NU Women Upcoming Events – Autumn 2020

NU Women/Wellcome Trust Reimagine Research Culture – Virtual Café
Date: 30th September
Time: 10-11.30am
Location: Virtual (Zoom)

We are pleased to announce the second of our Reimagine Research Culture Cafés, which will take place virtually via Zoom on Wednesday 30th September, 10-11.30am.

In January, the Wellcome Trust shared the results of their Reimagine Research Culture survey. Wellcome developed a Café Culture kit so people could discuss the survey findings, and propose solutions. NU Women is running several of these cafés to think about how to better support members of our community, and contribute to a more creative, inclusive and honest research culture at Newcastle. These are open to the whole NU Women community, regardless of area of work, role or grade – everyone contributes to research culture and everyone’s voice matters. 

To register for this event, please follow this link:

Due to the virtual format, there will be a maximum of 20 attendees – if you are unable to attend or cannot get a place, please use the link on this page to register your interest for future cafés.

Carly Jones MBE: Autism in Women
Date: 14th October 2020
Time: 12-2pm
Location: Virtual (Zoom)
NU Women are proud to present Carly Jones MBE, a British Autism Advocate who will be speaking on the experiences of autistic women and girls.

To register for this event, please sign up at this link:

NU Women Annual Lecture: “The Gendered Division of Paid and Domestic Work Under Lockdown” (Alison Andrew, Senior Research Economist, Institute for Fiscal Studies)
Date: 11th November 2020
Time: 12-1.30pm
Location: Virtual (Zoom)

NU Women are pleased to present Alison Andrew as the speaker for this year’s NU Women Annual Lecture.

This lecture will use new survey data to explore how parents in England have been sharing paid work and domestic work during lockdown. The talk will examine how the gender inequalities in the division of work within heterosexual couples have changed relative to before the pandemic and what this might mean for women’s careers in the post-pandemic world.

For more details, and to register:

NU Women Virtual Writing Groups (deadline to register extended until: October 20th )
We are pleased to offer our regular NU Women writing groups (albeit virtually). We have three strands, to reflect different kinds of writing. What will NU Women do? We will coordinate who is in what group, we will set up the virtual platform link (Teams), and email to set up the times/dates. Ideally, one person in each group will take on the convenor role to keep it going. Weekly attendance is encouraged.

Dates, times and registration information is available below.

Please note, that the groups have been updated to reflect the current number of subscribers. If you have already signed up, you do not need to do so again; a member of the NU Women steering committee will be in touch shortly with further details and to let you know which group you are in.

Academic colleagues can choose between:

  • Monday 10am-1pm
  • Tuesday 9am-12pm
  • Friday 1pm-4pm
  • Sign up for one of the above days here

Professional services colleagues can choose between:

  • Thursday 9am-12pm
  • Friday 1-4pm
  • Sign up for one of the above days here.

Postgraduate research colleagues can choose between:

  • Monday 10am-1pm
  • Friday 1-4pm (we are still looking for volunteers to lead this session, so please indicate if you would be willing to do so via the below form)
  • Sign up for one of the above days here.

NU Women: Ovarian Cancer Awareness

Date/Time: 26 November 10-11.30am
Location: Zoom (details to follow)

NU Women are pleased to run this event on ovarian cancer awareness in conjunction with Ruth Grigg from the charity Ovacome and Dr Yvette Drew from Newcastle University’s Centre for Cancer. The event will talk through identifying the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer as well as discussing recent developments in its treatment at both Newcastle University and beyond. The session aims to address this challenging topic in a friendly, informal and approachable way and is open to all women from across the university. It will run for approximately 90 minutes and attendees will be given the opportunity to ask questions and discuss any concerns they might have.

The event is chaired by Nicola Curtin, Professor of Experimental Therapeutics at Newcastle University. 

To register for this event, please sign up at this link:

Working from Home at NUMed Malaysia

As part of our blog series where we share experiences, tips, and tricks of living and working during lockdown, Dr. Clare GuildingDean of Academic Affairs at the NUMed campusshares her experience of lockdown in Malaysia.

Tell us a little about your job role.
I am the Dean of Academic Affairs at NUMed Malaysia, which means that I manage the academic matters for the MBBS programme. I oversee the delivery of the teaching and the curriculum, support student progress and student wellbeing, and oversee the Student Association, as well as helping with staff development.

