30 to watch – inspirational alumni, staff and students

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We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary. So we picked 30 brilliant alumni, staff and students who inspire us. Each of these individuals have talent, persistence and passion. All making important changes, not just in our community but in industry and society.

They are impressive now, so just imagine the impact they’ll have in the future.

Dr Deborah Adkins, Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Buildings

Deborah Adkins is an active member of UWE Bristol’s Changing Climate Network, enhancing our capacity and capability to respond to the climate crisis. She is working to address how we decarbonise the construction sector and adapt the built environment to cope in an adverse future climate. Deborah is also a member of the expert panel supporting Bristol’s Advisory Committee on Climate Change to help Bristol to net zero.

Find out more about Dr Adkins: www./people.uwe.ac.uk/Person/DeborahAdkins

Alisha Airey, BA(Hons) Business Studies (2012), Senior Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic Project Consultant, Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences (UWE Bristol)  

Alisha Airey has an impressive track record. She’s a multi-award-winning professional in the field of diversity, equity and inclusion. As the Senior Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic Project Consultant in the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, she leads and develops activities to support and empower minoritised students, including a Faculty wide Student Advocate Programme. Outside of work, Alisha is co-founder and director of a training and consultancy business specialising in race-equity training, including building anti-racist organisations, teams and policies.

Find out more about Alisha: www.//linkedin.com/in/alisha-airey

Arleta Andreasik-Paton, MSc Construction Project Management (2017)

Arleta was awarded Role Model of the Year 2018 at UK Construction Week. Since then she’s made impressive progress and she is now an Associate at Ridge and Partners LLP. A determined role model, she is passionate about equality and diversity within the industry and helping other young people find careers in construction. Currently Arleta is the lead Project Manager on the City Campus project for the University of Gloucestershire, which will see the former Gloucester Debenhams building being brought back to life.

Find out more about Arleta: www.linkedin.com/in/arleta-andreasik-paton

Jack Bennett, MA Animation (2017)

The man behind Sky TV show Dodo, Jack Bennett is a director, writer and animator. Dodo is based on an award-winning short animation Jack made when he was a student at UWE Bristol. Dodo explores the ups and downs of secondary school life. Currently Jack is working on another TV series (yet to be announced) with Wildseed Studios after reaching a deal for a new idea earlier this year.

Find out more about Jack: Twitter – @jackbennettfilm

Mevis Birungi, BSc(Hons) Psychology (2014)

Ugandan born writer, director and actor, Mevis left her job in healthcare to pursue a career as a filmmaker. She wrote, directed and stared in 2021’s Nakato – a New Creatives film supported by Arts Council England and BBC Arts. Her upcoming solo directorial debut What They Left is funded by the BFI Network and Produced by Blak Wave Productions.

Find out more about Mevis: Instagram – @mevcreative

Joyann Boyce, MSc Data Science student 

Joyann Boyce is an inclusive marketing expert. In 2017 she founded Arima&Co, providing marketers with the education, resources, and tools to make their brands more inclusive. Their impressive client list includes Coca-Cola and Nationwide. In 2021 she set up Inclued. ai, a software platform enabling content creators to identify negative bias that may be evident in language and images. Currently Joyann is studying MSc Data Science to better understand the way bias can affect data collection. 

Find out more about Joyann: Instagram – @joyannboyce

Daisy Bristow, BEng(Hons) Robotics student

Recognised with an industry Bright Sparks award this year, Daisy is an ambassador for science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM). She aims to inspire the next generation about STEM, recently working with outreach project Building to Break Barriers, using tools, interviews and tutorials to engage young people with Minecraft. Daisy’s focus is to aid visually impaired people with assistive robotics Machine Vision, and raise their standard of living. She also plans to campaign and educate for women’s rights in the STEM sector. 

