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Alumni Association Magazine Spring 2014

KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE ONLINE Advice from visiting lecturer and child protection expert Mark Williams-Thomas



Remembering the First World War

How our alumni are inspiring the next generation of students

ALUMNI OF THE YEAR 2013 Celebrating our graduates’ outstanding achievements


Professor Cliff Allan Vice-Chancellor

Alumni Association Magazine Birmingham City University City North Campus Perry Barr Birmingham B42 2SU T: +44 (0)121 331 5506 E: W: Course information and guidance T: +44 (0)121 331 5595 Switchboard T: +44 (0)121 331 5000 EDITORIAL Editor: Dawn Beddard Contributors: David Aust, Helen Eden, Rachel Whitehouse Designer: Paul Campbell 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.


As we near the end of my first full academic year at Birmingham City University, there has been much to celebrate as we continue to record impressive achievements in a rapidly changing higher education landscape. I recently presided over my second set of graduation ceremonies, where it was once again a great privilege to be part of such a special day for our graduates, their families and friends. As ever, the ceremonies also saw the unveiling of our Alumni of the Year and it was a great pleasure for me to meet Jack, Reena, Matthew and Laura – and while Catherine’s busy filming schedule meant she wasn’t able to join us, my congratulations go to all five of them for their outstanding achievements in their fields. You can read more about them on page 16. I would like to welcome the Class of 2013 to our alumni community and wish you every success in the years to come. The success of our graduates is also the focus of the University’s latest advertising campaign. In today’s competitive HE environment, communicating with potential students has never been more important and Shaping the World uses the achievements of our alumni to promote the excellence of the University. You can find out more on page 12.

The University was once again making headlines earlier this year when our poignant art installation, depicting life in the First World War trenches, went on display in the new Parkside Building at our City Centre Campus. Made entirely of paper and cardboard and created in under four weeks on a budget of less than £450, our first year Theatre, Performance and Event Design students demonstrated incredible talent that I am sure will serve them well throughout their time with us and beyond. After details of the exhibition were posted on social media, we were also able to secure a home for it at the armed forces training base RAF Shawbury, where it went on display in time for their annual dinner and will remain on show for future visitors to enjoy. You can read more about the installation on page 11 of this magazine. The exhibition also demonstrated once again what a fantastic addition The Parkside Building has been to our estate. As I walk round that building now, it seems as though we have always had these facilities, such is the way that our staff and students are using them and we had the opportunity to celebrate this in March when we were privileged to welcome former Deputy Prime Minster Lord Michael Heseltine to officially open the building.

Contents Spring 2014 Page


REGULARS News and events Anyone visiting the City Centre Campus recently will have seen that the next phase of our estates plan is now well under way, with a further building being constructed to house our Business, English, Social Science and Law courses, as well as new student support, library and IT facilities. We have now announced plans for a third phase of development, with further new buildings at our City Centre and City South campuses, to ensure our accommodation needs are met for the foreseeable future and to fulfil our objective of becoming a twocampus university with our main sites at City Centre and City South, and a phased move of remaining services from City North by 2017. Taken together, these exciting and ambitious plans will ensure we have the space we need in future, in line with our new Strategic Plan, which will take the University through to 2020 and ensure that we are well-positioned to continue meeting the needs of the next generation of students.


All the latest news from your university: alumni successes, exciting campaigns, new developments and more.

Where are they now?


Catch up with your fellow alumni – where they are and what they are up to.

FEATURES Bringing history to life


As the nation marks the 100th anniversary of WW1, two media graduates discuss how they cover events that go down in history.

Shaping the World


Our new campaign highlights graduate achievements and successes. Find out how our graduates are shaping the world.

Success through the generations


One of our more recent graduates discusses his family connection to one of the Shaping the World legacy alumnus.

Keeping children safe online


With technology moving at a rapid pace, police child protection expert turned investigative journalist and visiting lecturer Mark Williams-Thomas provides some useful tips for parents, carers and grandparents.



UNIVERSITY WITHOUT WALLS Birmingham City University prides itself on being a ‘university without walls’ and is open not only to staff and students but also to the people of the city and the wider region. To promote this ambition, a new public lecture series has been launched entitled City Talks.

followed by investigative journalist Mark Williams-Thomas who discussed his historic exposé of Jimmy Savile and the seismic consequences of this one explosive story.

The programme of high profile speakers, sharing their views and insights on a range of topics are free to attend and open to the public as well as students, staff and alumni.

And to end the autumn season, BAFTA award-winning film director and alumnus Ian Emes (pictured right) revealed how some of the biggest names in rock and pop - including Pink Floyd became his muse.

At the inaugural event best-selling crime writer R J Ellory examined Birmingham’s rich and fascinating history. This was

Do visit for the spring 2014 events.

