Wednesday 22nd January, 2020

Each year, the University organises an event to celebrate the ongoing development of its people. This year, the event took place on Wednesday 22nd January in The Hex at our Colchester Campus.

The Celebrating Promotions event was organised and run by the Events Office (Communications and External Relations) and Organisational Development (People and Culture). If you have any queries or questions about this content, or the event itself, please send an email to develop@essex.ac.uk.

A sky full of stars

This years theme was, "A Sky Full of Stars". It was inspired by the Coldplay song of the same name (Ghost Stories, 2014).

Ghost Stories by Coldplay (2014)

You can watch a performance of the song on Later… with Jools Holland, below:

Staff in Organisational Development folded well over 200 origami paper stars. These were then suspended from the ceiling of The Hex (in a similar way to the paper stars seen in the video above). The space was also decorated with lots of star-shaped LED lights. Individual LEDs were also placed inside some of the paper stars to make them glow in the dark.

Over 200 origami paper stars were suspended from the ceiling of The Hex.

Each of the hand-made stars represented a person who was promoted at Essex during the previous year.

In this way, the paper constellation symbolised the collective achievement of academic and Professional Services staff at the University of Essex over the past year.

Some of the origami paper stars were internally illuminated. Each star represented a person promoted over the past year.
"For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream." — Vincent Van Gogh
A paper star illuminated by blue light.

The stars took a long time to create. In fact, staff in Organisational Development started making them before Christmas to have them ready for the event! The stars were folded using a popular origami pattern for a five-pointed star. Unlike most origami models that use a perfect square of paper, this model requires a pentagon-shaped piece of paper with five sides.

Fold your own paper origami star

If you would like to try and make your own five-pointed origami star, then you can do so. A few years ago, the Technology-Enhanced Learning Team at Essex created a Christmas crafts tutorial that featured this origami model.

The tutorial includes a downloadable template that will help you make the pentagon-shaped paper needed for the model.

Lighting up the sky at Essex

It takes more than one star to light up the sky

A total of ??? Essex staff and invited guests attended the Celebrating Promotions event. Attendees were treated with arrival drinks, including wine, Prosecco and Sparkling Elderflower.

Guests enjoyed a variety of drinks at the event.
"Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground." — Theodore Roosevelt

Staff enjoyed a spot of star gazing as the University's Vice-Chancellor, Anthony Forster, explained the meaning of the stars in his speech.

"A philosopher once asked, 'Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?' Pointless, really…'Do the stars gaze back?' Now, that’s a question." - Neil Gaiman, Writer and Author of "Stardust"

After the VC's speech, everyone enjoyed hot food prepared by the Essex Food catering team. The mini cheese on toast and chips proved especially popular!

Event Essex, as usual, did an excellent job. The serving platters didn't stay full for long!
"Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious." - Stephen Hawking
"I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars." — Augustine “Og” Mandino

A visualisation containing the names of everyone promoted over the past year was projected onto the walls of The Hex. There were so many names, the video took a full 4 minutes to loop.

Teach me your mood, O patient stars. Who climb each night, the ancient sky. Leaving on space no shade, no scars, no trace of age, no fear to die. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Writer and Poet

Pink and blue lights were used to illuminate the white paper stars. The video background was carefully designed to blend in with the hanging stars suspended in front of it.

The lighting for the event was inspired by the impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh.

Photo credit: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York
"The night is even more richly coloured than the day… If only one pays attention to it, one sees that certain stars are citron yellow, while others have a pink glow or a green, blue and forget-me-not brilliance. And without my expiating on this theme, it should be clear that putting little white dots on a blue-black surface is not enough." - Vincent van Gogh, Artist
Photo credit: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York
"We are all of us stars, and we deserve to twinkle." — Marilyn Monroe
I love the stars. Because they can’t say anything. I love the stars. Because they do not judge anyone. — Natsuki Takaya, Writer and Manga Artist
"One thousand brilliant stars punched holes in my consciousness, pricking me with longing. I could stare at the stars for hours, their infinite number and depth pulling me into a part of myself that I ignored during the day." — Maggie Stiefvater, Writer and Author of "Shiver"
"Not just beautiful, though—the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they’re watching me." — Haruki Murakami, Writer and Author of "Kafka on the Shore"
"The darkest nights produce the brightest stars." — John Green, Author of "The Fault in Our Stars".
"A sky as pure as water bathed the stars and brought them out." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Writer, Poet, Journalist and Aviator
"Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship." — Omar Nelson Bradley, Former Senior Officer of the United States Army

Digital photo booth

There was a digital photo booth at the event. This allowed attendees to have a fun picture taken amongst the stars. The photo booth was so popular, people had to queue to have their photo taken at several points during the evening!

Dr Carolina Garriga, Department of Government
Dr Athanasios Triantafyllou, Essex Business School
Caroline Kelly, School of Sports Rehabilitation & Exercise Sciences
Dr Hongsheng Dai, Department of Mathematical Sciences
Rosie Bonny, Academic Section
Dr Joerg Schaub, School of Philosophy & Art History
Alex Pletea, Innovation & Technology Solutions
Dr Theodora Bermpei, Essex Business School
Jon Relph, Innovation & Technology Solutions
Louise Ratnage, Event Essex
Elisa Aylott, University of Essex Campus Services

Many people also used this as an opportunity to capture a photo of themselves with their colleagues, friends and family.

From left to right: Lindsay Bennington & Jasmine Hill (Academic Section). Dr Alix Green (Department of History). Kelly Townrow, Angie Flynn, Louise Buxton & Matthew Moss (UECS - Soft FM Services). Ross Whitley, Keziah Gibbs, Hannah Groom, Hannah Pyman, Cian Bear & Clarissa St Yves (Library Services). Professor Terence McGenity (School of Life Sciences). Sean Mitchell (Finance Planning & Data Insight Section). Dr Murray Griffin (School of Sports Rehabilitation & Exercise Sciences).

Photos from the event

All of the best shots taken at the event can be accessed via an online photo album. These photos will not be indexed by Google, i.e. they will not appear in any web search results. Anyone with the link to the album, however, will be able to view the photographs.

Note: If you would like a photo removed from this page, or the online photo album, please send an email to develop@essex.ac.uk.

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