Rosa Quintana standing on the University precinct

New exhibition shows cleaning staff in pandemic

An exhibition of photographs by one of the University cleaning team shows her colleagues working on campus during the pandemic.

Rosa Quintana’s striking images depict staff – often appearing alone – from 2020 to 2021, when many people were working from home.

Like many others, particularly in the Facilities Directorate – including those working in Estates and Facilities, Catering Services and Residential Services – the cleaning team kept the campus running, responding at short notice to changing guidelines.

Rosa’s inspiration

Rosa is a professional photographer from Spain who has lived in Leeds for six years. She said:

“I wanted to show the quiet impact of the team, working in every building doing essential work. This felt particularly acute during the pandemic but we do important work every day.

“We cover morning, afternoon and evening shifts, seven days a week, and I wanted to put on record the different types of jobs we do, particularly as they relate to the different functions of the spaces we clean.

“Although in some of my photographs the architecture of the buildings and the locations dominate the image, the most import aspect is the person you can find if you look closely. These are the cleaners, who make our spaces clean, safe and more comfortable.

Getting to know the team

One of Rosa’s objectives was to get to know her colleagues better and to allow us, as viewers, to do the same. Her captions tell of her colleagues’ lives outside work, their hobbies and their hopes for the future.

Some also talk about previous jobs – seamstress, carpenter, physiotherapist – and about their dreams: owning their own business, studying to be a nurse, teaching in the classroom they are cleaning.

The cleaning team comprises over 350 people, covering all academic buildings on the main University campus. They are essential to the smooth running of the University and to the staff and student experience, providing a professional service to create an attractive and hygenic space for us all.

Jill Roberts, Head of Cleaning Services, said:

“I’m very proud of my hard-working team. Our work helps to enable the University to be one of the best in the country yet we are often unseen, working away in the background. Rosa’s photographs highlight this beautifully.”

 

Cleaner cleaning window ledge with a view of the Leeds cityscape

‘Unobtrusive Impact’ opens in Leeds University Union

‘Unobtrusive Impact’ is in the Leeds University Union Building, next to the Refectory, from 23 May.

Find out more about Rosa Quintana or visit her Facebook page.

Let us know if you get a chance to visit by sharing your thoughts on social media, using the hashtag #FDImpact.

 

Please note, this exhibition has now finished. Thanks for your support.

Bodington Football Hub group visit

Bodington Football Hub reaches milestone

Construction works have reached the halfway point at Bodington Football Hub, a major new facility at the University that will support grassroots sport in the city.

Representatives from the University, the Football Foundation and Sewell Construction gathered last week to mark the development’s four-team changing pavilion reaching its ‘topping out’ phase.

Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport and Physical Activity at the University of Leeds, said:

“This is an important milestone in the creation of this key sports facility for the people of Leeds, including our students.

“We are grateful to our partners and excited that it is another step towards inspiring our community to become more active and involved in sport.”

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said:

“This site at Bodington is a great example of investment from our partners, the Premier League, the FA, Government and Sport England, improving grassroots facilities across the country. This funding will enable more people to enjoy the benefits of playing regular sport.”

Community sport a core focus for new build

Made possible thanks to investment from the University and a £4.2m grant from the Premier League, the Football Association and the Football Foundation, the site will feature three full-size LED floodlit football turf pitches, a pavilion with community café, and extensive parking.

Chris Soper, Joint Managing Director for Sewell Construction added:

“It was great to see such progress on site, especially with the pavilion taking shape and the final pieces of structure being laid to the highest point.

“This facility is going to be such a welcome boost to both grassroots sport in Leeds, and the wider community, and I know I’m speaking on behalf of the whole team when we say we’re proud to be the ones bringing a sports development of this scale to fruition.

“Once complete, it will support community engagement and wellbeing, and we can’t wait for our partners and end-users to see it all come together over the next few months.”

