Education is a privilege

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Anti-racist educator Aisha Thomas MBE, LLB(Hons) Law (2006), founder of Representation Matters, talks to us about her journey, her inspiration, her successes and what’s next.

Tell us about the start of your journey, studying law and your early legal career.

My journey initially was very much about law, justice, social justice and making sure that people in life really got a fair deal. If the world was oppressing you, I wanted to do something to change that.

After my degree, I worked with the Prince’s Trust National Offender Management Scheme, working with young people, particularly young boys in prison and helping them back into community.

My time there made me realise that education was a privilege. And I realised that if they could’ve been served the opportunity to experience education in a different way, perhaps they wouldn’t have chosen the pathways they did. I decided to give up my legal career and transition into education.

How did you get started in education?

I spent 10 years working in a secondary school in the inner city of Bristol, helping young people to really think about what the world could offer and provide for them. I built up training courses, beginning to challenge students and expand their minds. But I realised that their racialised experiences – that them being black and brown – was really impacting how they would navigate through the world.

And that’s when I thought about becoming a specialist leader in education for community, equality and diversity. I did a lot of anti-racist practice work within the education system, which then led me to say, ‘I need to do more’!

And that was the birth of Representation Matters, an organisation specialising in anti-racist practice, supporting young people, teachers, and corporate organisations.

What three things most inspire you in your work?

  1. A young man I met in prison

In the prison environment I met a particular black boy. We were talking about why he was where he was. He said, “perhaps if you were my teacher, I wouldn’t be in prison today.”

He wasn’t talking specifically about me, but what I represented. All of his representation, all the people in society who were significant, were racialised as white and gendered as male.

I started thinking about under and over representation. He had seen an over representation of himself (as a black male) in crime, in media, and in sports. But he didn’t see himself in those pathways. So crime is where he took his chances and unfortunately, he ended up in prison.

Thinking about the under representation. Children could look up to doctors, engineers, teachers, biochemists and have aspiration. But often they’re not seeing people racialised like them in those job roles, so they think ‘those roles are not for me’.

2. My mum

She’s a primary school teacher. I didn’t realise back then the significance of the seeds she was sewing, by being a black representative in education.  I look at my mum as inspiration, because she shows me that even when she didn’t see representation, she became what others needed.

3. My sons

As black boys, I already know how society can deem them. Representation Matters is about providing opportunities of black joy, so that they don’t only see themselves from a negative perspective, a place of pain and deficit, but they see themselves as young boys who can experience joy in all places.

What does success look for you?

It’s about having an organisation that is impactful, not just regionally or even nationally but internationally. And actually, changing the lives of the young people in the next generation.

It’s when I talk to teachers and leaders, and they say to me, “the training you’ve delivered has transformed my way of thinking and my way of being and the way I now teach”.

Success is when a child says to me, “my teacher now sees me, they now recognise my existence.” They now know that the child’s racialised experience, gendered experience, or sexuality are just as important as any other aspects of their identity, and that they see that as an important part of their curriculum.

Tell us about your relationship with UWE Bristol.

For me UWE Bristol has been a springboard.

I started to do some guest lectures with the education department, sharing my journey of what it meant to be a senior leader within practice.

That work grew, and I’ve worked with the department to develop an accredited course about inclusion for teachers in training.  The programme is about ensuring that students understand anti-racist teaching practice, LGBTQ+ gender and intersectionality pedagogy. It’s not only innovative but also pioneering. We’re allowing teachers to be perhaps more equipped than the those they will be working with when they get into practice.

The course is now in its second year and will create a legacy beyond me, beyond Representation Matters. A legacy that will continue in education up and down the country. Now that is powerful.

Notes

Find out more about Aisha on LinkedIn and more about her work on the Representation Matters website. Her book Representation Matters – Becoming an anti-racist educator contains the voices of 30 different people who speak about their journeys in education.

Aisha is one of our 30 to watch, a list of inspirational alumni, staff and students. Each of these individuals have talent, persistence and passion. They’re all making important changes, not just in our community but in industry and society.


