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Alumni Association Magazine Spring 2016

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD Exploring Birmingham’s dining revolution

WHEN DISASTER STRIKES The graduate helping to rebuild communities

CHOICE WORDS How language can clinch a sale


Welcome

Welcome

Alumni Association Magazine Birmingham City University University House 15 Bartholomew Row Birmingham B5 5JU T: +44 (0) 121 331 5506 E: alumni@bcu.ac.uk W: www.bcu.ac.uk/alumni Course information and guidance T: +44 (0) 121 331 5595 Switchboard T: +44 (0) 121 331 5000

Cover photograph: Digbeth Dining Club

EDITORIAL Editor: Helen Geary Contributors: David Aust, Sam Lambeth, Rachel Whitehouse, Jo Goldhawk Designer: Kat Warder Production Manager: Catherine Davis Aspire is produced by Birmingham City University Alumni Association. Unless otherwise indicated, copyright belongs to Birmingham City University. Reproduction in whole or in part of any material contained in Aspire is prohibited without prior written consent. The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily represent the views of Birmingham City University. While all due care is taken regarding accuracy of information, no responsibility can be accepted for errors. Any guidance given does not constitute a legal opinion.

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We recently had the pleasure of welcoming three very significant government ministers to the University within a single month – Jo Johnson, the UK’s Minister of State for Universities and Science; Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills; and Gao Hucheng, the Minister of Commerce in China. The three had differing reasons for coming to see us. For Jo Johnson this was a chance to see some of the exceptional work our students do here, as well as offering an ideal location for a meeting of all the Vice Chancellors from across the region. For Mr Javid his visit was to confirm the fact the Government is investing £14m in the University for the regeneration of an old Typhoo tea factory close to our campus into an exciting home for our new business innovation centre, STEAMHouse. For Mr Hucheng, his meeting with senior business and marketing leaders from across the region, including a tour of the proposed HS2 site, couldn’t have had a better vantage point for taking in the city as it is now and its potential for further development. All these visits attest to the increasingly pivotal location of our rapidly expanding campus in Eastside. Quite simply you will struggle to find a better position to take in the changing face of the UK’s second city than the area around our University.

The Eastside area of Birmingham is fast becoming a real symbol of the energy and activity going on across our city at the moment. As well as investing in our own facilities, the University has also helped set in motion a new masterplan for the area which the city is calling the ‘Knowledge Hub’. Knowledge Hub sets out a vision for new public spaces and a thriving area for start-up and growing businesses, in seven development areas stretching from Corporation Street to Digbeth, where that old tea factory will get its new lease of life. The plans will transform the Eastside of Birmingham of the next 10 years, building on the strengths of our own University and our neighbours here – other universities, colleges, academies and innovation space – so that we become a whole greater than the sum of its parts. There are significant developments going on at City South Campus too, with work under way on the new home for the School of Education and the new School of Health Sciences from 2017. The importance of both of these areas of study was underlined once again in the budget set out by Chancellor George Osborne in March of this year, with proposals that every school in the UK become an academy by 2020, and the new ‘sugar tax’ which will help boost sport in primary schools. You can hear from our own expert Nigel


Contents Spring 2016

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DON’T MISS THE GRADUATE HELPING TO PROVIDE AID WHERE IT IS NEEDED MOST

REGULARS News 04 All the latest news from your University; awards, estate developments, alumni news and more. Penny on the sugar tax on p18, where he clearly demonstrates why the growing discipline of Health Sciences is as relevant to you and me as it is to the country’s elite athletes. Of course, development and regeneration often mean saying goodbye. In June, we will see the last ever concert in the Conservatoire’s Adrian Boult Hall, a much-loved concert venue not just for us but for the city as a whole for 30 years. You will find details in this issue of our two-month celebration of the ABH, as it is so affectionately known, before the curtain falls for the very last time. I do hope you might come to one or more events in the closing festival City of Sounds – but if you can’t attend in person, I am delighted that the closing concert on 26 June will be broadcast by BBC Radio 3, so you can join us in bidding it farewell from wherever you are in the world.

Events

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Say a final farewell to the Adrian Boult Hall at an alumni reunion and concert.

Where are they now?

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Catch up with other alumni – where are they now and what are they doing?

FEATURES Alumni of the Year

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Meet our latest Alumni of the Year, recognised at our graduation ceremonies in January, and find out how you can nominate for 2017!

When disaster strikes

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When disaster hits communities, help is at hand. We catch up with graduate Saleh Saeed, Chief Executive of the Disaster Emergency Committee.

Food, glorious food

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Birmingham’s food scene has transformed in recent years. We speak with graduates Scott O’Byrne and Tom Mathers about their food business together with experts from the University.

Choice words

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Can the words used to describe items really affect their selling price on internet auction site eBay? Two academics from the University believe so.

Professor Cliff Allan Vice-Chancellor

Tackling the weighty issues

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The food industry is under increasing pressure to reduce sugar, salt and other additives. We speak to the programme leader for our nutrition programmes, Nigel Penny, to find out more.

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News

MUCH ADO

about something Students from the University’s Design for Theatre, Performance and Events degree course created much ado about something with a life-size installation featuring more than a dozen of Shakespeare’s most famous creations, handcrafted from paper and cardboard. The show displayed scale models over six feet tall, a three-meter-high balcony and even a walk-in tavern, which had all been made as a tribute to mark 400 years since the Bard’s death.

character and item from scratch, as well as selecting music and lighting to complement each element. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust helped students research the project and visited the installation to select a number of characters and settings which have been taken away and will be displayed across Stratford-upon-Avon.

The exhibition took nearly three weeks to create, with students working day and night to make each setting,

NEW LIGHT ON GREAT WAR More than twice as many Muslim soldiers supported Allied forces in World War One than was previously thought, according to University research. At least 885,000 Muslims were recruited by the Allies from as far afield as Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia – more than double the previous estimate of 400,000. At least 89,000 Muslims were 4

killed fighting for Allied forces under French or British command, in roles including front-line soldiers, trench builders and those transporting vital goods and materials. Dr Islam Issa, Lecturer in English Literature at the University, uncovered the figures while researching individual stories from the War for an exhibition

being held at the British Muslim Heritage Centre in Manchester, called Stories of Sacrifice. While carrying out the studies, Dr Issa also found that at least 20 per cent of all British Empire recruits were followers of Islam and that the financial and material contribution from India alone was £479 million – £20 billion in today’s money.