How did you find the experience of moving to working from home?
It was actually relatively smooth – being based in Malaysia, we already do quite a lot of video conferencing as we have regular meetings with the UK. It’s one of the things that we have found to be a positive – normally we would be the only ones video conferencing, which has sometimes been difficult to manage what with the sound quality and the rapport. Now, with everyone using Zoom, it’s a lot easier to communicate together.

Have you had to adapt your working day with the lockdown?
On campus teaching at NUMed stopped shortly before it did in the UK so there was a period of rapid adjustment for everyone to fully online learning. In the first week after lockdown we uploaded pre-recorded sessions and materials for the students, then began adding in live synchronous sessions as our online delivery skills improved. There has understandably been a lot of anxiety from the students, so we have been making sure to focus on student well-being. Our medicine degree program has a very structured academic mentoring system where the students meet their mentors between six to eight times a year, so these have been continuing. We also sent out a survey to all of our students to ask them about what kinds of things they had access to in terms of technology (laptops, cameras, internet connection), and we heard back from every single one of them.

How has lockdown impacted your daily life?
In Malaysia, we’ve been under something called a Movement Control Order, which from the 18th March closed almost all businesses and severely restricted movement. I’d been training for the Great North Run, so when all the gyms closed I had to start running outside which was difficult – daytime temperatures here can reach over 35 degrees with high humidity (and spiders hanging from the trees!). However, after 2 weeks it was made clear we were not even allowed outside for exercise, a ruling that continued for over 5 weeks, and I found this particularly hard.

The schools closed here in March, so my husband has been running the home-schooling for our 7-year-old daughter. I know a lot of people have struggled with home schooling but I’m lucky that my husband can manage this, and it’s actually been really nice to spend more time with the family.

Do you have any tips for people working from home during lockdown?
I would say that maintaining a routine is important. We have a team meeting every morning which I really value, as it’s vital to keep that kind of structure and check in with colleagues.

I would also say that people should give themselves time between meetings if they can: it would be ideal if we could all start meetings at 5 past the hour and end them at 5 to, so that we can have a transition period to pull everything together for the next meeting – or to grab a cup of tea!

Keeping Colleagues Socially Connected in a Time of Physical Distancing

As part of our blog series where we share experiences, tips, and tricks of living and working during lockdown, Cat Button, Senior Lecturer and Degree Programme Director of MSc Urban Planning, explains how the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape keep socially connected whilst physical distancing.

Many colleagues were sad about not seeing each other when lock down happened. In the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape we are a sociable bunch who like to see each other and meet regularly. Very quickly I formulated a plan to keep us in touch, crucially without increasing email. The simplest solution for us was MS Teams, as colleagues were quickly getting to grips with it and everyone has an account via the uni, meaning no new accounts or sharing of personal details like phone numbers. So instead of introducing a different platform I cobbled something together on Teams (There may be slicker apps, and I’ve heard other groups are using WhatsApp or Slack).

Now APL has a virtual ‘café-bar’ for staff and PGRs to meet, chat, share interesting links and set up social events. We meet on Zoom every Wednesday after work. Everyone brings a beverage (tea, wine, water, gin, whatever you like) and we have a chat. One benefit is that the drinks are cheaper than in a physical café-bar! It is much more child and pet-friendly too. In fact, turn-out to the online meet ups has been higher than when in real life. Perhaps it is a more inclusive type of social event, or at least a more accessible way to meet, or else people are needing it more.

It is lovely to have a social catch up with colleagues once a week, even when I’ve seen some of the same faces in formal meetings that very day. I know online meetings can be exhausting, especially due to the dissonance. It can also mean that more informal social interactions feel like work meetings. We have been having fun with virtual backgrounds and playing with snap camera filters in the social gatherings though. Personally, I try to do the social calls on a different device and in a different room to where I work in, but I know that is a luxury.

We have just had some new staff start in our school (recruited before lock-down). It is so nice to be able to direct them towards an online social space, that they don’t have to wait until we are back on campus to get to know us. It can never be the same as bumping into someone in the corridor and having an impromptu coffee, but it is good to still be able to have a chat!

NU Women Upcoming Events – Summer 2020

Five Things Career
If the current situation has prompted thoughts about where you want to go next in developing your career, we are offering some opportunities to listen to and talk with some senior women colleagues to learn from their experiences and exchange ideas. Women’s career paths are often different to those of our male colleagues, and we have developed strategies for success which have often emerged as we responded to challenges and barriers we faced along the way.

