Lunar New Year Festival – 8 Feb 2023

An image of a flyer for Chinese New Year 2023, listing activities to be hosted at the festival event.

The University of Reading will host a Lunar New Year festival on 8 February 2023. This festival is open to all and we hope to see you there!

Below are some words from Dr. Cong Xia Li, who is organising the festival this year and images from previous Lunar New Year celebrations:

Having taught Chinese at the University of Reading for over 15 years, I have been keen to run the Chinese Lunar New Year festivities to allow everyone on campus to experience the rich culture and traditions involved. I was delighted to see so many students and staff  alike take part in the interactive activities such as 剪纸 (paper cutting), 书法(calligraphy), and Mahjong, which all have deep roots in Chinese culture and philosophy.

A photograph of students sat around a table filled with calligraphy as part of activities for Chinese New YearA photograph of a man bent over and doing some paper cutting on a table as part of activities for Chinese New Year

剪纸 (paper-cutting) is a folk art that appeared in the Han dynasty in the 4th century AD, originating from cutting patterns for rich Chinese embroideries. It even has a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage designation due to its long-standing 1500 years of practice.

Mahjong, a strategy-based tile game among four players, was developed in the 19th century in China and has spread throughout the world since the early 20th century. Through playing Mahjong, one can understand the relationship between chance and necessity. The philosophy behind the game is, using the American actress Julia Robert’s words, “to create orders out of randomly drawn tiles”.

This year, the annual Chinese New Year celebration is scheduled for 8 Feb 13:00 – 16:00 in the Palmer building. There will be lots of interactive activities like chopstick challenges, Chinese music and art, solving riddles, as well as aforementioned paper cutting, calligraphy, and mahjong. There will be lots of prizes to be won! I look forward to seeing you then.

A photograph of a variety of items made during activities for Chinese New Year, including paper cutting and calligraphy

Happy Lunar New Year 2023 from the University of Reading!

(As last year, this post includes Chinese traditional characters and phrases with Cantonese  jyutping and Mandarin 拼音 pinyin pronunciations respectively). 

Lunar New Year / 農曆新年 (nung lik san nin / nóng lì xīn nián) was on Sunday 22 January this year. Welcome to the Year of the Rabbit, ( – tou / tù)

My associations with Chinese New Year are that of a sense of kindness and generosity that have stayed with me since childhood. I have a vivid memory of being in primary school and one of my friends approaching me. Her mother placed a red paper pouch in her hands and, in turn, she placed it in my hands. As I looked over it, I saw a rich, gold-coloured character on the front of it. I didn’t know what it was because it was the first time I encountered it, but I was told to open it and tip the paper pouch slightly. So, I did and out slid a cool, gold shiny pound coin (yes, it was back when the pound coins were just gold!) which landed in my palm. I remember feeling surprised and taken aback at receiving money and thanked her and her family. 

Lunar New Year, though, is not just about giving money for the sake of giving money. As I learned later, the act itself of passing on these packets to another person is symbolic of passing on good fortune for the years ahead. It was many years ago, but that memory has stayed with me all this time and I cherish it as a moment of sharing – not only symbols of good fortune, but of her sharing that part of her culture with me. 

This year is the Year of the Rabbit. The previous Lunar New Year post contains information on where it is celebrated across Asia as a national holiday and the significance of the decorations, their colours and common characters you may see embellishing them, including Paper Cutting Arts, Lanterns, and the Red Packets I mentioned. You can read this post here. This year, to acknowledge Chinese New Year, we have some contributions from staff across the University who have kindly shared decorations they have made and why Lunar New Year is important to them.  

A second post will be coming at this week which will announce the upcoming Lunar New Year festival organised by Dr. Cong Xia Li, the Language Lead for Mandarin Chinese and the Language Lead for Russian in the Department of Languages and Cultures. 

Thank you, all, for your contributions.

Red paper cutting decorations affixed to the windows of the Global Recruitment (international) office.