© 2013 The Royal Household Bagshot Park/Image by Millie Pilkington

ROYAL HONOUR

HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO was announced in March as Birmingham Conservatoire’s first Royal Patron. Driverless car

DRIVERLESS CARS A £2.3 million funding package which will bring state-of-the-art driverless cars to Birmingham has been given the green light. Fuelled by the Government’s £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund, the INSIGHT project will see two of the hi-tech autonomous vehicles pull into the city’s streets for a pilot test as early as next year. INSIGHT, an industry and academia partnership, aims to cut congestion, lower emissions and improve transport access for people that are blind, visually impaired or have problems with mobility. The all-British consortium at the

wheel is made up of Birmingham City University and Westfield Sportscars Ltd, Heathrow Enterprises Ltd, Fusion Processing Ltd, Creative Example Ltd and Conigital Ltd. Dr Umar Daraz, Director for the Institute of Sustainable Futures at Birmingham City University, believes we are witnessing the start of the next automotive revolution in the region: “Driverless vehicles for mobility of all of our citizens will become a reality in the very near future and this project represents a major milestone in realising that vision.”

The Earl of Wessex’s decision to become a Royal Patron of Birmingham Conservatoire is a reflection of his great interest in the arts in both his public role and private life. Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal of Birmingham Conservatoire, is delighted: “This is an enormous accolade to receive from His Royal Highness and is a testimony to the wonderful achievements of our team at the Conservatoire.” Professor Cliff Allan, Vice-Chancellor, agrees: “I can think of no greater endorsement for the Conservatoire’s commitment to music, to education, and to artistic excellence than patronage by His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex.”

STEAMING AHEAD The Government is to give the University £14 million to transform the former Typhoo tea factory into a collaborative innovation centre for solving the challenges facing small- and mediumsized enterprises in the West Midlands. The University’s STEAMHouse project will drive the creation of up to 10,000 jobs and regenerate a long-neglected

area of Digbeth. The Government’s support came just weeks after the Arts Council injected £500,000 into the STEAMHouse initiative through its Creative Local Growth Fund, which will be matched by the European Regional Development Fund.

kick-start the Midlands’ economy in his budget on 16 March. The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Sajid Javid, visited the STEAMhouse site the very next day to see first-hand how the project will support the wider development of the Midlands Engine.

Chancellor George Osborne announced a £250 million funding package to help 5


DOUBLE

celebration

MADE IN CHINA Birmingham Institute of Fashion and Creative Art was officially launched in China in December last year. The Institute, a partnership between Birmingham City University and Wuhan Textile University, is the first of its kind in the province. Birmingham City University is one of just 63 universities in the world to be given the green light to set up a jointly run higher education institute in China. Over the next seven years more than 3,500 students are expected to study

Identical twins Anneka and Sanya Hoque were celebrating in January after they both graduated from the University’s School of Education and secured jobs at the same school. Having both decided to pursue a career in teaching, they progressed through an Early Years course at college before studying Primary Education at the University. The twins, who attended the same graduation ceremony earlier this year, have both secured teaching positions at Adderley Primary School in Saltley, Birmingham.

Before beginning a 25-year comedy career, Brand trained as a mental health nurse in London and has continued to campaign for charities in the sector.

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The launch in Wuhan was preceded by the University’s first international alumni reception, hosted by Professor Bashir Makhoul in Shanghai. Held at the Academy of International Visual Arts, the event gave graduates the opportunity to celebrate the highlights of the University’s year and hear about its plans for the future.

YES, MINISTER In February, Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson visited the University to emphasise the importance of attracting more young people from less advantaged backgrounds into Higher Education. Mr Johnson, who was attending a Universities West Midlands (UWM) roundtable meeting of Vice-Chancellors from across the West Midlands, paid

BRAND VALUES Comedy queen Jo Brand picked up an Honorary Doctorate from the University in January in recognition of her work to raise awareness of mental illness. The award was presented in front of hundreds of students graduating from the University’s Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences.

at the Institute in Wuhan, which will offer degrees in subjects including Art, Design and Media.

Speaking about some of the challenges faced by mental health professionals she said that stigma still existed which prevented people from talking about it. Honorary Doctorates were also awarded to Jim McCarthy, CEO of Poundland; alumna Louise Brooke-Smith, Chartered Planning and Development Surveyor; and alumna Anita Bhalla, Chair of Performances Birmingham Limited, Town Hall Symphony Hall.

tribute to the University’s track record in creating opportunity for people from all backgrounds, saying: “Birmingham City University has already made great progress in this, making it an excellent host to discuss our reforms putting teaching quality at the forefront of higher education.”


EVENTS Farewell, Adrian Boult Hall – Alumni Reunion and Concert

Inspired festival

Sunday 5 June 2016, from 10am, Birmingham Conservatoire

Be inspired by the innovative and ground-breaking work of our students.

This June, we say farewell to the Adrian Boult Hall, fondly known as ‘the ABH’. Since 1985 it has been of fundamental importance to Birmingham Conservatoire, its students, visiting musicians and the city of Birmingham.

Taking place from the 11 to 26 June 2016, the Inspired festival is a culmination of our arts, design and media students’ work. It’s a celebration of the creative output from the University, with a wealth of end-of-year shows and exhibitions open to the public.

The hall will close in summer 2016 as part of the redevelopment of Paradise Circus. The Conservatoire will remain there until 2017, when it moves to a new state-ofthe-art home in Birmingham’s Eastside.

The festival is a great opportunity to visit exhibitions, plays and concerts, and to witness the creative thinking, highlevel skills and transformative experiences of the next generation of artists, designers and performers.

There will be a final alumni and former staff reunion in the current building on Sunday 5 June, followed by a Conservatoire alumni orchestra and chorus concert, providing a final opportunity to play or sing on the stage.

Want to attend? Register now at www.bcu.ac.uk/inspired.

Further information visit www.bcu.ac.uk/conservatoirereunion.

CITY OF SOUNDS Sir James Galway – one of the world’s greatest living flautists – visited Birmingham Conservatoire on 1 May to launch City of Sounds, a two-month festival leading up to the last ever performance in the Conservatoire’s Adrian Boult Hall. The exclusive recital formed part of Sir James Galway’s only UK residency in 2016, in which Sir James and his wife, flautist Lady Jeanne Galway, also hosted a series of workshops and masterclasses for flute players of all levels and ages. The Adrian Boult Hall, a much-loved concert venue for 30 years, will be demolished as part of the £500 million Paradise regeneration project. City of Sounds will mark the Hall’s closure, but will also look ahead to its new £56 million home in the Eastside region of the city, currently under construction and due to open in 2017.