Angharad Davies, BSc(Hons) Architecture (2021), MSc Computational Architecture (2023) 

Whilst studying at UWE Bristol Angharad developed Joey Pods for neuro-divergent people. The pods offer a new way for public spaces and businesses to cater for those with sensory processing difficulties. The modular structure is equipped with calming music and lighting, and provides a safe space to retreat to when feeling overwhelmed. Inspired by her autistic son Joey, the pods will be supplied to schools in October 2022 and to public events next year. 

Find out more about Angharad: www.joeypods.com

Josephine Gyasi, BSc(Hons) Creative Product Design (2018)

Maker Josephine Gyasi won best in show at the final year Creative Degree Show in 2018. She’s passionate about making socially engaged work and about raising the voices of under-represented people. She is a board member at Black Girl Convention and has worked with the likes of Rising Arts Agency and Play Disrupt – a leading community arts engagement organisation. She is currently Creative Producer at Bristol community arts organisation Knowle West Media Centre and an Associate Lecturer at UWE Bristol.

Katie Jaggon, BSc(Hons) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation student

Katie initiated important work within the university to decolonise the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation programme. Katie has led workshops on interrogating the issue of ‘white saviourism’ and understanding the urgent need to decolonise conservation. Building on this work, Katie is now actively working with her Programme Team and wider department to decolonise the whole subject area.

Henry James, MEng Mechanical Engineering (2021)

Henry’s project, GridGrow, was category winner in the UK STEM Awards 2020 Innovation Challenge. GridGrow’s modular houses provide a solution to two of the challenges of our time – climate change and a lack of affordable housing. The homes designed by Henry bypass the grid and use power sources such as wind, solar, and water. He hopes these homes will allow younger buys to climb the property ladder and leave a smaller carbon footprint behind.

Find out more about Henry: www.//uk.linkedin.com/in/henryojames

Arthur Keeling, BA(Hons) Business (Team Entrepreneurship), (2017)

Arthur Keeling is the founder of Indus Fusion, a software automation company whose application helps automate the delivery of crucial business processes, helping organisations be more productive. His team received a £75,000 award from Innovate UK in 2020 to support pathology labs during the Covid pandemic. Based at Future Space on UWE Bristol’s Frenchay Campus, IndusFusion is rolling out its software to support healthcare applications, including cell therapy laboratories, clinical drug trials support and critical facility management teams.

Find out more about Arthur: www.linkedin.com/in/arthur-keeling

Malaika Kegode, BA(Hons) Film Studies (2021)

Malaika Kegode is a writer, performer and producer. Outlier, Malaika’s debut theatre show ran at Bristol Old Vic in 2021 and will return for a second run this year. Her recent appointment as winner of the 2022 Kevin Elyot Award will support the development of new work. Her work has previously been shown at the Arnolfini in Bristol and she has curated for Watershed cinema. She is currently working on a play with the leading British African Theatre Company tiata fahodzi. 

Will Malcher, BSc(Hons) Adult Nursing (2020)

Will Malcher is a Senior Clinical Research Nurse with COVID and Infectious Diseases at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. In recognition of his outstanding practice, this year Will received a Florence Nightingale Award. During his time at UWE Bristol he was also awarded the Vice Chancellors Award for Representation. In addition to his clinical roles, Will is an accredited learning representative and steward for the Royal College of Nursing, representing members within his local hospital.

Find out more about Will: Twitter – @MalcherWill

Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee, MEng Aerospace Systems Engineering (2010)

Krystina Pearson- Rampeearee is a multi-award-winning Chartered Aerospace Engineer at BAE Systems. She is passionate about women in engineering and dedicates her time as an ambassador with young people. Krystina is keen to break stereotypes in the industry. After being told she didn’t look like an engineer, she started a small business in 2020 that creates badges promoting diversity in STEM. 

Find out more about Krystina: Instagram- @aviateher

Camilla Rigby, BA(Hons) Business Studies (2004)

Camilla co-founded The Women’s Work Lab. The Lab is a social enterprise that supports Mums to transform their lives by rebuilding confidence and helping them on their journey to find employment that works for them and their families. In 2020 they launched their first programme in Bristol with funding from Stepping Up at Bristol City Council and employer partners. Based on the success and popularity of the programme, they have expanded their provision and this year are offering six programmes across the South West.

