Assessment 1: EVA make their Third-Year Mark on Edinburgh

Thursday 18th November, 2010

The Edinburgh-based charity, otherwise known as EVA recently turned three years old last month. EVA are known for their work in aiming to abolish the use of animals in experimentation, clothing, entertainment, and food.

Since 2007 EVA, have been working to help local communities tackle a variety of animal protection issues. In the three years that EVA have existed, they have successfully managed to raise awareness of animal welfare through protests, stalls, school talks, discussion groups and their Compassionate Living Fayre, an event which attracts thousands of visitors each year and is now a permanent fixture in Edinburgh.

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Secret Santa?

Hello Everyone =]

Charlotte and I were talking today about maybe organising a secret-santa for the course group. Would anyone else be interested?

We were thinking about £5 for a present ( just enough for a bottle of Glenn’s 😉 ) and maybe exchanging them on the journalism night out Danielle is trying to organise.

Let me know what you think 🙂

Assessment 1 – Third Local Nursery to Close

Third Local Nursery to Close

Westfield Court Nursery is to be closed by The City of Edinburgh council for Health and Safety reasons. Twenty five children will be affected by the closure. They will be relocated to other local nurseries.

The nursery is situated on the seventh floor of a multi-storey block of flats and has been visited several times by members of the Health and Safety team from the council. They have been joined by staff from the Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade on two occasions. Various improvements have been made to the nursery and the building as a result of these visits. Improvements have included smoke detectors, regular inspections and a Fire Risk Assessment and Emergency Evacuation Plan for the Nursery.


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In the ever changing world of journalism, yet another new step has been taken. A new digital “newspaper” is being developed for iPads and similar devices. Rupert Murdoch and the chief executive of Apple, Steve Jobs, have apparently been developing the Daily for several months in New York. Costing 99 cents (about 62 pence) a week, there will be no online or print alternative.

100 journalists have been hired for this new project. Jesse Angelo, managing editor of the New York Times and an up and comer within NewsCorp, is expected to secure the title of editor.

This is a new venture for Murdoch, in yet another attempt to revolutionise the newspaper business. He believes there will be 40 million iPads in use by 2012 and sees this as an excellent opportunity. If 5% of the expected 40 million iPad owners subscribe to the Daily, the paper will have two million customers.

Steve Jobs is expected to introduce a subscription plan for this type of newspaper based on the iTunes business model, but publishers will not want the technology giant to dominate the market like it has with music. However, with Apple leading the way in the market in tablet devices, Murdoch may have to cooperate with Jobs until a competitive rival can be established.

Bye Bye Blog?

So the 19th November deadline for assessed blogs has passed, but what happens now to Napier Social Media?

This blog is in the “Good Sites” category because it mentions Napier Social Media, which I think is a good site! I’ve really enjoyed my first regular blogging experience that’s given me an insight into you, fellow course mates, and you’re interests and segments of news that you enjoy reading about the most. I’ve run a few websites in the past with video and written reviews of films and games but I think blogging is probably the way forward. For anyone else thinking of continuing blogging, this site (the “link” option doesn’t seem to be working, so the full URL is: ) has some helpful hints. With more than 133,000,000 published blogs since 2002 and with 77% of internet users regularly reading blogs, there (hopefully) will always be someone who wants to read what we have to say.

Thank you for some very insightful reading over the past three months!

The big question: What have been your thoughts on Napier Social Media? Feel free to answer the poll.

Assessment 1:Scoliosis?……..Anyone?

When I look at my body in my full-length mirrors  I do not see a symmetrical frame. I do not see a hour-glass figure with perfect breasts and rounded hips. I do not see a potential athlete, gymnast, model. What I do see is scoliosis.

scoliosis Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine, which, depending on the severity, can create a lopsided effect or even a deformed appearance. It is estimated that 80% of all scoliosis conditions arise in teenage girls, but most of these girls will never know about it. It is in no way a recent discovery, but it is certainly an under-publicised one.

