Tom’s doing his bit: Post from Tees bit on the side

Our very own Teesside University Graphic Design graduate, Tom Harrington, is continuing his hands on work with ‘Liberty in North Korea’, an organisation dedicated to helping North Korean refugees reach freedom. Tom is currently travelling around the south-east of the US, sharing stories of North Korean refugees to raise awareness and funds. If you would like any further information please visit Tom’s fundraising page,

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from Tees bit on the side

University: the 30,000 pound question.

Graduation. Dissertation. Organisation. Your final year at University is bound to be full of ups and downs, but why do so many people put themselves through it?

As a final year Journalism student at Teesside University I know all about the aches and pains of handing in work in time for a deadline.

But as I started my third year I started to question why did I choose to do a degree in the first place?

Until a few years ago, those who were undecided about university were often told ‘any degree will do, you just need qualifications so you can get a job’.

However, this isn’t really the case anymore. Yes, a degree looks good, but it all comes down to experience – whether you get that through education or an apprenticeship the choice is yours.


WORKING HARD: Katie’s determination paid off within the company
Source: Coast & Country.

20-year-old Katie Anna Harding from Eston is a trainee communications officer at Coast & Country and said that university wasn’t for her.

She said: “When I started out as an apprentice, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I did know that I wanted to work.

“Being part of the Coast & Country apprenticeship program really opened my eyes to the opportunities that are available, and I got loads of support, guidance and advice, as well as some really high quality training and personal development opportunities.

“I feel now as though I have found my ideal career and wouldn’t be where I am today without the apprenticeship programme.”

She began her career as a Business Administration Assistant within the Housing Team and her determination, hard work and character shone brightly in the business.

Flourishing within the company, Katie secured herself a permanent position as a Communications Trainee and is also aiming for a Level Four Diploma in Marketing Communications.

Back in 2005 me and Katie started building our friendship after starting secondary school at Laurence Jackson in Guisborough.

Five years later we were to receive our GCSE results and then take two very different paths.

Katie said: “Uni had never really been an option for me because I wanted to do performing arts but I went to college to try it out but it just wasn’t for me.

“I ended up taking an apprenticeship at a housing company and I just found it worked a lot better for me, I enjoyed working while I was still learning and I ended up with a full time job out of it.”

I am still in full time education with a part time job as a waitress trying to support myself, whereas Katie has grown within Coast & Country over the past three years.

Worst case scenario when I graduate is that all the hard work and extra three years of education will not pay off and I’ll be without a job in the industry.

So the question, ‘is university really worth it?’ arises.

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, supports both apprenticeships and university.

He said: “People need to do what is right for them, no one can force them into doing anything they don’t want to do.

“Some people will try university and find it’s not for them and vice versa.

“If you think you can get something out of university education then that’s great because ultimately it is as good a path way as any.”

from Tside

Tonight Teesside sleeps rough

PEOPLE from across the area will sleep rough tonight to help raise awareness as well as vital funds for homeless charities.

Over 150 Teessiders are expected to gather on Friday 21st November at Middlesbrough College for The Big Tees Sleepout, an event in aid of showing solidarity and the growing gap between the rich and the poor.


LAST YEAR: 2013 organisers Joanna Wake and Andy Preston show us what to expect with specialist foundation lecturer Claire Lloyd.
Soure: The Evening Gazette

Volunteers are asked to give up their home comforts and take part in the fourth event which has seen the last three raise £35,000 for local people in desperate need.

Organised by the Teesside Philanthropic Foundation the event was set up in aid of changing lives and to help make Teesside a fairer place.

Entrepreneur and Chairman of the organisation, Andy Preston said: “The idea of the Big Sleepout and the charity is that we can help relieve some of the significant poverty that is happening across Teesside.

“Where we live there isn’t a large amount of rough sleepers, homelessness in this area is largely about living in hostels.