Find out more about Camilla: www.womensworklab.co.uk/

Sarah Selby, Technical Instructor (Creative Technologies)

Sarah is a visual artist who uses software, programming and emerging technology. Her work asks critical questions about digital culture and its social, ethical and environmental implications. ‘Raised by Google’, her 2019 solo show, was featured in Timeout and FAD magazines. Her work to bring awareness to the effect of the digital on nature was recognised by Bristol’s Global Goals Centre’s COP26 environmental campaign. Sarah works as a Technical Instructor supporting Creative Technologies at Frenchay and City campuses.

Find out more about Sarah: www.sarahselby.co.uk

Dr Jack Spicer, BA(Hons) Criminology (2014), Doctor Of Philosophy (2019), Postgraduate Certificate Academic Professional Practice (2021)

Dr Spicer was awarded the prestigious Radzinowicz Prize by the Centre for Crime and Justice in 2021. His research and writing focus on the emergence of ‘county lines’ – the way city drug gangs expand their operation out into new, often more rural, territories. His work has exposed the practice of ‘cuckooing’, which involves dealers taking over the homes of vulnerable people as a base to store and sell drugs. Having recently been invited to parliament to give evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Spicer argues that the response to the rise of county lines should recognise it as a societal problem, requiring a coordinated response and progressive policy-making.

Find out more about Dr Spicer: www. Jack Spicer — the University of Bath’s research portal

Jamie Taylor, BA(Hons) Team Entrepreneurship student

Jamie founded The Greener Greens Co, a business that began on Frenchay Campus. The business offers hyper-local growing and supply of high-quality microgreens, salads, and herbs. Through collaborative research, the entrepreneur aims to lower energy usage and reduce the carbon footprint associated with existing supply chains.

Find out more about Jamie: www.thegreenergreens.com

Aisha Thomas, LLB(Hons) (2006)

Aisha was awarded an MBE this year for her services to education. In 2016, Aisha became Assistant Principal at an inner-city secondary school in Bristol. She presented a BBC Inside Out West show in 2018 about the lack of diversity amongst teachers in the city. In 2020 she founded Representation Matters, whose mission is to challenge the lack of representation and the inequality in our current education system.

Find out more about Aisha: Twitter @itsaishathomas

Jazz Thompson, BA(Hons) Illustration (2015)

Working with brands such as Adidas, Premiere League and Fifa, Jazz is as an illustrator and board member of Rising Arts Agency. Her Poetic Justice artwork of the toppling of the Colston statue was featured in a billboard campaign around Bristol in collaboration with Rising Arts Agency. She was commissioned to create a globe as part of The World Reimagined a public art sculpture trail soon to be unveiled in Bristol.

Stephanie Jay Udoh, PhD Biomedical Science student

Stephanie Jay is a PhD candidate, creative producer, and photographer. She founded SEPH Group in 2016, a creative management hub that nurtures creative talent, providing a platform for expression through art. Her work has been featured at the Arnolfini, the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4. Her first solo exhibition: Dance Articulate, is set to be at the UWE Engineering building in September this year. It promotes art as an alternative therapy for mental health issues, combining elements of dance, music and paint.

Find out more about Stephanie Jay: www.linkedin.com/in/stephanieudoh

Melanie Vaxevanakis, BA(Hons) Media, Culture and Practice (2017)

Melanie, founded The MAZI Project, an organisation empowering Bristol’s disadvantaged young people through food. They support young asylum seekers, care-leavers, youth recovering from homelessness and fleeing domestic violence. Melanie wants to create a city where access to fresh, sustainable and tasty food is not a privilege. Together with Bristol’s independent food sector, local community and partner charities she aims for vulnerable young people to experience the power of food and feel part of Bristol’s thriving community.

