Over the past few weeks the Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Studies Department has been fortunate in attracting a number of interesting speakers to give talks to students who are interested in ethical issues.
In December a serving member of the British army gave a talk about the ethics of warfare. His recent experiences on the ground in different theatres of war, combined with a review of how ethics are addressed via rules of engagement, were explored.
In January Monsignor Philip Holroyd, once Vice Rector of the English College in Rome gave a talk on conscience – what is it and how does it work. His presentation explored the different religious and secular views of conscience.
In February Angela Hobbs, Professor of Public Understanding of Philosophy from Sheffield University and a well known media commentator, gave a talk at the end of the College day to students and staff on the topic of Ethics and Money. Professor Hobbs’ main thesis was that philosophers have a role in assessing the place of money in our society, especially in the light of the banking crisis of 2008. Professor Hobbs believes we have to recognise that desires expressed in monetary terms are not always necessary for our happiness. Money, she said was a means to something else not an end in itself. At the end of the talk Professor Hobbs took a number of challenging questions about the role of money in our society, such as the profit motive, the relative wealth of the Western countries and the gap between rich and poor.
All these talks were well attended and received by students who impressed all the speakers with their commitment and interest.
Notre Dame continues to provide a wide and varied programme of speaker for its students.
(posted 7 March 2014)
Last Friday U6 student Harriet Dakin took the incredibly brave decision to have her entire head shaved in full view of the student body in order to raise money for the Sue Ryder Trust.
The lower common room at break was thronged with students and staff cheering her on and making donations. When she had recovered from the shock Harriet said
‘I decided to shave my head because I actually volunteer at the Sue Ryder charity shop in Headingley and I’ve seen first-hand how much work they do. So far I’ve managed to raise an amazing £540 of which £160 came from staff and students in college, and people are still donating. It was amazing and the support I got from college was incredible’.
The Sue Ryder Foundation (later changed to Sue Ryder) was established in 1953. The charity provides nursing care for the elderly and disabled and operates more than 80 homes worldwide. It has about 500 high street charity shops and more than 8,000 volunteers. There is a Sue Ryder charity shop as far as the Ascension Islands.
The Foundation’s work also includes providing accommodation in Lourdes for handicapped pilgrims and their Carers.
Congratulations Harriet for bravery above and beyond, and just for the record we think the new hair style is pretty cool!
(posted 13 February 2014)
Notre Dame’s Politics Society hit the ground running last month with three high profile political speakers in as many weeks.
The first guest was Mr Alec Shelbrooke, the Conservative MP for Elmet and Rothwell. He fielded tricky questions about Britain’s relationship with the European Union and the government’s controversial welfare reforms.
Alec Shelbrooke visits Notre Dame
He was followed by was Mr Stuart Andrew, the Conservative MP for Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough. Student David Aldwinkle asked Mr Andrew why he had left the Conservatives for Labour in the late 1990s, only to rejoin the Tories again a few years later. Mr Andrew said that it was his response, as a gay man, to the more illiberal stances of the Conservatives at that time – this was described by Mr Warnes, teacher of Government and Politics, as “The most fascinating answer” he had ever heard from a visiting speaker at Notre Dame.
Stuart Andrew after his talk with Notre Dame students
The third visitor to the department was Mr George Galloway, the MP for Bradford West. Speaking on the eve of his Respect Party’s tenth birthday celebrations, Mr Galloway spoke about the inequities of British society. He took questions ranging from Iraq to Syria to his high profile expulsion from the Labour Party and stayed behind to greet individual students afterwards. Mr Galloway was even kind enough to pose for a ‘selfie’ with one student.
George Galloway speaking at Notre Dame
Mr Allan Clifford, Notre Dame’s Head of Government and Politics, described the January visits as a “colourful contrast in political style and substance”. He added that more sessions are in the pipeline, culminating in a European Elections Question Time event in May chaired by Mr Warnes that will bring the five leading party candidates together in the lecture theatre for a “good grilling by our brilliant students”.
(posted 7 February 2014)
The photograph shows (left to right): Kieran Bull, Andrew Truong, Katy Allen, Richard Compton, Michael Hobley, and Bethany Beck
A record number of students from Notre Dame have been offered places to study at Oxford and Cambridge Universities next September. The Oxbridge support team, led by teachers Mrs Graham and Dr Beaumont, have done an excellent job in helping these, and other students gain places at top universities.
