Newcastle Pride 2018

This weekend marked the eleventh year of Newcastle Pride, and what an incredible Pride it was.

The main celebrations kicked off at 12pm on Saturday from the Civic Centre, with an estimated 20,000 people marching all the way from the city centre to Nuns Moor Park, and thousands more lining the route in support. This year was the largest Newcastle Pride to date, and in some places the loud, colourful parade took over half an hour to pass onlookers.

The atmosphere was joyful, energetic, and most of all, accepting. All across the city, the rainbow flag was present. People wore it, painted themselves with it and carried it. It flew proudly in pubs, shops and at Newcastle University, celebrating 50 years of rainbow.

Festival director, Stephen Willis, highlighted this year’s efforts to make Pride inclusive for all, stressing that they had “strived to make sure that there was something for all ages and identities”. And that there was. Marchers of all genders, ages and races (and even a few furry friends!) came out to show their support, demonstrating how diverse of a place Newcastle truly is. Importantly, the route was also accessible, ensuring those with a disability could participate.

There were also marchers from local and national organisations, including community groups, retailers and the emergency services. People demonstrated their diversity, creativity and freedom through their outfits. Some came on stilts, and one was even dressed as the Queen.

Supporters carried placards and banners bearing poignant slogans such as “it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be” and “love is a human right”. Meanwhile, others took a more humorous approach, including a bee-themed sign with the words “bee proud” written on it.

Near Haymarket, the air ambulance circled overhead in support, adding their sirens to the sounds of whistles, singing and army drums; and on Nuns Moor, there was music from artists such as S Club, Alexandra Burke, Gareth Gates, Steps and the Vengaboys. The weekend closed with a candlelit vigil at 9pm on Sunday, where thousands of candles were lit to remind people of the significance of Pride.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend that truly demonstrated how far both the LGBT+ community and society has come. Bring on Pride 2019!

Pride in Newcastle University

Yesterday morning, Newcastle University raised its very first rainbow flags in support of Northern Pride and all its LGBT+ staff and students.

The event was an enormous success and meant a lot for both the University and to all who came. It demonstrated Newcastle University’s commitment to preventing social injustice and ensuring every single member of their community feels accepted, included and understood.

Here’s what attendees from around the University had to say about what the day meant to them…

As a Newcastle undergrad 13 years ago, I had no idea how important it is to feel represented by the institution you belong to. University is a life changing time for young people, and sometimes you just need to know that someone else understands you. Raising the flag today feels monumental. To me, it means that young people will see the flags and realise that they are represented here at Newcastle, not only by their LGBT peers, but by the LGBT staff who teach and support them. And by seeing the Newcastle University rainbow lanyards, LGBT students will know that there are people here who understand them. If this makes a positive difference to just one student, then I think we’ve done something right.
Dr Billie Moffat-Knox (Staff Demonstrator, School of Psychology)

It was a great day to show LGBT+ Staff and Students that they are valued by the University. There was a real sense of community and solidarity on campus today. LGBT+ rights have come so far recently however, it is so important to recognise how far we still have to go to achieving full equality and acceptance from society. Many come to University and it’s finally a chance for them to be who they really are, without having to hide any part of their identity. I think that by flying the flag the University is sending out a positive message to anybody; whether you’re a Student, a member of staff or a member of the public. Whoever you are, you are free to be yourself at Newcastle University.
Jack Green (NUSU Welfare and Equality Officer)

I think flying the rainbow flag sends an important message that NU strives to be an inclusive University that recognises and respects its LGBTQI+ staff and students.  I was proud to be present this morning, and I hope it sends a signal of hope and encouragement to everyone within and beyond our University about the need to value diversity, which we think about especially during Pride week in Newcastle.
Professor Helen Berry (Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of Postgraduate Studies in HASS)

Seeing the rainbow flag being raised over our campus for the first time yesterday meant a lot to me, both personally and professionally. It comes at a time when more than ever we need to take action for change to ensure respect and equality for LGBT+ people. By flying the flag, the University publicly aligns itself with this commitment and I’m proud to be part of that. The rainbow flag was designed 40 years ago as a symbol of hope and has come to mean much more for me throughout my life, as I’m sure it has for many other people worldwide. Here’s to raising the flag over our campus every year from now on.
Rob Bedford (Deputy Team Manager, Student Health and Wellbeing)

I felt it was a significant and optimistic event showing how much we as an institution and a society have moved on. The breakfast was good too!
Dr Sue Thorpe (Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology)

If you didn’t get a chance to be at the flag raising ceremony, don’t worry! The flags will continue to fly all this week outside the Armstrong Building and the Medical School for you to see, and more of our very popular rainbow lanyards are due to arrive in the coming weeks.