“We’ve raised a lot of money over the last four years and with that we help stock local food banks, sporting activities that are set up to help those recovering from addiction as well as work with groups such as the Salvation Army to help buy Christmas presents for children.”

Participants are advised to bring a sleeping bag and to wear warm layers, including hats, scarves and gloves.

The sleepout will take place between 8pm and 6am where both hot and cold drinks will be provided and toilet facilities available.

Money raised will go to a range of charities, including: Middlesbrough Homeless and Recovery League, the Salvation Army’s Christmas appeal and the Stockton-based Moses Project that puts on Christmas Day lunch for addicts, homeless people and struggling families.


from Tside

Remembrance Day, the 100th anniversary

BLOOD SWEPT LANDS AND SEAS OF RED: A panoramic view of the poppy moat

BLOOD SWEPT LANDS AND SEAS OF RED: A panoramic view of the poppy moat

The shudder of goose bumps captured me, as the thud of the cannons marked the beginning of the two minutes silence.

Two minutes silence to commemorate the millions of personnel who served and sacrificed their own lives for us.

For you.

For the future.

And for freedom.

As I stood in the centre of Whitehall, amongst the tens of thousands, I heard nothing. Not a single sound broke the silence.

In front of me, I watched the old boys and girls as they stood tall and proud, chins raised with a glimpse of sadness in their eyes.It was difficult to stand there watching their tired feet, unsteady legs and trembling hands, but the glimpse of strength and power in this moment, their moment, was spectacular.  It was clear to me that not a single one of them were going to miss this moment for the world.

I glanced to my left, as one elderly man stood behind his own wheelchair, desperately gripping the handles to support his fragile self. He wore his impressive collection of well-earned medals, polished to perfection, with his hair smartly combed to one side. Peering through his 60s’ styled spectacles, the pure determination and fierce ambition in this brave man’s eyes, to stand there tall and strong, was impeccable.

There are no words to describe the honour and respect I felt towards this man, and to the thousands of others stood there in front of me, in the sea of heroes.   To my right stood the empty tomb, The Cenotaph, which looked as if it had been handpicked from a fairy tale. The sun pierced through the lasting memorial and onto the aged faces of the war.


The cannons struck again and an eerie atmosphere settled over London.

THE CENOTAPH: 'The Glorious Dead'

THE CENOTAPH: ‘The Glorious Dead’

Armistice Day falls on the 11th of November every year, marking the end of World War One. Each year, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, a two minutes silence is held across towns and cities all over the world.

On Remembrance Sunday, which this year fell on Sunday 9th, The Great Royal British Legion parade, involving over 10,000 representatives, marched through the famous Whitehall, situated in Central London. As the war veterans from over 250 military organisations marched, the crowd in their thousands applauded the seemingly never-ending ribbon of uniformed and decorated veterans.

As a student at Teesside University, the main reason I travelled back down to London for the Remembrance Day parade was to see my dad in the march. He was amongst the select number of Ministry of Defence Police who have served in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

This made the occasion more personal and special to me, and it was an incredibly proud moment to see my dad suited and booted amongst the thousands of other service men and women.

PROUD MOMENT: Me (left) and my dad (right) after the parade

PROUD MOMENT: Me (left) and my dad (right) after the parade

This year was the 100th anniversary of the start of The Great War, and will be a memorial day that will never be forgotten. The beautiful Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the masterpiece that wowed the nation, was a mass display of ceramic poppies that floated around the Tower of London.

Over five million people came to view the waterfall of 888,246 ceramic poppies; one for each British and colonial death during World War One. The two sculpture elements in the memorial were the Wave, which arched over the entrance to the Tower, and the Weeping Willow, made up from a gentle trickle of poppies spilling from the castle’s window.

These iconic pieces are setting off on a tour around Britain before settling into their new home at the Imperial War Museum.

THE WEEPING WILLOW: Thousands of people gather to see the display

THE WEEPING WILLOW: Thousands of people gather to see the display

After visiting the memorial display, I was left mesmerised. The simplicity of the artwork, created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, and Royal Shakespeare Company set designer Tom Piper, was just breath taking. Being there, in London, and being part of Remembrance Day makes you appreciate and experience the scale of the event.

