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Forever Leeds Profile

Forever Leeds

English, Education, 5 seasons, 29 episodes, 12 hours, 33 minutes
The University of Leeds is one of Britain’s great places of learning, with a worldwide reputation for innovation, a vibrant student culture, and a thriving global alumni community. FOREVER LEEDS is the new podcast for everyone who went to Leeds, has children or relatives at Leeds right now, or is thinking of applying to study at Leeds themselves. Join us as we find out about new developments at Britain’s most exciting university. You’ll meet famous alumni with stories to tell, and hear from the Leeds students of today as they shape the future. Made by Leeds graduates and current Leeds students, FOREVER LEEDS is a Podmasters production for the Alumni and Development team of the University of Leeds. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @leedsalumni or email us at [email protected]
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Northern Ballet's Romeo & Juliet: Preserving the passion

Northern Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet has survived fire, flood and the changing fashions of more than three decades. Ahead of the 2024 revival of this classic production, we discover the turbulent tale behind it.Director of the University’s Cultural Institute Wieke Eringa hears from Daniel de Andrade and Pippa Moore MBE, who danced the title roles and are now passing their knowledge on to the next generation as members of Northern Ballet’s artistic staff. Romeo & Juliet will return to the stage from 8 March, and you can visit the University of Leeds exhibition Preserving the Passion: Northern Ballet's Romeo & Juliet' in The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery until 23 March.The Northern Ballet Archive, donated to the University of Leeds in 2021, tells the 50-year story of the company from its foundation to the present. Bringing together drawings, props, costumes and photographs, this exhibition documents the production, the evolution and sometimes the complete recreation of a cornerstone of the company’s repertoire.
2/29/202435 minutes, 4 seconds
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Episode 14: Setting the standard for vegan ice cream with Dirk Mischendahl

Founder and director of Northern Bloc Dirk Mischendahl (Psychology 1995) is doing ice cream differently. He started out by making ice cream through the night and selling it from a van during the day. Now, Dirk and co-founder Josh Lee supply hundreds of theatres, arts venues and tourist attractions across the UK.Northern Bloc can be found in the Co-op, Ocado, Morrisons, Waitrose, and on all Virgin Atlantic outbound flights. Their plant-based and vegan range are changing perceptions – and setting the standard for non-dairy products.Ahead of World Vegan Day, we hear his thoughts on making tasty vegan ice cream, why he chose to make ethical products, and his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs at Leeds.
10/26/202320 minutes, 42 seconds
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Episode 13: Honorary graduates Anita Rani and Ondrej Krivanek

In this episode we’re joined by broadcaster Anita Rani (Broadcasting 2000) and physicist Ondrej Krivanek (Physics 1971), as they return to the University to receive honorary doctorates.Ondrej is a leading developer of electron-optical instruments. He talks about how the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 led to him enrolling in physics at Leeds, and looks back on three years where he combined his studies with playing volleyball and seeing The Who in the Refectory. (08:42)Anita, a regular presenter of Woman's Hour and Countryfile, studied broadcasting at Leeds, and tells how the course gave her the opportunity to spend six months working in the media in London - and how this led to her getting her first job after graduating in 2000. (01:20)Each gives their advice to those students starting out on their own careers after graduation.
7/28/202319 minutes, 52 seconds
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Episode 12: Naga Munchetty

Naga Munchetty is one of the most recognisable faces in the UK. Since 2014 she's been a regular presenter on BBC Breakfast, she's a presenter on 5 Live, but did you know the spark to embarking on her career as a journalist involved a trumpet and the Leeds Student? After being a musician in her teens, she had to give back her trumpet to the Inner London Education Authority before embarking on her English course at the University of Leeds. With the loss of her first passion, music, she needed to "find a tribe" at university. As a strong writer, she thought she'd try her hand at writing for the Leeds Student, and soon her insatiable curiosity was fed by her extracurricular journalistic sleuthing. On this week's episode, Naga discusses how her time at Leeds helped propel her to her career in journalism, and her recent work on shining a light on adenomyosis, a lesser-known womb condition. She shared her own diagnosis of the condition, which causes her - and other sufferers - chronic pain on a daily basis. Naga's reporting on the condition has revealed some women have spent years in agony before being diagnosed with the condition. Her reporting has prompted the government's women's health ambassador, Prof Dame Lesley Regan, to say the NHS is "failing women". As it's also graduation season, Naga also discusses what it was like to graduate from the University of Leeds, and offers up her own pearls of wisdom for recent graduates.
7/21/202322 minutes, 53 seconds
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Episode 11: Cystic Fibrosis Trust's Dr Keith Brownlee

