New to Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire? Here’s a guide to the area

Ema Talam, Lecturer, Staffordshire University


Some of you might be moving to a new city when starting university. I moved to Stoke-on-Trent several years ago, and since then, I have discovered that Stoke-on-Trent and its surrounding areas are home to some of the friendliest people I have met and have a lot to offer, whether you are up for a nice meal, shopping trip, an amazing hiking trip or day trip elsewhere:

  1. Our campus is a vibrant place and has several coffee shops, bars and restaurants. Head to SqueezeBox, Ember Lounge, Pavillion, or new Catalyst Bistro for some great coffee, tea or food. If you want to venture outside of campus:

a.Trentham Gardens and Shopping Village are home to beautiful gardens, the monkey forest (home to 140 monkeys), which is truly a unique experience, number of shops and restaurants and tree top adventure park.

b. Piccadilly in Hanley is a home to some fantastic restaurants and also theatres (Regent Theatre and Victoria Hall), Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, live music venues, escape rooms, etc. Hanley, as the city centre, is where number of events take place – for example, annual arts festival The Big Feast or Wizarding World Wand Installation was displayed early in 2022. – see what Events are coming for Autumn 2022 to the area.

Wizarding World Wand Installation in Hanley

c. The neighbouring town of Newcastle-under-Lyme (if you are not fan of walking, bus number 25 will take you directly from the campus to Newcastle), there are a number of nice coffee shops and restaurants, cinema, mini golf course, bowling alley and escape rooms. Newcastle-under-Lyme is also a home to New Vic theatre.

d. Festival Park is another great place to venture to – it has range of shops, restaurants, cinema, bowling alley, mini golf course, ski centre, and a waterpark.

e. Famous Alton Towers theme park is short journey away from Stoke-on-Trent. There are number of theme events on during the different times of the year at Alton Towers (such as Octoberfest or Scarefest, which takes place during Halloween). Besides the rides, Alton Towers have water park, mini golf course and a spa. Additionally, did you know that Staffordshire University runs a degree in partnership with Alton Towers Resort? If you decide to visit the Alton Towers, you are likely to meet a fellow Staffordshire University student!

Alton Towers attraction
Alton Towers attraction
  1. Stoke-on-Trent has a rich potteries heritage. Gladstone Potteries Museum or World of Wedgewood are the places to visit if you are interested in pottery. Even if you are not interested in pottery, I would highly recommend visiting Middleport Pottery, not least so because of its stunning location or fantastic view over the canal, or Emma Bridgewater factory in Hanley for an afternoon tea or giving a go at decorating pottery. Additionally, British Ceramics Biennial is fantastic event to visit (and to support your fellow Staffordshire University colleagues whose work is exhibited during the Biennial)!
  1. Stoke-on-Trent is a great place for those interested in running or hiking. Stoke-on-Trent hosts weekly parkruns at two locations: Trentham Gardens (and admissions to Gardens is free at the time of parkrun), and Hanley Park. In addition, there is also the Wammy park run in neighbouring Newcastle-under-Lyme. Additionally, University has its own running group (and range of other organised sport activities) – keep an eye on Sport at Staffs on Twitter for any announcements.

    For the keen runners, Stoke-on-Trent hosts annual Potters ‘Arf half-marathon. The challenging route (Stoke-on-Trent is a hilly place!) is open for walking or running and it takes you through various neighbourhoods of Stoke. The race finishes with the infamous Heartbreak Hill, which leads you back to the city centre. The atmosphere at the race is absolutely fantastic – lot of residents stand on the streets or in front of their houses to support walkers/runners!

    If you are interested in walking or hiking, Stoke-on-Trent is in a close proximity to several stunning walking or hiking location. Staffordshire University has its own nature reserve in case you want to stay on campus. Trentham Gardens or even Hanley Park in Stoke-on-Trent, or Knypersley Reservoir, Tittesworth Reservoir, and Rudyard Lake, in the close proximity of Stoke-on-Trent are all great locations for walking. Additionally, Stoke-on-Trent is in the close proximity to the Peak District for all interested in hiking, canoeing and other outdoor activities. If you are unsure of how to find great hiking trails, check out Walk the Moorlands group or keep an eye on Staffordshire Moorlands Walking Festival. If you like hiking, Staffordshire has its own Staffordshire 3 Peaks Challenge you can do!
Hanley Park
Hanley Park is right next to the campus – a regular park Run and other events are held there
  1. Stoke-on-Trent is well-linked to other cities in the UK. You are short train journey(s) away from Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Chester, beaches of Wales, or even London. Don’t forget to get your RailCard to get some discounts on your train journeys.