Find out more about Melanie – www.themaziproject.com

Lewis Wedlock, BSc(Hons) Psychology with Sociology (2019)

An activist, academic, social psychologist, and one of the UK’s youngest lecturers, Lewis has returned to UWE Bristol as an Associate Lecturer in Health and Applied Sciences. He is the creative director of ‘Black Bristol’ – an interactive timeline that aims to highlight Bristol’s often ignored black history. Lewis has been writing about and delivering sessions on the intersectionality of masculinity, and recently did a TEDx talk on The Divinity and Multiplicity of Masculinity.  

Find out more about Lewis: www.lewiswedlock.com 

Ben Williams, Senior Research Fellow: Air Quality Management Resource Centre

One of the UKs experts on airborne microplastics, Dr Ben Williams co-leads the Biospheric Microplastics Research Cluster (BMRC) at UWE Bristol. Ben received his first UK Research and Innovation grant for Homes under the Microscope, a citizen-led project to investigate airborne microplastics in the home. He is also developing airborne DNA sampling and analysis techniques for use in species identification, conservation, and biodiversity assessments.

Find out more about Ben:  www.//people.uwe.ac.uk/Person/Ben3Williams

Elias Williams, BA(Hons) Filmmaking (2018)

Elias’ graduate film, Samurai Blood, was screened at Encounters Film Festival and his BBC Arts short, Voodoo in ​My ​Heart, received an official selection for London Short Film Festival 2022. In 2017 Elias founded the online media platform, mandemhood.com, to provide a space for young men of colour to express themselves. ​Elias is currently working with his brother on a spiritual sequel to their micro-budget feature film Last Summer in Oxford, while also in early development on a separate feature project with fellow UWE graduate, Lowri Roberts.

Jamiee Williams, BA(Hons), Architecture & Planning (2011)

Welsh-born architect Jamiee Williams has a reputation as an instigator of change and a global pace-setter. She’s held lead positions in the creation of many innovation spaces in Denmark. Her work responds to the major societal and environmental challenges affecting people and our planet, and how we will live in our urban and rural contexts. Jamiee is currently working for a new philanthropic initiative dedicated to addressing architectures of planetary wellbeing.

Find out more about Jamiee: Instagram – @jamieemawilliams

Dr Rebecca Windemer, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Planning

Dr Windemer is an award-winning environmental lecturer. Her research into the future of onshore renewable energy infrastructure won the Energy-SHIFTS early careers research award for innovative research findings. It also won her the Economic and Social Research Council award for ‘Outstanding Early Career Impact’ 2021 for it’s impact on industry and for leading to changes in policy. As a member of the Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change, Dr Windemer is striving to help Bristol achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Find out more about Dr Windemer: Twitter – @RebeccaWindemer

Wenhao Zhang, MSc Advanced Technologies In Electronics (2013), PhD in Computer Vision (2016), Postgraduate Certificate Academic Practice (2019)

Wenhao Zhang works at the Centre for Machine Vision in the Bristol Robotic Laboratory and has forged a reputation as a leading academic in the field. His expertise spans computer vision, artificial intelligence, and electronics. Championing new research themes, Wenhao’s work has led to external collaborations in a variety of cross-disciplinary areas including healthcare technology and agricultural technology.

Find out more about Wenhao: www.//people.uwe.ac.uk/Person/WenhaoZhang

And finally, a company to watch (co-founded by alumni).

Ali Rohafza, BSc(Hons) Product Design and Technology

Sam Onwugbenu, BEng(Hons) Robotics (2016) and current PhD student

Frazer Barnes, BSc(Hons) Computer Systems Integration (2017) and Postgraduate Certificate Academic Professional Practice (2022)

Listed as one of the most innovative Bristol-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies, Ali and Sam are co-founders of Altered Carbon, with Frazer as the Technical Director. The company has developed technology that allows a scent to be identified as a digital fingerprint. When combined with artifical intelligence, the sensor technology they’re working on mimics the nose and brain’s ability to build memories. Based at Future Space, on Frenchay Campus Altered Carbon is working collaboratively with UWE Bristol to change the face of robotics.