Before I was diagnosed with the condition I had never heard of it. At the age of 12 I noticed I had a slightly raised hump on the right side of my back. It didn’t feel right. The first thing I did was tell my mum, who then swiftly got me a doctor’s appointment. After my GP told me it was an over-developed muscle,  I felt better. It wasn’t until I noticed that I could only feel a breast plate on one side of my torso that the bag of worries began to fill again. This time I was referred to the Royal Infirmary where I learned, after scans, x-rays and examinations, that I had a 27 degree curve called scoliosis. Neither me, my mum or, concerningly, my GP knew about scoliosis.

But I was lucky; I was living in the right place. The Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh is a centre for excellence in the treatment of scoliosis.

Some people aren’t so lucky; I spoke with Cynthia Klingman, from Washington State over Facebook, and she was told in 8th grade that she had finished growing and would no longer need her back-brace. Apparently there was nothing more that her doctor could do for her. Her curve then developed from a 42 degree curve into a 71 degree curve, which she has recently had surgery to correct. She is now thirty.

She feels that surgery was definitely the best option for her, but just wished that it had been offered to her sooner. She says, “As hard as the recovery may be, I know that had I not done this, I could be severely disabled in the next ten years the way my lower curve was trending. It’s a long recovery, but I see myself being able to go back to life with less pain by next year.”

Boston%20Brace It certainly isn’t reassuring that the medical ‘experts’ are still learning from their mistakes and are not fully sure how to deal with some scoliosis patients. Luckily, my curve did not need surgery, and was prevented from worsening by means of Boston back-brace, which I wore for nearly two years of my teenage life. Not an easy feat but something that I managed to deal with well, but in my own way. I felt embarrassed about my brace, and only told the people I truly trusted. I didn’t want everyone to know because I didn’t want to be treated like an outcast. During my brace-life I wasn’t aware of the number of girls with scoliosis, and I certainly didn’t know about the many support groups there are. Looking back, I now wish I had.

Facebook-icon A Facebook  page called ‘Scoliosis “How to Look Good Twisted”’ brings people with scoliosis together, and provides a safe-place for people to talk about their experiences. People who have undergone serious surgery, and are lying in hospital beds are able to access the page and express how they are feeling, This is so helpful for the people who are awaiting the same fate. Problem stories about misdiagnosis or unsuccessful treatment are not rare.  

But how can someone with, say, a 51 degree curve not know that they have scoliosis?

Teenage girls often feel very self conscious about their bodies. They are watching their bodies change naturally and if they notice something strange they may feel uncomfortable asking about it. Who would they talk to? They may be too scared to find out what has to be done to fix it. They may have other more important issues in their life. They may ignore it. The list goes on and on. The issue that is a cause for concern here is that the earlier the diagnosis, the more choices there are in terms of treatment.

I spoke with M from E. Anglia, an older woman who has had severe scoliosis all her life. She has impaired breathing because of her curve and has to use mechanical assistance whenever she sleeps. This means she misses out on things like travelling abroad, as quality of air on planes is not sufficient. She did not receive any treatment for her scoliosis, but is inspirational as she contributes to the Scoliosis Association, giving talks and sharing the knowledge she has with others.  sauk-logo She says, “The problem with adolescent onset of scoliosis is that it may not be spotted by the parents, and of course, you can’t really see your own back, can you? Also, people might decided not to bother the doctor, and just hope it will all go away. This type of scoliosis can progress very quickly, so they must be encouraged to seek medical advice as soon as possible.”

Before I started researching for this blog, I was unaware that scoliosis can affect breathing, pregnancy and also about the process of recovery for a person after having a spinal operation (this is still not a ruled out possibility for me) . Most importantly I learnt that every case of scoliosis is different, and I hope by writing this piece people will look out for scoliosis, be aware of what it is, understand those that have it and never postpone going to the doctor.

I was lucky to get the diagnosis when I did. Many people are not so lucky. If you look in the mirror and see what I see, please don’t just leave it.

