International students invited to weekly café

week3By Ben Clarke

Volunteers at De Montfort University have set up an international student’s café to help overseas students to interact and mingle with others in a similar situation.

The café is situated in the lounge at the student’s union on campus, which is open every Wednesday from 2pm to 4pm.

Chloe Norman, the volunteer who took this week’s session, said: “It’s somewhere international students can learn better English, engage with other students and get them to engage with the course and uni life.”

The meetings started a few years ago, before Chloe, who is in her third year, began studying here and usually attracts 15 members each week.

The students who attended this week ranged from a first year at his first session to someone who is completing a masters degree in her second year of coming to the café.

Chloe said: “The meetings are not necessarily there to help improve their work academically but can help them with the process of uni and where to go with their work if they do need support.”

This is one of a few things De Montfort University has set up to help support its overseas students, the latest being the buddy scheme.

This will give new international students the chance to buddy up with ones who have been here for a year or more, so they can get to grips with English university life and get to know Leicester easier.

The weekly socialising helps break up students busy schedules, where they may have assignments to do and learn about different cultures, as well as make friends.

The environment is set up to put its members at ease with a relaxing vibe, where tea, coffee and other refreshments are provided, while the students sit to discuss any issues or simply to relax.

The international students at the meeting added, ‘it is really fun and we get to meet people outside of our course and it helps with confidence.’

‘It helps with English and we get experience and a relaxing experience we look forward to’.

There is no hassle with membership forms or payments, as anyone can go to the café by simply turning up on a Wednesday afternoon.

The lounge is on the first floor of the students union on De Montfort University campus and welcomes members every Wednesday from 2-4pm.

Students wear their birthday suits in live art activity

By Alison Hart

DMU students stripped off last week in an unusual studio-based live art class.

The 17 drama studies and performing arts undergraduates used only paint and their bodies to create pieces of artwork on canvas.

The workshop, held in the Campus Centre studios on Friday 16, is part of the drama and performing arts third year degree programme and shows how the human form can be used in art.

Drama student Ceara Asbury-Dunn, 20, said: “We could take off as many clothes as we felt comfortable with. One guy kept all his clothes on and just painted with a brush and his hands. It was interesting though because at the end he said he felt uncomfortable being fully dressed.

“You would assume the half-naked people would be the uncomfortable ones, but as everyone was in the same boat nobody cared.”

Many students felt happy in their birthday suits as they were covered in paint and filled their canvases with colour.

Miss Asbury-Dunn said: “My end piece was quite messy, whereas other people had a single imprint of their body in the centre of the canvas. My friend made a landscape-like painting using his footprints which looked pretty cool.”

The session lasted from 9am-12pm and also included artist research as well as giving the students time to set up the studio ready for the activity.

A three minute ‘free writing’ exercise was held at the end where students had the chance to write any thoughts down about the workshop without thinking too much about it.

They had to pick a sentence out from the paragraph and then select three words from the sentence which made the titles of their artwork.

The creative activity was inspired by artists such as Yves Klein, a pioneer in the development of performance art whose work famously features women’s bodies covered in blue paint and pressed onto a canvas.

Miss Asbury-Dunn said: “It was definitely different and a little embarrassing at first, but once everyone felt comfortable it was really fun.

“Taking your clothes off is definitely a good icebreaker too! Some of the drama students didn’t know the performing arts students too well and the activity allowed us to get to know each other.

“Discovering how the body can create art and performance by doing it ourselves will certainly benefit me throughout my course.”

Alternative music and art brings Turkish delight to Leicester

By Jake Piercy

The Turkey Café on Granby Street was rife with activity on Thursday as it hosted Anerki, a monthly alternative night of music and art.

The night brought together people from all walks of life to appreciate a range of different artistic and musical outlet, as it aims to break down barriers between different age groups and cultures.

With performances varying from beatboxing and spoken word to world rap and live art, the pub on Granby Street was packed out for a night of alternative entertainment.

Calum Vaughan, 20, who beatboxed at the event, said: “It was fantastic to see artists of so many different disciplines working together, for such a bizarre yet coherent performance.

“This was my first time beatboxing in front of a crowd so the pressure was on, but I had a great time and cannot wait for the next event.”

One particularly outstanding performer was David Dhonau, from the band Billion O’clock, who played bass guitar and acted as a session musician throughout the night before appearing with his 3-man experimental hip-hop collective at the end of the night.

His band, whose actual name is spelt with twelve zeros instead of the word billion, play often around Leicester and made an excellent performance to round off a multicultural and contemporary night.