Oxford colleges will see seven of our students taking up places to read: Kieran Bull Physics, Andrew Truong Maths, Richard Compton History, Michael Hobley, Engineering, Beth Beck Chemistry, Katy Allen Archeology and Anthropology and Henry Theakston Mathematics. Lisa Jinn will be going to Cambridge to study Natural Sciences.
College Principal, Terry Coen said “We are proud of the achievements of all of our students at whatever level, but it is particularly pleasing to see that we can compare so favourably at the highest level with many selective schools and colleges. These students are a credit to Notre Dame.”
(posted 6 February 2014)
As most of you will be aware, the Tour De France comes to Yorkshire this year. This is going to be an incredibly important event for the area, and many businesses and institutions are using it as an opportunity to celebrate or initiate projects based on the race. One such is the University of Leeds STEM Challenge. This was a competition which asked students to research into the Biology of Endurance and then design an interactive model to demonstrate key effects on the body.
A team from Notre Dame consisting of Kreigh Williams, Luke Andrews, Rebecca Connor, Isobel Rycroft and Rania Benameur entered the national competition and won first prize!
Work on the project involved students from Biology, PE and DT working together to create a model that demonstrates how the heart and lungs are affected by endurance cycling. The Biologists did the research; the PE students demonstrated the effects and the DT department created the actual model.
As part of the prize, the university plan to develop the prototype into a real display to be found on campus and the Notre Dame team will have the opportunity to work with the university in developing the prototype into its final display. It’s hoped that when the model is developed it will be fully interactive with LED lights along the route. The model will be displayed in the University of Leeds to commemorate the Tour de France Grand Depart 2014.
As first place winners, the team also can choose between up to two iPad minis or a trip to the University in July to see the Grand Depart of the Tour De France.
The judges from STEM commented ‘Please thank your group for all the effort they put in. We received some brilliant entries but your group’s stood out as the best! It is impressive to have entered such a project outside of their own work.’
Competition winner Luke Andrews said ‘I’m really looking forward to it being built and to working with the design team at the university’
This is a tremendous achievement by our students and we congratulate everyone involved.
(posted 22 January 2014)
As always at Notre Dame, Advent was celebrated in style with a number of events and activities both religious and secular organised by Chaplain Andrew Sullivan.
On December the 8th we celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception [Notre Dame’s patronal feast day], with a cake sale. Students and staff brought in their best bakes and £102 was raised for the developing world charity ‘Mary’s Meals’.
On December 12th the annual Pensioners party took place with the usual good cheer. Over 70 guests enjoyed a delicious buffet and enjoyed a wealth of entertainment provided by students. Miscendi Morris were in attendance as was Notre Dame’s own Derren Brown Michael Hobly who astounded the audience with his magic tricks. The afternoon ended with a Bingo session and a visit from Santa.
On Dec 18th there was an advent service in the college chapel where staff joined in with carols sung by the college choir and took a moment to reflect on the term behind them.
The term finished with four advent services where traditional carols such as ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘Silent Night’ were interspersed with some contemporary dance and a rendition of ‘Love has come’ a modern advent song. Performers were Sarah Moriarty, Joanna Ukpabio, Derya Bafa and Karolina Slawski. There was a creation of the nativity tableau and the address was given by our Principal Mr Coen.
The Advent Services were also the finale to our charity giving. As always students had been preparing presents and food parcels for; Catholic Care Food Parcels, The Woman’s Sector, St Nicholas’ Hampers, and St Anne’s Homeless Shelter, and these were brought up during the service.
Term ended on Dec 20th with many good wishes for a well-earned, happy and peaceful Christmas.
(posted 14 January 2014)
Last term saw another fantastic production from the Theatre Studies department. This year they gave us ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’, an adaptation by Tim Supple of Salman Rushdie’s children’s’ book.
The evocative and colourful set hung with exotic silks was designed by production manager Paul Graham and created by Sarah Moriarty.
It conjured up a magical world peopled with strange and exotic creatures including a comical water genii played by Fran Golding and Dominic Leonard’s wonderfully eccentric Hoopoe bird.
Emma Judson was a tremendously engaging Haroun, drawing the audience into the world of the play and taking them on a journey to clean up the sea of stories and rescue the not so fair princess Batcheat.
The ensemble cast of 25 students all worked together playing a variety of roles to create a fantastic evening.
As the play is about the power of stories there was a competition to identify a number of literary quotations projected on to the set throughout the evening. The lucky winner was our own Miss Stapylton who received a book voucher.
