Here is our final update of semester one, it has been an incredible term once again for the Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences department so congratulations to students and staff alike for all of your achievements and enjoy a well-earned break over the Christmas period. Merry Christmas!

Students and staff marked the end of an action-packed term with a festive trip to see The Nutcracker by Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome. The dance and choreography were outstanding and the set and costumes were magical. A full orchestra played the Tchaikovsky score making it a stunning performance. Particular highlights included the swans dancing in the snow, and the unbelievable grace of the Sugar Plum Fairy!

LANS students took in a performance of the Nutcracker

As you may know some of our third year students will be staying abroad for Christmas this year, and we’ll shortly be featuring a series of Global Christmas stories finding out how all our third year students will be celebrating Christmas in their host countries - so stay tuned to our social media for that!

Instagram & Twitter: @LANS_unibham

Second year student Ellie Lathbridge co-directed a showcase with Guild Musical Theatre Group in her final week, this was a sell out performance with raving reviews. We’ve heard from Ellie below: 

Guild Musical Theatre Group All Grown Up poster

“GMTG's winter showcase, All Grown Up, explored the shared experience of aging through the use of a variety of narratives from different shows, from the beauty of the imagination in childhood to the turbulent reality of puberty.  All throughout the rehearsal experience, the cast and production team never ceased to impress me with their talent, respect and utter dedication to the show that my co-director and I had dreamt up! Seeing it go from a concept playlist to a fully-fledged showcase in a few months has been one of the best experiences in my university career.”

Congratulations to Ellie! 

Students visited the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to see the exhibition ‘Fashioned from Nature’. The exhibition explores the relationship between fashion and nature over the last 500 years. It takes a very interdisciplinary approach and in exploring the industry the exhibition covers everything from different techniques for making fibres to the social and environmental issues surrounding the fashion industry and how these have varied throughout history. Other exhibits students visited at the V&A included one on artificial intelligence that considers what it means to be human in a hyper-connected, technological world. Students also visited the science museum to see ‘The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution’ at the Science museum. All of the exhibitions were very thought-provoking - check them out if you have the chance! 

LANS students at the V&A Fashioned from Nature exhibition

In November the LANS Community went to see a performance of Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. This show generated a lot of discussion and we have received responses that we are excited to share. Below we hear very different takes on the performance from Mark Joselin, a second year LANS student, and Dr Emil Toescu, honorary LANS lecturer and senior lecturer in Neuroscience. The contrasting perspectives in the full reviews make for an interesting read!

“An extraordinary event it was - a creepy start and interesting take on Conrad’s book, explained in nips of script-writing meetings and action semi-video’d and live camera’d yet acted action too.” Dr Julian Lonbay, Liberal Arts and Sciences Tutor and senior lecturer in Birmingham Law School.

“Conrad's novella is certainly a very good opportunity to engage with the themes of power, racism, imperialism, humanity… But to enter in such a territory, one needs to make sure that they have something new and relevant to say…” Dr Emil Toescu, honorary LANS lecturer and senior lecturer in Neuroscience.

“The play all too quickly becomes so wrapped up in saying what it wants to say, that it doesn’t actually allow the story to say it.” Mark Joselin, second year student. 

A ticket for the performance of Heart of Darkness