Bodington Football Hub group visit

Left to right: Dave Major – Project Manager, Sewell Construction; Brian Ford – Head of Capital Development, University of Leeds; Will Wallace – Football Foundation; Ella Williams – LUUWAFC Captain & LUU Sports Rep; Gawaine Mackenzie-Hogg – Outdoor Operations Manager, University of Leeds; Chris Soper – Joint Managing Director, Sewell Construction; Steve Grime – Head of Football, University of Leeds; Carl Hurdus – Site Manager, Sewell Construction

The Bodington Playing Fields site is located three miles north of the main University campus, and is also home to the Brownlee Centre – the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training centre – and Bodington Cycle circuit, one of the longest in the country.

Once completed later this year, the new site will be home to partner clubs from across the city.

Find out more about Bodington Football Hub.

Roger Stevens lecture theatre refurb

Designed to inspire: new teaching spaces open

An innovative new lecture theatre designed to inspire and encourage collaborative learning has opened for teaching.

Digital technology

The exciting new space, one of three now open at the iconic Roger Stevens Building, is equipped to make best practice use of digital technology – enriching the learning environment and enabling group activities and hybrid learning.

This is a key factor in both the University’s determination to build a fairer future for all  and to redefine the curriculum.

Roger Stevens refurb desks

Student feedback

We listened to feedback from students about recently updated teaching spaces elsewhere in Roger Stevens and in Mechanical Engineering.

Steve Gilley, Director of Estate & Facilities, University of Leeds said:

“We listened to feedback from students about recently updated teaching spaces elsewhere in Roger Stevens and in Mechanical Engineering.

“The new lecture theatres reflect what they have told us they need, from simple additions like coat hooks and more space for bags to the exciting technology that encourages collaborative learning.

“We look forward to hearing what academic colleagues and students think of these new areas.”

Roger Stevens refurb

A closer connection to nature

Like other spaces around the University, a green wall has been incorporated as a key part of the interior.

Research has found that biophillic design – the practice of creating a closer connection to nature through the ways building and landscapes are created and built – has a positive effect on wellbeing.

Flexible seating encourages collaboration between students with ‘review space’ so that teaching staff can move around easily, and each student desk has its own lighting, USB port, and laptop available.

Find out more about the University’s determination to build a fairer future for all. 

Camera filming grounds team at Sports Park Westwood

Grounds Week 2022

As Grounds Week 2022 kicks off, research by the the Grounds Management Association (GMA) shows that 77% of outdoor workers feel rewarded and a strong sense of achievement, compared to 47% of people working behind a desk.

Work-life balance

Katie Stott is an Apprentice Sports Turf Operative, at Sports Park Weetwood, part of the University of Leeds. She finds that her role has improved her work-life balance.

“I’ve always loved gardening and being outdoors. After my degree in Events Management at Leeds Met I wasn’t sure which path to take, but after volunteering as a gardener in Churwell, I realised that grounds and garden work was really rewarding.

“I find it great for my wellbeing too. When I get home at the end of the working day, I’m ready for my evening rather than feeling tired from being indoors at a desk all day.”

Katie is studying for a Level 2 in Sports Turf Operative alongside her work to help build her career.

Katie Stott

University Grounds and Gardens team

The University has an extensive and highly skilled Grounds and Gardens team who are responsible for the management and maintenance of the green estate.

This includes sports ground maintenance, managing the tree stock, maintaining campus landscaping, and much more.

Technology

Dave Thackray is a Groundsman in the team. He has seen many changes in the way that grounds are maintained.

“The job is very varied, and like many other professions, technology has made a huge difference.

“We now use a robot for line marking the pitches, for example. It can be programmed for whatever size and configuration you need, and left to do its job. We can then get on with other tasks.”

Grounds Week 2022

Grounds Week shines a light on the work of those in the profession who work with skill and dedication to produce quality surfaces for sports and recreational spaces all year round.

Sometimes labelled the ‘hidden profession’, the GMA is helping young people and those outside of the sector to understand what the involves, and how to get into the sector.

The GMA’s polling of 352 people who work indoors and 100 people who work outdoors, was carried out between January 2022 and February 2022, in partnership with Censuswide. The research seeks to understand how fulfilled people feel in their current career/role, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on this.

