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Kenther R. Ramos
at University of York
A new milestone was reached the first week of January, when 68 American Fulbright Scholars attended the tenth annual Fulbright Forum. Hosted by a new Fulbright partner, Northumbria University, this year’s event was held in Newcastle. Participants learned about the city’s history and culture and got the chance to explore the North East.
Amy Moore, Director of the Fulbright Awards Programme, summed up the multi-day event: “The event was a huge success! They gave us an insider’s glimpse into the city, whisked us off to the stunning Alnwick Gardens, introduced us to some engaging and fascinating people, and made us all feel very, very welcome.”
Fulbrighters were situated in Newcastle’s city centre, giving them easy access to everything the city has to offer. The events kicked off at the Northumbria University followed by a visit to the Newcastle Civic Centre, attended by Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Hazel Stephenson.
Fulbrighters also visited the local Wylam Brewery followed by a dinner and private showing at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (BALTIC); the largest dedicated contemporary art institution in the UK.
Day two began with a behind the scenes tour and presentation at the Live Theatre, a progressive and entrepreneurial theatre company founded in 1973, and a trip to Tyneside Cinema to learn about the company’s innovative new membership strategies from Thomas Peutz, Tyneside’s Chief Executive. The day concluded with a guided tour of Alnwick Gardens, a contemporary garden with seasonal exhibits and activities for the public.
The garden was a favourite for Fulbrighters, including Fulbright Postgraduate, Melinda Buckwalter who said: “Three highlights of the trip for me were meeting the Lord Mayor of Newcastle—a lady mayor!—her personal and down-to-earth graciousness and the pomp and circumstance of her visit; the tour of the design lab; and a brisk walk through the fields with colleagues to view the Alnwick Castle, after enjoying a tour of the amazingly designed gardens.”
On the final day, Fulbrighters visited Northumbria University City Campus East with a tour of their design lab led by Professor Raymond Oliver, followed by a lecture on critically aware design innovation from Professor Gilbert Cockton. Following the tour and lecture, Fulbrighters presented their individual presentations.
Jason Ginsberg, a Fulbright Postgraduate stated: “With all of us at our respective universities and institutions during the term, it is easy to lose track of how our research interacts with the work of others.
"Coming together at the Northumbria Forum, however, I found it enormously useful to be able to present our projects to the group. I look forward to more opportunities to share ideas and discuss cross disciplinary solutions with Fulbright in the future.”
Penny Egan CBE, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission, said: “It was a rare treat for our American Fulbrighters to be hosted by Northumbria University and be able to get an insider’s view into the amazing role that the arts and creative industries have played in regenerating Newcastle. They felt warmly welcome and appreciated how much trouble the staff had gone to arrange such a fascinating programme for them. I know many of them will return lured not least by the opportunity to see the cherry blossom trees in flower in Alnwick.”
The US-UK Fulbright Commission thanks Northumbria University for being such gracious and giving hosts in making Forum 2017 a success.