The festival includes concerts from internationally renowned musicians of all genres, the leading West Midlands music groups and ensembles, as well as the Conservatoire’s own students. The programme includes performances by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Gay Symphony Orchestra, Ex Cathedra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and local folk band The Destroyers. The closing concert on Sunday 26 June, with Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra performing Verdi’s Requiem conducted by Sir Richard Armstrong, will also be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. www.bcu.ac.uk/city-of-sounds

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TAKING ADVANTAGE Businesses across the West Midlands will benefit from access to funding opportunities and advice from experts at the University as part of a new project aimed at boosting economic growth. Entrepreneur Michelle Mone spoke at the launch of BCU Advantage at the end of last year. The service will help

businesses ‘Get Money, Get Knowledge and Get Connected’ to underpin economic growth in the region, which has seen a quarter of companies expand their workforce by more than 10 per cent over the last three years. www.bcuadvantage.co.uk

CHINESE COMIC ARTIST WINS INTERNATIONAL ALUMNI AWARD has been viewed by over 110 million people. Later this year, Guarding will be developed into a television show and a film in China and South Korea. Yifan studied for her MA at the School of Visual Communication, one of the largest of its kind in the UK. During her time at the University, Yifan won the Best Recommended Award as part of the Macmillan Prize 2006 for her children’s book Cactus.

A bestselling graphic artist from Beijing has come out on top in the Education UK Alumni Awards 2016, organised by the British Council. Yifan Ling, who graduated from Birmingham City University in 2006, was presented with the Professional Achievement Award at a ceremony in China on the evening of Saturday 19 March. More widely known by her pen name Buddy, Yifan has been creating manga comics professionally for 12 years. During this time, she has published more than 20 books internationally and her online manga story Guarding 8

Yifan said: “I’m very honoured to have won an Education UK Alumni Award and want to thank Birmingham City University for making this possible. The year I spent at Birmingham City University was magical. My education saw me explore new drawing techniques and it also changed the way I think and create stories. “My life in the UK inspired me to observe real people around me and bring them into my cartoon works, which I am still doing today.”


ALUMNI of the YEAR Birmingham City University Alumni of the Year recognises and celebrates the outstanding achievements of our graduates. Our alumni make a real difference across the globe in a variety of ways. Twice a year, the University names its Alumni of the Year in up to three categories – Enterprise and Innovation, Community Engagement and Leadership, and Excellence in Sport or the Arts. The latest recipients were presented with their certificates and sterling silver Alumni of the Year pins at the University’s graduation ceremonies in January 2016.

Enterprise and Innovation

Angela Burman BA (Hons) Visual Arts by Negotiated Study, 2009

Community Engagement and Leadership

Tamadher Al Fahal MA Interior Design, 2011

Angela started designing her individual characters under the Burman Bears brand in 1998. She creates contemporary, traditional and vintage-inspired characters made using the finest materials and designed to last for generations.

After completing a degree in interior design at the University of Bahrain, Tamadher came to Birmingham City University for her MA. She returned home to teach on her previous course, while also building up her reputation as a practising artist.

Despite the early success of her business, Angela decided to come to Birmingham City University to study Visual Arts, specialising in soft figure sculpting, to gain more of a formal grounding in the techniques of fine art. She then benefited from the University’s contacts with industry to sell her creations through the Birmingham Made Me initiative.

Tamadher has contributed to several art workshops and was a member of the Bahraini team at the Venice Architectural Biennale. A venture close to her heart is Project Ulafa’a, which aims to create a comfortable creative environment where people use art to share stories regarding socio-political issues from communities across Bahrain, following the recent unrest in the country.

Angela has continued to sell bears direct to the public, as well as running bear-making workshops three times a year. She has also created Whisper the Listening Bear, which is extensively used by teachers, counsellors and therapists when providing comfort and friendship to children who may have suffered trauma, bereavement, neglect, abuse and many other issues. Whisper has been used to raise funds for various charities and Angela hopes to further extend his reach in future with possibilities including animation, computer games or an app.

In 2014, she was invited to give an inspiring and eye-opening talk in Bangalore on what it means to be a modern Muslim woman living in the Middle East today. She is now back in Birmingham undertaking a PhD with Birmingham City University on the basis of Islamic art and design. She is already a committed alumni mentor here, and visits current students on the MA course to discuss their ideas and offer support.

To read more in-depth interviews with this year’s winners, meet Alumni of the Year from previous years or to nominate alumni for 2017, go to www.bcu.ac.uk/alumnioftheyear. 9


When disaster strikes When a community is hit by disaster, it can take more than passion and goodwill to provide successful relief. As Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), and formerly of Islamic Relief, Birmingham City University graduate Saleh Saeed OBE has played a leading role in successfully strategising, managing and delivering relief to areas that have needed it most. Saleh spoke to Sam Lambeth about his time at the University, his career to date and his plans for the future.

“When disaster strikes, good intentions aren’t enough. You also need managerial awareness, training and expertise to ensure the effectiveness of emergency aid delivery.” Saleh Saeed has made a career out of responding to disasters on a global scale. Currently Chief Executive of the DEC, he began working for Islamic Relief in the 1990s, and cites his tenure there as one of his greatest career achievements to date. “It was a period of immense growth for the organisation, and I saw it develop into a truly international concern,” Saleh said. “With a great team and inspirational

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leadership, we were able to make huge improvements – in a short space of time – to our fundraising, marketing and communications. I think being part of that rapid progress so early in my career showed me what can be done with the right leadership skills – and that has kept me inspired.” These skills had been ingrained while studying a HND in Business and Finance at Birmingham City University. “I chose the University due to the quality of Birmingham City Business School,” Saleh explained. “Studying my course gave me a great foundation in my career.

The areas of study around organisational development, IT and finance were, and are, very relevant to my career, and while times have changed, the key principles I learned at the University are still very useful.” Studying these principles prepared Saleh to be able to cope with the rigours and demands he faced in his early career. “At Islamic Relief, it was often very stressful and it had a huge impact on work-life balance,” Saleh said. “But we never saw it as a job. Rather, we saw it as a mission to serve and a duty to respond. Plus, whatever hardships we encountered


Saleh helps typhoon victim Chadra Lupen prepare land to grow produce

were nothing compared to those working on the frontlines or, of course, those affected by the disasters.”

In his role at the DEC, Saleh has helped provide relief and raise money for a number of devastating disasters.

