Child of the Windrush generation determined to make Bristol better

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Carole Johnson was appointed Deputy Lord Mayor of Bristol City Council 2020 – 2021.

Her strong sense of civic duty and her commitment to unlocking the agency of Bristol’s BAME communities is driven by her life experiences.

The daughter of Jamaican parents, Winston and Patricia Johnson, Carole was born in the UK.

Her parents moved here from Jamaica separately to London and Birmingham, in 1959 and 1961 respectively. They were full of hope, based on the promise of a ‘better’ future. But her parents, with others in their generation, subsequently felt bitterly let down by the British government.

Carole’s mother, Patricia Johnson
Carole’s parents Winston and Patricia Johnson on their wedding day in the UK

Carole’s family moved to Bristol in 1976 and she attended St George’s Secondary School until 1982, before qualifying both as a teacher and social worker at UWE Bristol. She now lives in East Bristol. As a first-generation mother of two primary-aged children, she’s keenly aware of the inequalities still in existence in the city.

Carole explains,

“My vision is to lay foundations which create a climate of perennial change that positively impacts future generations. I’m passionate about readdressing the current societal imbalances in our city, so our children can inherit a world of increased and increasing equity and equal life chances.”

Carole Johnson

Dedicated to supporting her community

Carole’s working and personal achievements span politics, education, law, health and community life in Bristol and the South West region.

She is proud to have been Deputy Lord Mayor of Bristol City Council this year, only the third woman of Caribbean descent since 1899, and an elected local councillor for Ashley Ward in Bristol (2016 – 2021). Her duties extended to serve also as Deputy Cabinet Minister for Communities, Equalities and Public Health.

As Magistrate, she presides over 621 Magistrates as Deputy Bench Chairman for Avon and Somerset, the first of BAME descent in the region. This year, Carole founded the first Magistrates Black Asian and Ethnic Minority and Allies Support Group.

She is also Interim Chair and Non-Executive Director of St Paul’s Carnival and served as school governor to St Barnabas, Easton Academy, St Patrick’s and Hope Virtual School as well as hospital governor for University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.

Carole pictured in Deputy Lord Mayor civic regalia, August 2020

Windrush Ambassador

Following the Windrush scandal in which British Citizens with Caribbean backgrounds were threatened with deportation, a new working group was set up to address the challenges faced by the Windrush generation.

In 2020 Carole was appointed as one of 41 Windrush Ambassadors tasked with raising awareness of the Windrush Compensation Scheme. The collective work of the group received praise from the Home Office as huge progress was made, notably the lowest compensation award was raised from £250 to £10,000.

Windrush Generations project at UWE Bristol

It was in light of all of this work and her leadership in BAME communities that Carole was asked to share both her personal and professional experience with the UWE Bristol community through the Windrush Generation project. The project has explored, celebrated and documented the contribution of the Windrush generation in Bristol, British societies and across the African Diaspora.

Since both of her parents are now deceased, Carole’s commitment to telling the story of their lived experience is even stronger. For Carole it’s a matter of legacy and it’s of incredible historical importance that their whole lives are remembered and recorded correctly for future generations.

 “The best thing about the Windrush Generations project has been having the opportunity to share the Windrush Experience cross generationally. This supports the legacy and provides a vehicle for the truth of their stories to be told.”

Carole

Learn more about the project and watch films of the online workshops on the Windrush Generation project webpages.

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Designing for good causes: graduate showcases and charity campaigns

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BA(Hons) Graphic Design alum, and Creative Director of Rhombus Studio, James Ratcliffe is partnering with UWE Bristol again this year to create Showcase *, a digital platform promoting the talent of our 2021 creative graduates.

James first designed the site last year, to provide an online exhibition space when a physical exhibition wasn’t possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The online showcase will soon be filled with the work of hundreds of this year’s graduating talent from 25 of UWE Bristol’s creative programmes across art, design, animation, fashion, media, performance, photography and filmmaking.

“It’s an honour to be able to build a digital showcase for a university I owe so much to. The website will hopefully be a vital tool for both students and employers for years to come.”

James said.

Academics working with Rhombus Studio praised their design-led approach which resulted in an elegant and simple interface that puts the focus on new talent.

Hoardings from 2020’s Showcase campaign

Campaign design for charities during the pandemic

James has been busy working on several projects with charities during the COVID-19 pandemic.      

The studio created a brand identity for ‘Cheers Drive’ – a life-saving new food aid service in Bristol delivering food to homeless people during the pandemic. They have delivered 160,000 meals since launching.

‘Cheers Drive’, is a Caring in Bristol campaign. The charity works with the public and community partners to bring about lasting change for people experiencing, or at risk of homelessness in Bristol and beyond.

‘This City Can’, another ambitious appeal by Caring in Bristol, saw Rhombus collaborate with local illustrator Claire Shorrock and actor Joe Sims, to create a unifying animation that highlighted the rise in homelessness in Bristol.

Rhombus also worked on a pop art inspired identity for Fareshares’ FoodStock campaign, which has delivered food for over 2 million meals to people and institutions who need it.

Another highlight is an ongoing project for ‘Tap for Bristol’,  – an innovative donation scheme, with over 30 ‘Tap Points’ installed across the city so far, where people can donate to homeless charities using contactless payment.

Rhombus studio direction

Rhombus Studio is a multidisciplinary creative agency, specialising in brand identity, strategic campaigns, design-lead websites and animation.

In addition to their third sector clients, the studio enjoys working with a range of businesses. In the South West their clients include the likes of Temple Homes, Spaceworks and Farmfest, as well as international clients such as Seth Troxler and Groove Armada.

James co-founded the studio with his best friend in 2019.  He credits the course and tutors during his time at UWE Bristol for helping him develop the way in which he thinks and looks at things. It’s this, alongside his passion for typography, branding and design consistency that is making the business go from strength to strength.

James Ratcliffe

* This year’s online Showcase opens on 15 June.

UWE Bristol alumni – quick links

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