University conference a resounding success in Jordan

The University co-hosted an international conference last week in Jordan, and was a success in attracting academics from around the world.

The ‘First International Conference on the Transformation of the Urban Character of Arab Cities since the Late Last Century’, organised and co-hosted by Birmingham City University and the German Jordanian University (GJU), took place in Jordan from 22 April to 24 April 2015 at the German Jordanian University main campus, and was supported by the Mayor of Amman, Akel Beltagi.

The conference discussed various topics and subjects such as:

  • Modernity and tradition: Approaches and practices in urban design; comparative analysis of contemporary and traditional approaches.
  • Capitalism and modernism: the changing character of urban spaces.
  • The social dimension of urban design: responsive and inclusive public spaces.
  • Urban identity and social sustainability of the city
  • The political and sociocultural dimensions of regeneration projects.

The GJU President, Prof. Natheer Abu Obeid, emphasised that this International Conference was held in the context of the social and cultural transformation, globalisation and the revolution of information technology, pointing out that education, training and human development are major activities that need healthy competitive environments.

من المؤتمرProf. Mohsen Aboutorabi, Professor of Architecture at the University, said: “This conference is aiming to develop a new narrative to form a new utopian thinking that can change the global sameness paradigm to colorful landscape of variety of cities, through underscoring the urgent political priority of constructing cities that correspond to human social needs, rather than to the capitalist imperative.”

In spite of the political unrest in the region, the conference succeeded in gathering professionals and academics from all other the world. Dr. Bushra Zalloom, (conference coordinator and University representative in Jordan) mentioned that there were around forty scientific papers at the conference from the USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, UAE, UK, and Jordan. The conference included eight valuable sessions and welcomed keynote speakers Dr. Farouk Yaghmour from Jordan, Prof. Christoph Zoepel from Germany, Prof. Ali Madanipour from UK, Prof. Ruth Carter from the USA. The third day was a scientific tour to discover the legacy of Amman, Jordan.

The conference highlighted that stakeholders should find practical solutions to prevent the city identity, rather than only focusing on the urban problems in the region. It also highlights the importance of the co-operation between universities, public and private sectors to establish strategies that could be implemented gradually on ground. Moreover, the Arab region should benefit from the developed countries experiences in the field and try to create their own way in preventing their identity.

During the concluding session, Dr. Mohammed Yaghan, the Dean of School of Architecture and Built environment at GJU, said: “This conference has come to bridge the gap between theory and practice, and will help in developing the field.”

100 years of tear gas – 29 April

100 years of tear gas: militarisation, protests and the legacies of war – panel discussion

Birmingham City University, Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 from 4pm-6pm

This panel will bring together academics, activists and experts to discuss the military, policing, legal, commercial and medical aspects of tear gas, both in historic and more contemporary contexts. First used in 1914, tear gas is a legacy of WWI, developed as a chemical weapon for military use, then misleadingly rebranded as a “non-lethal” weapon used to repress social protests around the world.

We will also explore how citizens have developed DIY gas mask instructions and home remedies, circulated transnationally in print and online, allowing for new kinds of ad-hoc “amateur practices” to emerge (i.e citizen journalists, citizen scientists, citizen lawyers).

Moderator: Dr. Dima Saber, Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, Birmingham City University


  • Neil CorneyOmega Research Foundation
    Neil researches and writes on a wide variety of military, security and police issues, including the testing and trade of ‘less lethal’ weapons, and the human rights and health implications of their use.
  • John HorneUniversity of Birmingham / Tear Gas Research Connection
    John is a PhD student researching representations of state violence in contemporary visual culture. He is a member of Bahrain Watch and works with Anna as co-coordinator of the Connecting Tear Gas Research initiative.
  • Ala’a ShehabiBahrain Watch.
    Ala’a is an academic and activist who has been a firsthand witness to the often deadly use of tear gas in Bahrain to repress the pro-democracy movement. With Bahrain Watch she’s also worked to document its misue and campaigned to prevent further exports of tear gas to Bahrain.

Who should attend
Academics, activists, experts, students and professionals interested in exploring issues around social activism, tear gas production and use around the world and media for social change. This event is organised as part of the AHRC funded WW1 Engagement Centre Voices of War & Peace and the Connecting Tear Gas Research initiative and is hosted by the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research at Birmingham City University.

Register for free on the Eventbrite page.

For more details contact Dima Saber on 0121 3317280 or @dimalb

Europe Day – 5 May 2015

The Library of Birmingham, Broad Street, B1 2ND.
11.00 AM – 4:00 PM

The Europe Direct Information Centre Birmingham in partnership with The Library of Birmingham would like to invite you to Europe Day on 5th May 2015.

