Bristol's research celebrated across the city

Issue date: 23 September 2014

Bristol Bright Night – Friday 26 September

From noon until midnight, brain cells will be buzzing across Bristol on Friday 26 September 2014 as the city's research is showcased to the public on Bristol Bright Night, joining over 300 cities across Europe in this annual celebration.

UWE Bristol, Bristol Natural History Consortium and the University of Bristol have come together to present Bristol Bright Night. Bristol is one of only five cities in the UK to have been selected to stage an event as part of the prestigious annual Europe-wide Researchers' Night programme, which sees over 300 cities running events simultaneously across 24 countries.

European Researchers' Night is funded by the EU Commission to encourage more young men and women to choose a career in research, by highlighting to the public, the crucial role research plays in our daily lives.

The event will celebrate the city's place as a home for cutting-edge research through a free showcase across Bristol's Harbourside. From early afternoon into the evening, researchers from UWE Bristol will join colleagues from the University of Bristol to engage visitors in a series of fun, interactive, hands-on activities including exhibitions at At-Bristol, talks at the Watershed and street performances.

There will be a warm welcome for visitors to At-Bristol from Bristol Robotics Laboratory's (BRL) life sized humanoid robot-RoboThespian™, operated by PhD student, Hamzah Hossen Mamode. RoboThespian™ was created to educate, communicate, and entertain by Engineered Arts Ltd. BRL is a collaborative partnership between UWE Bristol and the University of Bristol. L

Bristol's schools will also be taking part in the event through the 'Bristol Bright Ideas' competition, inviting students to come up with innovative research ideas on the theme of 'My City'. Prizes will include an opportunity to work with a leading academic to develop the 'My City' ideas into a research project so that they can be included in the 2015 Bristol Bright Night programme, which will be part of the Bristol Green Capital celebrations.

UWE Bristol Vice-Chancellor, Professor Steve West, said, “Bristol Bright Night is going to be a very proud occasion for the city, being one of only five cities in the UK selected by the EU Commission to host an event. It's an excellent opportunity to celebrate the diversity of ground-breaking research taking place in both universities to the rest of Europe and to inspire the next generation of young researchers.”

UWE Bristol researchers participating at Bristol Bright Night include:

Research Fair – At Bristol Science Centre (15.00-22.00)


Dr Aniko Varadi – How to keep our blood sugar level at bay?

Have you heard of your beta-cells? They produce insulin, the crucial hormone needed to transport glucose into our bloodstream. Chocolate, balloons, toy cars and little balls make for a lively demonstration as Dr Varadi uses Soapbox Science to explain how our blood sugar levels are regulated.

Professor Julie Kent– Blood travels

Sociologist, Professor Kent, has been researching the blood economy, how we use blood and plasma products in Britain and the ethical issues surrounding their use. Video: Julie Kent on Plasma Bioeconomy

Professor Vyv Salisbury - Many bugs make light work

Don't forget to visit the UWE BugBooth, a blackout tent where visitors can see for themselves how bioluminescence or glowing bacteria can help scientists devise tests. Scientists need to establish markers for experiments that show whether a test has worked. Bioluminescent bacteria are a really good marker, because if the bacteria are killed by disinfectant for example, you can see it disappear before your eyes as the glowing fades.Video

Dr Amy Slaterand Professor Di Harcourt– Centre for Appearance Research

Find out more about the internationally renowned Centre for Appearance Research (CAR)'s psychological and interdisciplinary research in appearance, disfigurement, body image and related studies. Come and visit us and learn about challenging appearance stereotypes and hear about some of our current research projects including: the role of appearance in adolescent Facebook use and evaluating a website designed for young people with a visible difference. Video

Dr Toity Deave - Keeping your children safe

Dr Toity Deave and the Child and Family Health team will talk about child injury prevention. Come and see how to make your home a safer place. We can't keep our children wrapped in cotton wool, but what can be done to keep them safe when it's hard to keep an eye on them every second of the day? Because most accidents in children under 5 happen in the home we all need to make time to look at home safety.


Dr Enda Hayes – Future Bristol

How can the Bristol city region achieve its 2050 carbon reduction target of 80%? Have your say on two different possible future scenarios for Bristol on how it can become a low carbon city and decide if you are an X or a Y person?

Dr Danni Sinnett – Walkability in Bristol

How 'walkable' are the streets in your neighbourhood? Connected street patterns, places to walk to and the distance between amenities are all factors that are more likely to get us increasing our physical activity levels by walking more often. Check out how your area compares on a large colour coded floor map of Bristol.

Dr Jo Barnes – Do you live in an Air Quality Management Area?

Did you know that most of Bristol is within an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA)? That is an area in which concentrations of air pollutants exceed the legal limits. Find out if your house is in an AQMA on the large-scale floor map and talk to Dr Barnes about what can be done to improve local air quality.

