Refugee Week: Our home away from home: How N.E.S.T is supporting refugees in the North East with Ross Bennett

The theme for Refugee Week 2024 is ‘Our Home’. From the places we gather to share meals to our collective home, planet earth: everyone is invited to celebrate what ‘Our Home’ means to them.

In this special episode to mark Refugee Week 2024, we talk to Ross Bennett, a Newcastle University student and Community Project Worker at North East Solidarity and Teaching (N.E.S.T).

N.E.S.T is a student-led volunteer project designed to educate, empower and integrate the forced migration community in the North East of England. Discover how Ross and the team support roughly 700 service users each year through teaching English, promoting sport, organising trips in the region, and ensuring our local asylum-seeking and refugee community feels at home in Newcastle.

Learn more about how you can support N.E.S.T at

Donate to fund the N.E.S.T summer sailing trip at

Follow N.E.S.T on Instagram @northeastsolidarityandteaching where you can find more information about their work including a link to their student volunteer registration form.

Women From Newcastle: Celebrating our forgotten female trailblazers with Jill Taylor-Roe

This episode is part of a special series to celebrate International Women’s Day.

In this episode, we talk to Jill Taylor Roe, Director of Academic Services and University Librarian at Newcastle University. Jill explores the lives of two incredible women who have shaped Newcastle’s past, Dr Ethel Williams and Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen. Learn about how these women have impacted Newcastle University and the North East.

Discover more about Dr Ethel Williams:

The North’s Forgotten Female Reformers:

Watch this short film of a suffragette demonstration in Newcastle 1909. One of the banners in the film may be the one made by Dr Ethel Williams in about 1905.

View photographs, including Ethel’s motorcar and banner at CollectionsCaptured:

Discover more about Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen:

View Sirkka’s photographs including ‘Girl on a Spacehopper’:

Purchase a copy of Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s book ‘Byker’ at:

From fungi to furniture: the future of sustainable design with Dr Jane Scott

In this episode, we talk to Dr Jane Scott, Newcastle University Academic Track Fellow (NUAcT) in the Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment (HBBE).

Her current research explores the future of interior design, made with mycelium, a root-like structure of fungus.

Learn about the BioKnit Project, a venture which aims to investigate if fungus-filled textiles could become the new cutting-edge technique for making architectural structures and furniture.

Find out more about Jane’s research and follow her on twitter @responsiveknit. Discover more about the Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment and follow them on twitter @Bio_Buildings.

Also mentioned in this episode:


Future Observatory Display, Design Museum London:

Magical Mushroom Company:

Farrell Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne:

Refugee Week Special: Sanctuary Songs with Dr David Baines and Theresa Easton

In this special episode to mark Refugee Week, I will be talking to Dr David Baines, Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Theresa Easton, Lecturer in Fine Art at Newcastle University. 

Learn about the importance of Refugee Week, Newcastle University as a University of Sanctuary and some of the activities you can get involved with during the week.

The Sanctuary Songs academic conference takes place from 19th – 20th June 2023 and the cultural festival will run from Wed 21st – Sat 24th June in various venues around the University. For further information visit Sanctuary Songs Conference and Arts Festival.

Other useful links:

The Courier:
University of Sanctuary:
Skimstone Arts:
North East Solidarity and Teaching (N.E.S.T):

Find #FromNewcastle podcast at and on twitter @FromNCLPodcast

5.7 King Charles III Coronation Special with Dr Martin Farr

In a special episode to mark the coronation of King Charles III, we talk to Dr Martin Farr, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary British History. 

Learn about what we can expect to see at the King’s Coronation, the monarchy’s role in our democratic systems and how the institution is attempting to stay relevant in the 21st century.

You can find out more about Dr Martin Farr‘s work and follow him on twitter @martinjohnfarr.

5.3 The Farrell Centre: A new public space for architecture and cities with Owen Hopkins

In this episode, we talk to Owen Hopkins, Director of the Farrell Centre at Newcastle University.

Learn about the Farrell Centre – a new centre for architecture and cities in Newcastle, discover more about Sir Terry Farrell and his connections with Newcastle, the significance of the new centre for the region and what to expect when the centre opens to the public.

The Farrell Centre is located at Eldon Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RD and opens on 22 April 2023.

You can find out more about the Farrell Centre and follow them on twitter @FarrellCentre.

5.1 What does an engaged university look like? with Andrea Henderson and Bob Allan

In this episode we talk to Andrea Henderson and Bob Allan from Newcastle University’s Engagement Team. 

Learn about what engagement means, the upcoming engagement and place awards and how Newcastle University are working to build partnerships which benefit both the University and our external partners locally, nationally and globally. 

Find out more about Newcastle University’s engagement projects and the Engagement and Place Awards and follow the teams updates on twitter @EngageNCL.

3.6 Open Lab and the Metro Futures project with Dr Simon Bowen and Huw Lewis

In this episode we talk to Dr Simon Bowen, Senior Research Associate in the School of Computing at Newcastle University and Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director at Nexus.

Nexus operate the Tyne and Wear Metro – one of the UK’s busiest light rail systems, carrying 40 million passengers a year.

Discover how Open Lab at Newcastle University led the Metro Futures project, a ground breaking public consultation involving over 20,000 people that informed the new design of the Tyne and Wear Metro trains.

Find out more about Open Lab and the Metro Futures project and follow @My_Metro on twitter.

3.3 Newcastle and Pittsburgh: A global place based partnership with Jane Robinson and Ariel C. Armony

In this episode we talk to Jane Robinson, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Engagement and Place at Newcastle University and Ariel C. Armony, Vice Provost for Global Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.

Learn about the importance of global partnerships and how the two institutions are sharing ideas and working together to shape a sustainable, just and inclusive future.

Find out more about the partnership and the next Newcastle Pittsburgh Collaborative Conference.

Jane Robinson is Newcastle University’s first Pro-Vice Chancellor, Engagement and Place and is building on many of the lessons she learned in her previous role as Chief Executive of Gateshead Council and Chief Operating Officer at Durham University. These include how culture plays a role in defining a ‘place’ and how partnerships can tackle social and economic challenges. Before taking up her position at Durham, Jane was chief executive of Gateshead Council. She holds an MBA and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in English Literature.

Ariel C. Armony leads the University of Pittsburgh’s global engagement as the Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Director of the University Center for International Studies, home to the University’s top-ranked thematic and area studies centers. He also holds faculty appointments in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and Department of Political Science in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Ariel works to advance the University’s global plan “Embracing the World,” which places global learning, research, partnerships, and community engagement at the center of the University’s mission. The plan takes a strategic approach to international partnerships, encourages concerted decision-making that leads to transformational action across all Pitt campuses, and guides Pitt toward real-world impact through global learning and research.

2.5 Revisited: The VOICES Project with Professor Liz Todd and Luke Bramhall

Back in May 2021, we spoke to Professor Liz Todd and Luke Bramhall about the VOICES project. In this special episode, we revisit the project and Liz and Luke share their findings about young people’s experiences of education and employment during the pandemic and what this means for their future opportunities.

VOICES is managed and delivered by Newcastle University and Children North East and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to Covid-19. The project has now worked with over 1,000 young people across the North East to understand the needs of children and young people aged 5–18 in and through the pandemic. A diverse range of young people took part including many who live in poverty.

To find our more and read the latest VOICES evidence publication visit the VOICES project website and follow @voicesprojectNE.