Short online taster course offers insight into Dispute Resolution programme

Queen Margaret University is developing a short online taster course for people interested in developing careers in dispute resolution and conflict management.

Conflict arises in many contexts – at work, at home, and in personal relationships. QMU will run a free online taster course which will provide an insight into how conflict can be resolved. It will cover topics such as ‘understanding conflict, ‘conflict escalation’ and ‘resolving conflict’.

QMU’s Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre has an established reputation as a centre of excellence for research and education in dispute resolution and consumer policy. The centre runs the MSc Dispute Resolution and the short online session is designed to give people a taste of the subjects covered in the Master’s programme, for example, looking at the reasons why conflicts can spiral out of control.

Carol Brennan, Director of QMU’s Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre, explained: “This taster session is ideally suited to individuals interested in the issue of conflict and how conflict situations can be resolved. Students who have studied the full MSc Dispute Resolution have gone on to pursue interesting careers in dispute resolution associated roles, with some graduates working as complaint handlers, arbitrators and mediators, and others holding positions within Ombudsman schemes.

“The master’s level course is also suitable for recent graduates who wish to develop their career in this increasingly important area of specialism, as well as those whose job already involves resolving areas of conflict, for example within human resource management.”

Carol confirmed: “We believe that the course will provide a helpful snapshot of the full MSc Dispute Resolution programme, allowing people to dip their toe into the water to see if the Master’s course may be a good fit for them. It also provides the opportunity for people to experience online learning and to become part of QMU’s growing online community of learners.”

Nial Vivian, Lecturer in Dispute Resolution at QMU, spent several years working for Ombudsman schemes and in other dispute resolution roles. He has studied the MSc Dispute Resolution, which led him to career opportunities in academia. He explained: “We know embarking on a full Master’s degree is a significant commitment and it’s helpful for people to be sure that they are investing their time and energy in something they really wish to pursue. The online taster course will help ensure people are better equipped to make an informed decision about studying at Master’s level, and to whet their appetite for study in the fascinating area of conflict resolution.”

Our short taster will run online for four weeks between Monday 19 February and Friday 16 March, and will involve participants in group discussions with students and lecturers, reading, viewing video presentations, and interviews with conflict resolution experts.

Find out more about the online taster course, and sign up, at

For further information on the MSc Dispute Resolution visit:

Queen Margaret University to stage November Community Forum

People living in the surrounding communities of East Lothian and Edinburgh are invited to Queen Margaret University (QMU) to get an insight into the institution’s work.

QMU will host its Community Forum of this year at its Musselburgh campus in East Lothian on Monday 21st November from 6.30pm – 7.45pm. The QMU Community Forum brings together university staff, local residents, businesses, organisations, schools and council representatives twice a year to discuss university and local community issues.

Local people will have the opportunity to ask questions about the University and find out how it works with the community through its students, staff, commercial work and widening participation initiatives.

Speakers at the event will include Professor Chris McVittie, Director of the Centre for Applied Social Sciences, who will discuss student participation in QMU’s Volunteering and Community Engagement module.

Professor Petra Wend, Principal of Queen Margaret University, said: “The QMU Community Forum creates a link between local people in and around East Lothian, Edinburgh and the University and is part of our community engagement strategy. The event attracts interest from local residents, councillors and representatives from community groups and offers an excellent platform for local information exchange. It also provides an insight into how the university’s students and staff contribute to the community and opportunities for local people to engage in our activities such as public events, open days, drama projects and community/outreach initiatives.”

QMU is open to the local community throughout the year, providing a range of public facilities, including learning resources, gym and sports centre, café, restaurant and grounds for leisure activities and dog-walking. Local residents should keep a close eye on QMU’s Facebook and Twitter channels which often promote opportunities for the community to engage with the university through public events and research projects.

For more information and to register for the QMU Community Forum, contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager, Marketing & Communications Office, QMU, T: 0131 474 0000, E:

New university scholarship to address LGBT issues in tourism & events sector

Queen Margaret University (QMU) in Musselburgh, East Lothian, has launched a new scholarship geared towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) studies in the tourism and events industry.

With its specialisms in tourism and events, Queen Margaret University (QMU) has teamed-up with US-based TravelAdvocates to offer the scholarship to up to two students a year over the next three years.

The TravelAdvocates LGBT Studies Travel and Research Scholarship will help selected QMU students carry out their own independent research into the current LGBT issues affecting the tourism and events sector.