Find out more about Ali: www.linkedin.com/in/ali-rohafza-

Find out more about Sam: www.linkedin.com/in/sam-onwugbenu-

Find out more about Frazer: https://www.linkedin.com/in/frazerbarnes/

Seriously good prizes for a great cause

Play our 30th anniversary prize draw for your chance to win one of 30 fantastic prizes, kindly donated from alumni and the wider UWE Bristol community.

100% of funds raised from ticket sales will go to the UWE Bristol Fund to support Student Hardship Grants.

Buy a ticket and find out more about other ways we’re celebrating 30 years of being a University.



UWE Bristol alumni – quick links

UWE Bristol Alumni homepage

Sign up for offers and fundraising and update your details

Join Alumni Connect online mentoring network

Explore Alumni benefits and discounts

Then and now: From floppy disks to webchat, we look at how life for UWE students has changed

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From a time when Frenchay Campus’ only computer room boasted just ten ‘computer terminals’, it’s safe to say things have changed.

Many of UWE Bristol’s campuses opened back in the 1960s and 70s as Bristol Polytechnic. During the past five decades the facilities available for students use have drastically changed. From word processing to digital technology, we take a look at how life for our students has transformed over the years. 

Teaching facilities transformed

From science, sound and nursing to filmmaking and fashion, how we teach and the equipment we use has changed greatly over the years.  We’ve gone into our archives and matched up some before and after pictures from across our faculties to highlight some of the changes that have reshaped how students learn.

Midwife training, 1997 prospectus
Midwife training 2022 with simulated newborn mannequin on replica ward at our Skills and Simulation Centre at Glenside Campus

Fashion studio in 1980
Fashion studio in 2010
Film and TV studio in 1979
Film and TV studio in 2018
The audio room in 1979
The sound studio in 2018
The building of Frenchay’s science department
Biology students in the lab in 1980
Biology students in the lab in 2020

‘Computer Appreciation’

From a 1989 prospectus

Back in 1979 we ran one course on computer programming and one named ‘Computer Appreciation’. Frenchay Campus possessed one ‘line printer’, a ‘graph plotter’ and ten computer terminals.

The Frenchay computer room 1979

From Xerox machines, floppy disks and CD ROMs to artificial intelligence and smart technologies, things have certainly moved forward. Who remembers the sound of an AOL dial up, or when we were excited about the information superhighway?

The Frenchay computer room 1980

Nowadays laptops, smart screens and open-access learning spaces proliferate. There’s a whole department dedicated to Computer Science and Creative technologies. We run an MSc in Artificial Intelligence, a BSc in Digital Media and MSc Cyber Security to name just a few.

Systems Analysis course 1979

Computer room in 1995

Sport through the years

Long before Frenchay Campus’ Centre for Sport opened in 2006, the all-weather hockey pitch was one of the campus’ original features and the only place to go to play team sports. Now students have access to an array of state-of-the-art sports facilities including the Centre for Sport and Hillside Gardens, which provides two artificial floodlit pitches, undercover seating for spectators and dugouts.

Frenchay Campus hockey pitch in the 1970’s
The hockey pitch in 1975
Frenchay campus astro pitch in 2014

Hillside Gardens in the late 2010’s (part of Frenchay Campus)

The changing face of our best loved library

At the heart of student life, Bolland Library is an original feature and has been on Frenchay campus since its completion in 1975. In 1980 the library held over 100,000 volumes and subscribed to over 12,000 journals, now the library has around 165,000 volumes and 249,000 electronic journals.

Bolland library in 1979 and 1995.
Two students studying individually, 1982.
A student uses the microfilm reader, 1982.

In recent years the library has had around £1.9 million investment. Now there are ways to read the books of Bolland Library without even setting foot in it. With the database of access to online resources, over half a million books and e-books can be consumed remotely.

