CD #34 – Shedding light on the BISC’s brand new Science lab.

On behalf of everyone at The Castle Drum, welcome to Summer Term at the BISC. Whether it’s a by-product of the recent pleasant weather or not, energy levels are high and there’s a tangible sense that the Castle community is happy and well and truly back into the swing of things after a month without students. Just to reiterate our standard call to action, whatever your plans for the coming term, if you are spending the Summer doing something that you think is of general interest to the wider community, be sure to email us at The Castle Drum so we can feature you in the next issue.

Today we are proud to announce the completion of the new Science Lab on Maskelyn Road. (Hands-up who actually knew it was called Maskelyn Road?) Situated on the site of the old Physics Lab, next to the David Smith Building, (you know, the one on Maskelyn Road?) this stunning new facility will be the new home for Science students at the BISC. If like us, you’re itching to have a nose around and see what the men and women in high-vis vests have been up to, then we have some great news for you – Sarah Butler has offered to host two drop-in sessions and give guided tours of the facility. Absolutely everyone is welcome, no appointment is necessary, but please wipe your feet to keep it looking as pristine as possible!

Satisfy your curiosity on Friday 24th May between 10.00am and 12.00 noon, or Thursday 30th May between 1.00pm and 3.00pm. For those that can’t wait, here’s a couple of teaser pictures to whet your appetite:

BISC Dry Lab
The ‘dry’ lab is a maker-space and will be the new home of Geology and Physics at the BISC.

The new Science Lab (the building’s formal name is still tbc at the time of writing) will be the focal point of Science at the BISC, but it will also play an important role in the Castle’s ongoing remit to engage in community outreach projects. In partnership with our local branch of Men’s Sheds, the labs will provide arguably the most state-of-the-art ‘Shed’ for many miles around.

BISC Wet Lab
The ‘wet’ lab can comfortably accommodate 24 students at a time. Biology and Chemistry practicals will take place here.
Fume Cupboards
State-of-the-art fume cupboards will remove potentially harmful gases and make them safe via a series of scrubs and filters.

Men’s Sheds is a charity organisation which aims to provide the means for local men to meet, make connections and indulge in a shared passion for woodworking, mechanics, mending, whittling and all manner of other activities that are traditionally the domain of the garden shed. While these hobbies are usually solitary in nature, Men’s Sheds seeks to create quite the opposite – a sense of inclusivity and togetherness. Its members are given a place to meet up, share practical skills, swap knowledge and chat with like-minded tinkerers. In this way, the charity builds communities and reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Members of the Herstmonceux branch of Men’s Sheds share a passion for woodworking and will be given access to the large, wide-open space adjoining the lab on fixed days of the week. (Exact schedule tbc, but when we know, you’ll know!) They will work on their own projects and create items that are then sold to raise funds for the charity, as well as be on hand in this maker-space to assist BISC students with their own hobby projects, or practical scientific assignments.

For more information about the charity’s work, visit the Men’s Sheds website.


» UnabaSHEDly chipper since January 2017 «



CD #33 – A word in your ear

In 1980, The Buggles famously sang, “Video killed the Radio Star”. Such lies! The Castle Drum can name not one, but two utterly vivacious radio stars in our midst at this very moment.

Rob Hyland – Presenter of PODCASTle

This January, FILM 104 prof Rob Hyland launched a new Castle initiative, called PODCASTle – a weekly online podcast detailing news and happenings on our Castle campus. At approximately 12 minutes running time per episode, it was created to give students something quick and easy to listen to on their daily commute to and from the Castle.

Rob will be keeping the content of these podcasts quite simple – the format will follow that of a typical magazine show.  Each episode begins with the news headlines, updating listeners on what is happening on campus and in the context of the UK as a whole. These could include upcoming events, guest speakers, or a national holiday, but could also include a selection of topical British and Canadian news items that will resonate with the students.

Shameless pun alert!

The PODCASTle then moves to an interview or discussion with a member of the Castle community to highlight their work, or recent achievements.  Rob is also aiming to conclude each episode with some sort of literary component – which could be in the way of an audio recording of the Castle Reads chosen text, a poem or short story that connects to the topics of the week, or an audio recording of a recent student work.