Staffordshire University has a range of unique business courses, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Whether you are interested in business management, innovation, entrepreneurship, finance, visitor attraction and resort management, or digital marketing, you will be taught by a team of friendly academics and practitioners, who will go an extra mile to support you in your academic journey and beyond.

All of our courses will provide you with a strong theoretical foundations, focus on application of the theory to real-life problems and discussion of contemporary issues, in order to prepare you for your future career. More information about our business courses is available on our website or you can visit one of our open days to find out more about what we have to offer.

Clearing at Staffordshire University

Clearing events available or call the Clearing team on 0800 590 830

Events for Autumn 2022 in Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire

Here’s a pick of some of the great events available if you are joining us at Staffordshire University this Autumn, places still available. There’s also a list of venues and other information sources at the end for more events

September

1st to 4th Trentham Live including Steps, Craig David, McFly and Secret Symphony

9-11th Lunar Cinema under the stars at Trentham Gardens

16th Jah Wobble and the Invaders of the Heart at Foxlowe Centre, Leek

17th Lost in music – One Night at the Disco in the Victoria Hall

18th Dawn French at the Victoria Hall

23rd Comedy – Russell Kane at the Victoria Hall

26th Black Umfolosi – music and dance from southern Africa at the New Vic

29th Sept Tim Peake – my journey into space at the Victoria Hall

Trentham Live – four nights of music in September

October

3rd Music – The Daisy Chains at the New Vic

6th Simon Parker – Cycling 3,500 miles round pandemic Britain Stafford Gatehouse

7-9th, 14 – 31st Scarefest at Alton Towers

31st Henry Blofeld: My dear old things at New Vic

November

1st-2nd The Tiger who came to tea at the Regent Theatre, Hanley

3rd Comedy – Dom Joly’s Holiday snaps at the Mitchell Arts Centre

4th Music – Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra at the Victoria Hall

10th The Psychology of Serial Killers at the Victoria Hall

11th Comedy – Kathryn Ryan Missus at the Victoria Hall

23rd Comedy – Mark Steel at the New Vic

Useful entertainment links

Clearing at Staffordshire University
Clearing open – 0800 590 830

Clearing events available or call the Clearing team on 0800 590 830

Do we really need to wait another generation for Clean Air?

By Jon Fairburn, Professor of Sustainable Development

Poor air quality is responsible for over 35,000 deaths in the UK every year and hundreds of thousands of ill-health episodes.

Last Autumn the World Health Organization (WHO) released new standards for air quality as a result of research showing that air pollution causes problems in every part of the body. Furthuremore, air pollution is worst in the most deprived areas across Europe and these are also often populations that are more vulnerable as well.  

WHO have set an annual mean target of 5 ugm3 for Particulates (PM2.5) and WHO states “Exceedance of the air quality guideline levels is associated with important risks to public health”.

What has been the government’s response? As it happens the Environment Bill is going through Parliament and they are currently out to consultation on what the targets should be – their suggestion a target of 10 ugm3 by 2040! Note the consultation closes 27th June

So, they propose a target that is twice the WHO standard to be met in a generation. Why does air pollution have such a low priority in Britain? In part because there has been a marked political reluctance to change policy and behaviours – failures include:

a. Deregulation of buses outside London which led to a steep fall in bus use.

b. The lack of cheap, reliable and extensive mass transport in most cities outside London.

c. A failure to develop active transport including dedicated integrated cycle lanes in towns and cities

d. Failure to regulate or ban wood burning stoves which now account for 40% of PM2.5 emissions and which continue to grow in use.

e. A virtual complete lack of air quality enforcement by local authorities. (The Guardian report in 2021 there had only been 19 penalities in 6 years by local authorities).