Saleh’s commitment and hard work didn’t “In the last three years, we have go unnoticed, however, and in 2013 he responded to crises in Syria, Gaza and was delighted and humbled to receive the Philippines, as well as the Ebola an OBE for his humanitarian work. “I outbreak,” Saleh said. “These appeals was really surprised when I received the raised over £266 million, reaching six letter,” Saleh said. “It was an unexpected million people in 10 countries. but tremendous honour. I am sure there “We launch appeals to raise money to are many more deserving people out help those impacted by disaster,” Saleh there, but I was delighted to accept the explained. “And we only appeal when award in recognition of the many people I we know we can help. Since the DEC’s have worked with and served.” launch in 1963, we have run 67 appeals

and raised more than £1.4 billion, saving millions of lives and rebuilding communities.” For the future, Saleh hopes to continue his humanitarian work, helping it prosper and develop in a new era. “We are about to embark upon an exciting new strategy that will transform the DEC for the digital age,” Saleh said. “So all my energy right now is going into that. “I absolutely love the work that I do and have great respect for the many friends and colleagues I have gotten to know over the years. Without them, none of my achievements would have been possible.” 11


FOOD

glorious FOOD

Image credit: Tom Bird

Birmingham’s food scene has undergone a transformation in recent years. On one hand, its street food scene with events such as Digbeth Dining Club is attracting national acclaim, while it also now has five Michelin star restaurants – more than any other UK city outside London. David Aust spoke to some of the alumni who are making this happen and the University experts who are exploring what this means for the future of the retail and leisure sector.

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Much of the growth in Birmingham’s culinary reputation can be attributed to Digbeth Dining Club (DDC) – a multiaward-winning street food event that has introduced a wide range of new flavours to the city since it was established in 2012. Scott O’Byrne and Tom Maher made a name for themselves at the event with their Original Patty Man range of burgers, including their notorious Krispy Kreme burger – now known as Big Vern’s Krispy Ring after the doughnut company intervened – and have now progressed to their own restaurant, also in Digbeth, in partnership with innovative beermaker Siren Craft Brew. At first glance, running a restaurant may seem a long way from the Fashion Design degrees they took at the University, but they made the shift gradually, initially running the stall alongside their full-time jobs. Tom said: “We both worked together at the Birmingham-based menswear brand Luke and our initial idea was to get together after work and discuss starting our own t-shirt brand. As we’re both big foodies, we decided a healthy Krispy Kreme burger might get the creative juices flowing, which it did but not for t-shirts! “We had seen first-hand how the street food scene was rapidly growing in London and figured it would only be a matter of time before it reached Birmingham. As we'd struggled to find a decent burger in Birmingham, we decided we should give it a go.” After trying out their idea on a group of friends, Digbeth Dining Club provided a lower-risk opportunity to sell to the public, and use their feedback to continue enhancing the product. Tom said: “A friend’s birthday party gave

us the chance to test run our ideas – we did cut the power to the entire pub on three or four occasions but, once we got going, it worked really well. We got some great feedback but when it’s all friends giving you the feedback, it’s difficult to know for sure, so we knew we had to try it out on other people! “We started at the very first DDC which came about as a good friend of mine put us in touch with Jack Brabant, the founder of DDC. He wanted to get it off the ground and we knew it would be a great starting point.” Scott added: “Feedback is always important and it’s the bad and mixed comments that you really need to pay

“Our course gave us an insight into how to build a brand.” attention to. At first we were pretty slow, so we had to listen and streamline what we were doing. There were a few other small issues which we had to iron out and, as a result of the feedback and speaking to other more experienced vendors, we started to act with more confidence and really develop the product and brand. “Food-wise, obviously there was little connection to our course but it did give us an insight into business in general and how to build a brand. The product is obviously the most important part but it has to be a complete package. We just wanted to have fun with what we were doing and I think that was reflected in our burgers, their names and all the promotion and artwork that came with

them, including the posters of seminaked 80s action film heroes, wrestlers and bodybuilders!” After four years, and with the business continuing to attract plaudits and customers, Tom and Scott took the plunge and opened their restaurant late last year. Tom said: “We didn't start out with the intention of opening a restaurant – that was something we started to think about a couple of years in once we began to pick up momentum. We knew if we were to move from part-time vendors to opening a restaurant, it needed to be as calculated a risk as possible. It was never going to be risk free but we had to build the brand first for the bricks and mortar to work.” Scott added: “As we're partnered with the brewery Siren, it gives us an amazing opportunity to work with a really talented team of brewers and create some interesting beer and food pairings, so I think that will be a big part of the future. Other than that, we now have the space to play and experiment with new ideas, and a platform to build on.” Tom and Scott credited the rise of street food with making it easier for new entrants to try out new ideas and enter the market, which they hoped would help the city’s independent food scene to continue to grow, despite increased competition from the big brands. Tom said: “There are so many good chefs starting in street food because the overheads are low and you're interacting directly with your customers, which is really important. It still doesn't make it easy though; there is lots of groundwork to be done and there's plenty of failing along the way. We were fortunate that it was only part-time for us but when it's your only source of income it can

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Image credit: Tom Bird

be quite daunting. We've seen plenty of people come and go because the financial pressure was too much. “There are a lot of great places to eat in Brum now but, with that fast growth, there are a lot of big brands and I think there's a real craving to see more of an independent scene which is slowly but surely starting to creep its way in. That's where the real excitement is.” Professor Chris Edger from Birmingham City Business School said the rapid growth of more transient retail concepts such as street food and pop-up businesses showed how increasingly discerning customers were prepared to search out authentic tastes and flavours wherever they could be found. He said their independent image was key and cautioned against diluting this. “Street food as a concept originated in the USA, and first came over here at festivals, but it’s something that’s really gathered momentum in recent years. There are over 2,000 street food businesses now and the emphasis is really on quality, freshness, innovation and local produce – all themes that are particularly popular at the moment. “It also provides a low-cost entry point for traders but that doesn’t mean it’s

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“The danger with any concept such as this is that it becomes a victim of its own success with too many people coming in and diluting the principle. If existing operators become more corporate and evolve into chains, or existing chains try to muscle in, that won’t really fit the young and hip vibe street food has. Consumers are increasingly discerning and they won’t be fooled by anyone pretending to be independent.” Head of Psychology at Birmingham City University Professor Craig Jackson said the increase in popularity of street food showed changes in the attitude of the public towards food and eating, with time and financial constraints meaning that eating ‘on the go’ was increasingly popular.

“Street food is in sync with modern life.” Professor Craig Jackson easy – the requirements for food hygiene are the same for a street food stand as they are for a full-service restaurant and if you don’t meet the minimum requirements you can’t serve food. Then you have to offer the right product for the landlords or the organisers of events as they will want something different to what they already have – you can’t just have eight carts all serving burgers.