Rob will constantly be on the lookout for new content – so if students, staff or faculty have anything they would like to contribute – whether it be an interesting factoid discovered on a recent ELO, or an update on their current research focus, for example, then he would love to hear from them.  Of course, for legal reasons, The Castle Drum should point out that the contents of their discussion may be recorded.

Placecloud narrator Peter Lowe

Next up, our ENGL 100 prof Peter Lowe has been contributing to an online digital art project called Placecloud, which also went live towards the end of January. Peter answered the call for volunteers for the project and has already produced several short podcasts about points of interest all over London.

Placecloud uses GPS co-ordinates to anchor 5-minute audio recordings to specific places, so listeners can hear quick, interesting facts and background stories about places that might not necessarily feature on the sort of open-topped bus tours that have become the norm. Peter has complete freedom to pick his own places of interest, so he has been using the opportunity to research areas of London that pique his curiosity.

Quo Vadis restaurant – Deans Street, Soho

“When we scratch beneath the surface, there are often interesting histories behind even the most unassuming buildings,” says Peter.  One of Peter’s recent podcasts features the Quo Vadis restaurant in Dean Street in Soho. “There has been a strong Italian community in Soho since the 1920s,” Peter recounts. “Staff at the Italian Embassy socialised in the area after work, but while the politicians laughed and joked in the restaurant, I discovered that just a few yards away, the owner of the nearby King Bomba grocery store is believed to have directly funded not one, but two assassination attempts on former dictator Benito Mussolini.”

The Castle Drum has been reliably informed that recording just a few minutes of stutter, stumble and cough-free audio narration can take many hours of toil, so please visit the links below and show Rob and Peter your support.




» A face for radio since January 2017 «

CD#32 – The Gardens & Estate Team’s Winter Report

By Barry Howse:

The Castle Grounds

The Elizabethan Garden

The Estate Team have had a productive winter with the usual seasonal tasks of hedge cutting, pruning and leaf clearing, whilst also making time to enhance and develop other areas.

This year we have increased the size of the wildflower meadow, putting in new gates and a stile allowing ease off access and more space for native wild flowers.

A Furry Friend (to all but would-be housing developers)

Before the dormice began to hibernate in October, we carried out a dormouse survey which we will be continuing over the coming years, to monitor their population.

Several deer exclosures have been erected around the estate. These are 4m x 4m fenced off plots that will exclude deer from grazing in these areas. This will allow us to monitor and compare the intensity of grazing and the effects it has on the plant communities.

In some areas we have been focusing on the reduction of conifer tree species, to encourage uptake and development of native hardwood trees and increase flora and fauna diversity through increased light levels in the woodland. We are embarking on the final stage of forestry commission conservation work to reduce the amount of rhododendron ponticum – an invasive non-native plant with allelopathic and disease-carrying properties. Areas of woodland have been restored to their pre-Victorian state to enhance ground flora and enable the woodland to begin the recovery phase of its life cycle.

After many years of service and countless amounts of footsteps, the bridges and steps in the woodland have been renovated, largely using materials sourced from the estate.

We hope to add a labyrinth/maze in spring this year, located in the field at the east gate of the Rose Garden. It will be a trial at first, being mown in and marked with rope and posts. If successful, this will be something we can develop the following year. During your visits this summer you might notice the estate team has grown, incorporating some new members of the mowing fleet. We hope to use a number of our winter resident sheep to graze some of the amenity lawns and cut down on the amount of mowing needed around the estate.

You work here. How marvelous!

Along with all the other winter tree work undertaken by the Estates Team, it was a sight for sore eyes to see the removal of a leylandii screen previously known as ‘The Stage’. This has opened views of the newly created ‘Autumn Colour Avenue’ mentioned later in the Gardens section. In this area we will install a curved bench for visitors to enjoy the picturesque scenery, with several cherry blossom trees either side leading on from the apple orchard.

The Victorian Cascade is a hidden rough jewel of the estate to the east at the back of the Folly Pond. It has been left to gather silt and stagnate for many years, but following an ecological survey, we are now able to restore this feature to a cascade once again.

The Castle Gardens

The dry and sunny start to the New Year is certainly helping us with the winter tasks in the gardens.