A separate survey was carried out by the Grounds Management Association, between January 2022 and February 2022. During this period, 318 grounds staff and volunteers were polled.

Find out more about Grounds Week 2022.

Photo of electric refuse collection vehicle and the waste management team of six people pictured outside the Ziff Buildong at University of Leeds

New electric vehicle for waste collection

One of the first electric refuse collection vehicles to be used in Yorkshire has started work on the University of Leeds’ campus.

The University’s Waste and Environment team led by Courtney McAuley (pictured third from right above) started using the vehicle this year, working with supplier Associated Waste Management (AWM.)

AWM’s vehicle enables zero carbon emission waste collections and is charged using a renewable energy source.

Steve Gilley, Director of Estates & Facilities, University of Leeds said:

“Moving towards Net Zero carbon emissions is central to the University of Leeds’ recently-published Climate Plan, and we are making very significant investments to realise this by 2030.

“Among many different commitments, the Facilities team has invested in electric vehicles to replace other forms of transport in use around the campus for essential maintenance, and we are very pleased that AWM are making similar adjustments.”

Around half of the vehicles in use by teams at the University including including Security and Grounds and Gardens have recently been upgraded: last summer five diesel vehicles were replaced with three zero emission electric vehicles.

This change will deliver a significant reduction in fleet emissions and the aim is to remove more diesel vehicles from the fleet over the next 12 months.

Read the University of Leeds Climate Plan.

 

Working in library

Lost property goes digital

The Security team at the University has introduced a new online system to help reunite campus users with their lost possessions.

Using hubs around the campus, the system logs found items and stores them locally. It searches for property and keeps users notified of progress by email.

Replacing a system that was based solely in the Security team’s office, hubs are being introduced around the campus, and are currently in use at the Print Copy Bureau at the Roger Stevens Building, Laidlaw Library, Brotherton Library, and Edward Boyle Library.

Steve Sloan, Change Manager for Campus Support Services at the University of Leeds said:

“We all know how inconvenient and even upsetting it can be to lose property. We hope that the new system – supplied by Notlost.com – will speed up the process and provide reassurance to those who use our campus.”

The more hubs for lost property there are around the University, the more effective the system, and Security are recruiting new locations for hubs. Support is provided by the Security team.

Log an item of lost property and find out more information.

For enquiries about the new system, please contact security@leeds.ac.uk.

Brotherton library corridor

Build complete for new Special Collections Research Centre

The building of innovative new study areas to complement the Special Collections Research Centre in the Brotherton Library has completed.

The new Brotherton Research Centre and John Bedford Room will now be furnished and ready to use in late February, with state-of-the art audio-visual equipment being added by June.

The Centre has been designed as a comfortable space to take a break from intensive study and enjoy displays of highlights from the collections. It will be a hub for collaborative work, with interactive group space designed for users to congregate and discuss collection items.

Silent study space is still available, and will be soundproofed for the first time.

The John Bedford Room will be used for teaching and research, equipped with high tech visualisers that enable those in the room and online to examine documents with a curator at the same time.

Researchers can book appointments to view documents virtually rather than on site – especially useful for international researchers. The room holds up to 40 people and has a moveable partition.

There are small private meeting spaces for curatorial staff to meet and undertake ‘virtual’ consultations.

Steve Gilley, Director of Estates and Facilities, University of Leeds said:

“Working with the Libraries team and our contractors we consulted with academic colleagues about what they needed from this space. They told us that there is a new focus on collaborative research, both in person and online.

“As a result there is now more space for group and individual work, with a mezzanine floor added, as well as better lighting and comfort, and the ergonomics of the space which came up in our consultation as an issue have been improved.”

Joanne Fitton, Associate Director, Special Collections and Galleries, University of Leeds said:

“We hope that these new spaces will inspire people at any stage of their research journey, giving them access to the amazing objects in our collections and to get involved in the creation of new knowledge.

“The new audio-visual equipment will allow us to share the treasures in the collections through public lectures, webinars and events, building on the success of our Galleries’ online programme during lockdown. Lecturers who teach with the collections will also be able to reach larger or geographically-dispersed groups.”