One of Chinese New Year Traditions – Paste paper-cuts to windows (贴窗花)

 

In the Little New Year, old couplets and paper-cuts from the previous Spring Festival are taken down, and new window decorations, New Year’s posters, and auspicious decorations are pasted up. 

Paper-cuts, usually with auspicious patterns, give a happy and prosperous atmosphere of the Festival and express the good wishes of Chinese people looking forward to a good life. In addition to pasting paper-cuts on windows, it is common for Chinese to paste the character “fu(福)“, big and small, on walls, doors and doorposts around the houses. “Fu(福)” shows people’s yearning toward a good life. Some people even invert the character “fu(福)” to signify that blessing has arrived because “inverted” is a homonym for “arrive” in Chinese. Now many kinds of paper-cuts and “fu(福)” can be seen in the market before the Festival. 

To generate a celebratory atmosphere for the Chinese New Year, we stick this red paper cutting to our office window at Global Recruitment (international). 

 —Danhua Wu 

 

A Festival Spent Together

Lunar New Year is always one of my favourite festival as family and friends gathered together during this period of time. We are so busy throughout the year and difficult to have time spending together. However, during the period of Lunar New Year, we always spare some time for each other and have some celebration activities together, like playing Mahjong and hiking. We always play Mahjong as it symbolises friendship and family bonds in Chinese culture. It is also for wishing each other a prosperous year. And we usually go for hiking during the new year period for getting together and it symbolises good health and good luck.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Rabbit!

–Anthea Im 

 

Celebrating Lunar New Year with English friends

This is my sixth Lunar New Year in Reading. While I can’t go back to China because of work, it is also a good opportunity to celebrate the Lunar New Year with English friends in Reading. Many friends enjoy making Dumplings (Jiaozi, 饺子). These round dumplings signify family reunion. Because dumpling shape resembles ancient Chinese money, they also represent prosperity. Often, a coin is put inside one of the dumplings, and a lucky person will eat it.

An image of friends making dumplings (Jiaozi) together on Chinese New Year

Calligraphy is important in understanding Chinese history and traditions, particularly during the Lunar New Year. The character 福 (fú) can be found on the walls and doors in almost every home. Fu means ‘good fortune’, and posting the character upside down means they want the ‘good fortune’ to “pour out” on them.

A photograph showing a square of red paper with the character "Fu" painted on in calligraphy and inverted.

May your year 2023 of the Rabbit be full of happiness and health!

— Dr. Hong Yang

 

Happy Lunar New Year , 2023.

Neurodiversity and Archaeology: A Personal Perspective

by Connie Buckingham, BA Archaeology, Part 3

 

An image of Connie Buckingham in the trenches

 

People with neurodiverse conditions (raging from dyslexia, ADHD to autism etc) are drawn to and thrive in archaeology. Over 8.5% of students currently in the Archaeology Department at Reading are registered as neurodivergent, me being one of them. This is higher than the university average of 5.3%. After facing my entire schooling ‘not thinking the right way’, I have found a home in archaeology as a place which actively encourages ‘outside the box’ thinking. Archaeology requires the ability to see patterns in data, formulate novel ideas and challenge assumptions in ways that come naturally to those with neurodiverse conditions. Such capabilities are valued just as highly outside archaeology degree programmes as within them.  For example, some employers like GCHQ specifically seek to recruit graduates with neurodiverse conditions because they have been proven to be better at code cracking: https://www.gchq.gov.uk/information/daring-to-think-differently-and-be-different

The University has various systems in place to support neurodiverse students to achieve their full academic and personal potential.  This includes the support channelled through the Disability Advisory Service (DAS) and the ‘green sticker’ system which helps to create a level playing field in the assessment of academic performance by exempting spelling, punctuation, and grammar in the marking of coursework submitted by registered neurodivergent students. While these mechanisms are certainly beneficial, they do not provide a universal panacea, nor has their effectiveness been evaluated.