ALUMNI MARVEL IN HOLLYWOOD SUCCESS Three former 3D design students helped bring characters to life in a Hollywood blockbuster. Jordan Brocklehurst, Richard Barnett and Matthew Ward, all former students on the Design Studies programme at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD), helped create costumes to be featured in Thor 2 – The Dark World. On working on the project, Jordan said: “There aren’t many people who can say they have worked on a Hollywood blockbuster! Not only is it a major claim to fame, but it was also an unique experience. It was gratifying to apply the skills developed at university in a real life scenario and taste a sample of where the degree could lead. I would happily do it again if I could.”


DOUBLE AWARD NOMINATION FOR ACTING GRADUATES Two graduates from Birmingham School of Acting are celebrating after being shortlisted for awards in the 14th annual WhatsOnStage Awards. Amy Booth-Steel and Iris Roberts, both graduates of Birmingham School of Acting, have been shortlisted in the category of Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. Amy has been nominated for her performance in The Light Princess, while Iris is nominated for her performance in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.


Birmingham Students, staff and graduates from various areas of the University proudly played a role in celebrating the opening of the new Library of Birmingham. Prince William, who officially opened the new £188 million facility met with students from the University as part of a visit to their exhibition. The students, together with Professor Jivan Astfalck from BIAD and arts organisation Craftspace, created an installation in the foyer called Story Meadow which tells the stories of Birmingham’s migrant community.

In addition musicians including staff and students from Birmingham Conservatoire, filled the air with sound as visitors were invited to wander on a journey of discovery through the new building and its state-of-the-art facilities, revealing the Library’s collections and resources.

photography commission, Reference Works, which was developed in celebration of the opening of the new library and featured the work of four world-renowned photographers and their interpretation of the new Centenary Square building and its contents.

Students and graduates also took an active part in Birmingham’s largest

For further information on the project and the library please visit and



FORMER STAFF MEMBER RECEIVES ROYAL HONOUR A recently retired member of staff has been honoured in the 2014 New Year’s Honours list. Former Chief Operating Officer Maxine Penlington has been named as an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for services to higher education. Maxine finds herself in good company on this year’s OBE list, alongside famous names such as broadcaster Sandi Toksvig and Arsenal midfielder Rachel Yankey.

UNIVERSITY RESEARCH GOES UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT Under the leadership of Professor Ian Blair, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health, the University has made a submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014). This new system used by the UK Higher Education Funding Councils to measure research excellence in UK universities, replaces the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

More information on the research taking place at the University can be discovered at, @myBCUResearch and on, where you will find a number of research videos which have been produced in partnership with key researchers.

“REF2014 is a real opportunity to build on our success in RAE2008 and showcase the very best of the University’s research.” Professor Keith Osman

REF Timeline November 2013

December 2014

September 2015 onwards

REF submission

Results of REF submission

Research excellence rewarded through the Quality Research (QR) component of the University’s annual block grant

Artist’s impression of Phase 2

ESTATES UPDATE IN BRIEF Phase 1 of the University’s expansion plans was completed in September 2013. The Parkside Building, which brings together art, design and media provision, has since received the ‘Sustainability Award’ at the recent Insider West Midlands Property Awards and has also been shortlisted in the 2014 Civic Trust Awards and the Guardian University Awards 2014. Phase 2, which opens in September 2015, will house Birmingham City Business School, together with the Schools of English, Law and Social Sciences. Phase 3, scheduled for completion in September 2017, will see the School of Education move to join the Faculty of Health at City South, creating a hub for the provision of public service contracts and professional development.

CALLING ALL the • Do you have ambitions to be


y? founder of a successful compan

reneurial skills in g a business and develop entrep nin run of nce erie exp n gai to nt • Do you wa le and beat the competition? order to become more employab and turn around a repreneurial leader of the future ent an be to ons biti am e hav • Do you success? company’s misfortune to global

If you answered yes to all these questions then BSEEN (Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network) is for you.

All you need is the commitment to research your idea for robustness and the ambition to make your idea work. BSEEN can offer: • • • •

A variety of workshops including a two-day intensive weekend and business registration A business grant to kick start your business Tailored mentoring to suit your business needs Free office space at Birmingham Science Park Aston, Birmingham City University or the University of Birmingham Lots of great networking opportunities.

BSEEN is available to undergraduates and graduates, up to five years after graduation, living in the West Midlands region. BSEEN, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, is a collaborative initiative between Aston University, University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University. For further details and an application form please contact Ron Brown in Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) E: T: 0121 331 5252

AT THE VERY HEART OF THE CITY Birmingham City University’s new multimillion pound Parkside Building, the state-of-the-art home for Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD) and Birmingham School of Media was officially opened by Lord Michael Heseltine. Vice-Chancellor Professor Cliff Allan said: “We are delighted to welcome such a prominent business and political

figurehead to open The Parkside Building. This is an exciting time and by further developing our presence in the heart of the City we will be able to capitalise on connections and better engage with local and national business.” During the visit to Birmingham City University Lord Heseltine was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate.