Since the end of October, we have been busy finishing hedge cutting – which we managed to complete in record time by the end of November. Bulbs have been planted in the Elizabethan, Sundial and Rose and Shakespeare Gardens. We also made a start on the massive task of mulching the gardens in the autumn. Thanks to the large compost bays built by the Estate Team in 2017, this year most of the gardens will be lucky enough to be mulched using ‘home-produced’ compost, or leaf mould.

Beautiful autumnal colours on the Castle estate

Largely due to kind donations, new tree planting has been possible this winter. We hope that the ‘Autumn Colour Avenue‘ along the slope in front of the Magic Garden will be a riot of colour this year.

In the Apothecary Garden, the soil has been replaced in all the planters along with the gravel. We are continuing to develop the planting in the Lower Garden and new, butterfly-friendly plants will be added this winter and spring.

We are now in the process of winter pruning, with the wisteria and climbing roses already complete and we look forward to the shrub roses in February.

In the meantime, we will begin cutting back the perennial plants, dividing and weeding – the warm weather has certainly kept the weeds growing – ready for mulching the borders. If this summer is as hot as last year, then mulching will be even more crucial for the plants.

The Cloisters – Castle Courtyard

We have improved the accessibility in the Elizabethan Gardens this year by creating a path around the steps to the Rose Garden, meaning visitors will be able to enjoy the whole of the Elizabethan Garden without going back on themselves.

We will be replacing the Boules court with a bench/picnic area this coming spring to provide a quiet, comfortable place to relax and take in the surroundings.


»Laying the groundwork since January 2017 «

CD#31 – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

The Castle Drum would like to welcome two rather unusual new members of staff to the ranks. Neither has an official given name (yet), but the first hails from Sweden and goes by the designation Husqvarna 430X.

The Husqvarna 430X – complete with headlights so it can continue cutting grass while all the humans are safely a-bed.

You may have already spotted this automated electric lawnmower in the Courtyard recently while the Gardens and Grounds Team used a trial period to put it through its paces. The Castle Drum is pleased to report that the Husqvarna 430X will now join the team on a permanent basis, covering the Courtyard in the first instance, before adding the lawns of the Elizabethan Gardens to its regular duties.

Computation leads to circumnavigation. A metal grate is no match for the 430X.

Sadly, the 430X is incapable of the sort of lawn stripes that would shame Wembley Stadium, but this is not to say that it is not an utterly ingenious machine. Thanks to built-in GPS, it is capable of learning its terrain and even remembering the exact positions of obstacles and particularly tufty areas of grass. While the path it chooses may appear rather erratic to the casual bystander, by cutting the grass a small bit at a time, its three razor-sharp blades should deliver a lawn quality that conventional blades could never achieve. As it rolls along, it will also create miniscule clippings that will provide a constant source of fertilization for our lawns, and help to keep them healthy, lush and green. Best of all, this electric mower is silent, so it is good for both the environment and anyone trying to work in peace.

The Mavic Pro Platinum takes off on its maiden flight – 13th December 2018
Straight to work. A bird’s-eye view of Herstmonceux Castle on a bright December morning.

Our second new addition is the Mavic Pro Platinum. This camera drone has a range of around 4 miles and can shoot photographs and videos in exceptional 4K quality. While the rather exciting potential for use in our marketing and promotional activities immediately springs to mind, it will also carry out important duties for the Maintenance Team. The clarity of the images it records are such that the drone can be used for high-risk surveys of the Castle’s exterior brickwork, roof and battlements. It should practically remove the need for sending brave folk up ladders and allow the team to maintain a photographic record of the Castle’s general state of repair. It represents a truly 21st century way of ensuring that our 15th century castle complies with Health and Safety regulations.

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While The Castle Drum recognizes the very real threat of instigating another Boaty McBoatface-style debacle, we figure we can’t go around referring to our new additions as Husqvarna 430X and Mavic Pro Platinum forever. If anyone in the Castle community has any inspired ideas about what to christen a fully automated Swedish lawnmower, or a sophisticated quad-copter camera drone, please drop us a line. We could always put the question to the students next term of course, but then why should they have all the fun?