Tell us your story

What facilities did you use as a student or staff? Have things developed much since you were at UWE? What do you remember most vividly?  

We’d love to hear your stories. Tell us what you’re doing now, share an old photo.

You can get in touch through our memories form or post on social media – tag us and use #30yearsofUWE

Seriously good prizes for a great cause

Play our 30th anniversary prize draw for your chance to win one of 30 fantastic prizes, kindly donated from alumni and the wider UWE Bristol community.

100% of funds raised from ticket sales will go to the UWE Bristol Fund to support Student Hardship Grants.

Buy a ticket and find out more about other ways we’re celebrating 30 years of being a University.


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UWE Bristol alumni – quick links

UWE Bristol Alumni homepage

Sign up for offers and fundraising and update your details

Join Alumni Connect online mentoring network

Explore Alumni benefits and discounts

Then and now: UWE Bristol campuses

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Our campuses are brimming with memories for hundreds of thousands of alumni, staff and students. They’ve been the backdrops to transformative times in our lives – be that our first time away from home, a move to a new job or city, or a change of direction. 

As well as setting the scene for our changing lives, they themselves have undergone many transformations and developments throughout the years.

Here’s a snapshot of our campuses through time.

Redland Campus

Teacher training in Redland, Bristol began in 1947 when Redland College was opened to fill a teacher shortage post-war. In 1976 both Redland College of Education, the Church of England’s teacher training centre and St Matthias College merged with Bristol Polytechnic to form six major locations: Ashley Down, Bower Ashton, Frenchay, Redland, St Matthias and Unity Street.

Redland College on Redland Hill, circa 1965 (main building, centre, and Malvern House, centre left) demolished in 2003. The St John-Reade Hostel was at Redland Green (bottom right and down a little), and is where the current Redland Green High School is located.

During the subsequent period, successful undergraduate Bachelor of Education courses (primary and secondary) were established alongside CPD and MA courses, as well as postgraduate teacher training routes (PGCEs).

The main Redland College site was built in 1960s and sat between Redland Hill, Durdham Park, Iddesleigh Road and Redland Road. Other nearby buildings provided additional teaching space and student accommodation. Redland Hill House and the Elm Lane / Malvern House buildings were also used for teaching, while a number of converted domestic buildings and the purpose-built St John-Reade Halls of Residence (at Redland Green) provided student accommodation.

Elm House student hostel circa 1969
Belle Vue male hostel on Grove Road in Redland
Redland Hill House (photo from www.about-bristol.co.uk)

In 2001 Redland Campus closed and the New Redland Building, now S block opened on Frenchay Campus.

Today the School of Education and Childhood is still based in S block. It’s one of the largest providers of initial teacher training in the region, offering high quality courses in Early Childhood Education, Teacher Training routes in Primary and Secondary Education (undergraduate and postgraduate), as well as Digital Education, Special Needs and Career Development. The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes include popular MA and doctoral programmes (EdD, IEdD and PhD).

S Block exterior

Glenside Campus

Glenside was built in 1861 but still looks largely unchanged today. The historic buildings juxtapose with the state-of-the-art simulation and virtual training facilities that are housed within.

Originally Bristol’s ‘Lunatic Asylum’, it was later used during the First World War to house wounded soldiers and was renamed Beaufort War Hospital.

Wounded soldiers stand outside Beaufort War Hospital

After the war it returned to housing patients and in 1959 was renamed Glenside Hospital. By 1992 the hospital was closing wards, and over the next three years was phased out, becoming the Avon and Gloucestershire College of Health.

Glenside Hospital after acquisition by UWE Bristol

UWE Bristol acquired the site in 1996 when it joined the College of Health to create the Faculty of Health and Social Care, now known as the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences.

This year, in one of the most ambitious simulation exercises hosted by UWE Bristol to date, a section of a Boeing 747 aircraft was transported onto Glenside Campus and a crash site wreckage was staged.