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.ac.uk/prize-draw

30 years of UWE Bristol, win in our prize draw
Win in our prize draw

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Prospectuses and print through the years

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Communicating who we are and what we offer as a university has always been crucially important. Exactly how we do that has developed over the years.

Take a look back with us at our old prospectus covers. We’ve come a long way as a university.

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Communicating our identity

People need to hear all that’s great about us loud and clear.

Over the years, the emphasis has shifted and our brand positioning has gone through a bold re-imagining. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, we aim to improve public awareness of UWE Bristol and our reputation.

A brand is much more than a logo and a colour palette. Every successful brand has a powerful brand message behind it. It’s what sets out an organisation’s ambition, motivates its people and attracts everyone else.

Our brand identity encapsulates what’s great about UWE Bristol – providing clarity as to why we’re different from other universities and why people should want to be part of our ambitious and progressive institution. We have incredible stories to tell.

How the design process has changed

Back in the 1980s, graphic design was entirely analogue and involved a set of physical skills. Designers sketched layouts, and used rulers, scalpels, and set squares. Huge advances in technology have transformed the processes over the years. 

In the early 1990s, Photoshop arrived on the scene, allowing designers to experiment with new techniques. The internet became publicly available which changed things forever – graphic design was no longer just for print, but web too.

During the 2000s design tools became even more powerful and designers created for portable devices, such as smartphones. At UWE Bristol we now primarily produce digital prospectuses, rather than printed, which can be accessed across all device types. 

Fill in the gaps?

We’ve looked high and low for old prospectuses and print, and brought them together to share with you. We don’t have every year covered, so please email alumni@uwe.ac.uk if you can help us complete the set.

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.ac.uk/prize-draw

uwe.ac.uk/30

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And still we lack the resolve our problems demand

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Illegally logged hard wood in Nigeria © Hard Rain Project / Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards is one of the most widely published photographers in the world. His pictures are collected and exhibited by museums and art galleries in Europe, the US and by private collectors. He’s recognised as the first photographer to focus on the environment and sustainable development issues.

Assignments for magazines, non-governmental organisations and United Nations agencies have taken him to over 100 countries during his 30 year career.

In 2006, he produced the Hard Rain exhibition, a collaboration with Bob Dylan. Hard Rain is one of the most successful environmental exhibitions ever created, attracting an audience of some 15 million people around the world.

Environmental refugees from rural Haiti going to school © Hard Rain Project

In 2017 Mark was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts (Hon DArt) by UWE Bristol in recognition of his commitment to communicating sustainability challenges through the medium of photography and via the Hard Rain and Whole Earth exhibitions.

Earlier this year he was awarded an OBE for services to Photography and to the Environment. Here he shares his response.

Swings and roundabouts, by Mark Edwards OBE

My phone rang just as I was starting to paint the banisters. It was my GP, sounding worried. My prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, a marker for prostate cancer, showed an elevated reading. She promised an urgent call from a specialist. “Right,” I thought, “get on with the banisters”. 

As I got to the newel post in the hall, a heavy letter dropped on the floor behind me. I saw with alarm that it was on Her Majesty’s Service. Even more worrying, it had ‘Cabinet Office’ printed above my address. I’d been critical of Boris Johnson, but surely he couldn’t write to everyone who’s been on his case; the Post Office couldn’t handle the volume. I tore open the letter and saw to my amazement that the (then) Prime Minister had recommended me to “Her Majesty The Queen for the honour of the Officer of the Order of the British Empire”. 

It must have been the Hard Rain Project (HRP) that caught the eye of the OBE nominator. I stepped into the arena with the Hard Rain exhibition in 2006 to show a vision of a world unravelling.  The exhibition was hard hitting, as it needed to be. Bob Dylan’s poetic masterpiece A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, illustrated with pictures of dead and dying life, could only be justified when there was still time to step back from the precipice.