“Consumers are increasingly discerning.” Professor Chris Edger

“That starts-ups in the restaurant trade such as the Original Patty Man can become successful so quickly, says a great deal about how the nation's attitudes to food and dining are changing. The UK dining public are keen to welcome independence and the ‘non-chain culture’ as an alternative to ‘big burger’ chains. The spirit of the OPM has captured UK attitudes towards the food underdogs – and this is clearly an attitude with a marketable and commercial aspect attached to it. “The reduced costs of operating a guerrilla brand, using pop-ups in 'downmarket' areas, means savings are passed on to diners – and a lean operation with a minimum of waste is something the UK public are keen on in such frugal times. “The rise in popularity of the street food phenomena also reminds us that as a nation the UK is more ‘time-poor’ than ever before; and diners on the move prefer uncomplicated menus, a simple range of products, and no-frills service. This is in sync with modern life in a country which has seen the length of the lunch break dwindle to a mere 12 minutes – often spent eating a sandwich at a desk.”


“There are so many good chefs starting in street food because the overheads are low and you’re interacting directly with your customers, which is really important.”

“We just wanted to have fun with what we were doing and I think that was reflected in our burgers, their names and all the promotion and artwork that came with them.”

Tom Maher

Scott O’Byrne

(pictured left)

(pictured right)

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Choice words How language affects online sales

Like social media and smartphones, eBay has ingrained itself into modern living. But when it comes to the auction site’s listed items, how much significance does the use of words have in successfully selling a product? Birmingham City University lecturers Andrew Kehoe and Matt Goe found out, conducting an innovative research project to find out whether – and to what extent – different descriptions yield different results. “Subtle differences in language can have a big impact on people’s reactions,” Andrew said. “We can’t say that one particular word in the description affects whether an item sells and for what price, but the combination of words used, as well as the style the description is written in, definitely have an impact.”

“We downloaded 100 items from each category every day for 70 days,” Andrew explained. “After removing duplicates and unsold items, we were left with 68,000 item descriptions in total. We then used our WebCorp software to compare categories and find the most linguistically interesting ones.”

into detail about an item,” Andrew said. “But I think the amount of variation you find in item descriptions is one of the strengths of eBay – there’s no right or wrong way of doing things, and if everyone wrote their descriptions the same way it would be harder to stand out among the millions of items that are listed on sale.”

These subtle differences include describing items, such as fragrances, as ‘authentic’ rather than ‘genuine’, with the use of the former resulting in a more lucrative sale. “In the past there have been some concerns about fake products on eBay, and we do see a lot of evidence of sellers going out of their way to explain that their items are real,” Andrew explained. “It seems very important to sellers to stress that their items are authentic.”

Some of their findings included discovering ‘men’s’ watches sold for £30, while ‘gent’s’ watches fetched over £70. Research also found that antique sellers were the most likely to use a personal connection to sell products, with personal pronouns ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘my’ appearing frequently. “We’ve found a lot of sellers use the item description to emphasise they’re genuine and can be trusted by potential buyers,” Andrew said. “That is still true for categories such as ‘Antiques’.”

For the future, Andrew aims to conduct further research on similar sites. “It would be good to compare eBay to a site like Amazon,” he said. “As that contains many of the same products as eBay, but with descriptions written by the manufacturer rather than the seller.”

Andrew and Matt were inspired to conduct the research after previously examining the use of language on blogs and newspaper websites. Using their own research software, WebCorp, they then decided to turn their attentions to the auction site. “I am a keen eBay user, so it was a good opportunity to combine business with pleasure,” Andrew said. “As far as we know, from a linguistic perspective, we’re the first researchers to analyse eBay on this kind of scale.” Initially, Andrew and Matt weren’t sure which particular eBay sections would provide the most interesting results, so began by analysing the full 35 categories.

16

The term ‘second-hand’ was regularly eschewed when it came to listing used cars, with words like ‘honest’, ‘reliable’ and ‘clean’ being preferred. “Secondhand seems to have a stigma attached when it comes to cars, but people will happily use it to sell smaller items, like books or DVDs,” Andrew said. With item descriptions being such a contributing factor to successful sales, would it be easier to remove the option and instead rely on specific categories? “According to eBay’s own figures, 80 per cent of items listed are new rather than second-hand, so it’s less important to go

As for the eBay research, Andrew hopes that it will make a positive contribution to the way people phrase their descriptions. “One thing our research has definitely shown is that, rather than relying on photos or multiple-choice options, it is definitely worthwhile for sellers to put time and effort into writing their item descriptions.”


“Subtle differences in language can have a big impact on people’s reactions.” Andrew Kehoe

17


TACKLING THE

WEIGHTY ISSUES The University’s new range of Sport and Life Sciences courses to be launched in 2017, comes at a time when obesity and unhealthy lifestyles are once again hitting the headlines.

18


With the Government describing childhood obesity as a ‘national emergency’ and campaigners calling for changes to our eating habits – such as celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s crusade to ban unhealthy food in schools – the industry is under pressure to reduce sugar, salt and other additives in their products.

this needs to sit alongside everything else.”

The recently introduced ‘sugar tax’, restrictions on special offers, or a ban on advertising unhealthy foods at times when young people might be watching have all been put forward as possible solutions.

“Diets probably have become worse since the ‘80s, which was when we saw convenience food, ready meals and fast food become popular. School dinners also changed, becoming more about cost and convenience, which has only recently been reversed following Jamie Oliver’s campaign. Combined with that, our lives are easier – there’s more technology for even just the simple things, like we don’t even have to get up to turn over the TV channel!

Nigel Penny has worked at Birmingham City University for almost 10 years and is now programme leader for the Nutrition Science programmes, having previously been a personal trainer and nutrition adviser for individuals, companies and professional sports teams. He said that with sugar, a cheap and easy way to improve the taste of our food, it would take a concerted effort to persuade both manufacturers and individuals to change their habits. He said: “There isn’t a single magic solution, and it’s no good trying to address issues like this downstream, after they have happened. It’s got to start at the top with the Government, with education for children and adults, so everyone knows what sugar can do and why you should try and minimise intake. Campaigns like Change for Life are good and the adverts are really catchy but

Children have been a particular focus of media attention which Nigel said could be attributed to both diet and lifestyle issues as convenience foods became more popular at the same time as people’s lives became less active.