Lights and sound were designed and executed by Evie Merrit McDaid and Amandeep Dhari and presiding over cast and crew, stage manager Sheree Webster made sure every aspect of the show ran smoothly.
Friends, colleagues, college staff and family braved the December weather to be entertained and according to college principal Mr Coen, Haroun was ‘Funny entertaining and visually stunning.’
Not only was the show a huge success but the interval refreshments raised £85 or flood relief in the Phillipines.
Congratulations to everyone involved and we look forward to the department’s February production which will be ‘Antigone’’ by Sophocles directed by Maud Haddon and Mollie Stockhill
(posted 13 January 2014)
Former student Rosy Deacon, who left Notre Dame in 2009, was presented with an international television scriptwriting award at the International Emmy® World Television Festival in New York.
Rosy who recently graduated with a first class degree from York University’s Film and Television Production degree, received the Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award for ‘Shards’, a one-hour fantasy drama pilot, she wrote as part of a third-year individual project module on scriptwriting.
Presented by the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation, the award is designed to motivate non-American new writers under the age of 30, offering them the recognition and encouragement that might lead to a successful career in television scriptwriting.
As well as being flown out to New York City, Rosy received a $2,500 prize and took part in the red carpet festivities at the Awards ceremony where her winning script Shards was read out by actors in front of a Festival audience.
Rosy, now 23, said: “Winning the award was absolutely amazing. The Ustinov Award is so prestigious, so I just feel very honoured and proud to have won it.”
“The script is heavily influenced by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland along with Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, but setting it in Berlin in the 60s also let me add a whole Cold War, espionage element, which really let me have a lot of fun with it.”
Lecturer Simon van der Borgh, from the Department of Theatre, Film and Television, at York University where Rosy studied said: “It is unparalleled to my knowledge for a graduating student to win such a prestigious prize for a piece of work developed as part of her degree programme.”
Rosy is currently on a three-month internship with the Knight Hall Agency in London, After which she hopes to go into script development, working for a production company, as well as doing more writing herself.
We at Notre Dame are very proud of Rosy and her fantastic achievement. I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more of her in the future.
(posted 12 December 2013)
Ever since Notre Dame was a school it has had a special day – a feast day to celebrate our patroness – Notre Dame, Mary the mother of Jesus. This occasion traditionally takes place on December 8th, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, when Our Lady’s status as the foremost human role model is recognised. Mary is in fact a noted person in many of the world religions, including Islam.
This year as the 8th was a Sunday, college decided to celebrate it on both Friday 6th and Monday 9th December. On Friday, the staff generously donated cakes, which were sold by our student Senate raising over £102 for Mary’s Meals and on Monday 9th students and staff are encouraged to wish each other ‘Happy Notre Dame Day’.
Mary’s Meals is a charity which provides breakfast for children in the developing world, allowing them to attend school, gain qualifications and so educate themselves out of poverty. This charity is similarly named after Mary and shares a core value with us – the importance of education
It’s over a hundred years ago that a school was established on St. Mark’s Avenue, to educate poor girls in Leeds and next year the college celebrates its silver anniversary as a Sixth Form College open to all. In the celebration of our special day Notre Dame has again demonstrated its key strength – a community built on faith and trust that educates, cares and looks outwards to others.
Student Senate Cake Sale
(posted 10 December 2013)
In October L6 student Joe Barry was nominated by the CHSF (children’s heart surgery fund) for a children of courage award in recognition of his sterling efforts in raising awareness of heart disease.
Joe has been a tireless campaigner for ‘Save Our Surgery’ which is an initiative trying to save the Yorkshire Heart Centre in Leeds currently under threat from government cuts. In 2012, he led a march through Leeds City Centre and spoke afterwards in millennium square in front of 3000 people, and he has also been interviewed on radio and television about his work.
He first got involved in campaigning because he was born with a Congenital Heart Defect and the heart unit at the LGI has saved his life on a number of occasions. He is determined to do everything he can to save it so that others can benefit from its good work.
Joe was presented with his award by comedian Jack Carrol and BBC Journalist Steph MGovern at a glittering event held at the new Dock Hall opposite the Royal Armouries. He said ‘I was really surprised when I got the award because I don’t do the campaigning to get awards. I campaign because I want to raise awareness and support for the heart unit as not many people know about it unless it affects them.’
Joe is currently recovering from an open heart surgery and we all wish him a very speedy recovery and wish him every success in his very worthwhile campaign.
(posted 4 December 2013)