The HRP outdoor exhibitions reached millions around the world and showed how our environmental problems are linked by cause and effect and need to be tackled together. Hard Rain was a thorn in the flesh of those who offer hope to gloss over the scale and complexity of our problems and the opportunities this crisis offers to people who are prepared to face facts. There is nothing wrong with hope that is contingent on us all working together to deal with the environmental crisis. But hope, offered as timid reassurance, does not cut through the inertia to bring about the depth of response this crisis demands. 

‘Heard the song of the poet who died in the gutter’ © Mark Edwards

In the early years of this century, we had that narrow window of opportunity to scale up solutions to deal with climate change and the interlinked problems now threatening to overwhelm civilization. In just the last few years, real-life news has overtaken the horror of the imagined future offered in Hard Rain. We are sleepwalking through heatwaves, droughts, floods, the destruction of habitats and species extinctions—and still we lack the resolve our problems demand. How stupid is that? Very.

There is a growing acknowledgement that it is too late to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees. In the face of this bleak assessment, a new generation of campaigners, school students, have found their voice. Will their uncompromising call for a radically new world-wide approach jolt political and business leaders and the silent majority into action? Our failure to respond adequately to our environmental problems so far shows that we do not really care about the prospects for children alive now, let alone future generations. We have put at risk the gains so painstakingly developed throughout our history for short-term advantage.

Children, Mexico City © Mark Edwards

I’m aware of being at the receiving end of many of those extraordinary developments. A few days after my GPs call, I was pushed gently into an MRI scanner. It brought to mind a sequence from a Woody Allen movie, and I started to laugh. I’m rolled out of the scanner and told off by a rather severe looking nurse. I quickly explain the joke; Allen’s character gets a headache, fears he has a brain tumour and demands a brain scan. He is rolled into a scanner, his face full of the crumpled despair he does so well. Next, the doctor greets him in the waiting room with the scan results: “There’s nothing wrong with you. Take an aspirin and have a lovely evening.”  You see him running down the hospital steps, but as he reaches the pavement, he freezes. Cut to him with his girlfriend in his apartment, wringing his hands, “And I suddenly realised: I don’t have a tumour now, but I could have one at any moment.” Now we are all laughing at the uncertainty of life. It’s a lovely moment then it’s back in the machine for a very special kind of selfie.

A couple of weeks later I meet the surgeon who gives me the news: “So, Mark you have prostate cancer. But you’re an exceptionally fit 75-year-old man, you cycle to your hospital appointments, you’re gregarious and I have absolute confidence I will be able to operate successfully.”

I cycled home elated. I’ve spent 30 extraordinary years with people at the sharp end of the environmental debate in a hundred countries. If the photographs I, and my fellow photographers, have taken have helped show the need to take healthcare, proper housing and education to all – and deal urgently with global warming so that we can pass on our gains to future generations – that is the only thanks any of us need.

But I am grateful for this unexpected recognition the OBE offers and for the Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of the West of England. It gives me a chance to renew our message and thank Bob Dylan and his team at Special Rider Music and Sony ATV Music Publishing for their generosity and support.

And a further unexpected vote of thanks to everyone at the Urology Clinics at Kings College Hospital and Guy’s Hospital! I’ve never been in hospital so I’m discovering, late in life, the generosity and skill of NHS staff. It prompts a final note to gentleman reading this; may the PSA be with you. And if you don’t know your PSA score, book a blood test. Prostate cancer is really cancer for beginners—provided it’s caught early. I was just in time.

Mark Edwards

Hard Rain Project

Mark receiving his Honorary Degree in 2017

‘I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow’ © Mark Edwards

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Making a film with our friend George Ezra

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Image: George Ezra and friends, courtesy of Lorton Distribution

George Ezra’s film End-to-End premiered in UK cinemas this August bank holiday. Swathes of music fans sat down to watch the uplifting documentary which captures Ezra’s walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats. The filmmakers – Adam Scarborough (BSc(Hons) Human Biology) and Christy Tattershall (BA(Hons) Filmmaking and Creative Media) – met George during their time in Bristol. Christy tells us more…

Tell us about End-to-End

The film is about friendship, adventure and music. We walked 1,200 miles over 95 days, doing between 20 and 30 miles a day. We reconnected with each other and the country after months of isolation, and met amazing musicians along the way.