This week we speak to Dr Keith Brownlee, Director of Medical Affairs at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Since graduating with a medical degree from Leeds in 1984, Dr Brownlee gained over 30 years’ experience caring for children and families with Cystic Fibrosis. In the podcast he speaks about the disease, the development of life-changing treatments, the work of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, and the impact Leeds has had on improving outcomes for the disease across the world.As the father of two of Leeds’ most successful sporting alumni – Olympic medal winning brothers Jonathan and Alistair Brownlee – Dr Brownlee also gives us some insight into experience of a parent watching their children compete on the world stage.
7/13/202321 minutes, 16 seconds
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Episode 10: The World Health Organization's Dr Ian Smith

This week marks the 75th anniversary of the NHS, and another health organisation that’s celebrating 75 years in 2023 is the World Health Organization. The international body’s renowned for its work in eradicating smallpox, polio, and most recently its efforts during the Covid pandemic. Leeds has a long history of its alumni working for the organisation, including Dr Ian Smith. Ian completed his medical degree in 1980, before returning in 1994 to study a Masters in Public Health. His time at Leeds has led him to the heights of the WHO where he works as a senior adviser to the body’s Director General. 
7/7/202322 minutes, 1 second
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Episode 9: Pride Scholarships at Leeds

This week we're coming to the end of Pride Month. The month of June is a time when we celebrate and commemorate the LGBT community. We celebrate how far we’ve come from the time of the Stonewall riots of 1969, but we also reflect on the issues that continue to face LGBT people globally. And that’s something that we want to address at the University of Leeds. To mark the end of Pride month, we have a very special announcement. Leeds intends to establish up to 25 PhD Pride scholarships exploring global issues that impact the LGBT community. It marks a significant investment for the University in the LGBT community, and its ambitions to become a world leader on LGBT research. And to explain more we’re joined by Professor of Sociology and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Paul Johnson OBE.Prof Johnson’s own work was fundamental in bringing about ‘Turing’s Law’ in the UK. You can read more on the plans for the Pride Scholarships here:
6/28/202315 minutes, 45 seconds
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Episode 8: Professor Sir Steve Jackson

This week the University is celebrating its staff and alumni who have been named in the King’s Birthday Honours, and Biomedical scientist and Leeds alum Professor Steve Jackson is among them. He received a knighthood as part of the King's Birthday Honours List. Steve is both a researcher and entrepreneur, and heads up the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, and is a professor of biology at the University.Alongside his research, he’s a successful entrepreneur and has founded several biomedical sciences startups, one of which developed the so-called cancer wonder drug olaparib, which has been used to treat 75,000 people worldwide. The synthetic lethality drug exploits the genetic weakness to kill certain cancer cells, while leaving normal sells unharmed. It was our pleasure to interview him in the place where it all started, at the University of Leeds.
6/23/202314 minutes, 39 seconds
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Episode 7: Fix Your Fatigue with nutritionist Karina Antram

After struggling with a debilitating combination of fatigue and burnout during her career as an HR leader, Karina decided to take matters into her own hands. She retrained as a nutritionist, and now runs her own clinic, providing support to people with fatigue, stress and burnout.This year, she released her bestselling book, Fix Your Fatigue. Karina recently starred on Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch, as well as The Chris Evan’s Breakfast Show.She talks us through her experience of fatigue and how she came to recognise that tiredness isn’t normal. We learn how to make simple adjustments to everyday favourites – from jam on toast to spaghetti bolognaise – and talk through the five steps people can take to fix their fatigue.
6/16/202320 minutes, 54 seconds
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Episode 6: Remembering crime writer Peter Robinson

