News and views from Journalism students at De Montfort University in Leicester

Category: Staff (Page 1 of 3)

Learning the lessons of the horrors of confinement

If there is anything that can be learned from the past year it’s that confinement is definitely a hindrance to freedom, writes Amanda Kamuene.

But what happens when your confinement is not a result of a pandemic but of war and persecution?

When looking at events of the past, it should be noted that confinement isn’t something that is new to society, particularly, in terms of war.

Examples date as far back as the Boer War in South Africa from 1900 to 1902 to the German concentration camps before and during the Second World War. Now historians are set to discuss the horrors of confinement in the First and Second World Wars and the Yugoslav conflict of the 1990s in a live webinar hosted by De Montfort University, Leicester to mark Armistice Day.

Panikos Panayi, Professor of European History at DMU, will look at the internment camp in Knockaloe on the Isle of Man during the First World War and how it led to the development of the ‘barbed-wire disease’, a psychiatric syndrome amongst male prisoners of war incarcerated for a long period of time. He will also discuss how this wasn’t the case for all prisoners as some prisoners tried to deal with their situation by developing cultural activities, creating a sort of ‘counter-culture’ within the internment camps.

DMU PhD student Jessica Cretney will draw on her own doctoral research to spotlight the factors that shaped the chilling designs of the Nazi concentration camps. Kenneth Morrison, Professor of Modern Southeast European History at DMU, will focus on war-torn Sarajevo, exploring how citizens adapted to life in the besieged city – without basic necessities such as electricity, gas and domestic water supply. He will look at the lessons that can be drawn from the case of Sarajevo and will be joined by curator at the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Elma Hodžić through a video link, who will discuss how citizens used their creativity to function during the siege.

War Crisis and Confinement: Lessons from the Twentieth Century takes place tomorrow (WED,NOV11) from 12.30pm to 2pm. For further information, contact the DMU events office at eventsoffice@dmu.ac.uk. To register for the webinar, click here.

Fundraising drive in memory of De Montfort University lecturer Andy Plaice is halfway to hitting its target figure

An appeal launched in the memory of an inspirational De Montfort University lecturer is halfway to hitting its target figure after just two days.

Maria Thompson aims to raise £1,325 in tribute to her husband Andy Plaice, who died on February 18 after a 10-month battle with a rare form of brain cancer.

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Her JustGiving page currently stands at £685. The money will go to Cransley Hospice, in Kettering, which cared for Andy in his final weeks.

Staff and students alike have been paying tribute to the “amazing, funny and kind” journalism lecturer, who edited the Melton Times and the Rutland Times before switching careers to teach journalism at DMU.

In a post on the JustGiving page, Maria paid tribute to the “amazing doctors, nurses and staff” at the hospice, who “supported Andy, myself and our two boys to live every moment we had left together and it’s unthinkable to consider how we would have got through it without them.”

Maria, who worked alongside Andy at both the Melton Times and the journalism department at DMU, added: “Please give what ever you can in Andy’s memory so other families facing the same terrible circumstances receive the same love and care we did.”

You can make a donation in Andy’s memory here.

Fundraising drive launched in memory of much-loved De Montfort University lecturer

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The grieving family of a much-loved De Montfort University lecturer who died last week have launched a fundraising drive in his memory.

Maria Thompson aims to raise £1,325 in tribute to her husband Andy Plaice, who died on February 18 after a 10-month battle with a rare form of brain cancer.

The JustGiving page hit £540 within a single day. The money will go to Cransley Hospice, in Kettering, which cared for Andy in the final stages of his illness.

Staff and students alike have been paying tribute to the “amazing, funny and kind” journalism lecturer, who edited the Melton Times and the Rutland Times before switching careers to teach journalism at DMU.

Maria, who worked alongside Andy at both the Melton Times and DMU, expressed her heartfelt thanks to the staff of the hospice in a moving post on the JustGiving page. “The amazing doctors, nurses and staff there supported Andy, myself and our two boys to live every moment we had left together and it’s unthinkable to consider how we would have got through it without them,” she wrote.

“Please give what ever you can in Andy’s memory so other families facing the same terrible circumstances receive the same love and care we did.”

You can make a donation in Andy’s memory here.

Shock and deep sorrow at death of much-loved journalist and inspirational De Montfort University lecturer

By Kyran Kennedy

Friends, colleagues and students have paid tribute to an “amazing, funny and kind” journalism lecturer at De Montfort University who has died at the age of 54 after a 10-month battle with brain cancer.

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Andy Plaice died with his loving wife Maria and close family by his side, at the Cransley Hospice in Kettering on Monday last week (February 18).