Over the past 10 months, I have been employed on a project led by Dr Gabor Thomas in Archaeology that has been probing into these issues, drawing upon the rich experiences of its neurodivergent undergraduate and Masters’ students.  Supported by a grant from the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Projects (TLEP) scheme and conducted in close partnership with the Disability Advisory Service, the project has evaluated the effectiveness of current teaching and feedback practice with regards to supporting neurodivergent student, enacted short-term recommendations and paved the way for future improvements.

Through a series of student focus groups, we have evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of the current department practices from the perspective of neurodivergent students. We have used this feedback, as well as that from a more targeted online survey, to enact positive change in the department. A key lesson from this consultation is that most neurodivergent students want constructive feedback on writing style to enable them to become better and clearer writers. The green sticker system partly works against this because, despite its good intentions, it tends to disincentivise staff from commenting on these aspects of work.

As a result of all the feedback received, Archaeology has implemented new ‘quick-links’ set in Turnitin enabling markers to point students in the direction of specific on-line resources and tutorials contained on the university’s study advice webpages. We have also undertaken a more in-depth review of written feedback and shared strategies for formulating clearer, more consistent feedback, including on written skills, that is easier for neurodivergent students to process. This will allow for more constructive feedback for all students, not just those with neurodiverse conditions.  Additionally, the department has revised its enrolment process to encourage early conversations between students and academic tutor about possible struggles with academic writing. Promotional material for the department has been added to focus on neurodiverse conditions, including clips from an interview with University of Reading alumni and dyslexic, Professor Duncan Sayer, showing prospective students that a highly successful academic career is very achievable for those with neurodiverse conditions. In the longer term, Archaeology will apply the lessons learnt from the project to redesign the study skills sessions embedded in Part 1 teaching to make them more digestible and engaging for neurodivergent students.

I have been involved in all areas of the neurodiversity project and have found the role hugely rewarding. I have always viewed my dyslexia as a strength as well as a challenge and it has been very self-affirming to be able to help others with similar difficulties. The more the university can do to make those with neurodiverse conditions feel supported the more inclusive it will become.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July: South Asian Heritage Month

https://www.southasianheritage.org.uk/

 

South Asian Heritage Month logo

 

South Asian Heritage Month (SAHM) in the UK starts in July! Running from Monday 18th July to Wednesday 17th August, this is the third year of South Asian Heritage Month in the UK. The theme for 2022 is Journeys of Empire.

Meet the team behind SAHM: https://www.southasianheritage.org.uk/team

South Asian Heritage Month is a month-long celebration (similar in spirit to Black History Month in October), to celebrate the heritage of people with roots in South Asian countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, The Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. SAHM aims to commemorate, mark and celebrate South Asian cultures, histories and communities. It seeks to understand the diverse heritage and cultures that continue to connect South Asia with the UK.

Read more about the history of the British empire and South Asia here: https://www.southasianheritage.org.uk/britishempire

 

A full calendar of events is planned for South Asian Heritage Month 2022, with both in-person across the UK and online events taking place. There will be 31 events over 31 days, as well as specific Focus Days for each of the 8 countries of South Asia.

See events here: https://www.southasianheritage.org.uk/events-information

 

 

 

 

 

Further Resources:

University of Reading BAME Network: https://www.reading.ac.uk/diversity/getting-involved/networks#bamenetwork

 

SAHM Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/southasianheritagemonth_uk

SAHM Twitter: https://twitter.com/SAHM_UK

South Asian Writers Articles:

The Hidden History of the Ayahs of Britain: https://southasianwriters.com/2020/08/12/the-hidden-history-of-the-ayahs-of-britain/

Poetry and Memory: The Bridge Between My Grandfather’s Memoirs & Me: https://southasianwriters.com/2020/08/08/462/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(image source: https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/60aea818f5e3633f493fec9a/1622325047641-C2KYLQ1NYIC3F0PR3PP4/SAHM+square+logo+2_black+%282%29.png?format=1500w)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IDAHOBIT 2022

17 May is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBiT). Every year UoR marks this occasion and in May 2022 we were able to do so in-person.

