The Secrets of Brain Health at the Bristol Data & AI Showcase

Join us at the Bristol Data & AI Showcase on Tuesday 7 June 2022, to get to know your brain, with an immersive virtual reality experience using real MRI data. Learn about brain development and keeping your brain healthy.

Hear from creator James Pollock, Immersive Media Designer, BDH Immersive, in a short video about the project.

James notes that the project “showcases the latest research into brain health”, using VR. He goes on to note that VR is beneficial as it “allows you to see things that are beneath the skin”, “on scales that are very small”, but in a way that “is immersive”.

James goes on to talk about the VR experience, noting that attendees will be able to see “three different stories about brain development”, which range from “how your brain develops from when you are a newborn” to “how learning a musical instrument can fundamentally change the way your brain works”.

Join us at the Bristol Data & AI Showcase 2022

Interact with exciting exhibitions from virtual reality to robotics and discover how communities use data to tackle key issues. Data is all around us, from our smartphones to our supermarkets, but how can we use data for good? How can data from the past shape our future and create a fairer society? Explore these questions and more at the JGI Bristol Data & AI Showcase 2022

Hear from Kate Robson Brown, Director of the Jean Golding Institute, in a short video about the event.

Kate notes that the aim of the Showcase is “to start a dialogue around data science and AI, within which we can move together for a better future”. She notes that during the event, we will be “showcasing application areas that are close to people’s hearts” in which we aim to showcase the very best in “data science communication”.

There will be many opportunities to network, socialise and interact with the Jean Golding Institute and our community and as Kate notes, it will be a “whole day of activities, based at the M Shed, in the Harbourside, in Bristol” and we hope to “welcome as many people as we can, of all ages”. The Showcase is open to the public, so come and explore the positive impacts of working together to do good with data!

Find out more about the event and register.


The Learning Machine at the Bristol Data & AI Showcase

Ever wondered whether machines understand emotion? Join us at the Bristol Data & AI Showcase on Tuesday 7 June 2022, to play the emotion machine game. Match human faces to emotions and watch the machine learn.

Hear from the creators, Dr Oliver Davis, Reader in Statistical Genetics, Bristol Medical School and Dr Valerio Maggio, Senior Research Associate, Bristol Medical School, in a short video about the project.

Oliver notes that the hope is to “get people working together with machines”, in order to “understand how they work”, “to trust them more”, and to avoid “biases”.

Valerio notes that the aim of the project is “to understand” what it means “for a face to express a specific emotion”.

Data Hazards Workshop at the Bristol Data & AI Showcase

Data can do so much good, but it can also reinforce existing bias if it’s not used properly. Join us at the Bristol Data & AI Showcase on Tuesday 7 June 2022, for a free Data Hazards workshop at our  to explore the ethical issues of #data and #AI.

Hear from the creators, Natalie Zelenka, Data Science Specialist, Jean Golding Institute, and Nina Di Cara, PhD student, Population Health Sciences, in a short video about the project.

Nina notes that “Data science is something that affects all of our lives in ways that we might not even realise”

Natalie notes that “one of the hazards that can happen in data science is reinforcing existing bias”. She goes on to mention that an example of this reinforced bias is when “soap dispensers don’t work if you have dark skin”. Natalie hopes that the Data Hazards workshop taking place during the Showcase will help to “change the culture of data science so that thinking about ethics is a core part of being a data scientist”.

Read more about the Data Hazards project.



Welcoming our new Institute Manager, John Newby

John Newby has joined the Jean Golding Institute (JGI) as the Institute Manager and the University Liaison Manager to The Alan Turing Institute, in March 2022.

John Newby, Institute Manager“I am very excited to be taking over the reigns from Patty Holley as the Institute Manager over the next two years while she is seconded to The Alan Turing Institute. I have inherited a very dedicated team who have built a great foundation for me to build upon.

“I am hoping to reengage everyone working and associated with the JGI after the last two years of lockdowns building a sense of community with the JGI Team, the Turing Enrichment students, and the Turing Fellows, which will hopefully foster more cross collaboration.

“Growing up in a deprived area, I am also very keen on increasing our Widening Participation provision, working with local schools, communities, charities and small businesses, as well as focusing on projects for societal and environmental good.”

