Two De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) projects have impressed judges of the prestigious Guardian University awards.
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Making it to the shortlist in the marketing and comms campaigns category is #LoveInternational, DMU's campaign to petition for the residency rights of EU staff and students.
DMU's ground-breaking partnership with HMP Leicester has been recognised in the social and community impact category of the awards, which celebrate the best work being done by UK universities.
#LoveInternational was launched following the EU Referendum vote, to celebrate the contribution of international staff and students working and studying at universities across the country.
A DMU student lights a candle at a #LoveInternational vigil held on campus
Its main aims are to oppose discrimination and prejudice, to reassert DMU is welcoming to and supportive of international students and staff and to fight to protect the residency rights of EU staff.
Key to achieving these aims is the promotion and engagement of the campaign in local, national and international media.
So far it has included visits to a range of European capitals to celebrate EU staff and students, delivered with the GREAT campaign, the Government's initiative to promote the UK to the world, as well as mass study trips to Berlin, New York and Hong Kong offered through #DMUglobal.
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DMU has also helped transform the fortunes of the once-troubled Leicester prison through a ground-breaking partnership, with more than 20 staff and 200 students working across 15 projects to contribute teaching, learning and research projects since the 2016/17 academic year.
HMP Leicester was the focus of a damning report by the prisons watchdog, the HM Inspectorate of Prisons, at the start of 2016, and has now surged 50 places up the league table for UK jails. Prison governor Phil Novis has hailed the partnership with DMU's public engagement team, #DMUlocal, as one of the key factors behind the sea change.
Projects have included 'Learning Together' teaching workshops, where prisoners and criminology students studied side-by-side, the construction of a memorial garden by students for prison staff and a revamp of the prison visitors' room by DMU interior design students.
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Students helped to redesign the prison visits area
Mark Charlton, Head of Public Engagement at DMU, said it is satisfying the work has been recognised on a national platform.
"The idea of creating a large varied programme of activities was inspired by the governor's desire to foster a new spirit and give the men hope at a time when the regime had been dogged by violence, overcrowding and drug abuse," he said.
"University staff and students embraced the opportunity to work in a new environment to gain real-world experiences, gather research data and demonstrate the skills of the university as part of #DMUlocal's commitment to working for the benefit of the wider city."
Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday 24 April.
Posted on Monday 26th March 2018