Students from across the university were involved, including paramedic, nursing, forensic science and filmmaking students. The exercise took nine months of planning and was supported by staff from Avon & Somerset Police, Avon Fire & Rescue Service and South Western Ambulance Service.

Air crash simulation exercise at Glenside Campus

Glenside continues to be a key space for the city’s mental health, now with a focus on making a positive change. Our BSc(Hons) Nursing (Mental Health) focuses on is dedicated to making a positive change in the field, encompassing improving access to healthcare, wellbeing, social inclusion and quality of life. Likewise, Glenside Hospital Museum is dedicated to preserving the buildings and artefacts to shine a light on historic treatments of mental health.

Glenside Campus now offers a wide range of health and social care disciplines.

Bower Ashton Campus

The West of England College of Art was established in 1969 in purpose-built premises at Bower Ashton. It moved from its previous location as the art school of the Royal West of England Academy in Clifton. In 1970 the College became part of Bristol Polytechnic.

Bower Ashton in the 1960’s
Bower Ashton in the 1980’s

By the early 1980s the site contained a theatre, library, exhibition, gallery and studio.

In 2008 Bower Ashton was redeveloped and UWE received an Environmental Award from Bristol Civic Society for the redevelopment. The original campus buildings also saw an upgrade with specialist teaching spaces added for Animation, Photography and Graphic Design.

Bower Ashtons’s 2008 award winning redevelopment
Bower Ashton’s Film Studio

2017 saw the opening of the Film Studios building, housing industry standard production and post production facilities for film making, animation and photography. The Design Studios followed.

The Design Studios

City Campus now connects our teaching and learning with some of the best creative and cultural organisations in Bristol. Our powerhouse of creativity encompasses Bower Ashton and shares three iconic harbourside buildings – Arnolfini, Spike Island and Watershed.

Frenchay campus

Named after the nearby village, Frenchay Campus was purpose-built on former farming land. Construction began in 1973 the doors opened for the first time in 1975.

The building of Frenchay campus 1973-1975
The building of Frenchay campus 1973-1975

Back then the campus was a group of lone standing buildings with very little in the surrounding areas. Professor of Contract Law Adrian Chandler speaking in 2012 recalls,

“There was a feeling of it being intimate, everything around was totally green, cut off from everywhere, traffic was wonderful!”.

Built in 1978 The Octagon in Frenchay has retained its original purpose as a place to serve the cultural, spiritual and social needs of staff and students. A sanctuary, place to reflect, relax and have some quite time of peace, prayer and meditation.

The building of the Octagon 1978
The Octagon in the 2010’s
Frenchay Campus circa early 1990’s
Frenchay’s B block in 2006

Expansion and development of the campus has been constant throughout the years. Most recently the impressive new Bristol Business and Law School opened in 2017 and the new Engineering building, which officially opened in 2021, has won multiple awards.

School of Engineering in 2020
Business and Law School in 2017

Note: For a full timeline, read UWE Bristol’s history webpage.

Remembering St Matthias campus

St Matthias Campus in the 90’s

A resident cat, impressive neo-Gothic architecture and picturesque gardens , St Matthias Campus is fondly remembered.

The buildings first opened in September 1853 as the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Training School for school mistresses – a pioneering institutions for women’s higher education.  In 1955, it changed it’s name to the College of St Matthias, after the saint to whom the college’s original chapel was dedicated in 1853.

St Matthias Campus in the 2000’s

In 1960 a three-year certificate course was validated by the University of Bristol. Male students were admitted from 1966 and student numbers increased to 800 by 1970. By 1976 St Matthias became part of the Polytechnic’s Faculty of Education, and later, when university status was gained the campus was dedicated almost entirely to the humanities.

The Campus sadly closed to students in 2014. From its opening had taught about 10,000 students.

Where do you fit into the story?

What are your stand-out memories of your time at UWE Bristol? We’d love to hear your stories. Tell us what you’re doing now, share an old photo.

