Conservation of the Żejtun Roman Villa
Three University of Malta Faculties are collaborating closely in an interdisciplinary project to conserve a remarkable but little-known site. Lying in the grounds of the Żejtun St Thomas More College are the remains of one of the very few Roman villa sites to survive in Malta. These remains, discovered in 1961, were first excavated in 1964; annual excavation projects later on took place from 1972 to 1976, led by the Museums Department. These resulted in the uncovering of the ruins of a Roman villa spread over an area of about 2000 square metres, consisting of an industrial area, where olive oil was produced, alongside a residential area with lozenge-shaped tile floors and plastered walls with painted decoration.
The exposure of the remains of this villa to the elements over the last thirty years has led to the widespread deterioration of the site. In the residential zone this is particularly evident for the tiled floors and especially for the plaster remains which are detaching and where the painted decorations are now only barely visible.
Excavations were resumed in 2006 by the Department of Classics and Archaeology of the University of Malta. In 2009, the University of Malta embarked on the current multidisciplinary project to improve and enhance knowledge of the site, and to plan its conservation, in collaboration with Din l-Art Ħelwa and the HSBC Malta Foundation.
The conservation strategy is being coordinated by the Department of the Built Heritage (Faculty for the Built Environment), and has been drawn up in collaboration with the Department of Classics and Archaeology. The recording, assessment and monitoring of the state of conservation of the decorated areas has been carried out in collaboration with conservation students and staff of the Conservation Division of Heritage Malta. Works are now in hand to design, build and install a lightweight shelter to protect the tiled and plastered areas of the site. Students of the Faculty for the Built Environment are designing the temporary shelter which will provide protection from the harmful effects of rain and sun. The materials used for the construction of the shelter are being tested at the laboratories of the Faculty of Engineering. Environmental monitoring and recording are also in place to allow comparison of microclimatic conditions before and after the installation of the shelter. The emergency conservation of detaching plaster and loose tiles will also be undertaken in the short term. More long-term action will include the erection of a permanent shelter over the residential area, and research into methods to prevent the re-growth of vegetation.
Aerial photograph of the remains of the Roman villa inside the grounds of the secondary school,
St Thomas More College in Żejtun
(source: Armed Forces of Malta)
The residential area after the winter rains
(source: Żejtun Villa excavation project)
Vegetation growing in the space between wall face and dislodged plaster layer, scale bar 10 cm
(source: Żejtun Villa excavation project)
Vegetation growing among the lozenge-shaped tiles - some of which are dislodged and broken
(source: Jane Marie Vella on behalf of the conservation students)
Technical drawing of the temporary shelter to be erected over the residential area of the Roman villa (source: Kane Borg on behalf of design team members).
06 September 2011
Six Chapters by Dr Lawrence M. Agius
The following 6 chapters are authored by Dr Lawrence M Agius, Consultant Pathologist and Senior Lecturer in Pathology at the University of Malta/Mater Dei Hospital and have an international distribution:
- 'Parametric Determination of Hypoxic Ischemia in Evolution of Atherogenesis' by InTech publishers, accepted, in 2nd proofreading stage.
- 'Biology of apoptosis as predetermined carcinogenesis' (bookchapter) New apoptosis research, Nova Science.
- 'Does misfolded prion protein induce genetic dysregulation?²A hypothesis' (book chapter) Prions: new research. Novapublishers.
- 'Biology of chemokine operability-- Expert Commentary', Chemokine Research Frontiers, Novapublishers.
- 'Chemokine action involves self-perpetuating transformation in inflammation and carcinogenesis' (bookchapter) Chemokine Research Frontiers, Novapublishers.
- 'Transforming potentiality in breast carcinogenesis' (bookchapter), Current Research in Tumorigenesis, Novapublishers.
- 'Derived characterization of malignant tumor spread as carcinogenesis-- Expert Commentary'. Current Research in Tumorigenesis, Novapublishers
- 'Neuroinflammatory onset dynamics and progression in Alzheimer's disease' (bookchapter). Recent Research in Alzheimer's disease, Novapublishers.