»’I think I’ll just take another walk,’ he said.
‘Don’t blame you,’ said Marvin and counted five hundred and ninety-seven thousand million sheep before falling asleep again a second later.«

CD#30 – A memorable journey of remembrance

A group of 110 students, faculty and staff from the Bader International Study Centre  travelled to the French town of Vimy on a cold, wet, and windy Nov. 11, as the world marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Today, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, Canada’s largest overseas war memorial, sits at the highest point of Vimy Ridge and commemorates not only the Battle of Vimy Ridge, (April 9-12, 1917) but all Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the First World War, including those with no known resting place.

While students from the BISC have been travelling to the memorial on or around Remembrance Day for the past several years, this is the first year that the BISC Chamber and Open Choir has been invited to participate in the Remembrance Day ceremony itself.

Members of the BISC Chamber and Open Choir lead a procession of pipers and local dignitaries to the memorial site. (Photo by Pascal Brunet)

The BISC’s 40-member choir, robed and sporting their BISC scarves, was afforded the honour of leading a procession of pipers and local dignitaries to the memorial site. The choir sang two moving excerpts from Requiem by Eleanor Daly, a Canadian composer and Queen’s University graduate. As the rain came down in earnest, soloist soprano and BISC Musician-in-Residence, Diana Gilchrist also sang Mozart’s Laudate Dominum from his Solemn Vespers.

BISC students Harriet Wright, Wyatt Mann, and Sarah Dulmage lay a wreath on behalf of Queen’s University at the Vimy Memorial. (Photo by Samantha Brown)

Three first-year BISC students, Wyatt Mann, Harriet Wright, and Sarah Dulmage, laid a wreath during the ceremony on behalf of the BISC and Queen’s University. They were chosen from dozens of applicants for their outstanding submissions on the subject of what laying a wreath at the Vimy Memorial would mean to them and their families.

Wyatt says, “I just recently got my first voter card, and to me, it symbolized the freedoms that I have today because of the sacrifice of our soldiers one hundred years ago, and every year since, that so many people take for granted.”

Harriet agrees, “It is not just about wearing a poppy for Remembrance Day, it is about understanding the sacrifice of our veterans and those currently serving. I am so proud to have worn the Royal Canadian Air Cadet uniform as a Drum Major, saluted the veterans, and worn the poppy over my heart and for these reasons, laying the wreath at the Vimy Ridge Ceremony was an absolute honour.”

“With this opportunity, I take great pride in being able to represent those who have come before me. My great-great grandfather Charlie Wright fought in World War One and took part in the Battle of Vimy Ridge,” says Sarah. “My family is composed of many military personnel, so to me, laying the wreath meant giving the ultimate thanks to my family who have served and allowed me to be who I am and where I am today.”

Members of the BISC Chamber and Open Choir perform during the Remembrance Day Ceremony (Photo by Samantha Brown)

Choir member and BISC 100 lecturer Beth Richan says she was proud seeing such a mix of generations and a sea of Canadian red in the assembled crowd as the bugler played The Last Post.

“What struck me from speaking to the students afterwards was just how many of them expressed that being present was not only very important to them personally, but would be hugely significant for their parents and grandparents too,” she says.

BISC student Jake Kidd takes a photo of his great uncle’s inscription after locating it on the Vimy Memorial. (Photo by Diana Gilchrist)

Student Jake Kidd was one of many who searched the thousands of names etched into the Vimy Memorial on behalf of their families and found a relative, his great uncle. Diana Gilchrist, who took the photo of Jake says, “That was an unexpectedly touching moment. We were just walking up the monument after the ceremony to the official photo shoot when Jake suddenly discovered his great uncle’s name and was so moved.”

Following the ceremony, each student was presented with a commemorative Vimy pin and poppy. The students then had the opportunity to visit Ypres and the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, before returning to Herstmonceux Castle.

Members of the BISC Choir pose with Johanne Gagne, Program Manager, Canadian Vimy Memorial (Photo by Pascal Brunet)

The trip to Vimy was the culmination of an entire term’s worth of opportunities to learn more about the history and experience of war. On Nov. 7 and 8, approximately 125 students attended performances of Lest We Forget at Hastings’ Stable Theatre. This contemporary production is based on stories from survivors of the Great War from East Sussex and weaves readings, poems, and songs from the era into the narrative. In addition, the Castle Reads group, which encourages members of the Castle community to come together through a shared love of literature, has chosen the First World War novel Strange Meeting by Susan Hill as their book for the fall term.