QMU’s Professor Joe Goldblatt, said: “We’re extremely grateful for the generous support that TravelAdvocates is providing our students. This is the first time in the 140 year history of QMU that a research scholarship in this important area of study has been established.

“This generous and pioneering support is initially committed for up to three years and will provide much needed financial support and other resources for current and future generations of QMU students.”

TravelAdvocates is a global hotel site selection company founded in 2005 by Robert Miller in Hoboken, New Jersey. The company’s team has more than 75 years of combined experience providing personalised hotel site selection and booking thousands of hotel room nights for groups each year. They are a trusted advocate for their clients, who come from the corporate, government, association, tour and travel, athletic and social markets.

Robert Miller, CMP, Esq, President of TravelAdvocates, said: “As an openly gay member of the global tourism industry, I think it is important to explore and identify the specific needs and interests of the LGBT segment as it relates to travel and events. It is a unique market that continues to grow, and TravelAdvocates is proud to support research in this important field.”

Any undergraduate or postgraduate student at QMU can apply for the scholarship. A call for applications will be announced in September 2016 and the award will be made in November 2016. A committee chaired by the Queen Margaret Students’ Union President with members from the teaching staff and other students will select the recipient(s).

Commenting on the new scholarship, Heidi Vistisen, President of the Queen Margaret Students’ Union, said “I’m incredibly pleased and excited to see such a fantastic scholarship made available to QMU students, especially when we still in 2016 see discrimination against LGBT people to a very high extent.

“I’m honored to be chairing the selection committee and I know that students at QMU will use this opportunity to influence the community and society they live and study in.”

For more information on the Travel Advocates LGBT Studies Travel and Research Scholarship, contact the Queen Margaret Students’ Union President, E:; T: 0131 474 0000.

QMU to offer sustainability campus tours during Climate Week 2016

Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh, East Lothian, will be offering special sustainability tours of its campus from 19th – 23rd September as part of its participation in Climate Week 2016.

The University’s innovative campus set a new benchmark in sustainable design when it opened in 2007. The tours will allow students, staff and visitors to see the University’s sustainable features at QMU’s campus, including areas that are not normally accessible, such as the biomass district heating energy centre. Tour guests will also have the opportunity to learn about the University’s sustainability practice and features, as well as its aspirations for its Climate Change Plan.

As keen promoters of green transport, the University is also inviting staff, students and members of the local community to take part in cycling events during Climate Week. A cycle ride through Musselburgh and East Lothian led by QMU’s Cycle Connections Active Travel Coordinator (23rd September), and a Bike Breakfast (23rd September) will encourage people to swap their cars and public transport for the healthier and more sustainable option of pedal power.

atrium3Craig Cathcart, Chair of the Sustainability Committee at Queen Margaret University, said: “QMU is totally committed to sustainability and our focus goes well beyond the physical building – our campus was recognised as an exemplar in sustainability within the higher education sector nationally and internationally when it was built in 2007. Now, QMU places sustainability at the heart of everything we do. We take a joined up, holistic approach to the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability. We want future generations to inherit a viable planet, and that is reflected in what we do, how we do it, and the partners across the globe with whom we work. However, we recognise there is much more to be done.”

QMU strives to embed sustainability in areas of its curriculum. For example, students on the Public Sociology degree take the ‘Changing World’ module, taught by Eurig Scandrett, which involves studying the United Nations policy for tackling climate change. A module in Sustainable Consumption is also studied by students on our Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing degree, and our Nutrition and Food Science degree.

Craig continued: “ We know that climate change is one of the most serious problems facing the world today. At our current rate of emissions of greenhouse gases, the world is likely to see increasing frequency of drought, storms, floods and disease. Moreover, most of the damage to the climate which has already happened is caused by us in ‘developed’, western, societies. We all share a responsibility to do what we can to reduce our impact significantly. Climate Week provides a great opportunity to engage the student community in QMU’s sustainability agenda. We also welcome people from the surrounding area and beyond to visit QMU during the week and take part in our sustainability tours and our other related activities.”

Sustainability Campus Tour will take place each day from 19th – 23rd September at 11.15am and 2.15pm. Bookings can be made by emailing E:

Other sustainability activities include:

  • Bike Breakfast – Friday 23rd September (meet at 8.15am – 9.15am in 1875 food court – registration required)
  • Led Ride – cycle ride in local Musselburgh and East Lothian area led by our Cycle Connections Active Travel Coordinator – Friday 23 Sept (meet at 1pm in University Square at the Bike Racks )
  • Active Travel Plan Strategy consultation events on our revised and updated strategy – Tuesday 20th and Thursday 22nd September from 11am – 3pm. Meet in 1875 food court.