John has previously worked as a Project Development Officer at the Sunderland New Deal for Communities (NDC). This was a £2 billion government project to improve the social and physical regeneration of deprived areas within the UK. The NDC was an area-based initiative focusing on the Hendon and East End areas of Sunderland, which is where John grew up, and still resided at the time, along with many generations of his family. John found it very fulfilling to give something back to the community he grew up in.

Before the JGI, John joined the University of Bristol in 2011, after moving from the University of Sunderland, where he worked as a Research Associate, (ironically) focusing on the ‘Demographic Change on the North East of England’, which found that students would leave the region upon graduation due to lack of job opportunities. This was a cross-collaboration project, working with other North East universities, local authorities, North East Polish Community Organisation, and Age UK. Whilst working as a Research Associate at the University of Sunderland, John was also studying a PhD focusing on the ‘Socioeconomic effects of the London 2012 Olympics on the North East of England’ as well as lecturing on the newly created Sports Tourism module.

John has worked in several roles at the University of Bristol such as a Research Administrator in the School of Social and Community Medicine (now Bristol Medical School), working on the ‘Wellbeing in Secondary Education’ research project, and the ‘Breakthrough Mentoring’ research project. He has also worked as a Senior Executive Assistant in the School of Physics and an Executive Administration Manager in the School of Mathematics. John was the Fry Building Project Manager in the School of Mathematics, working on and overseeing the refurbishment of the Fry Building, which is a Grade II listed building. He has also been a Project Manager in ALSPAC, Bristol Medical School, working on the Children of the 90’s project and a Project Manager in the School of Biological Sciences.

John’s education includes a BSc Computing for Business, an MSc in Urban Policy and Regeneration, a PRINCE2 Project Management (Foundation), and a PRINCE2 Project Management (Practitioner). Unfortunately John did not complete his PhD due to moving to Bristol after his Research Associate role ending at the University of Sunderland, and with it his PhD funding ending also. John would still like to complete a PhD at some point in his career.

During lockdown, John jumped on the lockdown puppy bandwagon and got Holly, a Red Fox Labrador. A friend of John’s has Holly’s sister Poppy, and they get to see each other every week. Holly is a lucky dog, being born on St. Patrick’s Day. She is keen to gate crash meetings (which everyone enjoys!)

Left to right: Christmas 2021; Holly at 6 months old; Holly and Poppy on their 1st birthday; Holly and John at Llanberis Lake Railway, National Slate Museum

In his spare time, John loves to travel and experience local culture and food, (mostly food!), and cannot wait until he can travel again properly.

Left to right: Valencia, Spain; Franz Kafka Museum, Prague, Czech Republic; Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

John is an avid Sunderland football supporter. However, (as John says) they are rubbish now, so his love for them is waning a little. John suggests watching the Netflix documentary, Sunderland ‘Til I Die, for the reasons why.

Left to right: At Wembley Stadium (Sunderland v Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy final; 1-1 full time, 2-2 extra time, Portsmouth won 5-4 on penalties ☹); At Cardiff Millennium Stadium for the London 2012 Olympic Games, Great Britain v South Korea; 1-1 full time, 1-1 extra time, South Korea won 5-4 on penalties ☹); In Cardiff, with a giant Champions League trophy

John is a keen photographer and has shared some of his photos (below). John also organises the University of Bristol Photomarathon’s (a photography competition with a challenge! Taking photos on several themes, in the correct order and over a dedicated time period), as well as organising lots of clubs and events over the years, such as the Investment club, Film club, and the Christmas craft fairs. Look out for the return of the Photomarathon in July 2022 and the Christmas craft fair in November and/or December 2022.

Left to right: Page of a book (photomarathon entry for entry number theme: 170); Name tags (photomarathon entry for messages theme); Castle Combe, England; Souter Lighthouse, South Shields, England (John’s Grandmother (Nanna) used to tell him it was his lighthouse when he was a child. It was only when he was about 14 years old and she said the same to his 2 younger brothers, he realised it was all a lie!); Red Arrows, over Bristol, August 2013

John is hoping the skills and experience he has gained at the University of Bristol over the last ten years, coupled with a great team will help build on the great work the JGI has already achieved over the years taking them to new levels of success.

If you would like to meet John to discuss any Data Science and AI collaboration opportunities, the Photomarathon or Christmas craft fair, or all things football feel free to chat with him on Teams or book an online meeting using Microsoft Bookings.