“It’s good to see now that a lot of schools are adopting a new version of food technology teaching. It’s not just about let’s make a sandwich or a smoothie or a cake; it’s about what food is, what it’s made from and how it’s involved with health. On the current Nutrition Science programme, I’ve got quite a few graduates who’ve gone on to do those roles, and the younger this education starts, the better.” Nigel believes changes such as the sugar tax recently announced by Chancellor George Osbourne can have an impact on changing people’s habits but that people

“It is definitely a good time to be expanding our provision in this area, as the nutrition field is the fastest-growing career in the NHS.” Nigel Penny, Programme Leader

– Nutrition Science

can also make their own changes by gradually altering their intake of certain food products. “I think we’ve taken some good steps so far and we’re going in a positive direction, especially now the consensus has finally come around to it not being fats causing health issues such as obesity, it’s actually sugar and the processed foods that contain higher amounts of sugar that our bodies aren’t built to process. The sugar tax is a good idea but no-one knows for sure how effective it will be. Will it reduce consumption? Probably, but it needs to come with education, saying why it’s being taxed. “My opinion is that you shouldn’t really add sugar to anything and if you have to add it, you need to look at what it is about the foods concerned that you don’t like. It’s like having sugar in tea and coffee – to remove that spoonful completely could be quite a big step whereas if you reduce it, to say half a teaspoon, you’re not getting as much sugar but you’re getting some of that taste and palatability without the shock of removing it completely.” The University’s new courses in Biomedical Science, Nutrition, and Sport and Exercise Science will complement our existing programmes in Nursing, Midwifery and Public Health, and will be based in a new £41 million building on the City South Campus. Nigel said: “It is definitely a good time to be expanding our provision in this area, as the nutrition field is the fastest-growing career in the NHS at the moment with nutritionists, advisers, health coaches, health and wellness trainers, and then we have the other employers on top of that. “We’ve got several graduates working in an NHS environment, while others are working with manufacturers on developing new food products – one of our previous students worked with Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose and developed products which we now see on the shelf, so we are absolutely contributing towards helping people live healthier lives.”

19


WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Brett Taylor

Share your post-university experiences with your classmates, friends and fellow alumni

an advertising company in California then in NYC for 10 years. I left advertising to pursue what I initially wanted to do, teaching. I am currently teaching Media Studies and Arts at an international Secondary school here in San Jose, California. Teaching is where I am most happy. I enjoy my students and feel more accomplished in sharing my knowledge and experiences to them. Angela Hallam

JENNY ROWE

BA (Hons) English Language and Literature, 1997

1970s

1990s

ANGELA HALLAM

FARAH PRIELA

BA Theatre Design, 1977 I was one of, if not the first person, in the country to design and make football mascot costumes when they first started changing the image of football in the mid-80s! I have been doing it ever since, always as a freelance sole trader. This is my website – www. angelahallamdesigns.com.

1980s JANE BINGHAM

BA (Hons) Fashion and Textiles, 1989 After having worked in retail sales, marketing systems development, HR and H&S I have recently set up in business as a garden designer. Back to my design roots!

20

MA Media and Communication, 1997 After completing my Master’s program at UCE, I pursued another post grad PGCE at the University of Leicester. I completed the course with a QT-PGCE in Secondary Certificate and Teacher Credential. I moved to Santa Barbara, California where I was married and worked as Broadcast Director in Farah Priela

I teach and perform improvised comedy in Brighton and around the UK, to businesses and private groups, with The Maydays (www.themaydays.co.uk). Recently worked with GSK, Skipton Building Soc., and Investec among others). Can’t believe its 19 years Jenny Rowe

since B301 drama society. I also got married to Robert last June!

NICHOLAS FRANKLIN

BA (Hons) Theatre Design, 1999 Having been inspired by the 1971 Gene Wilder film, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I pursued my dream career as a set and costume designer. I’ve contributed to the Penguin Book release Inside Charlies’ Chocolate Factory (released September 2014). My career has seen me as lead art director on BBC’s Changing Rooms, Grange Hill for Channel 4 – Brookside and Hollyoaks and theatre work including English Touring Theatre. Currently working for

the second largest entertainment company in the world, Merlin Entertainments, I have recently completed a 2.5 million re-design for the York Dungeon. Responsible for creating themed transitional corridors/performance spaces and environment. So sad to hear our tutor Michael Clarke had passed away. Would be great to hear from students and lecturers of this 1996 – 99 year.

JAMES DAVEY

BMus (Hons) Performance, 1999 My London choir, Chantage, enjoyed tremendous success at the Malta International Choir Festival 2015 during half term at the end of last October, winning first prize in both the secular and sacred categories of the competition and taking home these two trophies, plus a special award for best choreographed performance. The choir gained the highest score of the Festival and went on to win the overall “Grand Prix” of Malta. Chantage is one of the UK’s leading amateur choirs, formed in 1999 by founder conductor James Davey. Chantage won the BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year competition in 2006, recorded live with Elbow at Abbey Road Studios in 2009 and is frequently featured on Classic FM and BBC radio. In 2014 the choir had its debut in the BBC Proms at the


Class notes

Royal Albert Hall performing ‘Meld’ by Benedict Mason – a work for 48 solo voices and orchestra – which was listed in the Guardian newspaper as one of the top 10 classical performances of the year. The choir is next working on a new CD for release later this year, to accompany its Christmas CD and its recording of wedding music, featuring favourite love songs, movie themes and new commissions from some of the UK’s most prominent choral composers.

of the national parliament come next elections in 2017. Am calling for support on all the alumni from this part of the world.

BRETT TAYLOR

GERI MINELLI

BEng (Hons) Electronic Engineering, 1999

BTEC HND Music Performance, 2002

In March 2015 I travelled to Longyearbyen in Svalbard via Norway to observe and photograph the solar eclipse. Thankfully the weather was great and the sky was clear and I got some great photos of the event. I also found some time to go on a full day snowmobile trip, riding across frozen sea to take a look at a glacier and frozen water falls. On my return trip, via Tromso in Norway, I spent my nights watching and photographing the aurora which was a fantastic sight. I hope all of you from my course are doing well and I look forward to reading some of your stories.

I am pushing the Maroon Ribbon Campaign Women in Music Day and for females involved in the music industry (on every level) offering encouragement to those wishing to take up vocational options, in areas behind the scenes. Although we started the work with the Women in Music Festival born here in Birmingham, we have much work to do and a long campaign ahead of us, so we are asking BCU to get behind us to help awareness around the world and are happy for support from students in all areas – music, marketing, media, social digital, bloggers, musicians etc. Be part of our global campaign for progression and development. Find us @ maroonribbon

2000s ALEX WILLIAMS BMus (Hons), 2000

Alex made a career change back in 2015 and joined the MET Police as a Constable. Alex now lives in London and would be interested to hear from other alumni in the area.

CHRISTOS STAMATIOU

BA (Hons) Economics, 2001 Running a hotel in Evia Island in Greece.

JABESS ODOUR

BA Marketing, 2001 I’ve been elected to the position of a County Assembly Member of Kongowea in Mombasa– Kenya. I’ll be vying for the position of an MP member

WILLIAM SEABROOK BA (Hons) Visual Communication, 2002

I became a professional fashion Illustrator for six seasons. In 2006 I set up a digital agency which I have been running now for 10 years. Lots of clients – great work, and lots more to do.