Back in the UK, the students will have the opportunity to reflect further on their experiences with a concert at the Castle on Sunday, Nov. 25 in honour of the 80th anniversary of Alfred Bader’s participation in the Kindertransport of 1938. Dr. Bader, along with some 10,000 other Jewish children, was evacuated to the safety of the UK from Nazi-occupied Austria.


»Lest We Forget«


CD#29 – Castle Reads launched

Members from all sections of the Castle Community gathered in the Elizabethan Room Tuesday night to launch Castle Reads, a shared reading experience never previously attempted at the Castle before. Taking the form of a traditional ‘book club’ combined with a series of events, Castle Reads is for everyone at the Castle who enjoys a good book. And the book chosen for this term is Strange Meeting by Susan Hill.

Shannon Smith encourages the Castle Reads community to further enrich their experience of the novel by attending ‘Lest We Forget’ at the Stables Theatre in Hastings.

As Shannon Smith notes, “This term’s book was chosen to coincide with the Castle’s observations of the centenary of the end of the First World War. Susan Hill’s Strange Meeting is not a new book, but it is a book that remains both prescient and engaging. Along with the discussion meetings we hope members will take advantage of, there are some other events programmed to tie in with our reading”.

Shannon went on to explain about the production of Lest We Forget by the Stables Theatre in Hastings. “From 8-11 November, at the Stables Theatre in Hastings, a local theatre group is staging a unique production to commemorate the end of the First World War. Lest We Forget is a play that uses local and personal histories from Hastings-area residents to tell the story of East Sussex’s involvement in the First World War. The director, Tim Wormley-Healing, and his team, have been working to collect people’s stories and turn them into an evening of theatre and music that is not to be missed. Details about the play, along with ticket prices and booking links, are available here.

On 14 November, at 7.00 pm, Tim and some of the cast of Lest We Forget will be visiting the Castle for a discussion of their work and to answer questions about the production. This event is open to the community, regardless of whether or not you have seen the play.”

How these two events fit into the tentative schedule is below:

  • w/b October 29 —first shared reading
  • November 9-10 — Lest We Forget at the Stables Theatre, Hastings
  • November 14 — Visit by the cast of Lest We Forget
  • w/b November 26—second shared reading
  • w/b December 10—third shared reading
Some 100 years on from the events it portrays, Peter Lowe provides some additional background on the novel.

The schedule of events is tentative because Sarah Butler, administrator for the endeavour, stressed that Castle Reads was very much ‘organic’ in nature, and its direction would be steered by its members. Looking to the Winter term, she noted that this Fall’s membership would be responsible for shortlisting and ultimately selecting the book for next term. The Castle Reads ‘committee’ (a term used to describe here a group of interested individuals with some collective thoughts, which currently comprises Beth Richan, Sharon Jakeman, Shannon Smith, Peter Lowe, Rob Hyland and Sarah Butler) is looking for additional membership from the student community to help lead and provide impetus to the group.

Click the logo link to open a new window and visit the Castle Reads page on the BISC website.

So, what’s next? In short, grab the book and start reading! If you need a copy of the book, go to the Library where there is a free copy waiting for you. In the next few days, Sarah will be setting up the first shared reading experience. There will be two opportunities to attend, so hopefully everyone who is interested will be able to come to one or the other. And finally, there’s the Castle Reads Forum, which will keep you up-to-date with all that is going on, and gives you a platform to share your thoughts on the book, if you can’t make a meeting.

»Not entirely averse to the odd strange meeting or two since January 2017«

CD#28 – A progressive Castle community

“Excellence at Queen’s involves intellectual diversity of perspectives which, in turn, requires cultural diversity, socio-economic diversity, and racial diversity.” – Daniel Woolf

In April of 2017, the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) published a report, identifying key priorities and suggesting measures that would ensure that lasting change could be effected at Queen’s regarding the issues of anti-racism, diversity and inclusion. This small group, established by Daniel Woolf, included representatives from the student body, staff, and faculty. It was tasked with reviewing past reports on these issues, and examining how and why implementation of their recommendations may have fallen short.

Principal Daniel Woolf said, “We must view this as a process which requires constant re-evaluation. Our ability to remain a top-tier university will depend on our ability to embrace change – not because we are under intense pressure and scrutiny, but because it is the right thing to do.”