After a hundred years, and a tally of past and present wars, this celebration of bravery and loss is one to be remembered.

from Tside

The Paedophile Hunter, Is This A Joke?

Programme Title: The Paedophile Hunter
Publisher: Channel 4
Release Date: 01/10/2014
Tside Rating: Tside Rating: 4 out of 5Tside Rating: 4 out of 5Tside Rating: 4 out of 5Tside Rating: 4 out of 5Tside Rating: 4 out of 5

Watching Channel 4′s ‘The Paedophile Hunter’ starring Stinson Hunter (clever wordplay), I couldn’t help but wonder if it was some sort of prank show.


ON THE HUNT: Stinson Hunter tracks down suspected paedophiles.

Reminiscent of MTV’s ‘Punk’d‘, (starring Ashton Kutcher, popular in the 1990s), Stinson Hunter and his ‘crew’ pose as underage girls on the internet, in order to lure potential paedophiles via explicit text messages, to a decoy house.

The tragic tale of Stinson himself – real name, Kieren Parsons – forms an explanatory backdrop to the 32 year-old’s extreme actions. He was put into care at an early age, when he alludes to being sexually abused. He then served a ten year prison sentence for arson, before he became a heroin addict.

But the viewer rallies around him and we forgive his previous transgressions because he catches men who would hurt our children.

The programme is filmed like some sort of epic hybrid between: ‘Road Wars‘ ,because of the first person camera chases, and ‘Punk’d’ because of the, almost, comedic way that they are captured.

The filming of the show works very well with the camera always showing some either a chase, or the texts and phone calls before they are cornered. The use of mobile phones on camera is also very clever, especially when showing the viewer text messages, a box appears at the bottom of the screen showing us the message. The show also touches on the consequences of Hunter’s actions including an interview with the mother of the child of one of the accused paedophiles, who hung himself with a ligature in his car.

Hunter films the men who are caught, and posts their picture on social media sites such as Facebook. It is then shared thousands of times.

The documentary also shows scenes where Hunter is reading letters from the police, warning him to not continue his campaign, as the evidence compiled and uploaded to social media is often useless.

‘The Paedophile Hunter’ is available to watch on 4OD, I highly recommend it.





from Tside

Graduate rower trains with Team GB

KEEP ON ROWING: Jo (third from back) rowing alongside her team.

KEEP ON ROWING: Jo (third from back) rowing alongside her team. (Photo: Tees Active –













A TEESSIDE graduate has moved down South to train with the Team GB rowing squad after leaving university in May.

Josephine Wratten now trains with the team after a lot of success with the Under-23 team.

Jo says she learns a lot from training with the senior squad.

Jo said: “It’s a great chance to see how the Olympians train.”

“It’s a very demanding sport mentally and physically and you get a chance to see how they cope with it.

“You see how they train and how they handle some of the toughest times in the winter.”

Jo was born in Teesside and has been rowing since 2007.

Jo was selected from Egglescliffe school for a scheme called World Class Start – a scheme that GB Rowing set up to look at the physical credentials of aspiring rowers.

She began rowing with the Tees Rowing Club and began trailing as a junior for Team GB in 2009.

She began studying English Studies at Teesside University in 2012.

While at the University, she took part in a number of competitions as well as the European University championship in Ponzan, Poland – where she won a bronze medal.

Jo found it easier to juggle her studies and her training with help from the university.

Jo said: “It’s very hard to try and be a full-time athlete and a full-time student.”

“I had a lot of support from the university with the Elite Athlete scheme and with funding for the likes of the trip to Poland.

“I pretty much wouldn’t have been able to go and get a bronze if it wasn’t for the uni.”

She eventually trailed as a under-23 in 2012 and was selected to take part in the Under-23s World Rowing championship in Lithuania.