The main event took place on the Whiteknights campus on Tuesday 17 May at lunchtime. The event was open to all colleagues and students. The aims of IDAHOBIT day are to engage with staff and students about LGBT+ issues and inspire LGBT+ allyship amongst our staff and students. We flew the rainbow flag on our campus flag pole and had some speeches from both staff and student representatives.

Pride flag flying on Whiteknights Campus.

 

Dr Ruvi Ziegler (he/him), Chair of the LGBT+ staff network

Ruvi, Chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network standing in front of the flying Pride flag on Whiteknights Campus.

The official site for IDAHOBiT explains that the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was created in 2004 to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics. May the 17th was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

What does Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia mean today?

While we have witnessed significant legal advances in LGBT+ equality in parts of the world, there remain many places where LGBT+ persons are not free to live, thrive, and be partnered to whomever they wish. LGBT+ persons’ experiences are shaped globally by criminal sanctions and oppression, social barriers, intolerance, and unwillingness to accept and recognise them for they are.

Of 194 countries surveyed by International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex association, over 2 billion people live in 70 countries where consensual same-sex sexual acts between adults are illegal. In 11 of those countries, it carries the death penalty.

On the other side of the recognition/protection scale, only 68 countries offer broad legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation. And, of those, only 29 enshrine marriage equality in their laws.

Some of those seeking refuge from persecution on grounds of sexual orientation come to our shores. As the recently enacted Nationality and Borders Act makes it harder for LGBT+ asylum-seekers to ‘prove’ who they are, and as the Memorandum of Understanding with Rwanda puts them at risk of being sent to harm’s way, I am proud that the university, jointly with Reading city of sanctuary and the Reading Refugee Support Group, offers a sanctuary scholarship scheme at all study levels designed to enable 12 students who are asylum-seekers or who have received a protection status in the UK to come to study here. I hope some of the recipients will be LGBT+.

BUT, lest we forget, our society is hardly in a position to rest on its laurels. Last year’s Yougov survey suggested that 26% of UK adults would be ashamed to have an LGBT+ child.  Jack Daniels’ coming out this week as the first active male professional footballer to do so made major headlines. In a fully accepting and inclusive society, it would not.

Home Office figures show that hate crimes against people based on their sexual orientation have risen every year in England and Wales from 2016/17 to 2020/21. In 2016/17, there were 8,569 such crimes recorded by the police, rising to 17,135 in 2020/21. My husband and I have experienced homophobic verbal abuse twice during lockdown for daring to hold hands in Oxford. Like probably many others, we have not filed a complaint, so this scary figure is based on under-reporting.

Hate crimes against trans people have risen more than twofold, from 1,195 to 2,630 in the same period, no doubt fuelled by a toxic and often hostile public discourse.

Therefore, IDAHOBIT is fundamentally important wherever you are, as it is a day that gives the LGBT+ community and its allies the world over the opportunity to celebrate the social and political advancements in LGBT+ equality but also to reflect on the work that remains to be done to make our communities truly inclusive.

It is, also a great opportunity for employers like ours to help raise awareness about tackling LGBT+ discrimination and show support by being visible allies. At Reading, some members of our community have recently questioned whether this campus is a safe and welcoming space for them: this cannot stand. Our continuing mission must be to make this university as inclusive a space as it can be.

As Chair of the LGBT plus staff network, I would like to invite all our Staff and PGR students who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, asexual, intersex, non-binary or any other sexual and gender identities– as well as LGBT+ people with multiple identities, and indeed everyone else who sees themselves as an ally – to join us. We are stronger together.

 

 

 

Thank you to all our speakers and to all our staff and students who came along!