John Bedford

John Bedford was an antique dealer and collector who amassed a significant modern book collection on the history of furniture design over a period of 40 years. The John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History has been donated to Special Collections for teaching and research.

His generous bequest is supporting the extension and refurbishment of the Special Collections Research Centre.

Further information about the Brotherton Library refurbishment.

Bodington Playing Fields

University of Leeds and Football Foundation celebrate start of works on new football facility

The University of Leeds and the Football Foundation have marked the start of building works on a new football facility, giving a welcome boost to grassroots sport in Leeds made possible thanks to investment from the University and a £4.2m grant from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation.

A new site, close to the University’s Bodington Playing Fields, will be developed into an impressive sports facility set to include three full size LED floodlit 3G Football Turf Pitches (FTPs), a four-team changing pavilion with community café, meeting space, and parking facilities.

Bodington Playing Fields is located just three miles north of the main University of Leeds campus and are also home to The Brownlee Centre, the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training centre and new 1-mile (1.6km) Bodington cycle circuit, one of the longest in the country.

Once completed, the new site will be home to six partner clubs whose 142 teams will have access to fantastic facilities. The facility will also be a central venue for the Garforth Junior Football League and West Riding Girls League – eventually reaching 213 teams. As well as supporting the local community, the scheme will also be an important home to the University’s sports programmes, as well as supporting the Leeds United Foundation and West Riding County FA to deliver a broad range of recreational programmes and activities for the wider community.

Bodington Football Facility visit

Visit by the Football Foundation to the ongoing development of new football facility at Bodington Playing Fields.
Pictured, left to right. Steve Grime – UoL Head of Football, Will Wallace – Football Foundation, Ella Williams – LUUWAFC Captain & LUU Sports Rep, Robert Sullivan – CEO Football Foundation, Suzanne Glavin – UoL Head of Sport, Gawaine Mackenzie-Hogg – UoL Outdoor Operations Manager, Adrian Morris – Football Foundation.

Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport and Physical Activity at the University of Leeds, said:

“The University is proud to be opening a new facility to support our students and the local community in north Leeds.

“As well as providing an important space for local football clubs in the region and our further investment in the student experience, we hope that it will inspire many more people to become active and we’re looking forward to working with our partners to develop new ways to support the community and create more ways for people to get involved in sport.”

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said:

“It is great news for Leeds that the work at the University has started.

“This is the latest example of investment from our partners, the Premier League, The FA, Government and Sport England, improving grassroots facilities across the country. This funding will enable more people to enjoy the benefits of playing regular sport.”

Sewell Construction have been appointed to carry out the work, with completion expected in the summer of 2022.

Dave Major, Sewell Construction Project Manager added:

“We’re delighted to have been appointed as contractors for this exciting development at the University of Leeds.

“The investment that has been made into this scheme is evident in the dedication from all partners to create a community hub, with greater access to all within the local area.

“To be able to play our part in the City-wide contribution to sport at a local, regional, and national level, is something we’re extremely proud of.”

For more information about the project and to follow its progress visit the University’s campus development webpage.

 

Esther Simpson Exterior

New flagship building is a stunning new gateway to campus

The Esther Simpson building, a new flagship teaching facility for the School of Law and LUBS officially opened its doors at the start of term.   

The innovative teaching centre provides world-class facilities that support participative learning and create an inspirational setting for staff and students. It is also home to collaborative and inclusive learning spaces to enable the delivery of activities to support students to develop the knowledge, skills, behaviours and professional competencies to better equip them for working in a global environment. 

Building completion

The building was handed over to the University by construction company BAM in early September and over the last few weeks the final fit-out stage has been completed. The building hosts a variety of teaching spaces, a new café and a beautifully designed new artwork sculpture.  

Commenting on the building, Director of Estates, Steve Gilley said:

“We are absolutely delighted with the Esther Simpson building, it is a fabulous building which contributes to the University’s wider ambition to create an environment that promotes learning, innovation and enterprise.  