The BISC, in turn, must also constantly re-evaluate its own policies and guidelines, to ensure that we live and work in a progressive campus community. To that end, the VP’s Advisory Committee on Equity, Inclusion and Diversity was established, to build upon the recommendations of the University (BISC) Inclusion Committee Report issued in August of 2017. The Committee is responsible for coordinating, reviewing and reporting on the progress of the promotion of access, equality, diversity and inclusion on the BISC campus.

The 2018 VP’s Advisory Committee on Equity, Inclusion and Diversity comprises:

  • Roxy Denniston-Stewart (Chair) & Melissa Burke – Student Services
  • Ben Martin & Diana Gilchrist – Faculty
  • Caroline Harber & Jackie Argyrou – Staff
  • Sara-Maya Kaba & Chloe Smith – Students

The committee, which will complete their work over a three year period, has been asked to submit an annual report by the beginning of May with recommendations on priorities, ways to promote the streaming of relevant policies, protocols and processes, identification of opportunities for collaboration, and ways to foster potential synergies, both internal and external to the university.

The purpose of this article is to make everyone in the Castle community aware that you may be approached by the committee members in the coming weeks as they compile their report, but the Castle Drum would also actively encourage readers to seek out your department’s representatives if you have any pertinent feedback on your experiences of these issues, or suggestions for further study.

Ben Martin told the Castle Drum, “The committee provides recommendations to SMT, which in turn will allow them to make informed decisions on issues of equity, inclusion and diversity. Equity is not a word commonly used in the UK however. Perhaps a better way to think of the committee’s focus, is that it is concerned with the concept of equality – ensuring equality of opportunity for all. A prime example would be making sure we are communicating our scholarship opportunities and financial support packages effectively and offering the BISC as an opportunity to all students, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds.”

Diana Gilchrist added, “I’m pleased to be involved in the process for a second year. I’m confident the report will celebrate our successes, as well as provide the necessary recommendations to ensure that the BISC is inclusive and diverse as a community. On the back of our last report, we introduced a robust policy on issues of personal harassment. This time around, I think our next steps will be to establish our initial priorities, draw up policies to address them and then most importantly of all, communicate them properly to staff so that everyone understands exactly why they are in place.”

You can download the full PICRDI report here and a copy of the 2017 BISC University Inclusion Committee Report  here.

»A cymbal of equality since January 2017«

CD#27 – Walking in our visitors’ shoes

Image of Castle courtesy of Murryn MillerSo Spring is here again, and Herstmonceux Castle is ready to open to public once more. This Saturday, 3rd March, will be the first day of the new season.

In celebration of this event, why not refamiliarize yourself with the visitor’s view of the Castle, with a stroll around the gardens and grounds? There is plenty to see as plants start poking their leaves through the soil and animals begin to shake off their winter lethargy – although many have perhaps dived for cover again in this recent cold spell!

And while you’re stretching your legs, why not help Dave Brown in his creation of the Interpretours app? You may remember that Dave did a presentation back in November in which he highlighted how he was creating an interactive map of the Castle for visitors to access on their mobile phones. The project includes identifying points of interest (POIs) around the gardens and grounds, describing them, and creating routes to guide visitors around them in a logical order or, for the more random among us, in any order desired.

If you fancy getting involved in this project (and Dave is calling upon absolutely anyone who is reading this article and has a love of the Castle: staff, faculty, students, friends, visitors…), here are just some of the ways in which you can:

  • Auditing the list of POIs, to spot any that may have been missed;
  • Correcting and updating the descriptions of the POIs. (If you are a seasoned or even budding writer this is your chance to include your own stories about the Castle and its features, including providing photos, documents, and other resources.);
  • Researching individual POIs. (Are you a natural investigator and like rummaging through paperwork? If so, this may be an interesting challenge, and may involve hunting through the BISC Archive!);
  • Field-testing tours (but only if you have an Android phone);
  • Sharing anecdotes, trivia, stories, childhood reminiscences (and even gossip) about the Castle and estate – it’s the human element which makes the Castle’s history after all. History is brought to life by the stories of the people who have lived it, so now is an excellent opportunity to share your stories.

If you want to find out more about the current POIs, the information Dave has gathered to date, wish to become involved in the project or if you have any questions about how to get involved, contact Dave direct on He’ll be more than happy welcome you to the Interpretours project.