 

 

Further Resources:

IDAHOBIT: https://may17.org/

Get Involved with D&I work: https://www.reading.ac.uk/diversity/getting-involved

Join the LGBT+ Staff Network as a member or ally: https://www.reading.ac.uk/diversity/getting-involved/networks#LGBTPlusNetwork

RUSU LGBQ+ Officer: https://www.rusu.co.uk/representation/student-reps/part-time-officers/lgbq-plus-officer/

RUSU Trans Student Officer: https://www.rusu.co.uk/representation/student-reps/part-time-officers/trans-students-officer/

RUSU LGBT+ Student Society: https://www.rusu.co.uk/organisation/11536/

 

If you have any queries, please get in touch with diversity@reading.ac.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LGBT+ History Month 2022 – Round Up

A UoR branded graphic with 'LGBT+ History Month' written on it and a heart with the LGBT+ progress flag designed in it.

LGBT+ History Month – ‘Round up’

There was a lot of activity across the University in February for LGBT+ History month. Here are some of the highlights to keep your LGBT+ inclusion going beyond the major celebratory months.

 

What is LGBT+ History month and why is it important?

LGBT+ History Month happens in February every year in the UK. It is important that we celebrate LGBT+ history to recognise and celebrate the contributions and achievements of LGBT+ people throughout history. Some historical figures could not be openly ‘out’ in their own time (Oscar Wilde, for example) and for this reason it is important to celebrate them today and recognise them as their whole selves.

The LGBT+ community also have a long history of having to fight for human rights. Still today, 70 countries criminalise same-sex relationships. This map shows the stark reality of current global rights for LGBT+ people, which makes it even more important that we critique, as well as celebrate the community’s history, and by doing this, we can look ahead to the future.

 

The Library’s D&I resources  

A message from Tim Chapman, D&I Lead, Library.

“Our online reading list system, which is widely used by academic staff for most taught courses across the University, has been of huge benefit to students since we adopted it in 2015. It gives direct links to the library catalogue and instant access to any material available to us online.  

We are also able to develop bespoke reading lists such as this one - highlighting some great YA and Children’s material that we hold in the library, covering a range of LGBTQ+ issues and themes. Check it out.   

Our online reading lists enable us to get the broadest reach possible and they help us to widen readership, which from a diversity perspective, must be a positive thing.  

We also produce a reading list that keeps track of all the material purchased from our Diversity Fund. Anyone can suggest a purchase that relates to any of our diversity and inclusion themes (LGBTQ+, race & ethnicity, disability & inclusion). It’s a great way for you to help us to shape your Library’s collections.  

If you want more information, or to suggest a book for purchase, contact your School Academic Liaison Librarian here.” 

 

Prepster: PrEParing and HIV

Dr Will Nutland, co-founder of prepster, talked about why testing for HIV is important, who should be thinking about testing, and how frequently. He talked to us about how testing has changed over time and in addition, talked about the available options -including PrEP for those who are negative and new options for those folks that test positive for HIV.

Re-watch the event here: Prepster:PrEParing and HIV

 

 

‘Ice and Fire’ – a rehearsed reading and Q&A 

Brought to us by Dr Ruvi Ziegler, Chair of the LGBT+ staff network on Wednesday 02 February. Prior to the reading, between 2-2.45pm, there was also an asylum mapping workshop open to interested law students and staff.

The event was a rehearsed reading of LGBT+ asylum testimonies by Ice and Fire followed by a Q&A moderated by Sebastian Aguirre, Director of Actors For Human Rights (a queer human rights activist and theatre practitioner from the Chilean refugee diaspora in the UK), with Ruvi Ziegler and a representative of the Reading Refugee Support Group.

Here is tweet about the event as well as some photos

 

 

LGBTQ+ Britain through Bishopsgate institute collections

Stef took participants at the university on a virtual tour of the collections at the Bishopsgate Institute, talking about the history of LGBT+ Britain. Covering many topics and moments over last 50 years in a light-hearted fashion for all the University Staff and Students.

Watch it again below:

LGBTQ+ Britain through Bishopsgate institute collections

 

 

the Pride in STEM logo

LGBT+ History Month Whiteknights Campus trail

The Central Diversity and Inclusion team released a University of Reading ‘talking or walking tour’, in collaboration with the LGBT+ Staff Network.