BRINGING to life Making the world’s most significant events a reality is all part of the job for a journalist. As the anniversary of the start of the First World War approaches, two graduates talk to Helen Eden about how they cover events that go down in history. REMEMBERING THE FIRST WORLD WAR Alumnus and BBC Radio Shropshire journalist Nick Southall has helped the First World War come to life for a Telford woman trying to find out more about a relative who fought in the battlefields of La Boisselle in northern France. Lesley Woodbridge was researching her great grandfather, Sapper William Lloyd, a miner who was reported as missing in action while digging tunnels under No Man’s Land in the Somme in 1915, when Nick got in touch with her. She was told that he would have died in an explosion which happened when German tunnel diggers detonated charges after hearing him and four of his comrades digging and archaeologists have excavated the tunnels, clearing a shaft to their final resting place. Nick accompanied Lesley to the Somme as she traced her great grandfather’s final 8

steps, actually entering the tunnel where he died. The trip featured in Nick’s ambitious Under the Somme report, aired on BBC Shropshire in December, which involved a live broadcast inside the tunnel 80 feet underground. It is believed that Lesley was the first person to travel so deep underground to visit the place where their ancestor died and Nick arranged for her to speak to her mother, Thelma, on the telephone from the spot where Sapper Lloyd rests in the tunnel. The phone call formed part of the report.

went down’ and when you’re down there you realise how good the structure of the tunnels was.” Nick, who studied BA (Hons) Media and Communication and PgDip Broadcast Journalism at the University, believes it remains important to remember those who were lost during the war, even 100 years on. “It’s vital - it keeps history alive,” he said.

“It’s almost unheard of in radio and television history to broadcast from that depth. Logistically it’s been a difficult process. I think it was a broadcasting first,” Nick explained.

“I’ve been lucky enough to interview the last British survivor who fought in the trenches and the last survivor of the Lusitania [an ocean liner that was sunk by German U-boats in 1915], so I’ve always had that kind of interest in recording history and making people aware. For me it’s bringing history to life.”

“It was certainly a great privilege do something like that and it was also good for BBC local radio that we could lead the way in the project.

Under the Somme has been put forward for the Radio Academy Awards, one of the most prestigious awards in the British radio industry.

“I learned a lot more about the underground world. We were walking back in time and it’s the same as it would have been when William was there. You think ‘Blimey, this shaft is the one where the tunnellers


Holligan gained a PgDip in Broadcast Journalism in 2003 and now works as a foreign correspondent for BBC News, covering world conflicts for television, radio and online. Working alongside journalists who are no strangers to the frontline such as Jeremy Bowen and Allan Little, Anna is based in The Hague, reporting the tribunals concerning the world’s most notorious war crimes suspects. A journalist who is truly passionate about her work, she believes that she and others like her have a vital role in telling the story of these injustices. In her view, there isn’t a more worthwhile kind of journalism. She explained: “Of course you have to consider your safety and you would never do anything to jeopardise that because that would defeat the purpose of being there.

“Marie Colvin and Tim Hetherington were among the best, bravest and most courageous reporters. But as my editors always say, no story is ever worth dying for.” Anna is acutely aware that accuracy is crucial, not only because her reports are seen by audiences - and governments - across the world, but also because these accounts will go down in history and can determine what happens in the future. “Covering international justice you have a responsibility to get it right. You gather testimonies from eye witnesses and it’s up to us to present those to the world. “You can’t make mistakes with that kind of thing because people are relying on you,” she said. Many of these sources are called to be witnesses in court. The Srebrenica Massacre was the biggest atrocity committed in Europe since the Second World War. While covering the trial of the man once known as ‘The Butcher of Bosnia’, Ratko Mladic, Anna met a former prisoner who was freed from the Omarska concentration camp following the broadcast of a report by ITV journalist Penny Marshall in 1994.

Anna explained: “Satko Mujagić said if it hadn’t been for Penny exposing their situation, he would have faced a firing squad the next day. There is no one who believes in the power of journalism more than him. “It is the ultimate power to save someone’s life. Satko is the living embodiment of the reporter’s potential ability to do that. It’s a huge honour to be doing this kind of work but also the biggest responsibility. “Of course it is useful for us as journalists to have these real people telling their stories, we rely on them, they make our reports come alive, they help audiences to understand and care about a story. “We are completely privileged when these people are willing to share their own horrific memories and it’s our duty to share them with respect.” These dialogues between reporters and eye witnesses have given rise to a new kind reporting – citizen journalism – which evolved and developed through social media during the Egypt uprising and is now more valuable than ever in the Syria conflict. When the revolution started, people took to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, telling