George Ezra and friends on walk, image courtesy of Lorton Distribution

How did you meet George?

Adam and I grew up in Dorset together. Adam left to study and met George at a house party, then they started living together.

I was visiting Adam every weekend and we all just got on really well. We would go to open mic nights around Bristol, watching George play. The crowds got bigger and bigger until one day he got signed, leaving Bristol but always staying in touch.

During that time, I was commuting to work everyday hearing George’s song Budapest being played on the radio. It was hearing and seeing George achieve this success that inspired me to quit my job and study Filmmaking.

What inspired you and Adam to team up as filmmakers?

Adam has always been obsessed with cameras and will rarely be found without one on his side. Although he was studying Human Biology, he was also making money as a photographer around the city whilst studying.

We started our first film company, Paint Studios, in my first year of university with a couple of pieces of kit and a computer. In my second year, I won a National Royal Television Society award for a documentary I directed. I fell in love with the process of documentary-making.

Then, during a summer break, we decided to walk to a film convention that was taking place in Amsterdam – recommended to me by my lecturer Dave Neal. We had no money whatsoever (also, no prior hiking experience) but fancied an adventure. We walked the 500-mile journey from Bristol, camping and filming ourselves every day. We didn’t know at the time, but this would later open the door for us to make George’s film.

Did you experience peaks and troughs when making End-to-End?

There were two distinct low points. One was at the very start in Cornwall. We fully underestimated how hard it would be to get our mileage done each day on that terrain whilst trying to make a film. It was baking hot, we were carrying filming gear and supplies and genuinely wondering (with 1,200 miles in front of us) what we had got ourselves into.

George Ezra and friends on walk, image courtesy of Lorton Distribution

The second low point was walking across the Highlands when there was no real path – we were walking through wet bogs and mountains for up to 30 miles a day, whilst being eaten alive by midges. Then we’d step out of our tent the next morning, put on soaking wet socks and do it all again. Luckily that was at the end of the journey and not the start, because I’m not sure how long our morale would have lasted the other way around.

But after lockdown, just being with our mates, walking, talking and having a laugh together for 3 months meant there were so many highpoints. We went from camping in the field in front of the Pyramid stage on the empty Glastonbury site, to then filming an amazing Scottish folk band called Kinnaris Quintet at the foot of a mountain.

We had walked all that way and were listening to this incredible music, in a mind-blowing setting. That was a moment that stood out. It was overwhelming, but life-affirming.

George Ezra and friends on walk, image courtesy of Lorton Distribution

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What happened next? Meet Kevin, 24 years after he featured in our prospectus.

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Kevin Millwood featured in our 1998 prospectus. We came across his profile whilst looking through our archives and wondered what he did next. This is what we found out.

Kevin has been a DJ, a night club organiser and owner and a Kung Fu practitioner.  Now he’s Head of Information Security at Hargreaves Lansdown, an award-winning financial services company based in Bristol.

It’s clear Kevin’s a man with wide ranging skills and interests. So, what’s his true passion? His dedication to give back to the community of his hometown, Bristol.

Humble beginnings

Born and bred in Bristol, Kevin was an incredibly hardworking and promising student, however he lacked the funds to move out of home to attend university. He decided he would stay living at home, attend university and work at the same time to keep himself afloat. The first in his family to go to university, Kevin had no blueprint to follow. But that didn’t set him back. Kevin notes,

“University was easily the best time of my life”.

For the love of music

During his time at UWE Bristol he realised his love of DJing. Starting at the university winter ball his success spiralled and with a team of students he created a promotion company.

Friday night at Student’s Union, 1998 prospectus

In 2001 Kevin hosted a UK Press Club night for a record label, where he performed to a packed-out crowd. The night was hailed as best UK club event by the national press. He was asked to become promotions manager of a group of clubs, later running one, and even performing on Radio One Live.

