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Thought Leadership

Henry VIII’s favourite fool – a new book draws a portrait of the man the Tudor court loved to laugh at

Professor Alec Ryrie from our Department of Theology and Religion explores a new book written by Swedish historian Peter Andersson on the life of court fool Will Somers during the reign of Henry VIII.
Henry VIII

Respectful provocation: the university skill for our times?

Challenging students about their assumptions and values makes them better equipped to engage with the challenges of living in a diverse society, writes Professor Mathew Guest, Professor of the Sociology of Religion and Head of our Department of Theology and Religion.
Six young adults sitting round a desk chatting, smiling and laughing. In the background are shelves of books

“Senzenina: What have we done?” We are all entangled in the politics of peace

On International Day of Peace, 21 September, Professor Stefanie Kappler from our School of Government and International Affairs reflects on the politics of peace in relation to art and, in particular, the work of South African artist and activist Haroon Gunn-Salie.
An image of the Marikana mine, South Africa

Should you send your child to an academy or a council-run school? Why Ofsted results don’t mean much

Should you send your child to an academy or a council-run school? Stephen Gorard, Professor of Education and Public Policy, in our School of Education, explains why Ofsted results are not that useful to parents when making this decision.
Primary school children in a classroom

How 'survival arrogance' has put Iranian hardliners in confrontation with the public

Almost a year ago, the death of young Mahsa Amini in moral police custody, sparked widespread unrests across many parts of Iran, capturing the attention of the world towards the plight of Iranians, especially women. Dr Marzieh Kouhi Esfahani, whose research focuses on women in the Muslim world and international relations of the Middle East, analyses the situation today.
Two people standing by a banner which says #MahsaAmini - Woman, Life, Freedom

The Islamic Republic a year after Mahsa Amini’s death

On 16 September 2022, Mahsa Amini died in police custody which sparked protests across Iran. One year on, Anoush Ehteshami, Professor of International Relations in our School of Government and International Affairs, takes a look at what has changed.
A woman wearing a headscarf waving a small Iranian flag

Daniel Khalife: escapes are just one symptom of a failing prison system

John Podmore, an Honorary Professor in our Department of Sociology, discusses how the escape of Daniel Kahlife from HMP Wandsworth is just one symptom of a failing prison system.
Image showing barbed wire fence

How to prove you’ve discovered alien life – new research

Professor Peter Vickers from our Department of Philosophy discusses the findings of his new research paper published in the journal of Astrobiology.

Chimpanzees are not pets, no matter what social media tells you

Research Associate Jake Brooker from our Department of Psychology studies the social and emotional behaviour of great apes. He explains that social media needs to recognise that putting exotic animals in a human context isn't cute and reflects animal abuse.
A chimpanzee looking directly into the camera

I spent the last six months travelling alongside commuter students. Here's what I learned

New research from the Sutton Trust suggests that more undergraduate students than previous years could be living at home and commuting to university, yet conversation is lacking around UK commuter students in our current post-COVID climate and on-going cost of living crisis. Emma Maslin, a PhD researcher in our School of Education, spent time with student commuters to find out more about their experiences.
The inside of a bus; passengers are sitting on seats and standing holding the rail

Unlocking the secrets of soil

Professor Karen Johnson from our Department of Engineering has recently been awarded the Royal Society’s Rosalind Franklin Award. We caught up with Karen to find out more about this award, and her work in soil and soil health.
Image showing Professor Karen Johnson

Blue Beetle is a solid first outing for the Latino superhero

Dr Yarí Pérez Marín from our School of Modern Languages and Cultures was invited to write a review of the latest DC Comics film, Blue Beetle, starring Xolo Maridueña as the first Latino superhero lead. Warning: this review contains spoilers for Blue Beetle.
The character Blue Beetle in the 2023 DC film Blue Beetle.