Bringing history to life the world of their experiences as events unravelled. “They aren’t fighting with weapons, they use their cameras,” Anna explained. “Anyone who is passionate about journalism would argue that Twitter has made a huge difference. You didn’t have that back in the 1940s. Social media plays a huge role; it gives people a much more nuanced view of things.” However, despite the willingness from eye witnesses to share their stories, reporting can be extremely difficult. In January, Anna spent several days onboard a Norwegian warship. She was reporting on the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons and was meant to be sailing to Latakia to witness the historic removal job and was preparing to broadcast live from the port. But all foreign journalists were evicted from the vessel before it reached Syria. “There is a real limitation on the amount of information that is coming out now,” she acknowledges. “A media blackout is being imposed, which means we are relying on official sources. With something like this, where there’s a demand for transparency, it’s challenging. “You can’t argue with the UN, OPCW [Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] or the Syrian Government, because no-one would want to do anything to disrupt the chemical removal plan or give President Assad an excuse to stall, but it shows that when journalists aren’t present there is a gap in information.” The role of women in journalism has also developed. Anna has always wanted to be a foreign correspondent and, while she has never felt held back, she admits that she was inspired to see women reporting from the frontline when she was growing up.


“It’s the most encouraging thing when you see women on screen. I really think that, as a woman, you can use that to your advantage; in my experience sources who may have something to hide tend to be less defensive if you’re a female reporter, and sometimes that makes them more likely to expose themselves to you. “I want other young journalists to see the opportunities and I hope that in the future, women can not only be equal but that the reporter’s gender just won’t be part of the story. “As the BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet has shown in covering Syria, women are already producing the most powerful and compelling material in the most challenging and hostile environments.”

PAPER SOLDIERS board, has been created A poignant installation made up of paper and card to mark 100 years since the First World War.

Using the Battle of the Somme as the setting, the Theatre, Performance and Event Design student-curated exhibition takes visitors on a journey back in time to show the hardships and struggles of soldiers in the battlefield. Life-size trenches, poor outdoor sleeping quarters and injured soldiers are some of the sets that have been created out of brown paper, which give a touching snapshot into a ‘typical’ day on the battlefield during the First World War. The exhibition was located at The Parkside Building during February and March. Hollie Wright, Lecturer and Project Leader for The Paper Installation said:

“This was a unique chance for our students to work at a full scale with the challenge of limited materials. We were aware that the sensitivity of the subject matter presented further challenges, however with this being the centenary year for the First World War we had full confidence in the students research, skills and abilities to realise this to the high level presented.” With a budget of only £450 and less than four weeks to complete the installation, first year students worked tirelessly to put a show-stopping set on display fit with sound-effects and impressive lighting to create colour. Paul Barrett, Course Director for Theatre, Performance and Event Design, said: “The project is a simple

yet extremely effective approach to experiential learning. We want the first year students to engage with fundamental principles associated with performance design including scale, narrative, space, light, sound, audience and collaboration. “As well as abilities that are difficult to teach like tenacity and determination, I’m particularly proud of the way that this group has dealt with such an emotive subject in such a mature and respectful manner.” Students drew on inspiration from the work of leading war poets Wilfred Owen, Woodbine Willy and Charles Hamilton Sorley, who all wrote about the shocking and sad horrors of life in the trenches.


NEW CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS GRADUATES’ ACHIEVEMENTS In today’s competitive higher education environment, it has never been more important for universities to highlight their achievements. Our new recruitment campaign, Shaping the World, has been devised to inspire the students of tomorrow by focusing on our most highprofile and successful alumni.

The campaign tracks the successful career paths of Birmingham City University graduates across a range of sectors, and is accompanied by a TV advert starring Birmingham School of Acting graduate Elliot Fitzpatrick. To find out more, and to see the advert, visit: FINDING NEW SOLUTIONS

Our graduates were profiled in nine different categories according to the nature of their work or achievement:


BUILDING A BETTER SOCIETY As chief executive of Nacro, the largest crime reduction charity in the UK, Paul McDowell brings the experience gained during his career in the criminal justice system – including three years as governor of HMP Brixton – to the organisation’s efforts to reduce reoffending. This year he also took up the post of HM Chief Inspector of Probation, monitoring the effectiveness of all probation services.

UNLOCKING CREATIVE GENIUS As a music composer for film and television, the five years since his graduation have seen Harry Lightfoot’s career go from strength to strength, acquiring a contract with publisher Accorder Music and projects for big names including BT, Olay, MaxFactor, Sony, Ford and Hyundai. His recent work has seen him creating sound for the BBC’s Original British Drama logo and composing the theme tune for Britain’s Big Wildlife Revival. 12

Tina Swani developed a successful career in the charity sector after studying a Diploma in Management Studies and a Masters of Business Administration at Birmingham City University, graduating in 1995. Following a series of swift promotions and career moves, culminating in her role as Regional Director for the Red Cross, she decided she wanted a role where she could shape the direction of a smaller organisation. The trustees of Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice were seeking a chief executive to do just that, and she took up the role in 2001.