Kevin DJing at event in Bristol in 2014

Head hunted

But he knew he couldn’t work in that industry forever. Kevin wanted to use the skills he gained in his degree and gradually gained more experience, moving up the ranks in IT roles, becoming a manager.

He applied to Hargreaves Lansdown but was turned down. This lit a fire within Kevin who worked harder than ever. Later they headhunted him for a job, and now he is their Head of Information Security.

Supporting young people to achieve

A trip to South America was Kevin’s epiphany moment, seeing poverty first-hand made him want to give back. He began by working to rehabilitate young people in the prison system, but felt he could do more.

Now Kevin is chair and mentor of ‘Stepping Up’, a Bristol based company that aims for fair representation, supporting people to reach where they want to be in their careers. He’s also chair of Bristol Reggae Orchestra and non-executive director of Lockleaze Sports Club, both local organisations close to his heart.

“I have mentored a lot of people and have learnt from them all. You get something back out of it too”.

He gives talks in schools about cyber security, helping to demystify the topic and encourage people to take an interest.

“I wouldn’t have gotten where I am without help. There are lots of underprivileged people who want to better themselves and they deserve help”. 

Kevin states.


After a varied career, what Kevin values most is making Bristol a fairer place to be.

Tell us your story

What journey have you been on since studying with UWE Bristol? What are you passionate about?

We’d love to hear your story. 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.ac.uk/prize-draw

uwe.ac.uk/30

UWE Bristol alumni – quick links

UWE Bristol Alumni homepage

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Then and now: the story of a farm girl, a 900-year-old castle, and an executive coaching business

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Growing up on a dairy farm in rural Wales, special days out for Marian were spent at Llansteffan Castle. Steeped in history and bound up with her heritage, it captured her heart.  Years later, the same castle and estate is now her home and the base for her executive coaching business.

We talked to Marian and found out why the drive that won her such success has now brought her home again.

From farm-hand to top entrepreneur

Marian has never been scared of hard work. Mucking out cows on the farm is perhaps what gave her grit and determination. Coming from a family of ’home birds’ she was first to fly the nest and ’escape’ to university in England.

She arrived at UWE Bristol and soon settled in to her new home. She wasn’t sure where her course in Geography and Environmental Management would take her, or what her future held. But she took every opportunity.

“I think the biggest lesson I learnt at UWE was that if you work hard at anything and take every opportunity, you’ll progress and move in the right direction. You’ve got to learn resilience and how you work best. My time at UWE definitely set me up for the future.”

Marian says.

Not one to sit back, Marian began her property portfolio at 18 years old and had her first job before university results were out. She soon launched an impressive sales career, quickly making a reputation as an Expert Risk Manager.

To her surprise, in 2019 Marian was named Women in Business’ Inspirational Woman of the Decade. Now she runs her own company Elevate BC, coaching and mentoring business leaders.

Supporting women in business

Despite her clear success’ Marian admits to struggling with imposter syndrome. She finds it uncomfortable talking about her achievements. But her time at UWE Bristol taught her to be comfortable in her own skin and understand what her strengths are. And that’s the lesson she’s passionate to pass on to other women in business.

Marian pictured in Cardiff

Marian works with Women on Boards, who aim to help women achieve higher positions in male dominated areas, just as she did.

“I feel duty bound to share my story, give back and say, you can do this too! There are so few women pushing through to those higher levels in business, we’re not giving them the support to crack on to the next level.”

she explains.

And what of the castle?

Llansteffan Castle, on the river Tywi estuary in Carmarthen Bay

Despite her high-flying career, Marian’s attachment to Wales never left her. Perhaps it’s the same passion that led her to study Geography – a love of the natural environment, her heritage and her home land.

Marian and her Welsh husband quietly took a leap of faith when they saw that their beloved castle was for sale. They’ve since made the Llansteffan Castle Estate their family home and a base for business.  