Duckling, specialising in traditional, locally sourced ales and ciders along with a selection of wines. We follow the general micro pub philosophy of no television, music and fruit machines in favour of actually talking to one another! So far, it’s proving pretty popular and seems to be bringing the community together.

GRAHAM JOINSON

MA Education and Professional Development, 2006 I am currently acting Head of Resistant Materials in a Birmingham girls’ school. My previous positions have enabled me to work in educational establishments that are under achieving. My role was to address the problems and improve them so that a suitable level of competence could be attained.

LOUISE DAVIES

PGCE Secondary Music, 2007 I trained as a secondary music teacher at Birmingham City University in 2007. I went on to work as a music teacher at the Performing Arts Service, Coventry, where I completed my induction year. I also teach at County Music Service in Warwickshire. I teach a mixture of 1-1, small groups and class teaching. Additional to my teaching I play keyboards and sing in

CLAIRE STEVENSON

a band. I love to continue learning about music and after completing my PGCE I studied towards and passed my Grade 8 Piano; I also study jazz piano. Studying for the PGCE was hard work, however it has given me the confidence to work as a teacher and live a life using my musical skills.

DANIEL IMRIESITUNAYAKE

BSc (Hons) Computer Networks and Security, 2007 I founded a company, Tiny Farms that is using data analytics and robotics to raise insects as a sustainable source of protein. We recently raised a round of investment from a group of investors including Arielle Zuckerberg (sister of the Facebook founder).

MANJIT CHODA

MSc Audit Management and Consultancy, 2007 I got to co-author my first publication in 2012 which I’m very proud of with Prof John T Wells, USA, titled: Bribery and Corruption Casebook: The View From Under the Table. In the last few years I’ve done some challenging international development work for the Global Fund (The Office of Inspector General) in Sweden that’s taken me to the EMEA sectors of developing countries including SubSaharan African states such as Ghana, Legon, Uganda and Mwanza on various grantrelated and educational assignments.

VIVIENNE MILLS (PREVIOUSLY JONES) MA Education, 2009

I have now left Devon and moved to Milton Keynes where I am Head at Milton Keynes Primary PRU and enjoying my role very much.

BSc (Hons) Multimedia Technology, 2003

I have a Facebook page (Roo’s Corner) where I sell handmade items. Over the last year I have raised over £1,000 for local charities.

2010s DAVID GILBERY

BENJAMIN LOW

BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing, 2011

BA (Hons) Multimedia, 2003 Attained Chartered Fellow in 2015 with the Chartered Management Institute.

JEFF BERRY

BA (Hons) English, 2006 Since graduating I followed a number of different paths, but in February 2016 I opened Solihull’s first micro pub – The Pup and

Louise Davies

Claire Stevenson

David has built a solid career for himself within the film industry as a producer and financier. He has served as an executive producer on many high profile feature films including Heist starring Robert De Niro and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Extraction starring Bruce Willis, and the soon to be released epic

21


Class notes

Western Bone Tomahawk starring Kurt Russell. David also produced the recently BAFTA-nominated film The Survivalist starring Martin McCann and Mia Goth and A Patch of Fog starring Stephen Graham and Conleth Hill. His journey began at Birmingham City University when in his final year of study, David was given the opportunity to write his first full screenplay. It was this final year of work that really inspired David to pursue his dream further.

PAUL TURNER

PhD Organisational Coaching, 2011 I have had the pleasure and privilege to be appointed Visiting Professor responsible for the Human Capital Dimension module of the MBA Programme run by Staffordshire University at Riinvest College, Pristine, Kosovo.

SYED NADEEM ABID ZAIDI

MA Textiles, Fashion and Surface Design, 2011 It’s really nice to submit my class notes again. Well the latest what’s happened in my life is besides teaching A Level Art and Design at Cie Cambridge University examinations, I have also joined a musical band as a drummer, after a lot of requests from my friend. I have also made some new textile prints, and am in contact with a gallery who have approved displaying my artwork for an exhibition. I am always happy to hear

Syed Nadeem Abid Zaidi

22

from BCU alumni and wish I was there to be with you people in University’s Bar 42, which always used to be a welcome breeze after a hard day’s work.

ROMA LOUKES

BMus (Hons), 2011 I moved to Stockholm in Sweden in 2012 to study at the opera studio. Since graduating with a Masters in opera I have worked at the Royal Stockholm opera, Gothenburg opera and Stockholm’s Cirkus theatre. I even spent a summer in Montepulciano, Italy, creating the role of Euridice in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice.

ZARIDA RIAZ

CERT ACHIEV Practice Teacher Preparation, 2012 I continue to enjoy my role as a Community Practice Teacher in Health Visiting for the Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust. Have recently produced a poster on team resilience which I submitted for the forthcoming CPHVA conference and it was accepted.

AWAIS AHMAD

MBA International Business, 2012 Hi amigos! Life after graduation has been a roller coaster ride for me until I got engaged to this beautiful angel; the love of my life, Sadia. My best wishes and prayers to all you out there. Have a happy and wonderful 2016.

NAMITA PANDYA

MA Visual Communication, 2012

Eleen Tan

A BIG hello to all my classmates, Steve Hunt and Robert Sharl and all my teachers at BCU. Currently, I am residing in Pune, India. This city is three hours from Mumbai. I am working as a chief visual strategist at Neeti Solutions Pvt Ltd. This is a social and serious game design company based in Pune.

GEORGINA ANDERSON BA (Hons) Business and Advertising, 2012

Had two children and recently got engaged. My biggest achievements since graduating.

MARK BRAHAM

MSc Quality Management, 2013 Three years after graduation I have been awarded Chartered Quality Professional Fellow membership grade by the Chartered Quality Institute. In addition to this BSI the UK’s recognised national standard body has appointed me as Chair for QS1 committee. This committee is responsible for developing and collating feedback for ISO9001 quality management system standard used in all types of business across the world.

ELEEN TAN

MA Visual Communication, 2013 I graduated my MA Visual Communication, majoring in fashion and lifestyle illustration, with distinction. I would like to thank Dr Clive Colledge and Robert Shawl for their guidance during my studies. It’s an incredible experience to share my knowledge and learn new things during the classes. Currently, I am working as an illustration course lecturer in The One Academy Penang, Malaysia, mainly teaching drawing (traditional and digital) and creative workshop. I am also involved in industry projects actively and work with different clients to

create fashion and lifestyle illustration for fashion shows, promotional and event purposes. Lately, I have worked with some clients, such as Chanel and Dior to create live personalised fashion illustrations for invited guests. The learning experiences that I got from BCU definitely influence me in my current and future project planning and development. Thank you BCU!