Assessment: We are you. You is us.

Assessment A
Social Media
Joy Parkinson

As many people in the community may be aware, a number of art venues across Edinburgh have been made to close after the Edinburgh University Settlement becomes another institution to fall victim to the recession. The EUS is a charitable body that once owned a number of buildings across Edinburgh which were later transformed into art venues, however after the charity declared bankruptcy such venues were forced to close their doors leaving many members of the art community in mourning.

A spokesman for the EUS issued a statement saying:
“Our first priority has been to carry out a thorough review of the charity’s activities, during which we discovered that the EUS was not only operating with a substantial cost base but it did not have the income to support its ongoing activities.”

He added:
“Over the coming weeks, we will be carrying out a more detailed review but what is clear is that there is no funding to meet the ongoing liabilities.”

It has been rumoured that the charity’s outgoings exceeded their income by up to £300,000 for the last year forcing venues such as The GRV and Roxy Art House to close their doors. The Forest however has decided to try and stay strong, doing their upmost to raise enough money to buy the building where the Forest is based estimated at £500,000.

Although many passersby may dismiss the converted church situated on Bristo Place people in the know are saddened to hear of its possible sale.
The Forest is known as ‘a volunteer run, not-for-profit’ space that hosts a number of art related events and workshops. For over a decade the property has provided the city of Edinburgh with a free art and events venue currently playing host to an array of galleries, studios and workshops ranging from poetry readings to photography classes, dance parties to darkroom development.
Not only is The Forest a creative venue but it is also seen as a community that welcomes and encourages creative thinking and living, an ethos that is currently under threat if the charity has to shut.

The Forest.

To raise awareness the Forest has created a ‘Save the Forest’ campaign which has been promoted on their Facebook and Tumblr blog page. In the last week the organisation raised £5000 through donations alone but has continued to host open meetings to come up with ideas to raise the remaining sum. So far, a number of fundraising events including zine writing sessions and open mic nights have been planned and organised.

The Forest

The Forest doesn’t see such a sum as unfeasible. The art community in Edinburgh is huge and the fan base for the building is just as big. People like the idea that the events and workshops in the Forest are free and such support has been seen on online sites such as the Forest’s own discussion board and via posts on Facebook.
Comments are both of help and support.

Steph Lazerte posted:
‘ i love you i love you i love you don’t go!’

And Fiona Didham said
‘Wish we were there to help out! It would be unbelievably sad if this amazing place wasn’t able to continue. Don’t let the Bastards bring you down! Forest will LIVE!’

After visiting the Forest I talked to Simon Howarth, a worker for the Forest. He said:
“I work in the Forest cafe twice a week helping with the food and drink. I work for free and in return get my studio for free which helps bring in an income. If the Forest was to close down I would be looking at having to pay more than £100 a month for a professional studio, money that I currently cannot afford.”

He added:
“ The Forest is a one of a kind place. Not only does it run workshops, it allows artists and creatives to use the space provided. It has many studios and I like many would be out of work if the venue was to close down. I may not be working for money, but I am working to be part of a community that promotes artistic flair.”

Although many people are saddened by the news that the Forest may be shutting down, a number of people feel that the sum is too large to raise. Olga Bloemen, a member of the Forest said:
“Regarding the Forest, I actually don’t think they’ll be able to raise enough money to stay in the place they are now. They need at least £500,000, some even say a million.

She continued:
“The shelter next to Forest is also for sale, so if a big project developer would want to, they can turn the whole complex into a big hotel/restaurant. It’s such a prime location that people will probably be willing to pay a lot of money for it! I think the Forest community will need to find a new place, a cheaper, possibly subsidised one. Maybe they can work together with the New Victoria, which is being restored as a community arts space.”

At the moment the Forest’s future hangs in the balance but what is evident is that when a community is in need of help, people come together to offer a helping hand.
News is continuously being updated here:!/group.php?gid=2504741238&v=wall