DEVELOPING GLOBAL CAREERS After roles with P&O European Ferries and Homepride Foods, Peter Tighe has spent the majority of his career with the world’s largest cosmetics company, L’Oreal, moving from sales to management, and from the UK to France, the Middle East and southeast Asia, looking after some of the world’s most well-known brands. Since 2012, he has been working in Singapore as Regional General Manager for the firm’s subsidiaries in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and India.

A BA (Hons) Product Design graduate from Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Patrick le Quément joined French car manufacturer Simca in 1966, before moving to Ford and later Volkswagen. He was offered the position of Vice President, Corporate Design at Renault in 1987 and became Senior Vice President of Quality and Corporate Design in 1995. His leadership resulted in such iconic models as the Clio, Twingo, Mégane, Scénic, Espace and Laguna.

EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS After obtaining a First Class Honours degree in Economics at the then Birmingham Polytechnic in 1990, Ian Crawford went on to study the subject at Master’s and PhD level. He is now a Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford and a Senior Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. His research has appeared in a range of international academic journals, and he is a Research Fellow of the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

MANAGING OUR ENVIRONMENT Ben Derbyshire is Managing Partner of HTA Design LLP, a multidisciplinary firm of 120 architects, graphic designers, planners, landscape architects, web designers and sustainability


Success through the generations W

hen James Lovatt arrived at Birmingham City University, he was not aware that he was following in the footsteps of a famous relative.

consultants. Some of his practice’s notable projects, both in the UK and abroad, include Greenwich Millennium Village, Waterport Terraces in Gibraltar, the redevelopment of Queen Elizabeth’s Children’s Hospital, the South Acton regeneration project in London and Hanham Hall zero carbon community in Bristol.

BOOSTING THE ECONOMY As President of the British Chamber of Commerce in Brussels, Glynis Whiting is responsible for its work as a network for international business people. After obtaining a Diploma in Town Planning at Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University), Glynis went on to work for Gloucester City Council, the London Borough of Southwark and Kent County Council, where she undertook a secondment to the European Commission, working as a national expert on urban policy and regeneration.

ENRICHING LIVES Author Jim Crace has enjoyed more than his fair share of critical acclaim, with the New York Times calling one of his many novels “engrossing and suspenseful” and the Daily Telegraph saying “he has the imagination of the poet”. His first work of fiction was published in 1977 as part of a collection of stories from new writers and his books include Continent, for which he won the Whitbread First Novel award, and Quarantine, which was Whitbread Novel of the Year

His great-uncle, Harry Eccleston OBE, trained at Birmingham College of Art (now Birmingham Institute of Art and Design) in 1939 and went on to join the Bank of England in 1958 as the first full-time in-house artist and designer. Harry was responsible for designing the ‘D’ series of banknotes – the first pictorial notes – featuring Isaac Newton (£1), the Duke of Wellington (£5), Florence Nightingale (£10), William Shakespeare (£20) and Christopher Wren (£50), which were in use from 1970 to 1981.

He said: “When I was looking through my options, Birmingham City University stood out and the content of its business degree suited my requirements. It helped that my family were originally from this area, albeit they weren’t still there, but this gave me some motivation to find out more about my roots.” It was only when we launched our Shaping the World campaign that James realised his great-uncle was an alumnus of the same university. “I’ve grown up knowing of Harry and seeing his work in various places, and was lucky enough to meet him once before he passed away. Knowing that Harry had been recognised for his contribution, along with my upbringing, both inspired me to push myself beyond my boundaries of what I can achieve.”

James studied BA (Hons) Business Studies from 2005-09. He is currently online marketing manager at Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, where he is responsible for the day-to-day management of the organisation’s website and the ongoing development of social media initiatives. He is also managing director of Chang’an Media Ltd, a UK-based film production house working to build understanding between East and West by developing bespoke media projects. When he applied to the University, James was unaware of his family link to the institution, although he knew they had roots in the area.

Are you a graduate of Birmingham City University with family links to the University? Share your story by emailing


With technology moving forward at a rapid pace, it has never been more of a challenge for parents to keep up with their children’s activities online. The safety of youngsters has been regularly debated in the media, with stories of child abuse images being shared over the internet, and children being ‘groomed’ online by predators. Police child protection expert turned investigative journalist and visiting lecturer Mark Williams-Thomas spoke to David Aust about the potential dangers children face and what their parents can do to protect them.


“The majority of child sex offenders share material between each other at no cost, but there is a lot of money to be made from it, and this has been exploited by certain groups such as the Russian mafia. However, most offenders still operate on their own without coming into contact with other people – they may ‘know’ them online but only a minority would ever actually meet up.”