06 September 2011
Erasmus Intensive Programme
Erasmus Intensive Programme
Sustainable Construction - Principles, Tools and Methods
The Faculty for the Built Environment of the University of Malta has recently partnered with 5 other universities and successfully obtained EU funding to organise an Erasmus Intensive Programme under the thematic Sustainable Construction – Principles, Tools and Methods. Sustainability issues are at the core of today’s decision making. Moreover buildings represent a significant consumer of resources be they water, energy or materials. Hence sustainable construction is of utmost relevance to sustainable development.
Apart from the Faculty for the Built Environment of the University of Malta, the other five Universities were:
• Department of Civil Engineering, Frederick University Cyprus
• University of Seville, Spain
• University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Italy
• University of Algarve, Portugal
• Alexander TEI of Thessaloniki, Greece
The main objective of this Intensive Program (IP) was to convey to participants the principles and tools regarding the application of the basic principles of sustainability in the life cycle of buildings. Through this IP the meaning of sustainability, as this may be applied in the construction sector, was the principal focus together with the examination of design, construction, use, and decommissioning of buildings with a view to ensuring a more fruitful contribution towards curbing climate change and towards a more rational use of our resources. The course addressed issues such as sustainable planning and design, the interactions between people, the environment and buildings, and the relationship between technology and sustainability.
Perit Kevin Gatt, Senior Visiting Lecturer responsible for water resources and waste management as well as their interactions within the context of sustainable development and climate change, was responsible from the Faculty for the Built Environment. Three final year students Sarah Borg, Lara Mifsud and James Schembri successfully completed this first IP which had an equivalent 5 ECTS in terms of credit value. These students were selected following a Faculty-wide call for applications and a selection process.
The first IP Course was held in Protaras, Cyprus
05 September 2011
Successful Joint Bid by University of Malta & iMovo
The University of Malta and iMovo Limited, a leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Business Intelligence (BI)company, have recently been awarded a research & innovation grant by the Malta Council of Science & Technology (MCST). The theme of the project is 'Digital Gaming Clouds for Mobile Users.'
The award followed a detailed evaluation of a number of bids competing for the R&I funding made available by the MCST. Led by Dr Ing. Saviour Zammit, project co-ordinator, and Dr Ing. Adrian Muscat, project technical co-ordinator, the team is tasked with putting together a platform that will enable well known PC games to be available to mobile users on smartphones.
The project has attracted interest from Vodafone UK which has offered to provide technology support including access to a node on its prototype 4G network in Europe.
'This successful award reflects the excellent relationship and interaction that has developed between the University and iMovo over the past several months, almost since iMovo’s inception. This collaboration is a natural step for us as a company and is in line with our vision. We believe the potential of bringing the creativity of a university alongside the dynamics of a young energetic company to be the formation of a great melting pot for ideas from which innovation can spring. We also believe that both parties have a lot to learn from each other – both in terms of technical expertise and research techniques as well as commercialisation of concepts which might be new to the market,' said Pierre Mallia, Managing Director of iMovo.
Professor Juanito Camilleri, the Rector of the University of Malta, reiterated the University’s commitment to collaborate with and support innovative start-up ventures in various spheres of technology. He stated that the MCST R&I Grant Programme has over the years seen a number of local companies partnering with the University on very interesting joint research projects, all of which have a practical or commercial slant. 'I am delighted to see this collaboration between the University and iMovo take off. Given iMovo’s focus and approach we are confident that this collaboration will be very successful for both organisations.' the Rector said.
left to right: Rector Prof. Juanito Camilleri, Mr Pierre Mallia Managing Director iMovo, Dr Ing. Saviour Zammit and Dr Ing. Adrian Muscat
19 August 2011
New Book: Storja tal-Estetika Letterarja Maltija
Malta University Press has recently published the book Storja tal-Estetika Letterarja Maltija (A History of Maltese Literary Aesthetics) by Josette Attard. This book presents the aesthetic, literary ideas expressed by Maltese writers of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Chronologically it discusses various themes dispersed in sundry journals, forwards, manuscripts, letters, learned papers and so on.
