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Simon Grennan

The University’s Research Festival will take place between Monday, April 8 and Thursday, April 18.

Dr Elizabeth Christopher, Director of the Research and Knowledge Transfer Office at the University, said: “The Research and Knowledge Transfer Festival is an opportunity to celebrate and showcase the vibrant research culture and the scope of research activities here at Chester. We are thrilled at the range of events open to the public in this year’s programme, and we look forward to sharing some of the most exciting research in the region with the local community.”

On Monday, April 8, Dr Melanie Giles, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Manchester, will present Bog Bodies: face-to-face with the past. In this talk, she will look to answer the question: Why have the well-preserved remains of Iron Age people found in bogs across north-western Europe, captivated the attention not just of archaeologists but poets, film-makers, philosophers and curators?

Dr Giles will explore remains from northern Britain, Ireland and Denmark, firstly from a mortuary perspective: examining what the forensic evidence can tell us about their lives and deaths. New research on Lancashire’s bog heads ‘Worsley Man’ and ‘Ashton Man’ will be presented alongside a richer understanding of the landscapes and legends of bogs and boggarts. The talk will also review some of the ethical issues surrounding their display and interpretation in museums. By critically considering the sleight-of-hand performed by conservation strategies, Dr Giles will explore how this final stage of their biography contributes to what Seamus Heaney memorably described as their ‘riddling power’.

The lecture takes place between 6pm and 7.30pm at the Beswick Building on the University’s Parkgate Road Campus.

Then, on Tuesday April 9, Janet Hemingway, CBE, who is Professor of Vector Biology at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, will discuss Bugs, Bites and Parasites. Professor Hemingway is also a Senior Technical Advisor on Neglected Tropical Diseases for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She was appointed the Director of LSTM in 2001 and stepped down at the beginning of this year, having overseen a period of exceptional growth of the organisation. She is also an honorary graduate of the University of Chester.

How do you get the world’s richest man to engage with your research and part with US$125M to support your proposed agenda? Professor Hemingway will describe the journey from concept to establishing a long term partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others to deliver new tools, technologies and approaches to control malaria in Africa, and visceral leishmaniasis in India. This initiative, started in 2005, has already saved over 600,000 lives of infants and is contributing to the eradication of diseases that blight the lives of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. While much progress has been made, there is still much to be done and Professor Hemingway will highlight key areas going forward.

The event takes place in the Beswick Building on the Parkgate Road Campus between 6pm and 7.30pm. 

On Tuesday, April 16, as part of the Festival, and to launch Chester Storyhouse’s Lunchtime Lecture Series, there will be two talks by University of Chester academics. At Storyhouse between 12 noon and 1pm, Dr James Holt, Senior Lecturer in Religious Education, will discuss Minority Voices within Religion.

Too often society and education can ignore the voices of people who find themselves in the minority. Dr Holt will be exploring how we can expand the boundaries of the voices we take note of in education, particularly Religious Education, and help people feel included and a part of the wider conversation.

This will build on his monographs Religious Education in the Secondary School: Learning, Teaching and the World Religions (Routledge, 2015) and Expanding the Boundaries of the RE Classroom (University of Chester Press, forthcoming).

Then, on the same day, between 4pm and 5pm, Dr Simon Grennan, Leading Research Fellow in the University’s Department of Art and Design, will discuss The enduring power of comic strips.

Come and hear how the comic medium provides experiences unlike any others and why these experiences continue to provide excellent contexts for comedy, satire and parody – all genres in which comics excel.

Dr Grennan is a scholar of Victorian comics and an acclaimed comic strip artist himself. He will take you through a roller-coaster ride, sparkling with the dazzling work of comics artists from around the globe and across history, from the creator of Bash Street to the American underground comics of today, via Japan, Canada, France and many stops in between.

There are a number of other free public events on throughout the Festival, including talks on diabetes and heart failure, the Trabant car in Germany, and financial management systems. There is also a session aimed at local businesses interested in working with the Faculty of Science and Engineering researchers at Thornton Science Park.

Visit the Research Festival pages for the full programme of events, more details and booking links.

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