The castle is in safe hands – keen for it to remain at the heart of the local community, and be used for events, they’ve set about the restoration.  It’s rich history and beauty will be protected and shared for future generations.

Tell us your story

What journey have you been on since studying with UWE Bristol? What are you passionate about?

We’d love to hear your story. 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.ac.uk/prize-draw

30 years of UWE Bristol, win in our prize draw
Win in our prize draw

uwe.ac.uk/30

UWE Bristol alumni – quick links

UWE Bristol Alumni homepage

Sign up for offers and fundraising and update your details

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10 stories of love and friendship found

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Kathryn and Matt Colledge on their first date

University life is about the people as much as the studying. A time for creating memories and making lifelong relationships whether romantic or platonic.

Here are 10 stories from people who met a soulmate at UWE Bristol, told in their own words.

1. Kathryn and Matt Colledge

Kathryn Colledge (neé Williams) BA(Hons) Business Studies (1996) and Matthew Colledge BA(Hons) Business Studies (1996)

“I started at UWE in Sept 1992, making many new friends. I featured in the 1994 prospectus, alongside friends Sam and Matt. The three of us and three others then all lived together in our 2nd year.

I started going out with Matt in January 1994. Another friend Mark started going out with Vanessa and another friend David starting going out with Danielle. The six of us had an amazing time at UWE; we all graduated in 1996.

We’re all now happily married, with six children between us. We meet up regularly and always have a laugh. I cannot believe that our eldest son is now about to embark on his University life – time flies!”

Kathryn Colledge
Kathryn and Matt outside 2B025 on Frenchay Campus 1992 and at a reunion in October 2022
Kathryn and Matt revisit 2B025, the lecture theatre where they first met
Kathryn and Matt in 1994 prospectus (Matt pretending to be a lecturer)

2. Clare and Dave Melton

Clare Melton (neé Lee), BA(Hons) History (1999) and Dave Melton BA(Hons) English (1999)

Clare and Dave end of 1997 summer term, at the 1997 ball and in 2022 with their twins

“My husband and I met at UWE. We started in 1996 and were both in Bishop Monk Halls of residence on St Matthias Campus. We married in 2009 and had twins in 2015. We now live in North Somerset. Still in touch with others from our very happy years at UWE.”

Clare Melton

3. Fatema Deere and Nicole Jefferies

Fatema Deere, BSc(Hons) Biomedical Sciences (2005) and MSc Medical Microbiology (2010) and Nicole Jefferies (neé Dempster) BSc(Hons) Biomedical Sciences (2005) and MSc Medical Microbiology (2010)

Fatema and Nicole at UWE in 2003, at Fatema’s wedding in 2009 and Nicole’s wedding in 2017

“I studied here for both my BSc(Hons) Biomedical Sciences (2005) and my MSc Medical Microbiology (2010). I remember both times fondly – the great food, the great bar and great fun on campus on a Friday night!

I made great friends during my time at Frenchay Campus, one of whom, Nicole, is still a ‘bestie’. We were bridesmaids at each other’s weddings.

I achieved so much here and I’m still studying. I’m currently training to be a Consultant Clinical Scientist. Thank you UWE for setting me up both academically and personally”.

Fatema Deere

4. Dija and Hammed Ayodele

Dija Ayodele (neé Akpata) BA(Hons) Business Administration (2005) and PG Cert Personnel Studies (2006) and Hammed Ayodele BSc(Hons) Computer Science (2008)

Dija and Hammed at their graduation in and again in 2021

‘In 2002, our eyes locked in P block, travelled the world, got married and two children later and we’re still best friends. The vast majority of our friends are alumni too!”

Dija Ayodele

5. Clare Melton and Sara Macbeth

Clare Melton (neé Lee), BA(Hons) History (1999) and Sara Macbeth (neé Peters) BSc(Hons) Psychology with Health Science (1999)

Clare and Sara pictured in shared kitchen in halls in 1996, and in September 2022

“I met Sara when we both lived in Bishop Monk Halls of residence at St Matthias Campus. A great and enduring friendship was made between us and many others in Bishop Monk. Old friends are definitely the best!”