And while we are on the subject of helping the Castle in its tourism endeavours, why not pick up a handful of Herstmonceux Castle Gardens & Grounds leaflets from Castle reception and distribute them liberally at your favourite haunts (or just the doctor’s and dentist’s, if all else fails)? It would be great to raise the profile of the Castle among the local and not-so-local community.

Finally, for those of you on social media, please follow and share posts on Facebook. Sir Roger now has his own page (and if you don’t know who ‘Sir Roger’ is, simply check out his page…).

»Welcoming visitors since January 2017«

CD#26 – The CD gives you the full S.P on ‘Me to We’

The Castle Drum is proud to announce a series of leadership and educational activities for students in the run up to We Day in London on March 7th, 2018. A familiar organization to many Canadians, for the uninitiated, the Me to We Foundation is an innovative social enterprise that aims to create sustainable change in disadvantaged areas of the world by shifting from “me” thinking to “we” acting. It is part of a family of organizations, that along with WE Charity hopes to empower each of us to make the world a better place.

In 2016, charismatic Me to We ambassador Spencer West visited the Castle and spoke to the student body about climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro using a wheelchair and his bare hands. It was a truly inspirational address, although the Castle had admired the work of the Me to We Foundation for many years before, as many of our students are involved with its voluntary projects prior to joining us.

Me to We organizes unique volunteer trips that allow young people and adults to participate in health, education and economic development projects abroad. The vision of the organization is to empower youth to contribute to change in a positive way, and there is obvious synergy between the organization’s values and the BISC’s own ethos of providing students with creditable community engagement projects that will enhance their learning experience while they are in the UK.

Volunteering in the local community empowers BISC students to be proactive, taking responsibility for their own learning, whilst seeking activities that will provide them with transferable skills such a critical thinking, team-work and a sense of social justice. This term, BISC students have organized volunteer placements at Herstmonceux Primary School, The 1st Herstmonceux Scout Troop and Eastbourne Cats’ Protection & Adoption Centre, to name but a few.

Jamila Skinner, the BISC’s Community Engagement SLC, successfully applied for 16 tickets to We Day in London by outlining her proposal to ask students to ‘earn’ their ticket for the event through community engagement activities. To apply, students have been asked to demonstrate community spirit in any capacity including, but not limited to student government, peer health educating, or volunteering. All applicants must have committed a minimum of 10 hours of service in their chosen field to be considered by the BISC’s Me to We Committee.

The BISC’s 2018 Me to We Committee

(From left to right: Natalie Vukusic- Global Events Rep, Danielle Lee – Communications Rep, Jamila Skinner – SLC Community Engagement Rep, Emily Duncan- Educational Awareness Rep, Sara-Maya Kaba- Local Events Rep).

A series of events at the Castle  has been planned to raise awareness of We Day and the work of the Me to We Foundation. On February 6th for example, students will highlight the struggles of obtaining clean water in the developing world and relief countries by filling a 40lb Jerrycan and asking fellow students to walk just a few yards whilst carrying it. This ‘Water Walk’ will give students a mere inkling of the physical effort required to fetch water from wells and watering holes from several miles away in a standard 5-gallon container.

The walking theme will continue in the lead up to International Women’s Week, which begins on March 9th. Students of all genders will be invited to walk the 5 minutes from their accommodation at Bader Hall, to the Dining Hall at the Castle, in a pair of high heels!

The BISC is keen that students’ commitment to volunteering and community engagement on and off campus will continue long after the We Day celebrations. Volunteering remains a key component of the BISC’s experiential learning program. Jamila Skinner, the SLC lead on student community engagement said,

“After the students’ experience with We Day, we will expect them to reflect on their experience in a critical manner by completing a journal entry for Student Services. This will allow students to think about their involvement with the organization and how they can extend their learning beyond a few events. We want them to be able to apply their learning outside of the classroom and in everyday life.”

For more on We Day, click here

»Championing the extra-curricular since January 2017«

CD#25 – February is the month to…visit

Over the coming months we will be receiving numerous visitors to the Castle, and many of them will be from main campus. The Drum thought it might interest you to know who is visiting and what they will be doing while they are with us.

