Leicester Exchanges

From one of the UK’s leading universities comes a new way to make real progress on some key issues that shape our society. Join some of Britain’s leading academics and highest-profile opinion formers as we seek answers that could change the way we live for the better. So, the floor is yours; will you make the most of it?

More children making music, but are lessons too conventional?

By Professor Mark Banks, Department of Media and Communication

Professor Mark Banks, from the Department of Media and Communication discusses on The Conversation whether music being made outside the classroom should be better recognised.

The urge to make new music is alive and well among young people in the UK, but not always using conventional instruments in the classroom or school orchestra. A new survey of music education has found that 40% of children make music outside of school with friends and 20% have made music using a smartphone or tablet. The Making Music report, published by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, found that “learners are taking more control of their own music making”, with “peer-to-peer” music production now more popular. Read More »

The Scottish Independence Referendum – A Vote for Change

By Dr Meryl Kenny, Department of Politics and International Relations

Dr Meryl Kenny discusses on The Conversation on 19th September The Scottish Independence Referendum result.

Predictions suggested that the battle over Scottish independence would be a close-run race – with a flurry of polls from early September onwards putting the Yes and No votes within a hair’s breadth of each other. But in the end, the majority of Scots said No – voting against independence by a margin of 55% to 45%.

Thursday’s No vote – while closer than many commentators had initially anticipated at the start of the referendum campaign – was decisive. But, it does not represent an end to the matter, nor does it represent a return to the constitutional status quo. Record numbers of Scots turned out to vote in the referendum, the majority of whom favour enhanced powers for the Scottish Parliament, and almost half of whom voted for full independence on the day. The outcome of the referendum, then, is still a vote for change, albeit change within the structure of the Union. Indeed, this is what the No campaign promised in the end stages of the campaign – with the three main parties (pushed by Gordon Brown) committing to a fast-track timetable towards new powers for the Scottish Parliament in the event of a No vote. Read More »

Nine blows to the head and then he was dead: modern forensics suggest how Richard III died

By Professor Sarah Hainsworth, Department of Engineering.

Professor Sarah Hainsworth dicusses on The Conversation on 17th September how Richard III remains suggest he died under a hail of blows.

The discovery of Richard III’s skeletal remains under a car park in Leicester revealed the final resting place of the last English monarch to die in battle. We know that he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field on August 22 1485 but not about what ultimately proved fatal.

Using modern forensic examination, we have now discovered that Richard’s skeleton sustained 11 wounds at or near the time of his death – nine of them to the skull, which were clearly inflicted in battle. The injuries to the head suggest he had either removed or lost his helmet. The other two injuries that we found were to a rib and his pelvis. Read More »

“Should Scotland remain part of the United Kingdom?”

By Professor Andrew M. Colman, School of Psychology

Psychologist Andrew Colman questions the poor wording of the Scottish independence referendum ballot paper.

In the last few days before the Scottish independence referendum, opinion polls suggest that the outcome is too close to call. The result may not be as close as the polls suggest, because a “shy unionist” effect may be distorting the results. Some voters may consider it unpatriotic to admit out loud that they are against independence but may be more willing to express their true beliefs in the privacy of a polling booth. But last-minute events could easily push the outcome one way or the other. Read More »

Social Mobility: Giving Graduate Candidates the Edge

Professor Sir Bob Burgess

More needs to be done to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds succeed in the graduate labour market – that was the argument set out by a University of Leicester debate on social mobility attended by leading graduate recruiters, which took place on Thursday 4th September.

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