She earned a place in the following competitions as well and she was part of the team won a silver medal in 2013, second only the USA.

Jo was thrilled to be able to follow-up the first competition with a silver medal in 2013.

Jo said: “When I was involved in the 2012 event, it was quite a surreal and crazy experience because I never did anything like that before.”

“I guess it was good I had that experience to go up against the big countries like the United States and Germany that are well-known for rowing.

“So when I got involved in 2013, I was more prepared and I knew I had a job to do so to get a silver medal it was a great accomplishment.”

Jo trains six times a week and about 2 to 3 sessions a day in order to hone her rowing abilities.

However, competition can sometimes come down to how well an athlete gets herself ready just before taking to the field, court or in Jo’s case, the water.

Jo described how she likes to get herself ready just before a huge race.

Jo said:  “I like to have music in while I get in the zone in a noisy environment.

“I like to take myself aware from the competition and not really think about it, because if you think about it too much you can get wound up.

“I usually want to be as relaxed so as soon as I’m in the boat, then it’s game-on.”

Now that she’s training with the main team, she’s hoping to be able to row alongside them in future major competitions.

Jo said: “This year, I’d like to step my training up through-out the winter.

“I would like to break into the squad and get into the boat for some of the big competition.

“I’d like to try and maybe get into a World Cup this year and make that step from under-23s to the seniors.”

However, there’s always one dream that’s many athletes hope to one day accomplish.

And Jo is hoping to take her talents to one of the greatest sporting spectacles in the world – the Olympics.

“The dream of the 2016 Olympics is obviously there and also to aim for Tokyo in 2020,” She said.

“That’s the ultimate dream for me.”

from Tside

PLaRM lecturer works on Tower of London Poppy installation films: Post from Perform@tees

Since spring 2014, associate lecturer Peter Wilkinson has been producing video content for the Historic Royal Palaces and the Tower of London, documenting the creation and installation of their well publicised art installation and commemoration, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red by ceramic artist Paul Cummins.

Two films have been created so far and have been published on Youtube and Vimeo, with more work to follow in the future. The installation involved the creation and planting of 888,246 ceramic poppies in the moat of the Tower of London – one poppy for each British and Colonial fatality during the First World War.

The two films can be seen here:

Making the poppies:

Installing the poppies:


from perform@tees

Third year student Emma Graham writes about her recent work based experience: Post from Perform@tees

For my work placement I divided my time working between two placements working within an educational environment. I worked alongside the dance teacher at Egglescliffe Comprehensive School shadowing and assisting in GCSE Dance classes and rehearsals over 3 weeks. I also taught 1 hour street dance sessions within The Links Primary School for one day during their sports week to a class from each year.

I found it challenging to plan and deliver a GCSE Dance workshop as I had never experienced this before. However, I enjoyed teaching in a secondary school to students who had chosen the option to take dance as they were enjoyable and enthusiastic to teach and were motivated to learn more and improve.

It was interesting to see how GCSE dance was taught within a school.

The most memorable part of my placement was the placement within the primary school, where I was amazed to see the interest shown by the young boys. They were very keen to involve themselves with the dance activities and were constantly full of enthusiasm and ideas.

I found the whole experience of the placement very beneficial as it allowed me to prove to myself that I had the confidence and knowledge to deliver a lesson on my own with no assistance from more experienced staff and this in itself gave me a feeling of achievement. I would have no hesitation in taking a dance class in the future.

from perform@tees

Teesside Student Interviews Vogue China Editor Angelica Cheung

A Teesside University student interviewed one of the most famous fashion magazine editor in the world –  Vogue China a chief in editor Angelica Cheung.

Vogue China Editor Angelica Cheung

Vogue China Editor Angelica Cheung

TV and Film student Coco Zhao quizzed the international fashionista in her office in Beijing while working for True North Productions in Leeds.

The Beijing-born final year student has been working on the collaborative YouTube channel China Icons with True North and the China International Communication Center in Beijing, to produce content that shows China’s sights, food and also interviews with icons.