Society and Culture

Dr Lauren Devine - Interdisciplinary and Expert Evidence Network (IEEN)

Expert evidence is used in many criminal trials and state systems. Errors and mistakes can result in miscarriages of justice, family separation and over-use of state surveillance. The IEEN is a network of academics, professionals and experts, established to highlight and research these issues. Key project – Rethinking child protection strategy

EuRathlon – Dr Erik Stengler

The euRathlon project, is a unique, unprecedented international competition for search-and-rescue robotics in realistic outdoor disaster scenarios. The team will present the project's educational resources. Images and Videos.

(17:00-21:30) There will also be engaging 20 minute talks from the following researchers:

Dr Hugo Giaggotti Global careers: Internationalization of Business and mobile managers

Dr Hugo Gaggiotti from the Bristol Leadership Centre will seek to explore the potential benefit for SMEs and the South West, and professional in Bristol to become global business players looking at issues such as global management, cultural stereotypes, mergers, acquisitions, takeovers, international expansion and global careerism. Book your free tickets

Dr Adrienn Tomor - New initiative to build a traditional stone bridge over Bridge Valley Road

Masonry arch bridges have been built around the world for 2000 years, many of them are still in use. No masonry bridges are built any longer and skills have been forgotten. Are these bridges really too expensive to build? Dr Adrienne Tomor has been working voluntarily for a year with Friends of the Downs and Avon Gorge to develop plans to build the first classical stone bridge for almost 100 years at the top of Bridge Valley Road on Bristol Downs. Book your free tickets Video

Professor Alan Winfield and Ben Coleman (Bristol Zoo) - Robots vs Animals

Ants and other social insects demonstrate remarkable collective behaviour, which we call 'swarm intelligence', this talk will highlight examples of swarm behaviours in insects, and show that we can use artificial robot swarms to try and understand how swarm intelligence works. Book your free tickets


19:30-23:15 A series of drop-in pecha-kucha talks including Jessica Mayer (BRL) on her PHD – Swarm Robotics, Daniel Richards – on his MSc project, a robotic glove that helps with stroke rehabilitation, and Ruth Larbey about the different uses of nanomaterials and how these relate to our environment and health.

18:00 – 24:00 Located in Bristol's Watershed, the Digital Cultures Research Centre (DCRC) brings together UWE Bristol researchers in art and design, computer science and cultural and media studies to explore how people make culture through their use of digital communications.

The following projects from DCRC members will be highlighted at this event:

Dr Charlotte Crofts and Dr Tom Abba - Curzon Memories

The Curzon Memories App is a mobile phone application which provides a tour of the inside and outside of the Curzon Community Cinema, Clevedon, triggering audio and video dramatisations and oral histories about the history of the building in the exact locations where they actually happened. Video

Dr Tom Abba - These Pages Fall Like Ash

These Pages Fall Like Ash is a first of its kind narrative experience that will allow you to become part of its story, to explore the city, and to discover a whole new way of reading. Composed by Tom Abba and artist collective Circumstance, with creative input from award-winning authors Neil Gaiman and Nick Harkaway, this is a story told across two books. Video

Dr Charlotte Crofts and Tarim – The Fleapit

Developed by Charlotte Crofts (UWE) and Tarim (media playgrounds, Pervasive Media Studio), The Fleapit began as a miniature cinema installation you can operate with your smartphone: open the curtains, dim the lights and play movies.

Dr Charlotte Crofts - Lost Cinemas of Castle Park

City Strata – a collaboration with Calvium and Bristol City Council, is a mobile platform which enables users to explore different layers of Bristol's heritage, going back to the first maps of the city in 1750. The platform will enable developers to author location based experiences which include user generated and uploaded content. The platform will be prototyped with the Lost Cinemas of Castle Park app – which provides a way of navigating the city and experiencing Bristol's cinematic heritage in the spaces where it actually happened.

Robotic Gaming Platform Silas Adekundle and Dr Seth Giddings

Robotic and interactive toys have been available for decades (e.g. Tamagotchi, Furby) but their appeal tends to have been limited in player input to simple button pressing with an audio or behavioural response from the toy. This project is prototyping a gaming platform where the real world is the playing field, the characters are personalised palm-sized 4-legged robots to which the player becomes emotionally attached, and the controller is a smartphone.

Dr Charlotte Crofts and Mandy Rose - Nth Camera

Nth Camera is an exciting new app for mobiles and tablets, enabling groups to spontaneously shoot multi-viewpoint videos for synchronized playback.

Nth Screen – Dr Charlotte Crofts

What happens when we reimagine film for groups? By turning a group of mobile phones and tablet computers into a set of co-ordinated screens for watching multi-segment films the collaboration will explore how film viewing becomes social and communal, building upon the desire to be together, whether in public, at the dining table or in front of the TV.

For the full programme of events: see Bristol Bright Night

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