If you want to find out your local level of pollution have a look a this site https://www.addresspollution.org/

The University is a partner in #CleanAirDay

I maintain an air quality list on twitter here

The House of Commoms Public Affairs Committee is currently calling for evidence to tackle local air quality breaches – closing deadline 20th June

New Tourism paper from Dr Muddasar G Khwaja and colleagues

Linking Regenerative Travel and Residents’ Support for Tourism Development in Kaua’i Island (Hawaii): Moderating-Mediating Effects of Travel-Shaming and Foreign Tourist
Attractiveness in Journal of Travel Research

by U Zaman, M Aktan, J Agrusa & M G Khwaja

Abstract

“Leaving the place behind, better than before” is the regenerative state-of-mind approach to reset, rethink and move forward, beyond sustainable tourism. Despite growing global attention, empirical evidence supporting tourism developments through regenerative travel remains extremely rare. Moreover, rampant incidents of travel-shaming across tourism destinations undermine foreign tourist attractiveness, ultimately affecting residents’ support for tourism developments. To address this overlooked and potential research gap, the present study develops and tests a holistic moderated-mediation model of resident’s support for tourism development, involving regenerative travel, travel-shaming and foreign tourist attractiveness.
Drawing on study data from 463 islanders in Kauai (Hawaii) and the use of structural equation modeling via Mplus, the study provides pioneering evidence on the effects of regenerative travel on residents’ support for tourism development, under moderating-mediating influence of travel-shaming and foreign tourist attractiveness. The present study implications extend to the development and validation of a new scale for regenerative travel. The study findings offer strategic insights and directions for imagining new business models, resources, and relationships within regenerative tourism in the post-pandemic world.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00472875221098934

Congratulations on this publication in a prestigious Q1 journal!

Muddasar teaches on a range of courses in the Business School including the MBA and the MSc in Digital Marketing Management

Business Warfare with Francis Jackson

Tom Lovelock, Visitor Attraction and Resort Management Student


On 13th May 2022, second year students from the Visitor Attraction and Resort Management course at Staffordshire University attended an engaging business strategy talk at Alton Towers from the General Manager, Francis Jackson.

This honest review talk and Q & A from Francis is part of the students strategy module with the university. Alton Towers and Staffordshire University have a successful partnership which is 6 years strong, and this talk is just one of the many opportunities the students get.

Francis started the meeting by giving brief information about his career background and history. He explained about his transfer from a humble Ski Resort in Australia to the theme park giant that is Alton Towers. Francis believes that Merlin is a “Juggernaut in the visitor attraction industry”, but what gives them the competitive advantage?

The group was taught how important the delivery of the Merlin product can be to being one step ahead of competition. From guest experience and satisfaction to how immersive and impressive the theme park looks, Francis covered how important these high standards are to staying on top. However, he also explained how the core values of the company can sometimes get lost. For Alton Towers, ‘joyful’ should be the absolute minimum that guests get out of their day.

Merlin is primarily driven through marketing and Francis revealed to students just how competitive the tourism industry can get. “Business isn’t cozy” – (Francis Jackson 2022) Gaining the competitive advantage can be brutal, companies can use aggressive war-like tactics to overwhelm their competitors. For Alton Towers: third parties, new and innovative products and tactical marketing are all major factors in their strategy to stay on top and be a world class destination.

As the talk came to a close, Francis gave some advice for students as future leaders. Tourism is one big turf war and Francis let students know this. He explained how academic studies and knowledge mixed with heart and passion will make for amazing opportunity and can take you anywhere you want to go.

Business and Management REF 2021 Results

By Prof Jon Fairburn – Lead for Business and Management UoA

Business and Management research has been highly rated by peers and stakeholders in the HE sector. Our work is interdisciplinary and highly collaborative with members in several research centres across the University. Our research has focused on:

  • Emerging markets
  • Inequalities, employment and welfare
  • Innovation and leadership

The results

4* research is defined as ‘Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.’

3* Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which falls short of the highest standards of excellence

4*3*2* 1*
Overall2843290
Outputs26.143.530.40
Impact505000
Environment025750
Full results including case studies can be found at https://www.ref.ac.uk/

As a group of Applied Researchers we are especially pleased to have our work so highly rated on impact (our Environment statement documents many examples of this) including work at the local, regional, national and international level. We have made extensive contributions to the tackling austerity, economic development in the Balkans and environmental justice nationally and internationally as well as a range of projects for sustainable businesses. In terms of Impact we are now ranked 17th in the country.

106 units were submitted to the Business and Management panel and Staffordshire Business School now ranks joint 51st in the sector overall.

I’d like to say a big thank you to all of the staff submitted to the unit, the team at RIIS including Tim Horne, Jackie Reynolds, Cathal Rogers, Emma Davies, Holly Hoar, Yolanda Granja-Rubio. For research and review Ema Talam, Sarah Beighton and Bella Reichard. Thank you also to Deans and senior managers during the REF period including Susan Foreman, Peter Jones, David Williamson, June Dennis, Hazel Squire and Angela Lawrence.

If you would like to see our current research in the School then please have a look at this blog

Find out about our Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Business courses here

Jon Fairburn tweets @ProfJonFairburn or email him at jon.fairburn@staffs.ac.uk

Some examples of outputs during the period

Student visit to Alton Towers Hotel

Studying Visitor Attraction & Resort Management opens up a wide range of roles for students from working on rides at Scarefest, to working in the hotels over the Christmas period. This allows me to gain new and exciting experiences in a fast paced industry, which also allows us to network with industry specialists. As part of the course students complete 10 weeks of paid placement with Alton Towers Resort. Placement is important for studying Visitor Attraction & Resort Management, as this allows students to apply the theory learnt in lectures to practice. There are a range of modules in Visitor Attraction & Resort Management; for example business based modules such as Human Resources, Operations management, to more creative based modules e.g. Brand Me presentations and Strategic Management, where students get to design and market a theme park.

As part of our course, this week we attended the Hotel & Hospitality tour and Q&A session with the Alton Towers reception, housekeeping and leisure team to discuss the operations behind the hotels. Visits are important as it allows students to learn on the job, students have the amazing opportunity to talk directly to heads of departments and apply this to our assignments. For example, In year 1 students undertake a Hotel and Hospitality module.  From the Q&A session students were able to ask “How does Alton Towers compete with their competitors?” and “How do hotels use capacity management to keep the hotels profitable?”.

Attaining a degree with Staffordshire University “can help fast track your career at Alton Towers to help progress to a managerial role” the Head of Front of office exclaimed. With a degree, students can learn the theory behind resort strategy and allows students to go in any direction in the future. With being a student in a small group of individuals, this helps differentiate yourself from other more traditional courses. As this is the only course in the country that allows students to attain a degree and work in conjunction with one of the UK’s most popular theme park.


New member of staff – Dr. Joe Hazzam, Lecturer in Digital Marketing

Dr. Joe Hazzam has joined as a  Lecturer in Digital Marketing in the Department of Business and Law, School of Justice, Security and Sustainability, Staffordshire University, United Kingdom.

He holds Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Marketing from the British University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He possesses corporate experience of more than eighteen years, and teaching experience of more than four years. He has designed and delivered Digital Marketing Professional courses supporting 38 entrepreneurs and marketing practitioners to develop and execute digital marketing strategies including SEO, PPC search and display campaigns, social media and email campaigns.

photo of Dr Joe Hazzam
Dr Joe Hazzam has extensive experince of digital marketing and also publishes research on this theme

Before joining Staffordshire University, he has served as Lecturer and the Head of the Marketing department at The British University in Dubai, and as an adjunct Lecturer at University of Wollongong Dubai. He is a Certified Practising Marketer from the Australian Marketing Institute. He is a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA) and the Australian Marketing institute.

His research portfolio includes several research papers published in the top-tier marketing journals such as Journal of Strategic Marketing and Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice among others. His scholarly interests are broadly within the field of international and digital marketing. He is particularly interested in the development of cross-cultural, digital and social media marketing capabilities that may play a role in improving customer experience and organisational performance.