Mark worked as a detective and family liaison officer with Surrey Police, then set up a specialist child protection and risk management consultancy, before branching out into TV reporting. He became known as a regular commentator on child protection issues in the media, before researching and presenting the documentary which revealed the allegations of child abuse surrounding disgraced TV presenter Jimmy Savile. He completed his MA in Criminology at Birmingham City University in 2007 and has remained involved with the University as a visiting lecturer. He believes that the use of social media websites by paedophiles to source and share images, or to meet potential victims, is ‘out of control’ and has backed calls for social networks to take a tougher line. But has the advent of the internet and social media encouraged this type of abuse or just changed where it takes place? Mark believes the perceived anonymity of the internet has made it easier for offenders to access material, meaning many no longer fitted the traditional ‘loner’ stereotype – and may instead have successful careers or families. He said: “The internet is fantastic – it is a huge resource and has opened up people’s lives like never before but with that comes the opportunity for people to abuse it. In the case of social media, we’re trying to work in reverse as, when most of these sites were created, they did not consider the child abuse element so they’re now having to play catch-up. “Offenders cover every element of society; rich and poor, educated and uneducated, but offenders online tend towards the more educated. They may think it’s not as bad as hands-on offending, that it’s not a real person they’re harming, but my answer is very clear; these are real children who are being abused and anyone looking at this material is creating demand.

From a parents’ perspective, Mark said the priority should be to establish the ground rules for web use and warn children about the potential dangers before they stumble across them. “The first thing parents need to do is to get online, look at what is there and bring themselves up to speed because, sadly, a lot of children at the moment know more than their parents. Secondly, they need to talk to their children more, find out who they’re talking to online and what sites they’re visiting, as well as friending or following them on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. “What we don’t want is for children to become withdrawn or hide their online access. They should be using the internet on the family computer, not one up in their bedrooms, and they shouldn’t be taking their phones to bed. Unfortunately it’s not unusual for schoolchildren to be online at

1am which, apart from the risk of parents not knowing what they’re doing, is also not conducive to their learning the following day. “Regarding age limits, Facebook has a 13+ policy and that is appropriate – if you do it right, it’s certainly not out of the question for children to use such sites at a younger age but you need to make sure the settings are appropriate and talk about what restrictions there are. Mark said the social networking providers, the police and the government all needed to do more to tackle the problem of online abuse. “I’ve been very critical of Facebook in the past, but it’s now one of the safest sites because they’ve worked really hard to tackle this issue whereas other sites still have a long way to go. The police are learning but there is a lack of understanding because many of the officers won’t be actively using these sites on a day-to-day basis. “The government needs to properly resource the police so they can be more proactive, rather than responding after an image is posted. It’s about a lot more than bashing Google – at the moment we’re getting a lot of rhetoric but little action.” A longer version of this article can be read at

MARK’S ONLINE SAFETY ADVICE FOR PARENTS Arm yourself with information Get online before your children do and ensure you are up to speed with the latest trends. Talk to your children Encourage them to tell you about what they’re doing and who they’re speaking to on the internet. Keep access public Make sure your children go online on the family computer, not in their bedrooms – and don’t let them use their phones at night. Observe age limits Be aware of suggested restrictions and be extra vigilant if your child is using these sites at a younger age. Don’t rely on technology Parental control software can be useful but will not eliminate all threats and it may give a false sense of security.



of the


Birmingham City University Alumni of the Year recognises and celebrates the outstanding achievements of Birmingham City University graduates. Our alumni make a real difference across the globe in a variety of ways. Each year, the University names up to five Alumni of the Year in three categories – Enterprise and Innovation, Community Engagement and Leadership, and Excellence in Sport or the Arts. The University was delighted to announce this year’s Alumni of the Year in December, and the recipients were presented with their certificates and sterling silver Alumni of the Year pins at the University’s graduation ceremonies in February and March 2014.


Jack Row BA (Hons) Jewellery and Silversmithing: Design for Industry, 2009 manufacturer, and during evenings and weekends he continued to develop his single prototype into a complete collection of pens and cufflinks.

Jack Row is an award-winning craftsperson and designer. He has won a number of awards for his collections of luxurious precious metal fountain pens and cufflinks, including the coveted British Jewellers Association prize for his precious metal fountain pen design and a gold medal prize from the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. He was first inspired to create a luxury pen prototype with matching cufflinks after spotting a gap in the market during his dissertation research. After graduation, Jack spent a year-and-a-half working for a local bespoke jewellery


His ‘Architect’ collection debuted at prestigious store Harrods in November 2011 and has since become his most celebrated work. Jack has recently launched a collection of more affordable, handcrafted pens and cufflinks and also offers a bespoke jewellery service. He said: “The response has been really good – it’s still a relatively unknown brand compared to some of my overseas rivals who may have been around for 100 years or more, but they’re selling to people who want something British that they can’t get elsewhere. “I am a very proud graduate of the School of Jewellery, and to me this award also recognises the achievements of the School as a whole and the dedication its staff put into the education of each student, consistently producing graduates who are shaping our industry.”

MAKE YOUR FOR Birmingham City University graduates are making a difference and shaping the world. The University seeks to recognise and celebrate some of their outstanding achievements through Alumni of the Year.


