Transgender activist and model Munroe Bergdorf set to give talk at #DMUpride

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#DMUpride organisers will ensure Rainbow colours will be prominent 

Transgender activist and model Munroe Bergdorf will be talking at De Montfort University (DMU) as part of the #DMUpride events.

Named the first ever University of the Year for Social Inclusion by the Sunday Times, DMU is holding a series of month-long events to celebrate LGBTQ+ history.

A spokesperson for DMU said: “We define ourselves as diverse, international and open to all. Our free-thinking equality, diversity and inclusion charter, DMUFreedom, puts inclusivity at the heart of everything we do.”

#DMUpride will be launched on Monday between midday and 4pm at DMU’s Campus Centre and will include handouts of free rainbow lanyards and #DMUpride T-shirts, alongside refreshments and the details of up-coming events.

A series of workshops, performances and film screenings will be put on throughout the month alongside talks from prominent members of the LGBTQ+ community, including Bergdorf.

Now the face of a new lingerie campaign promoting diversity for all women, Bergdorf was on Good Morning Britain yesterdayTHUJAN31 to discuss diversity in the fashion industry.

She said: “I’m speaking about my experience all the way from before I transitioned and my sexuality to how I view the industry.”

Her #DMUpride talk, ‘In Conversation’, will be held in the university’s Clephan Building from 7 to 8pm on Wednesday, February 27.

It will be one of the final events for #DMUpride but also one of the first for the Cultural eXchanges Festival which celebrates its 18th year.

Cultural eXchanges will run from February 25 to March 1 with a host of creatives from the industry delivering talks in the Clephan building.

For more information on #DMUpride view the online brochure https://www.dmu.ac.uk/documents/events/dmu-pride-brochure.pdf

For more information on Bergdorf’s talk and the Cultural eXchanges Festival visit https://www.dmu.ac.uk/cultural-exchanges-festival/index.aspx

DMU society to tackle stereotypes surrounding mental health conditions

By Perry Johnson

The stereotyping of people with mental health conditions is being challenged by one of De Montfort University’s welfare societies who have launched an event on campus this week aiming to do just that.

The Neurodivergent Society at DMU, which focuses on embracing mental diversity, hosts a drop-in session like this from 2 to 5pm at the Gateway every Friday for its members.

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Sam Spencer McFadden (Right), Events Manager for the Neurodivergent society, with fellow members

Chairman of the society and third-year Fine Art student at DMU Karl Bufanio was inspired to create the society after watching a talk by autistic artist Jon Adams, who identifies as ‘Neurodivergent’.

Mr Bufanio, said: “We came up with the motto ‘unity in difference’ because having labels like autistic or schizophrenic can get really isolating; so the idea was to bring these people together and get rid of them barriers.”

The society focuses primarily on its members’ welfare, with the committee receiving health training from the Students’ Union.

Mr Bufanio added: “I got myself mental health first aid training as well and I have been trained by the disability team to know exactly where to point them and what needs to be done; so we both have mental and physical help.”

The society is led by a full committee of ‘Neurodivergents’ and has focused on training people up, ready  to run in the student elections in March.

Currently in its second year of running, the society received an award from DMU for the ‘Best Newcomer’ after just one year of operating.

Mr Bufanio said: “I am just so proud of the people that have helped me build it. We lost all of our committee at one point and it’s just been such a stressful time but – we have made it.”

For more information about the ‘Neurodivergent’ society at DMU or to show interest in it, the team can be contacted at DMUNeurodivergentsociety@gmail.com.

DMU Dance Society to take part in three competitions

By Emily Barker

Dancers at De Montfort University (DMU) are putting in hours of time and effort to be readily prepared for their upcoming competitions within the next few months.

DMU Dance are going to be competing in three competitions; at their home ground The Venue on February 16, in Liverpool on February 23 and in Sheffield on March 9.

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(LEFT) Katie, 21, vice president and (RIGHT) Jess, 22, president from the DMU Dance Society

Jess Smith, 22, third-year Dance student and president of the society, said: “We are taking around 40 people to each competition, apart from Sheffield where we are taking around 35.”

The competitions will involve six or seven dance troupes, each containing 9-10 dancers competing for trophies available.