You can also show your support by attending Northern Pride this weekend. Saturday’s parade begins at 12pm from the Civic Centre and on Sunday at 9pm there is a candlelit vigil to remember both the successes and the struggles the LGBT+ community have faced, and to reflect on the importance of Pride. You can find more information here.

Soapbox Science Newcastle

Soapbox Science arrived in Newcastle on the 16th of June, 2018 and was a resounding success for all involved! The initiative, which was set up in 2011, aims to promote and showcase some of the scientific work that women are doing around the region. Staff from our own faculty organised the event, and along with our own scientists and those from the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering, we were joined by researchers from Durham University and the University of York. Each speaker spent an hour on a soapbox at the Monument talking to passers by about the importance of their research. We have to thank all the volunteers who helped engage the public, discuss elements of their scientific research and make it such a great afternoon.

There were lots of topics, including living slime, how our bodies age, and how animals see the world. Here’s what one of the members of our faculty, Dr Diana Umeton, had to say about what she thought of Soapbox Science’s event at Monument:

“Soapbox Science has been a great experience for me. I was a volunteer last year and this year I was a speaker. I enjoyed every bit from the training and the preparation of the props to speaking to two young girls about their doubts and curiosity about animal vision. For me, being able to bring the science that we do in the lab out in to the street is a way to give something back to the public. I hope that by talking to the crowd about science and how scientific progression affects their everyday life I inspired and motivated young people to pursue their interest and their parents to support them in doing so. “

If you’re interested in becoming a speaker or a volunteer next year, look out for the call early in 2019.

And if you’d like to see the full list of speakers at Soapbox Science’s Newcastle event and additional photos from the day, then click here for more information.

Flying the Flag for Northern Pride

This month sees the return of Newcastle Pride to the city for an eleventh year, with the main event taking place on Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd of July. It’s the largest free Pride in the UK and Saturday’s annual march is expected to be attended by over 16,000 people. In celebration of this year’s theme, 40 Years of Rainbow, Newcastle University will be flying its first rainbow flag from flagpoles outside the Medical School and the Armstrong Building.

If you would like to come along and see it raised, the ceremony will start at 8am on the 16th of July outside the Armstrong Building on Victoria Road. The ceremony will then move to the Medical School entrance, where the second flag will be raised and a celebratory breakfast will be served at 8.30am in the Atrium of the Medical School (you can register for breakfast here). The flag is being raised by Professor Julie Sanders, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Executive Board Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champion.

The rainbow flag was first designed by gay rights activist and artist, Gilbert Baker, in 1978, on the request of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to a high public office in the US. Milk intended the flag to be “not about personal gain, not about ego, not about or power” but about “giving those young people out there hope”. Today, the rainbow flag is that everything Milk dreamed it would be and more. It has become an enduring symbol of pride, unity and equality for the LGBT+ community and it flies in gay villages and at Pride events all across the world.

At Newcastle University, the rainbow flag is a symbol of the university’s commitment to preventing prejudice and injustice towards its own LGBT+ community and the hope that we continue to be a place that encourages diversity and allows everyone to reach their full potential. Newcastle has recently set up the Rainbow Network in pursuit of this goal, which offers support to LGBT+ staff and postgraduate research students, and continues to assist the LGBT+ Society in their work on campus. So come along to the flag raising ceremony on the 16th of July to celebrate Newcastle University’s LGBT+ community and 40 years of the rainbow flag, we’d love to see you there!

Faculty EDI Team Awarded Spotlight Award

Ann Armstrong and Malasree Home have recently been recognised for their vital work and dedication, which was instrumental in submitting our first Faculty-wide Athena SWAN application. Ann, who is our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Officer and Malasree, our Athena SWAN Officer, were nominated by the Faculty Office to receive Spotlight Awards. These University awards are given to staff who make outstanding commitments to enhancing the student experience, demonstrate role model behaviour, go the extra mile, and enhance the Universities reputation. Both Ann and Malasree have been commended for their important work towards providing an inclusive and diverse environment for all students and staff alike by Professor David Burn, Faculty Pro-Vice Chancellor:                                                                                                          

“Both Ann and Malasree have demonstrated dedication and passion in progressing our Athena SWAN application and are a credit to the Faculty and our professional services. It was an excellent application, and whatever the outcome, I know that we have a strong team that can put equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of what we do.”

The results of the Athena SWAN Silver Award application will be revealed on October 19th. Thanks to the work of Ann and Malasree in helping co-ordinate our work across the Faculty, we are proud of our application and have our fingers crossed for October!

If you have any questions about our Athena SWAN application, or any other thoughts or queries related to EDI, please contact us either through email ( , or through our Twitter (@FMSDiversityNCL)