Queen Margaret University appoints new Deputy Principal

Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh has appointed Dr Richard Butt as its new Deputy Principal in time for the start of the academic year.

Formerly Dean of the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management at QMU, Dr Butt has over twenty years higher education experience, including Head of Division for Media, Communication and Performing Arts at QMU, where he managed the design, development and delivery of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in film, public relations and performing arts.

Dr Butt holds a PhD on Scottish documentary film from the Open University and QMU, as well as a BA (Hons) Film and Media Studies and English from Stirling University and University of California, Berkeley.

As a representative from QMU, Dr Butt is currently a member of Universities Scotland International Committee, Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities Board and Executive, Scottish Drama Training Network Board and Trustee on the Board of Newbattle Abbey College.

Professor Petra Wend, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of QMU, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Richard as our new Deputy Principal.  His significant contribution to the institution over the last twenty years makes him the ideal candidate to help shape our future by providing academic leadership across the strategic areas of learning, teaching, research and knowledge exchange and internationalisation.

“Richard has proven himself as a dynamic advocate for the University and as an inspirational and authoritative leader, securing the trust and respect of colleagues, staff, students and stakeholders.”

Dr Butt, 49, is married with two daughters and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh. He was born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex and attended The Campion School in Hornchurch.  As a keen photographer and film-maker, he was Director of the Edinburgh Filmhouse Board of Directors from 2001 to 2009 and has been a Trustee of the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh, East Lothian since 2013.

Commenting on his new position as Deputy Principal at QMU, Dr Butt said: “I’m extremely proud to have been given the opportunity to take on this significant role at QMU and look forward to the challenges ahead.

“My vision for the University is that by 2025 we will be recognised internationally for our high quality teaching and learning, as well as the world class status of our research.”

Dr Butt took up his new appointment at QMU on 1st September 2016.  He takes over from Professor Alan Gilloran who has retired from the position and the University this summer after a successful career in higher education spanning over two decades.

Queen Margaret University masters the art of child’s play

Queen Margaret University (QMU), in Musselburgh, East Lothian, has joined forces with a children’s charity to offer a Masters degree in Play Therapy.

The new course will help to educate Play Therapists of the future ensuring that children, who have experienced trauma, can benefit from a high quality professional support service.

The MSc Play Therapy, which aims to develop therapists who can work safely and therapeutically with children and families with complex needs, has been developed by staff on the MSc Art Psychotherapy Programme at Queen Margaret University and the charity, With Kids.

Play is a really important part of child development and Play Therapy taps into ways in which children communicate. Children, who have been through trauma, can benefit from Play Therapy as it offers a way of communicating and healing the distress they have been through without relying on verbal communication.

Play Therapy is a recognised profession and currently Play Therapists practice in a range of environments from the NHS to social services and from primary and secondary schools to charities. Play Therapy is successfully used to help people of all ages, not just children, deal with a wide range of emotional and physical conditions. In the UK, the majority of Play Therapists work in health and the voluntary care sectors with a sizeable number working in schools and nurseries.

Gwen Galbraith is programme leader for the new Masters programme and also works with With Kids, which has bases in Glasgow and Edinburgh. She explained: “There has been a lack of specialised training in this sector in Scotland for a number of years. We have consulted widely and interest has been high.

“Play Therapy is a really rewarding career. We have the privilege of working with children, young people and their families at really difficult points in their lives and are witness to the changes and developments that Play Therapy can bring about.”

It is thought the new course, which starts in September 2016, will appeal to professionals who are already working with children or young people, as well as those from a social work, health and education background. Gwen Galbraith said: “It will ideally suit people involved in education, social care, health and voluntary sectors. A first degree, such as occupational therapy, would be helpful but is not essential.”

Dr Jane Burns, Lecturer in Arts Psychotherapy at Queen Margaret University, said: “Certain individual course modules may also be of interest to health, social care and education practitioners  who wish to pursue CPD options in therapeutic play but do not wish to commit to a full masters degree.”

Professor Fiona Coutts, Dean of Health at Queen Margaret University, said: “ QMU prides itself on being socially relevant and responding to the needs of society. We are therefore  delighted to be partnering with With Kids on the development of this new Masters which is the  only Play Therapy training validated by a Scottish University in collaboration with a Scottish charity. We believe that this new course will help to improve the lives of children and their families.”