Europe Day commemorates 9 May 1950, when the then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman presented his proposal on the creation of an organised Europe, to help maintain peaceful relations between European countries. This proposal, known as the ‘Schuman declaration’, is considered to be the act that created what is now the European Union.
Aimed at citizens and businesses within the Midlands, this event will showcase how best to access support and advice on European matters.

Click the flyer below for more information.

Europe Dayv9

CEBE Research Seminar – 30 April

Thursday 30 April, 1pm-2pm, MP203, Millennium Point, City Centre Campus

Science, Technology and the Software Industry in India – History & Progress

With Professor Mathai Joseph, Head, Persistent Computing Institute, Pune, India

Since independence, India has had a long history of governments attempting to guide the development of technology and industry. This originated from a combination of several factors: the colonial heritage which endowed the bureaucracy with powers to control the growth of industry, socialism and centralised planning, and the belief that its leaders were wise enough to know what is best for the country. Computing was subject to the same controls, especially because there was an assumption that the spread of computing would displace jobs, rather than create employment.

Technology has its own imperatives and it is not possible to stop it moving ahead. From the 1960s to the 1990s, India was a trivially small player in computing in global terms. Moreover, governments are not best equipped to decide on the ‘right’ technology for a fast-moving industry like computing or how computers should be used in organizations.  Yet successive governments insisted on deciding on the technology to be used, the kind of computers organizations should have and how they should be used. Hitching the acquisition and use of computers to poorly conceived decisions about technological choice can help neither industry nor its users. The major changes in computing technology in the 1980s and the rapidly lowering cost of computing and communication made controls impossible to enforce. The software services industry started to grow from the 1990s and today computing is seen as one of the major successes of the Indian economy.

In this talk, Mathai will cover some of the background in which computing grew in India, highlighting the factors that led to the success of the software services industry and how this happened largely independently of the policies of the government. Today, computing has entered almost every part of life in India, urban and rural, and has helped to create millions of jobs. Yet computer science, like other sciences in India, has not grown and shown the same kind of achievements. The talk will be interspersed with his personal experiences from the 1960s to the present.

CEBE Annual Research Speed Dating – 29 April

Wednesday 29 April, 12pm-2pm, MP203 (CEBE Boardroom)

Listen to others as they talk, and think how you could use their ideas and approaches: what questions would you ask them?

The format will be fast paced! Everyone will get the chance to speak for 2 minutes (you will be timed!), then the ‘dating’ will commence.

The goal of the Research Speed Dating event is to meet people, find out what’s going on in CEBE in terms of research, broaden connections, foster dialogue, increase cross-School interactions and build research relationships within the Faculty…and, in a few cases, beyond!


Come prepared to talk!  Two minutes isn’t long, so what would you say to friends and family when asked “what’s your research about?” – A common question for all labelled as “researchers”.  So – headlines of exactly what your focus is, who would benefit from your work, what’s innovative about it?  If you want, bring an “artefact” to show – though not a PowerPoint or similar presentation, and don’t expect any additional time to show or play with it!

To register your interest please e-mail

CANCELLED: CEBE Research Seminar – 23 April


Oracle Advanced Analytics option: In-Database Predictive Analytics using SQL and R

With Brendan Tierney, Oracle ACE Director

Thursday 23 April, 10am-1pm, Room MP432, Millennium Point, City Centre Campus

This presentation will begin by looking at the typical types of analytics that organisations perform and how they can move into automated and prescriptive analytics. Advanced Analytics is not only for Big Data projects but for all types of organisations, big or small. This idea is very often not talked about or discussed in all the marketing hype. SQL has been around for over 40 years and is a very powerful language.  Many of the capabilities and features of newer languages have been available in SQL for a long time.

The presentation will have a number of excellent demonstrations that show you how to use the Oracle Data Miner tool to build data mining workflows, will show how you can develop and implement in-database data mining using SQL and how you can integrate R into your database to expand your advanced analytics options using Oracle R Enterprise.

Bio:  Brendan is an independent consultant and lectures on Data Mining and Advanced Databases in the Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland. He has 21+ years of extensive experience working in the areas of Data Mining, Data Warehousing, Data Architecture and Database Design. Brendan has worked on projects in Ireland, UK, Belgium and USA. Brendan is the editor of the UKOUG Oracle Scene magazine and deputy chair of the OUG Ireland BI SIG. Brendan is a regular speaker at conferences across Europe and the USA and has written technical articles for OTN, Oracle Scene, IOUG SELECT Journal and ODTUG Technical Journal. Brendan has published his Oracle Press book called Predictive Analytics using Oracle Data Miner and this book is available to purchase on Amazon.

Following the presentation, there will be a Q and A session.


Coffee and tea will be provided