18-22 March is LANS’s first Plastic-Free week! Organised by second year LANS students Abi Chapman, Florence Jones and Verity Parkin, the week of activities will be a chance for students and staff to share practical ways we can change our behaviour to reduce plastic consumption.

LANS Plastic Free Week

The main event of the week is a panel discussion with a range of speakers including academics from Politics and Philosophy, representatives from environmental action group Extinction Rebellion and LANS students. Considering plastic pollution from an interdisciplinary perspective the panel will discuss the role that media, personality politicians, and academic discourse plays in shaping our views of environmental issues. Students and staff from across the university are welcome and this will be taking place on Wednesday 20 March from 5-6:30pm in the LANS Hub. In addition to the panel discussion, the weekly LANS Tea and Coffee will be going plastic-free as of Monday 18 March, and there will be a free film screening of ‘A Plastic Ocean’ that evening at 7pm in the LANS Hub.

The week is supporting the Marine Conservation Society and there will be raffle tickets available to buy during the week from Abi, Florence and Verity. Prizes include vouchers for Digbeth Dining Club, Mockingbird Cinema and Brooke’s Bar and Kitchen!

If you are interested in finding out more about the event please see the event page. 

Artist presentation

First-year student Ethab Cobb on the Paolozzi Workshop:

On Saturday 9 March, a group of us went with artist Matt Westbrook to Redditch's Kingfisher shopping centre to look at 'The Paolozzi Mosaics'. During the train journey to the shopping centre we discussed Paolozzi's work in a wider social and political context, looking at themes that could be seen in many of Paolozzi's pieces.

Paolozzi murals in the shopping centre

While we were at the shopping centre we were tasked to walk through and photograph what we believed to be examples of mass consumption, such as text, symbols, shop fronts etc. (examples of Fordism). After all the pictures had been taken we used a photo collaging app to create pieces inspired by Paolozzi's work.


I found the trip enjoyable. Learning about a new artist, new way of creating art and new place. I would recommend people go to the shopping centre, not only just to shop, but to look at Paolozzi's mosaic pieces.

The LANS Society held their AGM this week which was a great chance to reflect on all the successes of the year and recognise the hard work put in by the committee. Congratulations to all students who ran for committee positions! The 2019-20 LANS Society committee will be:

Chair: Jessie Davies

Social Sec: Carlota Espin Carbonell

Treasurer: Emily Lewis

Secretary: Fi Cruikshanks

Integration Rep: Eliza Ball

Sports Captain: Ellie Holden!

Last month the LANS community went to see Zakir Hussain and the Symphony Orchestra of India. We heard what LANS student Thibaud Vermeil thought of the concert:

Before coming to the University of Birmingham, I had only been once or twice to a classical music concert. Since I am at university, I have been to every single one the Cultural Programme has offered. I can’t imagine refusing one now, except for a good excuse.

A friend who plays violin told me once a cheesy thing about classical music: “each time it is an inspection of your soul”. It has taken me time to understand that, because I needed to experience it first. Taking a step back, I would divide each of my experiences in two parts. The first one: the feelings that are raised by the vibrations of the sound. Those moments where the music takes you along with it, and absolutely controls your emotions. Each of those moments is unique. Taking a deep breath and closing your eyes when the sound rises, only for a short moment that you will never have back. Tracking those instants is my main motivation to attend those events. The second one is the time it gives me, at some points, to think. The student life on a university campus is really socially demanding. I find it very healthy to have time for myself. Because these moments are distributed regularly, it gives me a conductive thread of my reflective thoughts while I am at university. What I mean is that each time I have time during a concert to think, it reminds me of the state of mind I was in last time I attended. It, therefore, allows me to see an evolution over time.

That was a general thought on the classical music concerts of the Cultural Programme, but I want to say a few words on the Symphony Orchestra of India, whose concert we attended this week. To be honest, after going to the St Petersburg Philharmonic concert a few weeks before, which I really enjoyed, I was a bit scared that I would be disappointed with other future musical performances. However, the original composition of a classical sound with a more tropical one really surprised me in a good way. The music and the orchestra kept all my attention. The bandmaster had beautiful and harmonious gestures. While watching all the musicians and instruments, I realized that an orchestra was probably the noblest thing humans have ever created. The search for sensory pleasure by means of a universal language. My conclusion is that I have enjoyed all of these concerts and I really thank LANS for the time they spend on their organisation.