We reached out to the Diversity and Inclusion leads across the University and asked for an LGBT+ figure who they associate with their School, Function, or field of study. We collated these figures and mapped out a route through the University’s Whiteknights Campus.

Some departments are not located on Whiteknights campus, and these have been added at the end so that you can learn about the historical figures, without travelling to those locations physically.

Colleagues can listen to an audio version, read about the icons, use the ‘map’ to physically familiarise themselves with Whiteknights campus buildings and departments (and LGBT+ History).

 

Listen to/watch the presentation here: Whiteknights_campus_LGBT_tour_2022.mp4

Whiteknights Campus map here Campuses Map & Key (reading.ac.uk)

We also ran training including an LGBT+ Ally recruitment and information session. You can still sign up to our Trans inclusion training, as it is at the end of March:

A Trans flag being held up against a blue background

Trans inclusion training 

Thursday 31st March 2022 – 10am-12pm (via Microsoft Teams)

Register here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing… Mary Turner Wolstenholme

During Women’s History Month we often focus on great women and women pioneers. But for Women’s History Month 2022, here at the Department of History, we are privileged to be able to concentrate on one of our own, Mary Turner Wolstenholme. Mary represents so many women who might have considered themselves ordinary but whose achievements tell us so much about women’s lives and opportunities.  With the kind permission her daughters Gilly Pinner and Julie Wolstenholme and through their generous donation of their mother’s documents and photographs from her time at Reading we present:  Mary Turner Wolstenholme.

Mary Turner completed a BA Hons in Geography and graduated on 1st July 1948. She graduated in the same year that the eminent historian Doris Stenton received her doctorate in History. 1948 was also an auspicious year that saw the founding of the NHS. After graduating from Reading in 1948 with a BA Hons in Geography, Mary (known as Molly) went on to complete her teacher’s diploma at Manchester Victoria University. She subsequently became a teacher at a local high school in the Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, known as Whitewell Bottom. She married Robert Wolstenholme in 1952 and her daughter Gilly was born in 1956 and Julie in 1959. Mary retuned to teaching when her own daughters started school, as a primary school teacher, first at Stubbins County Primary then Edenfield CofE Primary. She continued teaching at Edenfield, later becoming Deputy Head, until taking early retirement in the 1980s. Through the kind gift of Mary’s personal papers we can see her journey to becoming an educator herself though her time at Reading.

 

An image of female staff and students posed together outside a university building in Reading.

Female undergraduates and academic staff at Reading, 1947

 

Rag Week 12th March 1947

Rag week is almost a lost tradition, it was a designated week when the university and the town came together; students organised fayres and a procession of floats to raise money for local charities.

An image of a horse drawn carriage and people surrounding it An image of people marching in the streets. An image of a float going down a busy street. An image of people driving a car.

An image of Kimber, Bill Ashton, The Mayor, Brian Robinson, Roger Williams in the Berkshire Records Office.

Kimber, Bill Ashton, The Mayor, Brian Robinson, Roger Williams
Students attempt to kidnap Phoebe Cusden, first female mayor of Reading and eminent peace campaigner. Read more about Phoebe Cusden at the Berkshire Records Office where her papers are held The Berkshire Record Office

 

Final Examinations

BA Geography examinations consisted of eight 3-hour papers.  How would you have done?

An image of a scanned geography final exam paper from June 1948

Other papers included: Human and Historical Geography, Geography (PRACTICAL), Physical Geography, Regional Geography (EUROPE), Regional Geography (BRITISH ISLES AND FRANCE), Economic Geography, Cartography

 

Graduands for presentation

When Mary graduated there were a surprising number of women gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Faculty of Letters.  For the Bachelor of Science degrees however the number of women dwindles hugely!

An image of a scanned graduands for presentation document.

Doris Mary Stenton (Lady Stenton), was awarded her doctoral degree D. Litt. from the Faculty of Letters at the same presentation.

An image of a scanned graduates document.