“The success of this project has been a result of diligent project management by colleagues in Estates and strong collaboration with colleagues in LUBS and Law. Throughout, we have worked together to ensure everything worked in the best possible manner.  

“The building also creates a stunning new gateway for campus. Our University community will now be able to easily navigate their way from Clarendon Road into the heart of campus in a matter of minutes. The route is fully accessible with newly refurbished pedestrian paths and tactile paving in addition to an accessible ramp installed along the route towards Storm Jameson.” 

Executive Dean of the Business School, Julia Bennell said:

“The teaching facilities provided by the Esther Simpson building are truly state-of-the-art and among the best in the UK. It will offer an inspiring environment for our staff and students. The technology enhanced collaborative learning spaces, specialist observation laboratories, trading rooms and a magnificent Harvard style lecture theatres are critical parts of our strategy to lead in interactive pedagogies. 

“I would like to offer my sincere thanks to everybody who has contributed to delivering this project. It is a wonderful achievement and one that will go a long way to supporting us in delivering our new ambitious University and Business School strategies. 

“The building will give us a platform to deliver something truly unique for business school students and help us to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and behaviours needed to make a real difference to society.” 

Benefits of the teaching spaces

Trading rooms 

The Esther Simpson Building will benefit from having two 24 seat trading rooms. The primary trading room will be a real showpiece for the building and is housed in a glass room visible from the main reception area. Having the trading rooms will allow students to practice trading in a safe environment using real time information. It helps bridge the gap between theory and practice, giving students the opportunity to apply finance theories to decision making through real world scenarios 

Behaviour labs

There are behaviour labs that are divided into three areas, the data collection lab, observation room and the boardroom. These are a real differentiator for the Business School and will enable students and researchers to undertake real-time observational research and data collection. 

Lecture theatres

As well as a wide range of teaching spaces the building has two state-of-the-art lecture theatres – a 240 seat Harvard Style lecture theatre and a 390-seat traditional lecture theatre. The Harvard-style lecture theatre is gently raked to give good vision for all users and each seat will turn 180 degrees to allow for easier collaboration. Both lecture theatres are designed with plenty of space between the seats, have individual power supplies, are decorated to promote concentration and allow students to interact digitally with the academic staff. 

Professor Louise Ellison, Head of School, School of Law added:

 “The School of Law is incredibly excited about the opening of the Esther Simpson building. We aim to create a campus environment that is truly inspirational and that meets the standards that we set as one of the UK’s leading law schools.  

“This new building will help provide a transformative teaching space close to our Liberty Building home on the Western Campus and allow us to further develop our student experience.” 

Beautifully designed sculpture

The building is also home to a striking new sculpture installation which joins many other unique pieces to form the University artwork trail. The words titled “To Leaf is to Learn” scripted by University Poet Laureate and Professor of Poetry, Simon Armitage    adorn the sculpture and illustrate the concept of the artwork representing a notebook sheet.  

Commenting on the artwork and the unique opportunity to create the sculpture, world-renowned Spanish sculptor, Juanjo Novella said:   

“This is my first artwork in the UK, and I am honoured! I am very pleased with the sculpture. I planned this project as a realm of limitations such as a lack of adequate space to display a sculpture, obstacles such as the tree, the fence, and the need to keep the electrical substation hidden. Those cons were a real challenge and I enjoyed it. The result had to be a unique answer, it had to be beautiful and meaningful while meeting the environmental and place demands. 

“I’m also very happy it forms part of the University of Leeds art trail. It is distinguished from other art routes by its expressive silence and elegant tone. The pieces are part of the architecture, they are not ‘screaming’, all of them remain calm and their expression is slow and deep. It also represents a historical trace in terms of time.”

Layla Bloom, Curator, University Galleries commented:

“Novella’s ‘Curtain’ sculpture is a stunning addition to the University’s growing public art trail. The collaboration between artist and poet adds such an inspiring message for our students, welcoming them to the joy of learning.  It also highlights the University’s commitment to environmental sustainability – on a grand scale.

The Esther Simpson Building

Find out more about the project.