‘Tis the Season

Over the year, Naturally Speaking has reported on the incredible research going on within the Institute. However, equally important in making this group so special is the sense of community—from our bi-weekly Coffee in the Museum to Friday Pub, we don’t forget the importance of fun and comradery. As work here winds down for the festive season, it feels like an appropriate time to showcase some of the recent social events that have brought us together.

Our annual Institute Christmas Party photo. © Jim Caryl
Our annual Institute Christmas Party photo. © Jim Caryl

The month of Movember

The month of November was especially wet, even for Glasgow, a city with a damp reputation. While the dreary weather might have made people a bit glum, the Institute’s Tache of Science team kept us smiling as they took part in Movember. This is perhaps the most stereotypically manly of charity events, the aim being to grow a moustache for the whole month of November in order to raise awareness of, and money for, men’s health issues like testicular and prostate cancers.

It was highly entertaining watching our boys’ moustache attempts sprout up, with some on unlikely faces. More importantly, the group managed to raise an impressive £1,667—contributing £1,237 towards men’s health and a further £430 for the Glasgow Night Shelter to help asylum seekers. Way to make a dreary November a better month for all!

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The Festive Party

The annual Christmas party and ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee, for those unfamiliar with Gaelic) is one of the Institute’s highlights! Steeped in tradition, the evening kicked off with the annual Ornithology Lecture. This year’s talk was delivered by University of Glasgow alumna and University of Aberdeen researcher Dr Jane Reid, who took us on an intriguing exploration of the evolution of avian reproductive strategies.

We then decanted to the Hunterian zoology museum where the party got going with a performance by the (in)famous Institute Band. For this special occasion, the eclectic musical talents of the Institute are called upon by our resident “composer”, Prof. Neil Metcalfe; the (sometimes thick) dust is brushed off instruments and a ragtag group of academic musicians sets about creating an exciting musical spectacle. This year started with a solo performance by PhD student Swapan Sarker, who played a beautiful monsoon raga (a form of Indian classical music, this one being especially befitting our recent weather) on the Mohan Veena, an Indian slide guitar with 19 strings! This was followed by a diverse repertoire (classical, contemporary and Christmas) played by our makeshift ensemble, complete with sing-along! As soon as the band finished their stirring performance, everyone rushed to the mighty buffet—a potluck feast of homemade portions!

The evening ended with a ceilidh, a traditional Scottish party filled with live music and Scottish country dancing—luckily enthusiasm is more important than skill or experience. All in all, the Christmas party, with its unique and quirky customs, is an exceptionally fun way to wrap up the year in true Institute style!

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On this high note, Naturally Speaking wishes the Institute, its friends and our followers a very happy holiday, and all the best for the New Year!

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