CHIBUZO OKPALA

MSc Management and International Business, 2013 I was awarded a scholarship to study for a PhD program in Management at the University of Padova, Italy. The people are nice but almost everyone speaks Italian, so I compelled to start learning Italian language too.

CHARLOTTE FRANKS BA (Hons) Visual Communication (Illustration), 2013

When I left university I found a graphics job within three months at Capgemini where I designed internal graphics for the department, catalogue items (icons etc) and event graphics (ranging from badges, posters, takeaways and presentations). Then I moved to Cosford and have become a multimedia designer where I do 2D animations and flat images, and I am in the process of learning to create 3D models in 3D max and the

Unreal engine. Alongside all of these jobs I take on freelance commissions to help fund my digital painting which I display at MCM around the country.

FAROOQ SHEIKH

MA Criminology, 2013 Since graduating, I have become the positive action recruitment lead for West Midlands Police. I have also set up a national positive action practitioners group with forces across the country, including Police Scotland. I have been shortlisted for Police Diamonds Award for my efforts in recruitment of underrepresented groups. I have just successfully passed the promotion process to become a Chief Inspector with the Metropolitan Police and will be joining them in April 2016. Since graduating at BCU I have also volunteered to help out and give visiting lectures at this university and others. Some of the topics have included crime prevention, offender management and police recruitment of underrepresented groups. I have also recently helped in marking undergraduates’ presentations and have to say I was so impressed in the overall ability of all the students. BCU in my opinion has gone from strength to strength and always looking at ways of helping, coaching and mentoring people to achieve greatness and I will always be deeply grateful.


Class notes

ORBERT CHIKEREMA

BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing, 2014 Mental Health Nursing 10/11 was one of the best classes. Guys can we keep in touch please. Check my website: www.nnchealthcare.co.uk.

KANAK JAITLI

BA (Hons) Product Design, 2014

Farooq Sheikh

CALVIN FERNANDES BSc (Hons) Computer Networks, 2014

It’s hard to believe two years have flown past since leaving BCU in 2014. It’s been an amazing rollercoaster of a journey, but it’s pleasing to know that the additional theory and practical skills I gained from university are now being applied to my own business! Since the age of 12, I started in the hosting industry. Since then me and my team have grown and expanded, now hosting over 500,000+ sites and virtual solutions over 130 servers across three continent locations! I hope to reach my dream of owning my own datacentre one day! A huge shout out to the BCU team and to all the lecturers for their support and commitment while I was at university!

returned to BCU and have started my PhD in Intelligent Mixing. Sorry in advance if I put my engineering friends out of a job!

CHARLOTTE HEGARTY BA (Hons) Visual Communication (Photography), 2014

I’m running the London Marathon 2016 in aid of Sense UK; so far I have raised over £1,100 but still have a bit to go. Running the London Marathon is something I have always wanted to do and in the peak of my training now and covering 30 miles a week is tiring but all so worth it. If anyone would like to help me reach my target here is my just giving page http:// uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ CharlotteHegarty!

ZI YI KOH

MSc Accountancy and Finance, 2014 Hi guys, I’m doing fine here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Despite the fact that I’m still waiting for job opportunities which is suitable for me! Cheers!

ANISA SHAHBAN

BA (Hons) Early Childhood Education Studies, 2015 I graduated in June, and became a mum to my beautiful little daughter in July. Yeah it was tough but worth it! I have been employed as a nursery nurse prior to taking up my degree. So that’s four and a half years’ experience! Since graduation I have been considered and even offered jobs within management positions. I must say the experience along with the qualification really makes a good mix for career progression.

KAYAN TOBIAS

BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS, 2015 I’m now the appointed parent governor at St Francis Catholic Primary School on Nursery Road.

CHARLOTTE BRECKNELL

BSc (Hons) Sound and Multimedia Technology, 2015 I did a solo trip to Canada, my first time on a plane and abroad on my own.

RICHARD REILLY

BA (Hons) Applied Performance (Community and Education), 2015 Upon graduation in 2015, I accepted a role working as a drama programme director for a special needs (physical and developmental) summer camp in central California. Delivering creative drama sessions up to four times a week and directing a devised pantomime with fellow staff from the camp it became certain that I wanted to return in 2016. In June 2016 I will be heading back to the same camp in a different job role having received a huge promotion to CoAssistant Camp Director. I will therefore be responsible for the daily running of the camp and many more administrative duties.

SIMANPREET KAUR BSc Information and Communications Technology, 2015

I have secured an IT graduate job at TUI UK&I (Thomson airline) working with the information security team. It’s great! I’ve officially been working for 6 months now and I’m enjoying every bit of it! Missing uni life though!

JOHN LAWSON

MSc Risk Management, 2014 I’m delighted to announce that I have just accepted the position of Chief Risk Officer with Public Health Wales.

DAMI OWOEYE

NICHOLAS JILLINGS

BA (Hons) Accountancy Scheme, 2015

BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production with Sandwich Year, 2014 My four years on SEP were great and I have made friends for life during my time at BCU. Since graduating I continued my studies at Queen Mary’s University, completing a Master’s in Digital Signal Processing. During that year I had developed powerful web tools and quickly found I loved doing research. So I have

Hello, I am currently in India. I have had the most enriching learning experience after leaving BIAD. I have had the opportunity to work in bespoke furniture, luxury furniture and interiors, medical product and packaging design. Currently, I am dipping my toe into working in UI/UX design in the field of improving education in India. My work has also given me the opportunity to live in different places in India.

accountant. Thanks to everyone at BCU. No regrets and onward and upwards from here. :)

Charlotte Hegarty

BRIONY BANKS

BA (Hons) English Literature, 2014 Currently studying a Master’s in Global Politics and Human Rights at the University of Brighton.

Uni went by so quick and my three-year experience at BCU is unforgettable. Graduation was a dream come true and since then I have gone into further study by completing some exams to gain my ACCA qualification. I have passed my first exam and have four more to go and objectives to obtain before I can be a fully qualified ACCA accountant and chartered

Richard Reilly

To get back in touch with anyone listed here, email

alumni@bcu.ac.uk and we will try to reconnect you!

23


SUN 1 MAY – SUN 26 JUNE

SAYING GOODBYE TO BIRMINGHAM CONSERVATOIRE'S ADRIAN BOULT HALL In conjunction with Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

SIR JAMES GALWAY CBSO LAURA MVULA JULIAN LLOYD WEBBER

THE DESTROYERS DAVE HOLLAND

EX CATHEDRA BCMG MIKE STEVENS EX CATHEDRA | BCMG | MIKE STEVENS

Supported by BCU Graduate+

www.bcu.ac.uk/city-of-sounds /BirmCons

@BirmCons

Aspire magazine - Spring 2016  
Aspire magazine - Spring 2016