Recent Erskine Programme Arrivals

The Erskine Programme is pleased to welcome four more visitors to UC who have arrived in the past week.

Dr Alan Dixon will be lecturing in the Department of Geography. Dr Dixon is visiting from the University of Worcester, UK and arrived on 25 July.

Professor Paul Groot, from  Radboud University in the Netherlands arrived on 27 July and will be teaching classes in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Professor Benjamin Heydecker arrived on 29 July and is teaching in the Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering. Professor Heydecker is joining us from University College London, UK.

Finally, Professor Stephen Gardiner arrived on 30 July from the University of Washington, USA and will be lecturing in the Department of Philosophy.

We hope all our visitors and their families enjoy their time at the University!

“People are not genitals”

People are not genitals. I know that’s hard to believe because we’ve all met pricks in our lives.” – Jim Costich, iNTeRSExION

Did you know 1 in 2,000 individuals are born intersex? Intersex isn’t uncommon, it’s just unheard of! I learned that and much more from attending the DiversityFest screening of iNTeRSExION.

  • The term intersex is used to describe a variety of conditions where someone is born with ambiguous genitalia.
  • The word intersex has come into preferred usage (instead of hermaphrodite).
  • Intersex is not the same as transgender.
  • Top fashion model Hanne Gaby Odiele has revealed that she is intersex
  • Being born intersex is as common as being born a redhead!

Despite being relatively common, and not generally life-threatening, doctors encourage parents of intersex children to undergo surgery to make their genitals conform to the binary male or female. This has devastating consequences for the children physically, emotionally and psychologically. These surgeries continue around the world despite being condemned by the United Nations. The result is people traumatised by shame and secrecy, unable to have close relationships for fear of rejection and stigma.

The documentary tells the story of these individuals in order to educate about intersex conditions, and to persuade the medical profession to change its practice and allow individuals born with these conditions to wait until they are old enough to make their own decisions regarding genital surgery.

The film was followed by a discussion with three panelists:

  • Georgie Andrews – Intersex advocate for the South Island
  • Anne Nicholson – education coordinator at Qtopia
  • Karen Saunders – Lecturer in the College of Arts

I encourage you to learn more about intersex conditions and how 1 in 2,000 people do not conform to binary gender.

There is still another week of activities for DiversityFest – check out what is coming up.

Fair Trade Celebration – 8 August

We’re so proud and excited that the Fair Trade Association of Australia and NZ has recognised UC as a Fair Trade University that we want to celebrate with you.

Between 12pm and 1pm on 8 August, we invite all staff and students to join us in the Undercroft to witness the presentation of our certificate, enjoy music, stalls and, of course, to taste samples of Fair Trade coffe, hot chocolate, tea and chocolate.

You can also see the draw of the SnapChat competiton for Fair Trade goodies the UCSA will run closer to the event. You can find out more about Fair Trade at UC here.


Arts Festival: The Oresteia Experience

The Christchurch Arts Festival 2017 (CAF17) is on during August and September. CAF17 boasts over 50 shows, and we’re very excited that UC’s very own School of Music, Department of Classics and Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities are collaborating to present the Oresteia Experience. Head of Classics Dr. Patrick O’Sullivan says that the New Zealand premiere of Iannis Xenakis’ operatic take on Aeschylus’ Oresteia “is a collaboration that only the Classics and Music Departments could produce”.

The two-hour duration of the show features a talk on the dramatic aspects of the composition and performance itself by both Professor Mark Menzies, Head of Performance, School of Music, and Dr. Patrick O’Sullivan, Head of Classics. Following this, a tour of the University’s Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities will set the scene for the performance in the Great Hall.

Dr. O’Sullivan has rich experience in researching ancient Greek theatre and is very keen to see how the Oresteia Experience is recast in Xenakis’ vision and under the direction of the School of Music’s Head of Performance and performed to a modern audience. He notes that the links between Greek myth and opera go back for centuries, so this new production of Xenakis’ challenging work will be not only innovative but also extending a long and creative tradition of music performance inspired by the classical world.

One of the co-curators of the Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities, Terri Elder is delighted to support the production of the UC School of Music Oresteia Experience for the Christchurch Arts Festival. She says this event “draws on the strengths and connections between Music and Classics to create a truly unique experience that should be both challenging and entrancing” as the performance explores “themes of belief, loyalty, family, justice and revenge”. She says that the Oresteia Experience is an opportunity for modern viewers to engage with Ancient discourse and understand the cultural context of the artefacts which gave rise to the mythology behind the performance.

170802 Oresteia Arts Festival

Professor Menzies speaks of the horror, suspense and the very basic human emotions that underlie the experience of what the complicated story of the Oresteia is about. Mark describes the performance as “incredibly potent on an emotional level” and introducing the experience beforehand will “give an appropriate outline to the story” allowing the audience to fully engage with the performance. “Xenakis took this iconic work of literature and tore it apart, leaving chorus in reimagined ancient Greece, in the most visceral exciting emotion vehicle possible”.

Please note this performance includes violent imagery and music played at very high volumes which may not be suitable for some audience members. Discretion is advised.

WHEN: Sunday 10 September 2017, 6.30pm-8.30pm

VENUE: Great Hall The Arts Centre

TICKETS: $39 / Concession $36 / Student Rush $20


Science & God

Three UC lecturers: Phillipa Gourdie, Stefanie Gutschmidt, and David Wareham  will speak at Science & God – an event organised by the Christian Union, Student Life, and UC Navs clubs .

The lecturers will be speaking about how science and Christian faith work together in their own lives, and also answering audience questions.

170728 - science and god