An image of graduates in 1948

Graduation, July 1st, 1948 (Geography Group):
Mike Banyon, Shirley Jones, Frank Pierce
Isobel Ayers, Sheila Knight, Mary Turner, Ron Waters
Ron Stone, Margaret Lawes, Mags Johnson, Frances Pilling

 

 

Reference in application for Education Methods (modern PGCE)

What Mary made of her reference from Professor Austen Miller in 1949 we do not know but it is eye-wateringly misogynistic by C21st standards! While Mary was of a ‘frank, cheerful and warm-hearted disposition’, she might not make ‘a great scholar’. In fact

‘The qualities that recommend her are the more

 personal ones of appearance and presence…’

 

An image of a scanned letter dates 1949

In 1878, the University of London was the first to award degrees to women. Both Oxbridge universities were among the last to grant women degrees on the same terms as men: Oxford in 1920 but not until 1948 at Cambridge, the same year that Mary Turner graduated from Reading. The granting of degrees by Cambridge caused a huge amount of unrest with male undergraduates burning effigies of women students and throwing fireworks at the windows of women’s colleges. Even then, the university was allowed to limit the numbers of female students relative to men and continued to exercise that power to the full. The University of Reading awarded degrees to women on the same terms as men from its inception in 1926.

 

Mary Turner, BA Geography, 1st July 1948

An image of Mary Turner, BA Geography on 01 July 1948

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National HIV Test Week 07-13 February 2022

a blog piece by Quincy Bastow (they/them), Technician – Teaching and Research at UoR, in collaboration with Jessica Harding (she/her), Deputy CEO at TVPS

Background on TVPS: Since 1985, Thames Valley Positive Support (TVPS) has worked hard to make a significant difference to people living with HIV across Berkshire. Originally an amalgamation of several different HIV support groups in the area, TVPS now stands proudly as the only HIV charity in Berkshire and in January 2020, expanded to include HIV support in North Hampshire. Our work spans prevention, testing, and post-diagnosis support. Their goal is to make people are aware of their HIV status, have the right level of support if they are positive, and are sufficiently informed to protect themselves if they are negative.

 

 

 

7th-13th of February marks National HIV Test Week. This week aims to encourage as many people as possible to test for HIV and know their status. It also highlights the many different methods of testing for HIV. A quick, easy and discreet method is the free postal test scheme that runs throughout the testing week. You can order one from freetesting.hiv 

 

Last year marked 40 years since the first official reporting of five cases, of what would later go on to be named Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). We have come a long way in the past four decades, so let’s explore some of these advances…

 

PrEP 
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a drug taken by HIV-negative people before and after sex that reduces the risk of getting HIV. Taking PrEP before being exposed to HIV means there’s enough medication inside you to block HIV if it gets into your body. PrEP is available free on the NHS in England. If you would like to learn more about PrEP or how to access it, contact your local sexual health clinic

 

PEP  
Post-exposure prophylaxis is a combination of HIV drugs that can stop the virus from taking hold. It can be used after the event if you’ve been at risk of HIV transmission. It must be taken within 72 hours, but ideally, it should be taken within 24 hours. It is not guaranteed to work, and it is meant as an emergency measure to be used as a last resort, such as if a condom fails during sex.

 

U=U
Undetectable equals untransmittable – this means that if the levels of HIV antibodies are so low in a person’s blood they cannot be detected. We call this an undetectable viral load. If you have an undetectable viral load, you cannot pass HIV on. People achieve an undetectable viral load by consistently taking their HIV medication and this is where the phrase ‘medication = prevention’ derives from in terms of HIV.

