'Big beasts' in the business of natural history join forces

   
   
Rob-and-Stephenpr 
01 Dec 2011 13:17:52.407

PA 373/11

A leading natural history television producer and an environmental historian from The University of Nottingham have joined forces to bring their own skills and experience to new audiences, and develop their own.

Links between Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) and Department of History and the BBC’s Natural History Unit have flourished in recent years as a result of a long-standing working relationship between environmental historian and passionate birdwatcher Dr Rob Lambert and wildlife TV series producer Stephen Moss. The two nature experts have collaborated on such high profile BBC productions as the BAFTA winning Springwatch, and Birds Britannia recently shown on BBC Four.

After a long and successful career, Stephen Moss recently left the BBC to pursue a freelance career as a TV producer, author and naturalist. He has also joined The University of Nottingham as an Honorary Professor in both the business school and history. Since his appointment he has been delivering guest lectures, welcome events to new first years, and co-advising on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations. He has been presenting a series of public lectures to packed houses across the University exploring the links between natural history television and academia. He will also be working with the University to improve the wildlife management of its award winning campuses.

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They are both writers in the hugely successful international exhibition — ‘Ghosts of Gone Birds’ which is currently being staged in London. This ‘art versus extinction’ project aims to generate a creative force for conservation. They are both working group members of a bold emerging think-tank called New Networks for Nature (N3). They travelled to the Port Eliot Festival in Cornwall this summer to talk about their different responses to extinction, and featured on the Main Events Stage at the British Birdwatching Fair, attended by 25,000 people over three days, talking about the TV series Birds Britannia.

Meanwhile Dr Lambert is working on a number of TV and radio documentary projects, both in front of and behind the camera with the BBC Natural History Unit and BBC Scotland, such as Grand Tours of Scotland, Attenborough’s Life Stories, Wild Britannia, The One Show; as well as encouraging his diverse range of students to fully embrace all the opportunities that having Stephen Moss here will offer.

Dr Lambert is a multi-disciplinary academic whose work in the business school focuses on tourism and the environment. In the School of History he specialises in environmental history. He has written a number of books and academic articles on the past and present relationships between nature and people in Great Britain.

Dr Lambert said: “Having Stephen Moss on board is a visionary and entrepreneurial honorary appointment for the University. Students in both my schools are wildly enthused, and those who are getting co-supervised by Stephen in their coursework assignments and dissertations are having remarkable avenues of research and networking opened to them. It is wonderful to see Stephen deliver public lectures here to packed auditoriums reflecting just how many of our students do care about the environment, nature and sustainability. And I’m thrilled that my students, their parents and even their grandparents are now watching me on television talking about that most fundamental relationship between nature and people!”

Stephen Moss has been responsible for many of the BBC’s most successful wildlife TV series such as Big Cat Diary, Springwatch, The Nature of Britain and Birds Britannia. He has worked with some of the outstanding creative talents in the TV nature world — both in front of and behind the camera. These include Bill Oddie, Chris Packham, Kate Humble, Alan Titchmarsh and Sir David Attenborough as well as a wide range of production and technical talent.

Stephen said: “I am really enjoying working with both the students and academics at the University. I hope that my knowledge of the natural world, and 30 years experience as a BBC TV producer, writer and broadcaster, can be helpful here in so many ways: from one-on-one supervision of dissertations, to seminars on careers in the media; and from informal encounters, to lectures on creative management techniques. I hope to bring a new perspective and approach to learning. I have been excited to work across several different Schools, and hope that over the next three years I can continue to develop my role and impacts in a wide range of academic disciplines, for the benefit of all.”

This unusual but visionary collaboration has already reaped benefits across the University.

Professor Alistair Bruce, Director of Research and Deputy-Dean of the business school, said: “The Business School has been delighted to host Stephen Moss as part of this exciting collaborative arrangement. Stephen has made a range of contributions to the work of the school and the wider University and has firmly established a reputation as an engaging and informed speaker and a great asset to students working on projects in his areas of expertise. Equally, under the terms of the arrangement, Rob Lambert has had the opportunity to bring his deep knowledge of wildlife, conservation and related issues to wider audiences through his work with the BBC. This type of collaboration adds richness to the academic environment whilst offering a model for engagement with and impact in the wider community.”

Professor Liz Harvey, Head of the School of Humanities, said: “Environmental history has always been a theme that enthuses students who find as they explore it some very different ways of looking at the past. This collaboration has raised environmental history’s profile and given students new opportunities to tackle research projects of their own — whether on the history of landscapes and their changing uses, or the history of social activism dedicated to saving habitats and rescuing species. Students in Humanities have also found it fascinating to hear Stephen speak about his experiences as a writer and broadcaster.”

For more information about Stephen, who has just published Wild Hares and Hummingbirds: the Natural History of an English Village, and his work go to: www.stephenmoss.tv

Picture shows: Stephen Moss (L) Dr Rob Lambert (R)

 

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More information is available from Dr Rob Lambert on +44 (0) 115 846 6699, rob.lambert.@nottingham.ac.uk

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

 

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia. Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. For more details, visit: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/impactcampaign

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

More news from the University at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/new

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Rob Lambert on +44 (0) 115 846 6699, rob.lambert.@nottingham.ac.uuk

Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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