We are offering two events with different speakers and will be capping numbers at 50 participants per session. Please note that we will be offering similar events for colleagues in Professional Services later in the calendar year, although everyone is welcome to participate in the events described below.

Session 1 – Tuesday 21 July, 2-3pm
Speakers: Janet Wilson (FMS), Jenny Read (FMS), Karen Corrigan (HASS), Rose Gilroy (HASS)
Facilitator: Karen Ross (HASS)

Session 2 – Thursday 30 July, 1-2pm
Speakers: Hayley Fowler (SAGE), Heather Cordell (FMS), Janice McLaughlin (HASS), Eileen Kaner (FMS)
Facilitator: Karen Ross (HASS)

You can register for either event here.

There’s something I’d like to ask you…
We are offering an opportunity to have a more focused one-to-one conversation (~15 mins) with a senior woman colleague on the following times and days.

Janet Wilson – Thursday 16th July, 10-11am
Karen Ross – Friday 17th July, 10-11am
Karen Corrigan – Wednesday 29th July, 1-2pm
Eileen Kaner – Wednesday 29th July, 4-5pm
Janice McLaughlin – Tuesday 4th August, 10-11am

You can register for an allocated time slot for any of the hosts here. There are a maximum of 5 slots per session, and it is first come, first served. There will be further one-to-one sessions over the summer, so if your preferred session is full but you would be interested in attending future sessions, you can choose to be added to a reserve list and will be contacted when new slots open up. Please note that future sessions will likely have different hosts.

For further information on any of the above events, please contact Karen Ross (

NU Women/Wellcome Trust Reimagine Research Culture – Virtual Café

In January 2020 the Wellcome Trust shared the results of their Reimagine Research Culture survey – the largest ever on the experiences of research culture. A series of Town Halls took place across the country to hear directly from the different aspects of the community, but Wellcome were conscious that not every voice could be heard in this way – they developed a Café Culture kit so people could gather in smaller groups to discuss the survey findings, and propose solutions.

NU Women will be running these cafés virtually in order to inform how we can better support members of our community, and contribute to a more creative, inclusive and honest research culture at Newcastle. These are open to the whole NU Women community, regardless of area of work, role or grade – everyone contributes to research culture, everyone’s voice matters, and so everyone is welcome.

We are running two of these initially, at different times and different days to best accommodate people in different situations. We aim to host these in June and September to best capture the changes and challenges we experience as we emerge from COVID19, and the different ways we can be better allies of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Our first Reimagine Research Culture Café will be held on Tuesday 23rd June at 11.00-12.30 via Zoom. Please follow this link to register. There will be a maximum of 20 attendees at this event due to the virtual format – if you are unable to attend the cafe on June 23rd, or the event has reached its capacity, we encourage you to register your interest for future cafes.

Balancing Work and Care During Lockdown

As part of our blog series where we share experiences, tips, and tricks of living and working during lockdown, Elaine Lopez, Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and TESOL, shares her experience of working from home whilst navigating caring responsibilties.

Even under normal conditions, it’s hard to stop my personal life encroaching on my work. Whilst working from home during lockdown, it’s impossible. I’m the only parent to a child with additional needs, and childcare constraints mean I’m used to swallowing disappointment as I miss opportunities for out-of-hours networking and travel. Now it’s hard to even do the basics.

My son’s needs mean that routine is essential, so my new working day is structured – but there’s no doubt that it helps me too. We’ve made a colour-coded chart for our kitchen showing when we do things together and when I work. He’s with the Xbox and Netflix babysitters for a chunk of the day. I start work later than usual, finish earlier, take a long lunch, and don’t get through even the most essential tasks. But, 4 weeks into lockdown this routine stopped working. His behaviour and emotions were all over the place, and it was clear he needed more time with me. Now I try to start work while he sleeps, do a couple more hours in the morning when colleagues/students are also awake, and the rest of the day is his. He’s doing better which makes life easier, but it is a very temporary solution.

I’m barely home schooling as he can’t study unsupervised, so he’s falling even further behind in his education. I’m managing a maximum 4 hours a day of interrupted work – I know my students are missing out and my (very understanding) colleagues are picking up the slack. And don’t even mention research! I’m exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. Like many parents, I’m counting the days until I can work productively again. My job gives me a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment that, if I’m brutally honest, motherhood doesn’t. But as soon as schools fully reopen, I’m booking a week’s leave to just sleep, rest and recover.

