Aberdeen to feature at Universities Week 2014

The University of Aberdeen is featuring in a UK-wide campaign next week to highlight the value and importance of university research to our everyday lives.

Universities Week 2014 launches at the Natural History Museum in London next week (Monday, June 9) and as well as taking part in a week-long public event in London, students and researchers from Aberdeen will also be marking the occasion on campus.

This year UMIS: University Museums in Scotland has been working with Universities UK to create a programme of events in Scottish university museums.

Students on the MLitt in Museum Studies have curated their own exhibition Victorian Time: Spirit of the Age, which will launch on Monday June 10.

They will also be giving public talks throughout the week on a variety of topics connected to the exhibition. 

These will begin on Monday June 9 with Abeer Eladany discussing how Egyptology affected Victorian life. On Tuesday it is the turn of Kirsty Matheson who will consider opium in Victorian life and literature, followed on Wednesday with a look at Victorian geology presented by Emily Paterson.

The lunchtime series continues on Thursday with Agnese Tomasella on the Victorian interest in Classical antiquities and concludes on Friday when Anna Rinke explores how menageries entertained and educated.

All talks run from 1.30pm to 2pm in King’s Museum in the Old Town House on the High Street Old Aberdeen. They are free of charge and booking is not required.

Neil Curtis, Head of Museums at the University of Aberdeen, said: “The University of Aberdeen launched the MLitt in Museum Studies earlier this year and the course is culminating in a student-curated exhibition at King’s Museum. The students have put in a huge amount of research into the project to select the items, discover their stories and create an exhibition that is accessible to the public.

“We thought it fitting that for Universities Week, they share some of the knowledge gathered through the course and the project – and their own individual interests – with the general public. The talks promise to be interesting and engaging and will be a great way to spend a lunchtime. It is important that students engage with the public at this early stage of their careers and they are all looking forward to presenting sharing their knowledge with a new audience.”

One of the academics who has worked with the students, Dr Hazel Hutchison, Senior Lecturer in Language and Literature will also be taking part in the Universities Week’s national event People's Questions’ (#PeoplesQs) via social media during which the public will be able to ask academics about their research. She will be joined by another researcher who has been working with the museum in recent months, Dr Jonathan Pettitt, Reader in Genetics. He has been co-curating a new exhibition to improve the University’s Zoology Museum, introducing ideas about evolution and taxonomy.

Researchers from the University will also join teams from 44 other UK universities represented at the Museum during the week. The exhibition, which has been coordinated by the university’s public engagement with research team, will feature alongside research stations, pop-up performances, debates and live research demonstrations, covering a range of research themes.

The University of Aberdeen’s Marine Biodiscovery Centre and Musculoskeletal Group will be showcasing their work and highlighting the impact of their research through interactive exhibits suitable for all ages.  On Monday and Tuesday, the Very Inhibited Proteins exhibit will give a chance to build proteins and discover how deep sea exploration can help make new medicines. From Wednesday to Friday, the public can discover the secret life of the skeleton and tips to keep bones and joints healthy.

Dr Kenneth Skeldon, Head of Public Engagement with Research at the University of Aberdeen, said: “Universities Week 2014 provides the university with a national, high profile opportunity to highlight our reputation as a vibrant, research intensive institution. It also gives the chance to demonstrate how our research and innovation leads to impact on wider society.”

More information about the Victorian Time exhibition, the student talks and Hangout can be found on the University museums website at www.abdn.ac.uk/museums. Information about Universities Week and People’s Questions is at www.universitiesweek.org.uk.