The Urban Vocal Group secures new Artist Development funding

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The Urban Vocal Group is delighted to announce that it has been provisionally offered a grant of £14,600 from Arts Council England towards a new artist development programme. ‘Breaking Through’ is a platform of activities designed to support emerging talent through collaboration with established artists and industry professionals, enabling them to write, record, perform and promote their own music.
This is an exciting project for the UVG who have been providing free music making opportunities to young people aged 11 – 18 since 2008.

Several local artists started their music career at The UVG and ‘Breaking Through’ will enable a new generation to develop their talent and gain invaluable knowledge and experience of the industry; helping them set up as professional artists.
It is hoped that the new material and subsequent performances will further enhance the musical profile of the Portsmouth area.


Engineering graduates see 'The Hard' work

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The Hard Interchange - View 2 LO RES

Graduate engineers from across the country are visiting a multi-million pound construction scheme at The Hard interchange in Portsmouth on Tuesday 19 April.

Creating a new transport interchange is the first step in a vision to regenerate the area around The Hard which is located between the world-famous Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quays. It will set the benchmark for the area and the tone for an impressive new gateway to Portsmouth.

The new interchange will better link buses, trains and ferries; make the site easier to navigate; enable pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles to share the space more safely; and make the area look more welcoming.

19 graduate engineers from construction company Osborne, who are the contractors for the scheme, will visit the Emirates Spinnaker Tower to hear more about the scheme with an impressive view of the construction site. They will then go on site to see how work has progressed since it started last autumn.

The busy transport interchange is used daily by people accessing buses, trains and ferries to the Isle of Wight and Gosport. While the work is taking place a temporary bus interchange is continuing to operate at the front of the site and access to the ferry terminals and train station is maintained. This, and the fact that the majority of the site is situated on a platform over the sea, presents many challenges.

As part of Osborne's graduate scheme they offer visits to construction sites they are working on to broaden their knowledge of different projects. They also support all graduates through ICE (Institute of Civil Engineers) development in the aim to produce as many chartered and incorporated engineers as possible.

Jack Cottrell, Trainee Engineer at Osborne, said “The redevelopment of The Hard is an excellent focus for Osborne’s first graduate day of 2016. Working on an existing structure over the sea provides a number of unique challenges which has driven the use of lightweight concrete and other uncommon materials. Hosting the day will be a great opportunity to share experiences and innovative methods used on the scheme, to ensure continuous development within the engineering profession.”

Anna Limburn, project manager at Portsmouth City Council, said: "Our multi-million pound redevelopment of The Hard Interchange is a unique scheme which presents many challenges. We are pleased to be able to offer graduate engineers the opportunity to view the site from the equally unique location of the Emirates Spinnaker Tower and learn more about the scheme."

For more information on the project search 'The Hard' at


Students in mass takeover of retail centre

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Whiteley Retail Park will be the scene of a major takeover by students on Thursday, April 21, in a fantastic work experience opportunity.

Around 100 students are expected to take part in the event, dubbed the Highbury Handover. It will build on the success of a similar venture at Port Solent last year.

The students will be involved in all aspects of running the complex for a day, including event management, cooking, front of house hospitality, gym instructing, retail and security. They’re currently covering subjects including Catering & Hospitality, Beauty, Sports, Fashion, Business and Media.

Beauty students will be carrying out treatments in the Body Shop, media students will be capturing the day on film, student station JAMM Radio will be playing music and Art students will be showcasing their work in a display window.

At 3.30, the Media students will be showing clips of a documentary they’ve put together from the day’s activities at Cineworld.

“We’ve had so much support from Centre Manager Neil Carter and his team, as well as the retailers, it’s an incredible opportunity for our students to go behind the scenes and discover what it would be like to work in a wide variety of areas,” said Kate Creswick, Highbury’s Employment and Alumni Services Co-ordinator.

She added that it’s very much in line with the College’s aim of providing students with the best possible employability skills.