Matthew Christie BA (Hons) Media and Communication, 2005 Matthew Christie has built a successful career on the back of his lifelong passion for, and interest in, boxing. Having graduated with First Class Honours in Media and Communication, specialising in TV production, he got his break with specialist TV production company KOTV before becoming one of the world’s most respected writers on the subject for Boxing News magazine and various national newspapers. Despite his enthusiasm for the sport, Matt had found himself side-tracked into an unfulfilling retail career after his A Levels until, at the age of 24, he decided to make changes in his life and follow his dream of working in a boxing-related role in the media.

After graduating, Matthew was offered a job with KOTV as a runner, becoming a producer within two years. In 2009, his dream job as a reporter for Boxing News came up and he beat 400 other candidates to secure the role. In 2011, he was promoted to senior writer and by the end of the year he was web editor on the new Boxing News website. He now presents the weekly internet show BNTV, and hosts the weekly Boxing News podcast The Opening Bell, which has over 10,000 listeners, while still writing for the magazine and website every day. He said: “I remember when I went to University, it wasn’t an easy decision but

it turned out to be the best thing I ever did. Whenever I speak to family or friends now, who are perhaps unsure of what to do in the future, I always advise them to get a solid education – decide what field you are interested in and then go for it. That’s what I did and I can’t thank the University enough for everything they did for me.”



Laura Mvula BMus (Hons), 2008 Laura won two MOBO awards in 2013 – Best Female Act and Best R&B/Soul Act – plus nominations for BRIT and Q awards, and she came fourth in the BBC’s Sound of 2013 new music list.

Do you know a Birmingham City University graduate, including those from predecessor institutions, who has made an important contribution to the local, national or international community through their achievements? There are three categories in which alumni can be nominated: • Community engagement and leadership • Enterprise and innovation • Excellence in sports or the arts MAKE YOUR NOMINATION TODAY Nominations are welcome from alumni, staff and students as well as employers, colleagues, families and friends of alumni. Nominations must be submitted by 5pm on 30 April 2014.

Composition graduate Laura Mvula is a singer-songwriter, who has been recognised as one of the music industry’s most exciting new artists. She landed her first record deal with Sony Music Entertainment’s flagship label, RCA Records, and in March 2013 released her debut album, Sing to the Moon, which reached the UK Top 10.

In September 2013 her album – acclaimed by the Sunday Times culture magazine as “a masterpiece” – was shortlisted for the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize. She has also recently featured alongside actress Dame Helen Mirren and singer Ellie Goulding in Marks & Spencer’s Britain’s Leading Ladies, a campaign for the high-street chain’s new clothing range. She was also nominated for two 2014 BRIT awards – for British Female Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act.



Catherine Tyldesley BA (Hons) Acting, 2006 Catherine Tyldesley is one of the most recognisable faces to have graduated from Birmingham School of Acting in recent years, having played Eva Price in top TV soap Coronation Street since June 2011. After graduating from Birmingham School of Acting, one of her first acting jobs was a guest role as a midwife in the same programme, as well as appearing in such popular TV series as Holby City, The Royal, Emmerdale and Shameless. She enjoyed her first starring role in the 1920s-set BBC drama Lilies and also showed she had an eye for comedy, appearing in sketch show Scallywagga and sitcoms Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and Trollied. Having wanted to sing and act on stage from an early age, Catherine performed

with various theatre groups as a child and teenager but chose to get formal training before embarking on a professional career. She said: “I auditioned for a lot of schools and out of all of them, Birmingham School of Acting was the one that impressed me the most. I came down for the audition day and the tutors we met were all great, and it was the only place that gave feedback to everyone, regardless of whether they offered you a place or not. I learned so much on that day, I thought just imagine what I’d learn in three years. The tuition we received was absolutely outstanding – so many of our tutors had worked in the acting business all their lives and, so to have the benefit of their experience was amazing for all of us.

“I was absolutely ecstatic to get the part [of Eva] because I’m from Manchester, I had friends in the show already and most importantly I was a massive fan. I grew up with Coronation Street and to be part of such a legendary show is so amazing that I miss it when I’m not there. When I’m on holiday, I can’t wait to get back and I’m always looking forward to getting the scripts to see what’s happening next.”


Reena Jaisiah BA (Hons) Sociology, 2003 Reena Jaisiah is involved in a number of projects which help to bring diverse communities together, fitting the work around her full-time role as a curriculum support officer in an innercity school. She is a member of an ethnic group that has faced caste-based discrimination worldwide, joining Caste Watch UK in 2003 and is believed to have been the first person in the UK to speak out publically against caste discrimination. Reena formed a theatre company called Caste Away Arts, and co-wrote and directed sell-out play The Fifth Cup. She has worked with local charity Kairos running a drama voluntary course for


women caught up in sex work, or at risk of prostitution. In 2009, she delivered arts to orphans and members of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, and has supported waraffected young people through drama project Release UK. She is currently planning to deliver a series of drama taster sessions in a women’s prison with the support of Prison Link. She said: “I’m the kind of person that, if an issue affects me, or I see it affecting other people, I have to do something about it. Caste discrimination was something that had touched me and my community, and I wanted to be proactive

and bring the issue into the open. Being involved in schemes such as this have a positive effect on me as well – I get so much out of it.”