Search is on for East Lothian super tasters

Food lovers in East Lothian can now put their taste buds to the ultimate test by becoming the first to try out new food and drink products before they hit the supermarket shelves.

The Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation at Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh is looking for eager foodies to join the QMU Food & Drink Consumer Tasting Panel during the year ahead.

The Centre works with a broad range of food and drink businesses to help them to develop new and innovative products, reformulate existing products and carry out consumer focus groups and taste panels.

Taste panel members get the unique opportunity to try out a range of new food and drink products for the first time, including meat, fish, confectionery, juices, dairy products, vegetables and desserts.

Taste panels usually last around 20 to 30 minutes and participants provide views on a number of food and drink products in terms of aroma, appearance, texture and flavour.

People taking part in the QMU Food & Drink Consumer Tasting Panel are rewarded after each session attended with either an Amazon or M&S voucher.

Louise Boyd, Food Technologist at the Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation at QMU, said: “This is a great opportunity for Scottish food lovers to help develop the latest food and drink products and get rewarded at the same time.

“QMU’s Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation is enhancing Scotland’s position as a leader in food and drink innovation in Europe and supporting access to the global market for healthy and functional food.

“Through practical innovation support and creative business solutions, QMU is helping Scotland’s leading food and drink businesses with new and innovative product development and analysis; as well as the development of leading edge functional, health enhancing products and ingredients and formulation of existing products.”

For more information QMU Food & Drink Consumer Tasting Panel and to sign up, contact Louise Boyd at QMU, T: 0131 474 000, E:


QMU to stage open-air production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Queen Margaret University’s Performing Arts are celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary by staging a brand new, open-air production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ from 21st to 24th June 2016.

More than forty students from across Queen Margaret’s Performing Arts programmes are working with staff to create a truly magical evening of theatre, which is open to the public.

The show opens on Midsummer’s Eve (21st June) and runs for three performances in the grounds of QMU’s Musselburgh campus, before transferring to the beautiful Dunbar’s Close Gardens on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on 24th June.

The show is directed and designed by the University’s award winning staff team; Kate Nelson, Sarah Paulley and Polly Lister.

As part of this exciting production, QMU is working in partnership with students from both the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Lighting and Sound School. Original music for the show has been supervised by Yati Durant and composed by students of MSc Composition for Screen at the Reid School of Music, ECA, University of Edinburgh.

Audience members are invited to bring along a picnic before seeing the show on campus, where a bar will also be open on the evenings of the show.

An open dress rehearsal on the morning of Tuesday 21st June will welcome children from local Musselburgh schools at a free performance and accompanying workshop.

The show will perform whatever the weather so audiences should come prepared.

Performance Time: 7.30pm

Running Time: 2 hours with interval

Tickets are available from Eventbrite at £10 per person.

Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh (21-23 June):

Dunbar’s Close Gardens, Royal Mile, Edinburgh (24 June):

QMU’s Costume Showcase creates new worlds

Queen Margaret University’s annual Costume Showcase returns on the 13th May with a show that will transport the audience through a chain of imaginary worlds. Led by QMU’s BA (Hons) Costume Design and Construction student group, the event will feature characters drawn from a fairy tale past and a science fiction future. The audience can expect a fantastical feast of visual fun including ghostly apparitions brought to life using 21st century technology.

The show will transport you across time and space. Characters from Brecht’s ‘Caucasian Chalk Circle’ will walk the runway alongside creations inspired by anime and mythology, by the artic north and the exotic east, by politics and pantomime..

The audience will be introduced to the enchanting family of the ‘Tailor Mice’ and will be amazed by the ‘Experiments in Life Forms’ created specifically for the National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh’s International Science Festival.

Tailor Mice 5 group

2016’s finale pieces will literally light up the auditorium, so be prepared for a true spectacle! A selection of exquisite Renaissance costumes with a modern twist – ‘Selene, goddess of the moon’, and her court – have been especially designed to feature at an outdoor show as part of the ‘Musselburgh Riding of the Marches’, an event that takes place once every 21 years.

An accompanying exhibition will offer the audience an insight into the working world of QMU’s costume studio including designs, puppets, masks and photos of the students’ show projects. After both the matinee and evening shows, guests are invited to meet the student designers and makers, and to get an insight into the research, creativity and skill that goes into developing their creations.

Sarah Paulley, Programme Leader of QMU’s Costume Design and Construction degree at Queen Margaret University, explained: “This show is a highlight in Queen Margaret University’s calendar. The event provides a city centre platform for our students to showcase their individual talent and creativity – it’s an important opportunity for them to profile some of their very best work, so the show becomes extremely personal to each and every one of them.