“In the last three years of being on the society, I know the hip hop dance troupe have won two competitions, but other styles vary from year to year.

“A few years ago, we won the award issued by the Vice-Chancellor for Society of the Term.

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The Vice-Chancellor’s Society of the Term award given to the DMU Dance Society

“We do competitions to give members a chance to perform, as dance classes can sometimes get boring, so we use these as opportunities to break it up.”

There are going to be three judges for the competitions, but only two have currently been confirmed.

One judge is DMU graduate Justine Matthews, who used to teach tap, jazz and musical theatre to the society, and the other is a London based choreographer who specialises in hip hop.

Out of all the dance societies at DMU, DMU Dance  is the longest running and specialises in eight types of dance, ranging from musical theatre to ballet.

Katie Cruickshank, 21, third-year Drama student and vice president of the society, said: “The Dance Society is a great way to make friends, and we welcome everyone regardless of whether you have danced before or not.”

You can find the DMU Dance Society on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

DMU Student wins charity award after spending 72 hours in ski boots

By Beth Surridge

A passionate skier at De Montfort University (DMU) has won an award for spending 72 hours in ski boots.

DMU student James Smith won the award from a charity called Snow Camp.

James, 23, who studies Business Management, is the Charity Secretary of the Snow Sports Society, otherwise known as DMU Snow.

He took it upon himself to think of some innovative challenges to raise money for the charity, one of them being spending 72 hours in ski boots, even in bed.

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COMFY: James did not take his ski boots off for a whole 72 hours, not even for sleep!

He won the award in December and was presented with it on 18 January.

Those who donated then had the opportunity to give him a challenge to do in his ski boots. which ranged from riding a bike, going on a night out and dancing in the middle of Leicester City Centre.

James said: “I think winning the award was actually one of my proudest moments at university.”

He added: “As a student, I thought it was important to help young people. Snow Camp helps young people get onto the slopes, and that is something I have been very passionate about my whole life.”

Snow Camp’s mission is to give young inner-city children the opportunity to turn their lives around through snow sports, by giving them the opportunity to gain qualifications and help them to gain employment.

So far, James and DMU Snow have raised £400, but this is not the end; they are still brainstorming more ideas to raise even more money for the charity.

He added: “You’ll have to keep posted, we have got so many more ideas in the pipeline.”

If you wish to donate to their campaign, head to: https://snowcampuniversities.everydayhero.com/uk/dmu-snow?fbclid=IwAR2nEW4ixf8qR2N2CQMwZ9OYQrjzhYbUJRmwHGAbscUDB913fyCTt93y8L8

Award-winning Jam Experiment play at DMU in first event of year

By Jacob Moseley

Award-winning band Jam Experiment was intimately packed into DMU’s Student’s Union for a two-hour gig including a world premiere original with the university’s Jazz Band last night (JAN31).

The group, comprised of five extremely talented young artists, was formed in London in 2014 before shortly going on to play at the London Jazz and Love Supreme festivals.

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Toby Comeau (Keyboard), Rory Ingham (Trombonist), Joe Lee (Bass), Dominic Ingham (Violin), Jonny Mansfield (Drums)

The band, based in Britain, includes trombonist Rory Ingham who won the ‘Rising Star’ in the 2017 British Jazz Awards and has worked with musicians including Canadian Chris Potter.

Mr Ingham said: “So Jam Experiment is a band that’s been going for 5 years and so far we’ve released an album and have been touring around the UK and Europe.

“We’ve been working with the DMU Jazz Band and we did a workshop yesterday afternoon; we were commissioned to write a brand new piece of music to be performed side by side as a world premiere.”

The university’s Jazz Band, which is partnered with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, also displayed their talent last night.

Mr Ingham said: “The DMU jazz band have done a great job.”

Rory Ingham and his band are all in their early 20s and are one of the best in the very few younger generation Jazz bands.

He explained: “Last year was probably about 30 gigs, and we went to places like Rome, Berlin, Krakow, Budapest, Prague. The year before that we released the album and did a 40 day tour around the UK so it keeps us busy.”

Last night’s event comprised separate performances of the two bands as well as a short medley between the two, showcasing the best of British Jazz.