July 2019 

Virtual Vauxhall launches multi-sensory Virtual Reality model

Go back in time with the future of virtual reality!

To mark the culmination of Virtual Vauxhall’s Tiger Team research project, the team launched their multi-sensory user-controlled, VR reconstruction of the experience of Vauxhall pleasure Gardens, 1752, with an interactive exhibition. Directed by Professor Andrew Hugill, the project has involved a vast team of expertise from the departments of Business, Engineering, English, History, Informatics, Museum Studies, and Psychology, as well as external enterprise partners MBD ltd, and consultants David Coke and Lars Tharp. The VR models have been designed to encapsulate the lived experience of the Vauxhall pleasure gardens by engaging with the widest range of senses, recreating the audio, visual and smells of the time. The project provided a platform to invite questions surrounding the economic, historical and cultural spheres past and present, by utilising the effects of multi-sensory experiences on user behaviour, and the Virtual Reality environment.

June 2019

The World of Business on an Anthropocene Earth

A diverse group of academics, international partners and activists came together from across the globe for a series of events surrounding the profoundly international issue of our current climate, with special guest speaker Professor Bruno Latour.

Humanity’s impact on the Earth has led to the declaration of the current geological epoch, ‘The Anthropocene’, by scientists and geologists. Academics Prof. Jan Zalasiewicz, Prof. Mark Williams and Dr Marta Gasparin at the University of Leicester have come together to research the Anthropocene in a truly interdisciplinary collaboration. Individually renowned in their respective fields, together they offer invaluable insight to what it means to be living in our current age; how we got here, and where we might be going. The event The World of Business on an Anthropocene Earth brought together specialist seminars from a wider group of academics, including Claire Driscoll, Prof. Chris Schinckus, Prof. Steve Brown, John Palmesino (Territorial Agency), Prof. Daniel Neyland,  and artists Anne-Sophie Milon and Clémence Hallé. Attended by an audience of over 400, including special guest His Excellency, Tran Ngoc An, ambassador for Vietnam, who expressed a supportive response in a speech surrounding the necessity of international collaborations in this current climate. 

March 2019

Dr Amollo Ambole: An interdisciplinary, transnational journey

Dr. Amollo Ambole undertook her Fellowship at the Institute after being awarded the prestigious strategic Rutherford visiting Fellowship scheme. From the School of arts and design, University of Nairobi, Kenya, Dr Ambole was granted her fellowship to engage and collaborate with academics at the University of Leicester on the topic of Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable Cities. Her research has enriched the landscape of interdisciplinary research, furthered her academic career and strengthened global networks at the University of Leicester. During her time at LIAS, hosted by Dr Christian Morgner, Dr Ambole was able to explore a truly interdisciplinary Fellowship which paved the way for longstanding partnerships between academics, stakeholders and institutions. Such partnerships situate the University of Leicester as a reputable campus to conduct research, which attracts high-calibre academics.

Her research surrounded the theme of sustainable systematic urban development in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa. Using socio-technological innovations, Dr Ambole utilised interdisciplinary research areas across design, anthropology, technology and sociology, to determine methodologies that have the ability to relieve pervasive circumstances prominent in both cities and informal settlements.

Dr Ambole’s project brings together local communities, academics and stakeholders to co-design sustainable household energy in informal urban settlements. By utilising transdisciplinary perspectives to better understand tangible methods to relieve communities experiencing the pressures of an increasing population, poor planning and external factors such as climate change, the project is supported by a diverse team with a broad outreach.

Alongside her leadership training course with coach Sean Callaghan, Dr Ambole wrote and submitted two journal articles (Amollo Ambole, Josephine Musango, Kareem Buyana et al: 'Mediating Household Energy Transitions through Co-Design in Urban Africa' (Under review In Energy Research and Social Science, Elsevier), and Ambole: 'Rethinking Design Thinking in Africa. Under review In Design and Culture' (Taylor & Francis), conducted seminars at LIAS, Brunel University (Department of Design); University of Nairobi (Institute of Climate Change and Adaption). The Fellowship was instrumental in facilitating networking opportunities with researchers at University College London (Institute of Global Prosperity) and University of Edinburgh (School of Design), as well as making long standing collaborations with both academics and stakeholders within and beyond the University of Leicester.

Through discussions had at the University of Leicester, Dr Ambole plans to apply for GCRF funding to further collaborations between Kenya, Mongolia and Colombia, continuing the theme of sustainable cities. This particular collaboration widens the global network between the University of Leicester and the global south, and demonstrates the Fellowship schemes as poignant contributors to that relationship, and to the landscape of impactful research.

Dr Ambole has also made connections with local business enterprises to exchange knowledge between local communities within the UK and Kenya. Plans to collaborate demonstrate the widespread networking and breadth of projects which Dr Ambole is both committed to as an academic, and has been able to explore and enrich during her Fellowship with the institute at Leicester University.

Find out more about Dr Ambole’s research journey 

February 2019

Leicester welcomes 50 global Rutherford Fellows to UK event

The Institute hosted 50 Rutherford Fellows representing 15 countries from various host Universities across the UK. The event, ‘Interdisciplinary Futures: Enhancing research and impact through collaboration’, welcomed representatives from UUKi and the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.

Tom Child, Deputy Director of Global Science and Innovation in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “The UK’s research community is highly international and has a truly global outlook…I was impressed by the researchers’ enthusiasm to network, learn and share experiences, and delighted that I was able to hear first-hand how £13 million of Rutherford funding from BEIS had enabled almost 300 individuals to progress their ambitions here in the UK.”

The event offered a unique opportunity to bring together Rutherford Fellows undertaking their Fellowship in UK host Universities, and share their experiences. It also offered space to discuss their academic futures, and to explore how Interdisciplinarity could meaningfully contribute towards tackling complex global challenges.

More information on 50 global Rutherford Fellows

Dr Andrew Futter presents the second event in the series, The Talkies.

WarGames, a 1983 American Cold War science fiction film written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F.Parkes and directed by John Badham, follows the story of a college student who unwittingly hacks into a military supercomputer and enters into a state of nuclear war while searching for new video games. As a member of the cyber-nuclear security threats task force run by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, an Honorary Research Fellow in Nuclear Strategy at the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security at the University of Birmingham, and a member of the Euro-Atlantic Security next generation working group, Dr Futter's research critically engages with the development of nuclear weaponry, strategy and calculation, and, in turn, how this impacts on response within societies. He led an insightful and engaging discussion on the nuclear warfare and surrounding concerns in the globalised landscape we live in.