The main aim of this book is to trace the development of some of the aesthetic ideas over a span of two hundred years. The footnotes present a comparative element with principal European currents in the same field of specialisation, while setting the local writings within a European framework. Recurrent themes, such as the concepts of the Beautiful, Art and Literature, together with the definition of poetry and the function of the poet in a social network, have developed during different periods. The definition of the novel, for example, has changed substantially in the period from the romantic era up to modern times. Once the majority of literary, aesthetic writings were collected in an anthology by the same author in another volume, the next step was their analysis in order to form a whole, organic work.
Writing a history of aesthetics is quite abstract as only concepts and ideas are involved which eventually establish themselves as the years unfold. But it also involves an input from the reader or the researcher in that he has to understand well the development of the philosophical-aesthetic discussion from the beginning until the modern era. This volume acts as a means of information for the student, the researcher and all those who may be inclined to learn more about Maltese authors and their aesthetic works.
This book offers the diachronic history of Maltese aesthetic thought, with its five chapters focussing on an eighteenth century highlighted by M.A. Vassalli as a pioneer of Maltese language and literary discourse, the nineteenth century, the first half of the twentieth century, the short period in the sixties in which a literary debate occurred and the Moviment Qawmien Letterarju was established, and the modern/contemporary era after Independence.
This volume also carries at the end a select bibliography which includes literary and critical texts, together with an exhaustive list of articles and some theses which were consulted during research. The name index provides a quick reference for the reader. A whole list of abbreviations used in the foot-notes is found at the beginning of the work.
Storja tal-Estetika Letterarja Maltija sells for 25 euro and is available from leading book shops or online from sierra-books.com or for further details visit the MUP website.
19 August 2011
Theory in the Pathophysiology of Carcinogenesis
Theory in the Pathophysiology of Carcinogenesis by Bentham Science Publishers is authored by Dr Lawrence M. Agius, Consultant Pathologist and Senior Lecturer in Pathology at the University of Malta and Mater Dei Hospital.
This e-book explains the essential role of angiogenesis in the progression and spread of the neoplasm, including the mechanics of initial carcinogenesis in promoting malignant transformation. The e-book deals with specific categories or subtypes of tumors with some emphasis on astrocytomas and glioblastoma
multiforme. The process of carcinogenesis has been re-interpreted in terms of deranged physiologic principles and hence reference is made to what upsets homeostatic mechanisms.
Readers of this e-book will have an opportunity to appreciate the essential role of angiogenesis not only in progression and spread of the neoplasm but especially also in the mechanics of initial carcinogenesis in promoting malignant transformation. This e-book should be a useful reference for scholars and clinicians interested in learning about cancer pathophysiology.
11 August 2011
University leads Research on Online Social Media
A team led by Dr Noellie Brockdorff from the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences of the University of Malta is leading research about the behaviour of online users in social media including Facebook and Twitter. This is part of CONSENT a research project which groups 19 partners from 13 countries and which is being supported with 2.6 million Euro of funding by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme.
One of the key changes in societal trends and lifestyles witnessed over the past few years has been the move on-line of many consumers and the way they have become increasingly sophisticated in their media consumption habits. When visiting a website users are often asked to give personal information. The website generally asks users' permission to use this information, a process called the obtaining of consent. The CONSENT project seeks to examine how consumer behaviour and commercial practices are changing the role of consent in the processing of personal data. Consumer consent is a fundamental value on which the European market economy is based, and the project studies the way consumer consent is obtained in popular user-generated online services such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter whose commercial success depends to a large extent on the disclosure by their users of substantial amounts of personal data.
The CONSENT project has launched an online survey across all of Europe in most of the languages of the European Union to collect the views of internet users. Responses to this survey will be studied and feedback obtained will be taken into consideration when preparing policy briefs for the European Commission. This is a real opportunity for online users to influence the way how things are run on the internet since the results of the survey will be taken into consideration when preparing new European policies and laws about internet use. The survey is available online.
The CONSENT project commenced in May 2010 as is expected to run until April 2013. Other researchers in the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences at the University of Malta contributing to this project include Professor Saviour Chircop, Professor Albert Caruana and Mr Marco Montalto.
Dr Noellie Brockdorff leads discussion on the online questionnaire during CONSENT meeting in Rome
05 August 2011
Banif Bank CEO Joaqim Silva Pinto Visits Restoration Project
Banif Bank CEO Joaqim Silva Pinto visits restoration of Early Renaissance Enthroned Madonna and Child at ReCoop Restoration Laboratories. Banif Bank is sponsoring the Restoration intervention. This is one of important initiatives of the Department's Research Programme for the study of Late Medieval and Early Renaissance Art directed by Professor Mario Buhagiar and Ms Charlene Vella.
29 July 2011
Prof. Carmel Borg - Malta's Representative in ALLUME
With their accumulated knowledge and experiences, universities constitute a very powerful resource across many fields. The vision of a Lifelong Learning (LLL) University perpetuates universities' central role as power houses of knowledge while emphasising democratic access as well as community-oriented policies, strategies and pedagogies.
Lifelong Learning Universities are characterised by a new relationship with students. Such universities are flexible with regard to access, recognising non-traditional qualifications as significant indicators of potential. Lifelong Learning Universities are flexible with regard to accreditation of prior learning, recognising that in many areas skills and knowledge gained through work and other activities are as valuable as traditional university qualifications. Lifelong Learning Universities are also flexible with regard to curriculum, acknowledging that a diverse range of student needs has to be met and that timetables should not restrict flexibility.
In 2008, The European University Association (EUA) published a Charter that addresses the implementation of lifelong learning strategies in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). A consortium of HEIs from Malta, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, The Netherlands, Portugal, and the UK, led by EUCEN (European University Continuing Education Network) is contributing to the implementation process of the Charter’s vision through an Erasmus project – ALLUME (A Lifelong Learning University Model for Europe). The project is based on best practices at work in universities which have already developed successful lifelong learning strategies.
The main deliverable of the ALLUME project is the production of a set of guidelines to assist European universities to become LLL institutions. The guidelines will be presented at the final dissemination conferencce in Barcelona, between 12-13 September 2011. The guidelines are based on: 10 case studies focusing on progress in the implementation of LLL strategies in line with the ten commitments of the Charter; a transversal analysis of the case studies; and the testing of the guidelines within institutions which do not have a history of conscious implementation of LLL strategies.
Malta’s representative in this project is Professor Carmel Borg, former dean of the Faculty of Education, University of Malta. Prof. Borg is also involved in a related project that is focusing on adapting training materials related to the implementation of lifelong learning policies within HEIs.
29 July 2011
Exploring Malta’s Welfare Model
A paper by Michael Briguglio and Ian Bugeja entitled 'Exploring Malta’s Welfare Model' [PDF] has recently been published in the Bank of Valletta Review.
The paper compares the Maltese welfare state with other mainstream welfare regimes. It makes use of Esping-Andersen’s concepts of decommodification and stratification, whilst also looking at political and ideological factors. The European context in general, as analysed by Roche, and the Southern European context in particular, as analyzed by Ferrera, are given particular attention. For this purpose, qualitative interviewing and analysis of secondary data was analysed through a sociological perspective. The paper argues that Malta has a hybrid model which does not neatly fit in one particular model of welfare. Indeed it has similarities and differences with other welfare models such as the Liberal, Social-Democratic, Continental and Southern European. However Malta must also keep in line with targets set by the European Union, which in turn are likely to influence Malta’s welfare model.
22 July 2011
22 May 2013