Moreover, he is an expert in data analysis using SPSS and AMOS statistical packages, Structural equation modelling and multi-group moderation analysis, Search engine marketing including search engine optimisation and pay per click search, display google campaigns, Social media campaigns including Facebook business manager and LinkedIn, Email campaigns using Mailchimp and constant contact, Website optimisation using WordPress content management system.

Dr Hazzam will be teaching on the MSc in Digital Marketing Managment and the BA in Digital and Soical Media Marketing

He will be presenting some of his research in an online seminar (all welcome) – register on the link The impact of social media technologies on organization cultural intelligence and new product development in international market  by Dr Joe Hazzam March 30 2022

Google scholar       LinkedIn    ResearchGate   ORCID

New member of staff – Dr. Muddasar Ghani Khwaja, Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing

Dr. Muddasar Ghani Khwaja has joined as a Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing in the Department of Business and Law, School of Justice, Security and Sustainability, Staffordshire University, United Kingdom.

He holds Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Marketing from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Malaysia. He possesses corporate experience of more than seven years, and teaching experience of more than five years. He has worked in different capacities at leading multinational corporations such as the British Council, Nestle, the Coca-Cola Company and Marriott Hotel.

New member of staff - profile photo
#Digital marketing specialist

Before joining Staffordshire University, he has served in senior academic positions at University of Westminster in Tashkent, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, Webster University, SZABIST University, and UCSI University Malaysia. He had been a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA).

He has published more than twenty research studies in reputed academic research journals. He has also presented his research papers in leading international and national research conferences.

Moreover, he has been providing trainings on quantitative and qualitative research-based tools like SPSS, AMOS, R, Mplus, SmartPLS and NVIVO. He is a proficient user of digital marketing tools like Power BI, Alexa and Tableau. His research interests include digital marketing, marketing analytics, tourism marketing, technology management, and consumer psychology

Dr Khwaja will beteaching on the MSc in Digital Marketing Managment and the BA in Digital and Social Media Marketing

He will be presenting some of his research in an online seminar (all welcome) – register on the link Factors leading to Sustainable Consumption in the Digital Context: Empirical evidence from the emerging markets by Dr. Muddasar Ghani Khwaja April 27 12-1

Linkedin  ResearchGate   Google Scholar   ORCiD  Publons  Scopus ID

Creating a visitor attraction in 10 weeks!

Heather Wingfield – Second year Visitor Attraction and Resort Management Student


On Friday the 28th of January the second year Visitor Attraction and Resort Management Students had the opportunity of presenting a Visitor Attraction to members of the senior leadership team at Alton Towers Resort. As part of the Business Development and Sales Management module we were tasked with creating a feasible visitor attraction in just ten weeks! Working in small groups we designed everything from logos to rollercoasters and even the small details of the operational features.

The group I worked in created the Highlandia Resort. This would be Scotland’s first indoor theme park, located in Livingston, aimed at the family market. Week one consisted of deciding which of our dream rollercoasters we wanted to put into our theme park, from there we developed six themed areas, 14 food and beverage outlets and a yearlong event schedule. After completing several placements at the Alton Towers Resort and visiting many theme parks over our lifetimes this didn’t feel like a university assignment!

By week four we had decided upon the basics for the Highlandia Resort and began to use our knowledge acquired from the first year of our degree to write a 2,000-word feasibility report. This report consisted of market research, a competitor analysis and even a marketing strategy for our theme park!

Before we knew it, it was week ten. We had compiled our theme park into a 15-minute presentation for the judging panel, we were joined by Kate McBirnie, Head of Guest Excellence at Alton Towers Resort. After many rehearsals we began our presentation, a nerve wracking yet rewarding experience. We knew our product inside out and presented it while the judging panel enjoyed afternoon tea with a Scottish twist! After the presentation we felt very proud at what we had been able to achieve in just ten weeks, but also a little bit sad that it was all over! This module has definitely been my favourite on the Visitor Attraction and Resort Management course, on what other degree do you get to design your own theme park?!


FdA Visitor Attraction and Resort Management is a unique course taught in partnership with Alton Towers Resort, part of the World renowned Merlin Group. It includes 20 weeks paid work experience, and the opportunity to top up to a BA (Hons) degree in your third year.