 

“While we have come so far in terms of testing options and advances in medication and prevention strategies, sadly attitudes towards HIV have not kept pace. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigmas that surround HIV due to misconceptions and lack of knowledge. The best way to help diminish stigma is to get HIV educated and pass that education on to those around you. A really easy way you can start to get HIV educated is to head over to iTunes or Spotify and listen to our HIV podcast – HIV, Hope & Charity. We share the stories of positive people, activists, and HIV history, and all in around 25 minutes!” – TVPS (Thames Valley Positive Support)

 

 

At the University of Reading this week, Friday 11th, 13:00-14:00, we will have Dr. Will Nutland, co-founder of prepster, will be talking about why testing for HIV is important, who should be thinking about testing, and how frequently. He will also talk to us about how testing has changed over time in addition, to how there are options – including PrEP for those who are negative and new options for those folks that test positive for HIV.
To register interest click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating the Year of the Tiger 2022

We’ve received a collection of photographs and contributions from some staff and students across UoR sharing how they celebrate lunar new year with friends and family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“My wife said for this Chinese New Year, she will put a red packet under the pillows of me and my daughter. It reminds me of my childhood memories of looking forward to receiving Yasuiqian (the red packet or lucky money) from my elders in the village in the Chinese New Year and we children needed to kowtou (kneel down with head touching the floor in front of the elders to show our respect) to receive it as part of the ritual – well, only symbolically as far as I can remember. Nowadays, kowtou is truly a thing of the past, but the folklore and the tradition of giving and receiving Yasuiqian (the lucky money) during the Chinese New Year have been passed on from generation to generation.

Why a red packet for the Chinese New Year? What does it symbolise?

I found the following brief story on the Yasuiqian (lucky money) shared by Cindy on Travelguide an interesting read:

https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/festivals/red-envelop.htm

I look forward to my red packet! Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous Chinese New Year of the Tiger!”

Dr Daguo Li, ISLI

 

 

“Chinese Lunar New Year (CLNY) is the most important festival for all Chinese in China and overseas. CLNY, of course, includes celebrations, delicious food, fireworks, visiting relatives and friends, while, more importantly, it is the time for family gatherings. A famous Chinese poem says “独在异乡为异客,每逢佳节倍思亲。” (All alone in a foreign land, I am twice as homesick on this day) During the year, I may be too busy to contact some relatives and friends. However, it is important to call all of them and give my 拜年(New Year Greetings) to them. With the development of social media, I can easily see them and 拜年 on WeChat. 2022 is the Year of Tiger 🐯. I wish all my relatives, friends and colleagues in the University of Reading 虎虎🐯🐯生威 (Forge ahead with the vigour and vitality of the tiger) in 2022.”

Dr Hong YANG (He/Him)
Associate Professor in Environmental Science

 

 

“Before the outbreak of COVID-19, Lunar New Year’s Day left me with many memories. Family and relatives gathered to thank our ancestors (“Chalye” in Korean), ate “tteokguk”, bow to adults with saying ‘Happy New Year'(“sebae” in Korean), and played traditional games such as “yutnori”. Since the spread of Corona 19, it has become difficult for family and relatives to gather on Lunar New Year’s Day, but I hope that we can get together again from this year and have a good time. Also, I wish all the students and staff at Reading University become a Happy New Year.”

YoungWoo Shin
Student at UoR Law School

 

“A Chinese New Year Meal” – Yang Zhong

 

“Children enjoy this festival most” – Yang Zhong

 

“Making dumplings during the new year eve is a family activity we all love” – Yang Zhong

 

“Door decoration of FU means good fortune usually goes with the spring festival couplets” – Carrie Zhang

 

“Spring Festival Couplets are essential Chinese New Year decorations”

 

“Writing Spring Festival Couplets” – Carrie Zhang

 

“Dumplings are an essential dish in the family reunion meal” – Carrie Zhang

 

“Giving Yasuiqian (red envelopes) is a very traditional practice and continues being popular among young and old”

 

“Red lanterns in all shapes or sizes are another type of essential decorations for Chinese New Year” – Carrie Zhang

 

“Visiting a temple fair or a local park with festive decorations is a popular way of spending the Chinese New Year holiday”

 

“A glimpse of street scene in Chengdu” – Yang Zhong

 

“A local park in NingXia” – Peilan Zhang

 

“Hanging new year decors” – Yang Zhong

 

 

“Street scene in Ningxia” – Peilan Zhang