Lori Stewart
Lori Stewart

During the week beginning 5th February, Lori Stewart, Director, Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal, and Megan Sheppard, Associate Vice-Principal, (Planning and Budgeting), will be working with the Senior Management Team on a number of projects, including a review of progress on implementing the space study and training us on
how to carry out the performance dialogue process at

Megan Sheppard
Megan Sheppard

the BISC. Megan will be conducting training on how to go about identifying risks (of all kinds!) as we move towards developing a risk register. Lori will also be working with us to determine how we respond to ongoing developments following the launch of the UK government’s new Office for Students (OfS).


Jill Scott
Jill Scott
Wendy Craig
Wendy Craig

Between 12th and 14th February Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) and Wendy Craig, Head of Psychology, will be joined by Joanne Paul, Lecturer in History at Sussex University, at the Castle. They will be carrying out their annual informal assessment of teaching and learning, which ensures we maintain an excellent performance whenever we are assessed by the Quality Assurance Agency. This year, as we performed so well last year, the QAA assessment is expected to be a light touch, but it is always a good idea to be prepared!

Sue Blake
Sue Blake

At the end of February until the beginning of March (25th February to 3rd March) Sue Blake, Assistant Dean (Studies) Arts and Science, Jill Atkinson, the new Associate Dean (Studies) in Arts and Science, and Heather Carter, Academic Advisor in Arts and Science, will be on campus to help students plan their studies in future years.

Jill Atkinson
Jill Atkinson

This will be Jill and Heather’s first visit to the BISC. The Academic Advisors will be offering students the opportunity to learn more about their options in general sessions, as well as ensuring each

Heather Carter
Heather Carter

student has the opportunity for a one-to-one discussion to explore their own individual choices. So, please expect a lot of activity in the Boardroom during this time.

Peter Chin
Peter Chin

During the same period, Peter Chin, Associate Dean Undergraduate Studies in the Faculty of Education, and James Fraser, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics will also be visiting. Peter will be meeting with the ConEd students, visiting a number of our partner schools where the ConEd students are carrying out their practicums, and doing some classroom observations. There will also be a Q&A session with the ConEd group.

James Fraser
James Fraser

We are very fortunate to have James here, where he will be consulting on the process of setting up the first year Physics program at BISC, with PHYS 106 to be launched in September 2018. James is an award-winning lecturer, having been selected as one of ten 3M Teaching Award Fellows in 2017, the highest award for teaching at the university level in Canada. He also does some rather extraordinary research with high powered lasers, that he will talk about to our science class.

At the beginning of March (5th-9th), Cathy Keates, Director, Career Services, will be at the Castle to work with the Experiential Learning Office and Student Services, as we roll out our new experiential learning programming made possible by the Career Ready Fund. Integrating workplace or simulated workplace experiences for students into the curriculum is a priority for the Ontario Government, and we expect this to be an emphasis in future quality assurance assessments and government grant competitions. Cathy will be working with the BISC as we determine how to best position our already leading experiential learning opportunities to make the most of these developments.

Also in March, Tom Gallini, Senior Admission Coordinator (BISC)

Stuart Pinchin
Stuart Pinchin

(and former Student Services and Enrolment Manager) will be visiting (date to be confirmed), and also perhaps in the same month, Stuart Pinchin, Executive Director, Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment. Both will be on site to determine how best to pitch the Castle to prospective students and to experience our fantastic learning environment afresh, although we are guessing Tom can remember it pretty well…

Zhiyao Zhang

Finally, looking even further ahead, Zhiyao Zhang, China Liaison Officer for Queen’s University, will be visiting the Castle in April. Queen’s has long-standing partnerships with many Chinese Universities, and recruits international undergraduate students heavily in China, particularly in the Beijing and Shanghai regions. Zhiyao leads the Queen’s team in China that has more than tripled the number of international students enrolled in the university over the last three years. Zhiyao is based at Queen’s Shanghai office at Fudan University. While he is a frequent visitor to main campus, he has never been to the BISC before. One of his goals is to learn more about us, so he can promote us as he works with University Admissions in recruiting undergraduate students to the BISC, to identify opportunities for research collaboration, and to increase student mobility with our Chinese partner institutions.

So, look out for some new and some familiar faces, as we welcome the chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones!

»Welcoming all comers since January 2017«