He had been diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, glioma blastoma, in March 2019.

Over the course of his long journalistic career, Andy edited a number of newspapers including the Melton Times, leaving a lasting impact on those he worked with.

As a feature writer and reviewer his work was published in a wide range of titles including the Times, the Sunday Express, the Stage, the Daily Express, the British Theatre Guide, the British Comedy Guide and the Voice. He combined his love of theatre and journalism in a textbook for aspiring critics titled Arts Reviewing: A Practical Guide, which was published in 2017.

Andy began his journalistic career at the Grantham Journal as a reporter in 1988, after initially working as a drama teacher at Grantham College. He rose quickly to the role of deputy editor, before becoming editor of the Melton Times in 1992, where he spent 13 years, and then managing editor of the Rutland Times.

Read more: Appeal launched in memory of Andy Plaice

He made the switch to teaching in 2006, taking up a position as a lecturer at De Montfort University, where he helped many students launch their own careers as journalists.

Tor Clark, a colleague of Andy’s at both the Welland Valley Newspaper group and DMU, paid tribute to his friend. Now an associate professor of journalism at the University of Leicester, Tor said: “Andy was an excellent all-rounder, and particularly enjoyed teaching news writing to first year students. His passion was cultural journalism, so his greatest pleasure at DMU was developing and then teaching his module, arts and entertainment journalism, which encouraged many DMU Journalism students to explore that field with huge enjoyment.

“But the key thing to remember with Andy is not only was he an excellent journalist and lecturer, beyond that and more important than that, he was just an amazing man – funny, kind, sympathetic, genuine. He was a pleasure to spend time with in or out of work.”

Melton Times reporter Nick Rennie said Andy’s death was “a huge shock.” He said: “I remember when Andy took over, he was one of the youngest newspaper editors in the country.

“I was around the same age as him and he confided in me that it was a difficult job managing people who were older and much more experienced than him.

“But Andy quickly showed that he had the strength of character and the journalistic nous to thrive in the job.

“I also worked with him at the Rutland Times in his last newspaper job and always enjoyed spending time with him, in and out of work.

“His loss is a huge shock to us all and my heart goes out to his wife Maria and the family.”

DMU journalism lecturer Brian Dodds, who worked with Andy for 20 years, said: “When I first became an editor, with Andy already in that role at a neighbouring paper in our group, I immediately realised he was someone I could learn a huge amount from.

“He was an excellent local newspaper editor, caring and passionate for the community he served, while warm and supportive to his team.

“But what I think I was most impressed with was the gentle yet firm and intelligent way he always approached the often complex matters thrown at the role.

“He carried that warmth and intelligence through into his career as a university lecturer, where again I arrived in a new job with him quietly offering valuable guidance. He was a lovely fellow and we really miss him.”

James Russell, head of the Leicester Media School at DMU, said: “Andy was extraordinarily dedicated to his students and to his work training journalists, but he was also a warm, engaging and enthusiastic person, and that, as much as anything, is what made him a great teacher and a great colleague.

“I do know that he had an impact on the lives of hundreds of students, and so he has a great legacy from his time at DMU, but I think his loss is deeply sad for us as his colleagues, for his students and for his family.”

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DMU press officer Sian Brewis, who started her journalism career under Andy’s guidance, said: “He believed in local news and knew that being a journalist was the best job in the world. As an editor he’d be pushing you to get the great stories but he’d never let you forget the people affected by them.

“That’s because he cared about the communities he wrote about. He made my first few years as a trainee journalist the best. I owe him so much.”

A number of Andy’s former students also paid tribute to their “incredible teacher.”

Chloe Hewitt said: “It was an absolute pleasure to have been taught by him. Truly heart-breaking news, so much love to his loved ones.”

Tyler Arthur said: “His enthusiasm and genuine excitement for the topic he taught was rare and tangible. Rest in peace.”

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Daniel Siggins said: “Andy had a great sense of humour and a natural passion he instilled in his students. He will be missed.”

Oliver Payne said: “Andy was an incredible teacher, introducing me to the creative side of journalism and how to write a blinding feature. His lessons were a fun yet professional environment and I’ll take what he taught me then and use those skills throughout my life, I’m sure. He will be missed.”

 

Journalism lecturer writes essential guide to arts reviewing

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Interviews with leading arts critics including from The Guardian, The Times, the BBC, the Daily Telegraph and the New York Times all feature in a new guide to arts reviewing written by a journalism lecturer from De Montfort University Leicester.

Read the full report here about Andy Plaice and his new book Arts Reviewing: A Practical Guide, which covers writing, ethics, and the impact of reviews as well as a debate on challenges facing reviewers such as the internet.

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