Coco, 23, said: “Through lots of emails and lunch meetings with Angelica Cheung’s agent, I finally got the chance to set up the interview with the  Vogue China Editor.

“I was so nervous to interview her because not only is she one of the most powerful person in the Chinese fashion industry, but also my idol.”

Angelica Cheung, 48,  has been the editor in chief of Vogue China for ten years, with a readership of more than one million women.

Coco Zhao

Coco Zhao

Zhao added: “My favourite part of the whole interview has to be when she described how being a mother and teaching her eight-year-old daughter to be loving, positive and to pursue her dreams, changed what she wanted her readers to get from the magazine.

“She wanted her readers and herself to become the woman she hoped her daughter to be. She then refocused Vogue China to also be educational and help women grow.”

The hard-working Vogue editor produces 16 issues a year with four special collections issues on top of the monthly magazine to keep up with the demand for advertising.

Third year TV and Film Production Teesside student, Coco Zhao

Third year TV and Film Production Teesside student, Coco Zhao

And Coco hopes that spending time with the inspirational fashion icon will help her reach her own goals.

“I have built my CV with a lot of work placements both international and local, which will help me stand out from other people,” she added.

“I want to be a camera operator, co-producer or director in the TV industry after I graduate next year.”

Coco Zhao got a placement earlier in her degree with True True North Productions in Leeds and has now been offered a paid internship working on the China Icons project.

from Tside

Once Upon A Time Meets Frozen

Show Title Once Upon A Time: Season 4
Publisher: ABC
Release Date: 28th September 2014
Tside Rating: Tside Rating: 4 out of 5Tside Rating: 4 out of 5Tside Rating: 4 out of 5Tside Rating: 4 out of 5Tside Rating: 4 out of 5

Season Four of Once Upon A Time

AFTER the huge worldwide phenomenon of Disney‘s Frozen, American TV show Once Upon A Time have adapted the enchanting tale of Elsa and Anna.

Earning $1.219 billion worldwide, it’s fair to say if you haven’t heard of Frozen, you have definitely been living under an icy rock for the last year.

Once Upon A Time is an American TV show that entails a new world of once, fairy tale legends and modern life. The main character Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) grew up as an orphan in the real world. Her life was normal until her child, she gave up stands on her doorstep demanding she has an important role to pursue. He convinces her that she is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming.

The NEW Frozen actors for Once Upon A Time

As the seasons unfold we are welcomed with the likely of Disney and fairy tale characters in human form such as Ariel, the evil queen, Hook, Rumpelstiltskin and the seven dwarfs. As the fairy tale world collides with present day Storybrooke, the characters are left to live in modern life with multiple troubles along the way with mystical magic and an unexpected arrival from Arrendelle.

As Once upon A Time have captured each childhood story and Disney film, it only felt fitting for them to carry on the performance from Frozen with a couple of twists along the way.

Nearly a third through the fourth season now, any Frozen fan will enjoy seeing their favourite characters brought to life and the beautiful story continued in a way you would never expect.

Does Anna marry Kristoff? Can Elsa control her powers? All is revealed in this weekly TV show. What’s even more interesting, as you continue to get to grips with Elsa in adult form, you realise that the characters in Storybrooke may know her more than what they led on.

Once Upon A Time is a perfect example of how old stories can be brought back to life in such an amazing way, with a range of English and American actors playing the princes, princesses, queens and servants.

The tales we once known as children have been dramatically changed for where we see how each character somehow are linked together. Not all is what it seems. And in my opinion kitsis and horowitz (creators) have done a great job to keep all these magical stories renewed and linked for four seasons now.

Frozen is just what they needed to prove how different and unique the show is. The characters are played by older people, but we can still watch and relate to them by how much they look like the cartoons and how their personality and attributes resemble the books and films.

Once Upon A Time is on every Sunday at 9pm on ABC America.

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