Clare Melton

6. Jamie and Natasha Warwick

Jamie Warwick, BSc(Hons) Forensic Computing and Security (2014) and Natasha Warwick (neé Winter), – BA(Hons) Education in Professional Practice (2014)

Jamie and Natasha at graduation in 2014, and with their daughter in 2022

“I met the wonderful Natasha while we were both working as Student Ambassadors in our final year in 2014. Nearly 8 years later, we have just celebrated one year of marriage and have also welcomed our daughter into the world!”

Jamie Warwick

7. Laura Corry and Kim Barnard

Laura Corry, BA(Hons) Marketing (2006) and Kim Barnard, BA(Hons) Marketing (2006)

Laura and Kim pictured at graduation in 2006, Laura’s wedding in 2011, and still friends in 2021

“I’m lucky that my two best friends are the friends I made on my course and in my first year house. I also met my husband on the patio outside Traders (now Starbucks)!

Kim and I were on the same course and met through mutual friends on a night out. Everyone else wanted an early night, but we both wanted to go dancing, so stayed out together. We ended up in Chicago Rocks on the waterfront (just to age us). The night ended with us swapping shoes, we have been best friends ever since.

We lived together in our final year, have travelled together, were bridesmaids for each other and are god parents for each other’s children. This year marks 20 years since we met! We might even go dancing and swap shoes to celebrate!”

Laura Corry

8.Toni- Marie and James Bonser

Toni-Marie Bonser (neé Jarvis), BA(Hons) Philosophy and Criminology (2012)
James Bonser, BA(Hons) Media and Cultural Studies and Philosophy (2012)

Toni-Marie and James Bonser pictured in 2012 and 2022

“I met my Husband at UWE. We were on the same course but mostly got to know each other through the centre for performing arts. We were both in the Showstoppers choir and did singing lessons. We met in our second week and finally got together right before graduation 3 years later.

We celebrated 10 years together in April 2022 and were married in September 2021 after postponing twice due to Covid. I have no idea where my life would have gone without UWE and I couldn’t be more grateful for my time and opportunities there.”

Toni-Marie Bonser

9. Peter and Charlotte Rhodes

Peter Rhodes, BA(Hons) Initial Teacher Education (Primary) (2004) and Charlotte Rhodes, BA(Hons) Initial Teacher Education (Primary) (2004)

Peter and Charlotte Rhodes

“My wife and I met at UWE Redland campus in 2002 while both in the third year of a four year Qualified Teacher Status course. We both were in teacher training and were on final placement together in 2003. We have been married 20 years this year!

Charlotte is currently Acting Head of a primary school in Greenwich and I am CEO of a Multi Academy Trust of 6 schools in Bexley and Bromley.”

Peter Rhodes

10. Lizzie Fear and Adam Jenkins

Lizzie Fear, BSc(Hons) Psychology (2021)

Lizzie and her partner

“For my third year at UWE I had the option to go on a year abroad with Erasmus to Radboud University in The Netherlands. So I took that opportunity and had the best year of my life!

I learnt so much about the culture and myself and made some great friends with people of all different nationalities. I also met my soulmate on the front steps of our student accommodation there, and we’ve been in a relationship together since.

We now live together in a flat in Sheffield and I’ve never been happier. I feel so lucky to have had the chance to go on a year abroad with UWE and would definitely recommend it to anyone else!”

Lizzie Fear

Tell us your story

Did you find a soulmate during your time studying with UWE Bristol? We’d love to hear your story. Tell us what you’re doing now. Share an old photo, share a new 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.ac.uk/prize-draw

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uwe.ac.uk/30

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

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.ac.uk/prize-draw

uwe.ac.uk/30

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.

uwe.ac.uk/prize-draw

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uwe.ac.uk/30

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.ac.uk/prize-draw

uwe.ac.uk/30

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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