HH Whiteley April 2016 web
Students Abba Mutapha, Laila Khan, Grant Hicks and Michael Leith with Centre Manager Neil Carter, 
during a visit to Whiteley to prepare for the handover.


Rare Sherlock pieces on show for the first time

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1903 postcard Reichenbach Falls web   1903 postcard The Hound of the Baskervilles web

An extremely rare set of postcards is among a group of Sherlock Holmes artefacts and collectibles to go on show for the first time.

Researcher Katharine Brombley realised the significance of the postcards while she was working on Portsmouth City Council's world-leading collection of Holmes memorabilia. Author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created his famous detective while working in the city, and 12 years ago world-renowned scholar Richard Lancelyn Green bequeathed a unique collection of 59,000 artefacts to the council.

Katharine, a student at the University of Portsmouth, has been working on the collection as part of her PhD research, funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council scheme to promote collaboration between universities and other organisations, such as the council's museums service. The set of six original postcards, from 1903, feature Sidney Paget illustrations for the Sherlock Holmes stories The Final Problem, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Adventure of the Empty House and The Adventure of the Norwood Builder.

They will go on show from 21 April as part of a new display case curated by Katharine for the permanent exhibition A Study in Sherlock at Portsmouth Museum (free entry, open 10am–5.30pm, Tuesday to Sunday and on bank holiday Mondays). 

Jane Mee, the council's museums and visitor services manager, said: "As researchers work on this immense collection, we gain a greater understanding of it and the importance of what it contains. Katharine's discovery is particularly exciting, and we're delighted to have her work on display. This has been a very successful collaboration with our colleagues at the university. We hope that through it Katharine has gained insight into how museums and archives work and share their collections with the public."

Katharine is a third-year student at the university's School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies. Her thesis examines early Sherlock Holmes fandom.

The postcards were produced in October 1903 by The Strand Magazine as part of the release of The Return of Sherlock Holmes, the short story collection which saw writer Arthur Conan Doyle bow to public demand and resurrect his world-famous consulting detective following his apparent demise 10 years earlier.

Katharine's display case will be based on the history of Sherlock Holmes fandom and will cover the period from 1887 to the present.

Other items on show will include a signed manuscript of Vincent Starrett’s poem 221B, stage photographs of Alan Rickman as Sherlock Holmes, and a bust of Jeremy Brett, who played the character in the Granada TV series.

Katharine said: “It was really exciting to discover the postcards in the collection. It’s incredibly rare for someone to have a complete set, which makes them of tremendous interest to both Sherlock Holmes fans and academic researchers. Sherlock Holmes was one of the first modern fictional characters to develop the kind of ardent fan following that is such a feature of popular culture today. My research concentrates on early Sherlock Holmes fans and in particular their collecting habits and the influence of The Strand Magazine on fan culture. Portsmouth’s bequest has been invaluable to my research, and has yielded some really interesting pieces. I’m delighted a wider audience will now have the chance to see them.”


Primary Council of Portsmouth Students

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CoPS LogoUnloc recently facilitated the first ever Primary Council of Portsmouth Students summit day. The day, which brought together over 50 young people from primary schools across the city, was all about how the young people could improve their learning and the learning of their peers.

The day began by looking at what it means to be a learner and what it means to be a member of a school council. The young people did this by creating a ‘role on the wall’; working in teams, they expressed their thoughts through words and drawings on life-size humans (made of paper).

The second part of the day was all about identifying what their barriers to learning were. The young people created ‘red bricks’ depicting the things that they felt were bad for their education. These bricks were then used to build up a wall of barriers to learning.

After a well deserved lunch, the students moved on to creating yellow paving slabs on ways to improve learning. These yellow slabs created a ‘yellow brick road’ of learning. The young people used their yellow slabs as part of a team building exercise to demonstrate how they were going to use their ways of improving learning (the yellow slabs) to take down the barriers to their learning (the red bricks).

Overall the day proved be both a success for the students involved and the individual schools.

For more information about CoPS, go to The CoPs Case Study and if you’re a primary school in Portsmouth that would like to join Primary CoPS, please feel free to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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