Crime writer and Leeds alumnus Peter Robinson is one of the University's most well-known former students. The Leeds-born novelist's DCI Banks series has sold nine million copies worldwide, and been translated into multiple languages. Peter died last year after a short illness, but his legacy at the University continues in the literary archive he gifted to the University, and the annual scholarship that bears his name. On the day of the publication of his final novel, we speak to some of Peter's closest colleagues about the crime writer who helped define a genre. To read more about Peter's contribution to the University, follow the link below:
6/8/202318 minutes, 46 seconds
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Episode 5: Reporting from inside an armed bank raid

This week on Leeds Voices we're talking to Hind Hassan (Medicinal Chemisty 2007). She broadcasts from the most hostile environments in the world – but last year Hind found herself at the centre of an armed bank raid. She spent 16 hours reporting the siege in Lebanon to thousands of followers online, filming the antagonists with guns, Molotov cocktails, and gasoline. The difference between this raid and others was the armed depositors were not stealing, they were trying to get their own money out of the bank. As a result of the 2019 financial crisis in Lebanon, banks began prohibiting normal people from withdrawing more than $400 (£336) a month. This has caused untold anguish to families with medical bills, school fees, and issues just making ends meet. She spoke to us about reporting from warzones, natural disasters, and humanitarian crises, and how Leeds inspired her to get into journalism.
6/1/202314 minutes, 48 seconds
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Episode 4: Olympic triathlete Jonny Brownlee MBE

This week we’re joined by Leeds alum and triathlete Jonny Brownlee MBE. Jonny has completed the set – he’s won Olympic gold, silver and bronze medals. He’s been world champion, and he’s won countless European and Commonwealth medals over a 14-year career.In 2012, as well as winning Olympic bronze at the London Olympics, he also graduated from Leeds with a degree in history. He was subsequently awarded an honorary degree in recognition of his achievements in 2013.Jonny’s impact extends beyond the competitive arena. Together with brother and fellow alum Alistair, Jonny founded the Brownlee Foundation in 2014. The foundation inspires children from all backgrounds to enjoy sport, encouraging them to lead active lifestyles and benefit from the opportunities sport provides.In May, the Brownlee Foundation celebrated a huge milestone achievement when it welcomed its 50,000th child to participate in their free triathlon events.Jonny spoke about the foundation, his career, and his key to success.
5/24/202313 minutes, 28 seconds
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Episode 3: Too Good To Go co-founder Jamie Crummie

At a time of escalating food prices and a deepening climate crisis, Jamie Crummie has created a global phenomenon that protects bank balances and the planet. The Too Good To Go app helps customers rescue unsold food from shops and restaurants, saving it from going to waste. With the help of Spark funding from the University of Leeds, he co-founded the app in the UK with fellow student Christopher Wilson. It allows businesses and restaurants to sell their surplus food in surprise bags at a significantly reduced rate.Jamie's journey to becoming an entrepreneur was never set in stone. As a law student he intended on becoming a solicitor or barrister. But he was inspired after seeing vast amounts of food waste during a year abroad in Australia.Listen to his fascinating story of going from food waste activist to entrepreneur.
5/18/202314 minutes, 34 seconds
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Episode 2: Eurovision superfan Steve Rosenberg and producer Joe Mason

Eurovision fever has gripped the globe and for the first time since 1997 the UK is hosting the contest, on behalf of Ukraine. Weirdly these two worlds collide for BBC Russia Editor, and song contest superfan Steve Rosenberg. The Leeds alum is known for his love of the contest and away from reporting on the war in Ukraine, he escapes from the world of Kremlin politics by learning to play 300 Eurovision entries off by heart on his piano. We spoke to him last year about his enduring love for Eurovision. In this episode you'll also hear from BBC producer Joe Mason. He worked on last year's UK entry, which reversed the countries decade-long misfortunes in the contest, and several dreaded nil point. He talks about last year's campaign, and what it will take for Liverpool to host this year's event.You can listen to and read the full interview with Steve Rosenberg here:
5/11/202311 minutes, 38 seconds
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Episode 1: The Telegraph's Camilla Tominey on the King's Coronation

Camilla Tominey's journey to becoming a royal journalist started at Tetley Hall, studying Law at the University of Leeds. In this candid interview she discusses preparing for the King's Coronation, reporting on the Queen's death, and reporting on royal births outside hospital while she was also heavily pregnant. Leeds Voices is brought to by the University of Leeds Advancement Team. Follow us on social media @leedsalumni or email us at [email protected].
5/4/202321 minutes, 36 seconds