application towards Silver.”

  • The Equality Challenge Unit – which bestows Athena SWAN awards – supports higher education institutions across the UK and colleges in Scotland to advance equality and diversity for staff and students.  Initially, Athena SWAN awards covered science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.  But they have now been extended to arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law departments.
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