Another performer on the night was Roberto Dumitru, 18, who was born in Romania but raised in Italy, who was rapping in Italian due to not having a complete grasp of the language.

He said: “I was quite nervous about rapping in my language because I did not think the crowd would like it because most of them are English.

“But when I got on the stage and started to do my thing people seemed to like it and in the end I think I did quite well and everyone liked me.”

When asked how he thought the event ran as a whole despite being poorly organised, Calum went on to say: “The guy who runs it didn’t get a lot of time to put the whole thing together, so it could have gone wrong, but in the end he managed to pull it all together and the night was great.

“Overall I think the night ran really smooth and everyone seemed to have a great time, so I’m open to beatboxing at another Anerki event.”

The next Anerki event is being held on Friday 13 November at The Font Pub on Gateway Street, and will be playing all sorts of different kinds of music and experimental sound from around the world, as well as film and visual entertainment.

The Hoosiers play yummy gig in Leicester

By Natasha Stapleton

The HoosiersIndie band The Hoosiers played an acoustic session at a restaurant in Leicester City Centre today.

The band who were famous for tracks including ‘Goodbye Mr A’ and ‘Worried About Ray’ in the late 2000s played at Meatcure on Highcross Street at 12.15pm.

Assistant manager Warner Bates said: “We want to do exciting things be it live music or fashion shows or stand up comedy. We want to push the limits of what it means to be an independent restaurant in Leicester.”

The band’s 4th studio album, ‘The Secret Service’, was released on October 9, however they have been somewhat under the radar for a few years since their last album ‘Bumpy Ride’ was released in 2011.

Entry was free and Meatcure also offered 20% off food for everyone who was lucky enough to get a table between 12pm and 2pm, and also for anyone who wanted to take away after the set.

Around 50 people attended the gig, meaning the small restaurant was relatively full.

Warner added: “The gig came about by me wanting to push the whole ‘more than just a burger joint’ motto of ours. The Hoosiers have a contact in common with us here in Leicester so we saw a great opportunity.”

“Because we are independent we can jump on these great opportunities when they come along.”

Audience member Tommaso Turner, 23, said: “It was a really fun gig, with a great atmosphere, it was really good to hear songs I haven’t heard for a long time. Plus, the food was twice as good.”

Meatcure has three restaurants across the Midlands, one in Market Harborough which opened in October 2014, one that will be opening soon in Leamington Spa and one in Leicester which opened in June.

Cornish fever hits DMU campus

By Jordan Gillenpasty

Students at De Montfort University can bag themselves free tickets to Cornish music festival, Boardmasters and enjoy a free pasty on Thursday.

Proper Cornish, who are supplier to the education sectors leading contract-catering company, Chartwells, are visiting DMU this week in an attempt to raise brand awareness among students.

Commercial Manager, Charlie Darby, said: “We realise that it’s really good to engage with students as there are so many offerings on campus. But we really just need to get them to remember our brand name so they search for us when they’re hungry!”

Proper Cornish are keen to interact with students and are offering free tickets to surfing-inspired music festival, Boardmasters, due to take place in August 2016.

Mr Darby, said: “We’re running a competition where you can win 4 tickets to a music festival down in Cornwall. Just come and listen to some music here at the silent disco, get your picture taken and then enter the competition.”

However, there are more than just festival tickets on offer, as students who enter can get themselves a free sample of a traditional Cornish pasty.

Mr Darby, said: “We do Cornish pasties, all are handmade and come straight from Cornwall. We’ve got sausage rolls and pies too, all of which can be found and are sold here on the campus.”

Chartwells is the arm of a company called Compass, who do all the on site catering at DMU and supply all the offerings which are run on the campus.

DMU is the latest in a succession of universities to host this Proper Cornish event, as they take their promotion on the road across the UK.

Mr Darby, said: “This is a new thing for this year, we’re travelling around 10 of the top uni’s who work with Chartwells in the country. Through the year we do other small samplings, but this is the first time we’ve done this activity.”

The competition is open to all students, you can even pop down to the stall and get a picture of you and your mates on polaroid then take it away with you.

Mr Darby, couldn’t be happier with the reaction he’s seen to this campaign and is thankful for the support of the universities.

He said: “We’ve had some great reactions from the management of Chartwells and the management of the universities, students and staff have really enjoyed it. We’ve got a contact who works for Chartwells who liaises with the university, they’re the guys who helped us do it, gave us the site and helped us set it all up.”