Elaine Lopez, Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and TESOL.

NU Women Glasses Charity Collection

Following the great success of our NEST winter clothing drive, NU Women is now collecting glasses and sunglasses for donation to Vision Aid Overseas. Donated glasses will be recycled and the proceeds used to support the fantastic work being conducted in providing brand-new glasses and eye care services oversees. Any glasses cases will be passed on to charity shops in the local area.

Please drop off glasses/sunglasses/glasses cases to the donation box at the reception desk in King’s Gate (and thank you to the kind staff there for hosting them!). Donations are welcomed until March 15th.

NU Women’s winter clothing collection, and now this glasses collection, demonstrates our commitment and our goodwill to supporting local and global issues of equality, diversity and inclusion.  We welcome suggestions on future collections!

Gender Agenda @ Newcastle University

Last month, the Institute for Social Sciences hosted a research and networking event entitled Gender Agenda. The event endeavoured to highlight the vital gender research being conducted across all areas of the university, detailing the historical journey of gender concerns within the university and showcasing current gender research from all faculties and all stages. The event encouraged a dialogue on the need to foster collaborative and interdisciplinary connections across the university, and the importance of acknowledging and approaching gendered concerns in our teaching, our research, and our activism.

Continue reading “Gender Agenda @ Newcastle University”

NU Women Upcoming Events – Winter 2020

Due to COVID-19, the below events have been cancelled. We hope to reschedule these when it is safe to do so.

Supporting Maternity Leavers and Returners
: 11th February 2020
Time: 1-2pm
Location: Room 2.49, ARMB

This session will look at how staff going on maternity can be supported as they take their leave and how they return.

If you are currently on maternity leave and would like to attend you are welcome to do so, and please feel free to bring your baby.

To register for this event, please follow this link:

Career Conversations
Date: 19th February 2020
Time: 12-2pm
Location: Room 3.31, BSTC

The NU Women ‘Career Conversations’ series will continue this semester with speakers including Dr Pauline Addis, Faculty Research Impact Officer, Dr Elena Gorman, Turing Liaison and Digital Institute Manager, Kate Henderson, School Admissions Co-ordinator for the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, and Dr Liz Kemp, Organisational Development Lead.

‘Career Conversations’ are informal sessions in which speakers give brief insights into their job, and how they got to that point in their career. This is then followed by a general discussion with a Q&A and a light lunch.

To register for this event, please follow this link:

Getting Involved in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: Strategies for Increasing Engagement
26th February 2020
Time: 4-5.30pm
Location: Curtis Auditorium, HERB
Followed by a reception in the Curtis Foyer 5.30-6.30pm

NU Women are proud to present this roundtable discussion on advancing equality, diversity and inclusion in UK universities, and achieving positive and lasting change. This event is jointly hosted with the Gender Research Group and the Faculty of Medical Science’s EDI Team. Speakers include Professor Dame Athene Donald FRS, Dr Jill Armstrong and Professor Chris Day, and the event will be chaired by Professor Karen Ross.

To register for this event, please follow this link:

Yoga and Writing
16 March 2020
Barbara Strang Teaching Centre, Room 2.51

Yoga is often recommended as a counterbalance to negative effects of work, calming stress and soothing tired shoulders and aching backs. This workshop combines gentle, exploratory movement with guided writing exercises to explore the possibility of not simply alternating between physical and mental practices, but bringing both together in fruitful ways. It’s suitable for everyone whose working life involves a significant amount of writing, and for all levels of yoga practitioners including beginners. Wear clothing you can move in freely and bring a notebook and pen.

To register for this event, please follow this link:

Emily Yarrow: An unequal opportunity? Female academics’ experiences of research evaluation in the UK
Date: 25th March 2020
Time: 3-5pm
Location: Room 2.29, Old Library Building

NU Women is pleased to host Dr Emily Yarrow from the University of Portsmouth, and Newcastle University Business School alumna, who will be delivering a lecture on women’s experience of the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

To register for this event, please follow this link:

Carly Jones MBE: Autism in Women
Date: 30th March 2020
Time: 12.30-1.30pm
Location: Room 2.76 (Lecture Theatre 2), Bedson Building

NU Women are proud to present Carly Jones MBE, a British Autism Advocate who will be speaking on the experiences of autistic women as part of International Autism Week.

To register for this event, please follow this link: