An African sculptor, who was forced to abandon his education when his father had both his legs amputated, is being helped by a graduate of De Montfort University's MA in Design and Manufacture. Elliot Mkhungo, who supports his six siblings by sculpting birds from bulls' horns, is among a group of African designers and artists for whom Charles Kwame Tsakpo is trying to establish fair-trade deals. Mr Tsakpo is from Ghana and was sponsored by the British Council to take the De Montfort course. For his MA project, he set up a dummy website advertising the work of 12 designers and artists of African origin. The idea is to cut out the middlemen who exploit many artists in developing countries, says Mr Tsakpo. After graduating from the course earlier this month, he is now looking for funding to get the site live. Anyone interested in helping should contact Nick Higgett, the head of De Montfort's Digital Media Centre, on 0116-257 7566. The dummy website, which features Mr Tsakpo's own work, including clocks and prints, may be viewed at:

* Life coaches are all the rage and Exeter University is getting in on the act. An online version of its established MA in leadership studies, which includes individual coaching throughout the course, will start in January next year. The idea is to offer a non-residential course for busy executives - without compromising the standard of tuition offered. "We call this 'close learning' rather than distance learning," says the course leader Peter Case. A standard piece of life-coaching kit is a journal, which coaches encourage clients to use to record their progress and ideas, and this practice will feature in the course. "A journal enables the writer to capture thoughts and feelings rather than simply noting external details such as meeting arrangements and 'to do' lists," says Case. "Participants on our residential MA place a real value on visualising not only how far they have to go, but also how far they have come, so the journal was a 'must have' on the new course." For more details go to

* People who suffer from dry eyes are being sought by a PhD student at Aston University. Christine Purslow of Aston's anterior-eye research group is preparing to conduct a trial of topical medications to combat dry eyes, a condition that affects thousands of people in the UK, particularly contact lens wearers. "We are looking at the effects of what are known as artificial teardrops, and the temperature distribution they leave. It may be that the comfort of the drop is related to how it cools the eye down," says Ms Purslow. The trial will compare the efficacy of different drops, and volunteers of all ages are needed. They will be asked to make several visits to Aston, where they will be given drops and then filmed with a thermal camera to study the effects. The process is quick and painless, and travel expenses will be paid. Anybody interested should contact Ms Purslow on 0121-359 3611 ext 5175; or at