You can get in touch through our memories form or post on social media – tag us and use #30yearsofUWE

Seriously good prizes for a great cause

Play our 30th anniversary prize draw for your chance to win one of 30 fantastic prizes, kindly donated from alumni and the wider UWE Bristol community.

100% of funds raised from ticket sales will go to the UWE Bristol Fund to support Student Hardship Grants.

Buy a ticket and find out more about other ways we’re celebrating 30 years of being a University.



UWE Bristol alumni – quick links

UWE Bristol Alumni homepage

Sign up for offers and fundraising and update your details

Join Alumni Connect online mentoring network

Explore Alumni benefits and discounts

Then and Now: Student accommodation at Frenchay

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Love lost and found, riotous parties, beans on toast, late night cramming before deadlines. So many experiences big and small have unfolded on Frenchay’s student accommodation over the years.

A huge part of a student’s university life is the accommodation. Whether you chose to live on campus or not you will likely have been a visitor to these buildings. Throughout the decades both the exterior and interior of these spaces have changed vastly. Let’s take a look back.

Ashley Village to Student Village

Ashley Village in 1975

Ashley Village in 1975

When Frenchay was first built in 1975, the accommodation was known as Ashley Village. It held 252 students, seven per house, in 36 separate structures. Accommodation at Ashley village cost around £10.20 per week in 1979 and £42 by 1994.

30 years later in 2005,  work began on a new £80 million student accommodation, Student Village. Rather than lots of little houses, Student Village consists of  four high-rise blocks, Brecon, Cotswold, Mendip and Quantock. Within each are flats for six students to share.  

Aerial view of Ashley Village in the 1980’s

Ashley Village in 1980
Student Village in 2005
Aerial view of the new Student Village 2014

Also added was Wallscourt Park, it currently provides both townhouses and flats with shared shower room facilities, en-suite flats, and studios available.

Wallscourt Park

A look inside the flats

Shared Ashley Village kitchen in 1980
Shared Ashley Village kitchen in 1983
A shared kitchen in Student Village 2010’s

In Ashley Village, each flat had a shared kitchen, dormitory style bedrooms and shared bathrooms. Now each room in Student Village has an en-suite bathroom (with the option of a superior en-suite) as well as a communal lounge area attached to the kitchen.

Ashley Village study bedroom late 70s
Student bedroom in Ashley Village 1995
Student bedroom in Student Village 2018

Carroll Court

Carroll Court study bedroom, 1993

Built in the 1980’s, Carroll Court was  added as a second Student Village. It had 50 houses with six bedrooms each as well as a communal kitchen and living space.  

Carroll Court in the 2010’s

 In 2021 the houses of Carroll Court were demolished to make way for three, six-story accommodation blocks that will house still more students. The last students to ever live in the beloved accommodation created a video detailing their rather unusual last day.

The demolition of Carroll Court in 2021

Looking to the future

Work for the new accommodation is expected to be completed in 2023. It will be one of the largest low-carbon certified developments of its kind anywhere in the world.

Plans for the new accommodation on Frenchay Campus

To help address issues of climate change and sustainability it is being built to the highest sustainability standard of ‘Passivhaus’. A first for the university sector in the UK. The buildings will yield a 54% reduction in running costs and carbon emissions compared with a typical ‘good practice’ building.

Tell us your story

Where did you live when you were a student? What do you remember most vividly?  

We’d love to hear your stories. Tell us what you’re doing now, share an old photo.

You can get in touch through our memories form or post on social media – tag us and use #30yearsofUWE

Seriously good prizes for a great cause

Play our 30th anniversary prize draw for your chance to win one of 30 fantastic prizes, kindly donated from alumni and the wider UWE Bristol community.

100% of funds raised from ticket sales will go to the UWE Bristol Fund to support Student Hardship Grants.

Buy a ticket and find out more about other ways we’re celebrating 30 years of being a University.


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UWE Bristol alumni – quick links

UWE Bristol Alumni homepage

Sign up for offers and fundraising and update your details

Join Alumni Connect online mentoring network

Explore Alumni benefits and discounts

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