“We are delighted that the finale suite of ‘Selene, goddess of the moon’ and her court will be featured in ‘Musselburgh’s Riding of the Marches’ which takes place from 23rd – 31st July 2016. This is an important event for the community and a wide variety of QMU students, including Costume Design and Construction, Acting and Film students, will all be supporting this unique festival.”

‘Costume Design and Construction Showcase’ will take place at the Pleasance Theatre Hall, 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ on the 13 May 2016. Matinee performance takes place at 3pm, followed by the exhibition. Evening performance, starts at 7 pm, followed by the exhibition which will remain open until close of business.

Tickets for the show can be purchased via Eventbite at:

QMU Supports ‘Reading is Braw’ in Musselburgh

Queen Margaret University (QMU) is supporting an exciting new reading initiative which is being launched across eight Musselburgh schools on Tuesday 1st March 2016.

The Reading is Braw initiative aims to get children in Wallyford, Whitecraig and Musselburgh to read more.

For 15 weeks, starting from 1 March 2016, thousands of school pupils across the Musselburgh learning community will be taking part in a reading challenge, including Musselburgh Grammar, Musselburgh Burgh Primary School, Pinkie St. Peter’s Primary School, Wallyford Primnary School, Whitecraig Primary School, Campie Primary School, Stoneyhill Primary School and Loretto RC Primary School.

All school pupils will be given a reading record to keep a note of their reading and after five weeks they’ll get a lanyard to wear which will show the book that they are currently reading.

There will be rewards and encouragement along the way. At the end of the 15 weeks there will be a huge celebration in recognition of the children’s reading achievements.

The initiative has received widespread support from the local community.  QMU staff and students are supporting the project in a number of ways:

  • 20 QMU staff members have volunteered to deliver regular lunchtime reading sessions in each of the seven participating primary schools throughout the 15 week initiative
  • A number of pop-up library/book swap stations will be installed on the QMU campus to encourage pupils to visit the University and further explore the world of books
  • Validation of Reading is Braw as a Queen Margaret University Children’s University Learning Experience – participating pupils can gain up to 10 hours of Children’s University learning credit by successfully completing the Reading is Braw challenge
First Queen Margaret University Graduation of 2016; Twenty Eight pupils from across Midlothian and East Lothian gathered at QMU this weekend  to receive their graduation certificates from the Principal of QMU Petra Wend; Dressed in their striking blue gowns and mortar boards, friends and families looked on as they received awards from bronze to gold; QMU is the first higher education institution in the east of Scotland to host the childrens University which helps children to broader their horizons and become confident learners; youngsters from various schools across East Lothian were represented.
First Queen Margaret University Graduation of 2016; Twenty Eight pupils from across Midlothian and East Lothian gathered at QMU this weekend to receive their graduation certificates from the Principal of QMU Petra Wend; Dressed in their striking blue gowns and mortar boards, friends and families looked on as they received awards from bronze to gold; QMU is the first higher education institution in the east of Scotland to host the childrens University which helps children to broader their horizons and become confident learners; youngsters from various schools across East Lothian were represented.

QMU is the first higher education institution in the east of Scotland to host the Children’s University which aims to help school children, aged between seven and 14 years of age (and five and six year olds with their families), become confident learners and broaden their horizons. Three of Musselburgh’s schools are partners in QMU’s Children’s University with over 350 of their pupils actively taking part in the programme.

Callum Maguire, Head of Outreach and Community Engagement at QMU, said: “We’re thrilled to support such an exciting initiative. Reading is Braw is exactly the kind of fun and engaging learning initiative that our Children’s University aims to support and we are delighted to include it as part of our Children’s University programme for 2016.

“Reading skills are at the heart of all learning and giving children the skills they need to read, and then encouraging them to read more widely and for pleasure, is crucial to improving standards of literacy in our young people and in turn their overall educational achievement.

“That so many of our staff have volunteered to support the in-school lunchtime reading sessions is testament to the University’s commitment to playing an active role within our local communities and encouraging a love of learning amongst young people.”

For more information on the Reading is Braw initiative, visit the blog or follow the initiative on Twitter: and

The Reading is Braw initiative is a partnership project between Queen Margaret University, East Lothian Council, Musselburgh Area Partnership and Support from the Start.

For more information on the Queen Margaret Children’s University and to sign up, contact Hayley Jones, Children’s University Education Liaison Officer at QMU on T: 0131 474 0000 or email