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


MA Art and Education, 1986 I’m an art psychotherapist specialising in children, adolescents, families, groups and couples based in Australia. Recently released a book ‘The Introductory Guide to Art Therapy’ available via http://www.


BA (Hons) Librarianship and Information Studies, 1989

1950s THEO CROWDER ABSM Music, 1957

I have been retired for more years than I like to think. I live in north Norfolk and divide my time between bell ringing, dog walking, and generally doing what falls my way.


Music (Piano), 1962 I had piano lessons with Constance Warren and harmony lessons with Mr Hawthorne-Baker. I gained an ATCL and I married and had four children. I taught in Birmingham from 1957 to 1970 when I moved down to Suffolk. Since then I have taught at the Diss High School, in Norfolk until my retirement. Since I retired in 1995 I have written a book entitled ‘The Celestial Elephant’. This is about the life of my Grandfather, Prince Mowng Lat, last Crown Prince of Burma. Now I run the Oakley Handbell Team and I also learnt to play the Irish harp when I was 52 years of age.

ALISON TROWELL (nee Clark) ABSM Flute, 1964

As most people I did ABSM Performers and General Musicianship.

1970s DUNCAN BRADLEY GBSM Music, 1971

After some 40 years in the classroom, I retired in 2012 from being Director of Music at The Gregg School in Southampton, which enabled me to complete a three-year theology course in the Diocese of Winchester. I was licensed as a Reader in Winchester Cathedral in October 2013 and am now Reader, Organist and Director of Music at St Mary’s Church Southampton.


City and Guilds, 1974 I’ve been semi-retired for four years. After a 40-year career in jewellery I decided to retire. I wanted something to keep me semi busy, so I attended the University of Johannesburg and did a postgrad in labour law. I qualified in 2010 and I now consult on labour law matters. It keeps my mind active. I also puppy walk for the South African Guide Dogs. We are on our second puppy, she is a one-year old golden retriever and has just been selected as a breeding dog. It’s a good cause, and I really enjoy being involved. We walk every morning and it helps keep me fit.


LLB (Hons), 1978 I graduated in 1978 and went on to work to fund my solicitor finals which I also sat at Birmingham. I won the Law Society Bronze Medal for those exam results and went on to qualify as a solicitor setting up my own practice thereafter and am still a Partner in that firm which is now a part of

QualitySolicitors. I have also been appointed a first tier tribunal judge and enjoy that additional challenge. Several of my classmates remain in the area and I see them from time to time. We did have one great night in Birmingham when we got a number of us together for a formal reunion which was fun. Tiger Feet was the performance of that night - a memory from the Union.


BA (Hons) English, 1978 Having worked as a journalist for the Birmingham Evening Mail, I now edit a national monthly magazine and have written numerous books. I also ran an old students association for the English department in the mid to late 1980s.


BA (Hons) Fashion Design, 1983

David Emanuel (most recently seen on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!) visited the Fashion Department at Gosta Green with his wife Elizabeth in 1983 to chat to the third year fashion students. Shown in the photograph is myself (right) and fellow final year student Elizabeth Carless (now residing in Crete), both modelling our own designs from our final collections.

I have travelled a lot of ground since graduating, finally ensuing up about eight years ago in Florida. Having lived aboard a boat for a while I’ve finally found my way back to shore and a brand new career as a professional scouter with Boy Scouts of America where I am responsible for 60 scout units, 1500 scouts and over a thousand adult volunteers.


HND Electronic Engineering, 1990 Had a great time at the Poly - wish I had stayed in touch more with my friends...


I am MBA graduate from your Business School in 1992. I settled down in Canada as a Chartered Secretary.

JENNEY MULLINSWHITE Diploma in Careers Guidance, 1994

Having worked as a careers adviser since graduation, I have just written a careers book for teenagers called “What Rocks Your World” and it’s now on Amazon. Find out more at www.


LLB (Hons), 1996 In response to where I am now, following completion of my PhD (and previously an MSc in 1998) I now work as Course Leader and Senior Lecturer for the University of Gloucestershire. I teach both undergraduate and postgraduate social work students.

ROBERT SCRUTTON BSc (Hons) Building Surveying, 1997

Life since graduation has been interesting. I qualified and was elected as a Member of the RICS in July 2003. A year to the day I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and as a consequence after I thought my career was taking off it has slowly gone backwards as my health has restricted me. On a happier note I married in 2010 with a lady I met in 2006. My speech has gone down in folk law and 3.5 years on is still discussed by guests. I travelled down Route 1 of the states in 2001. I enjoyed my time at UCE and recommended the university to a trainee.


I was encouraged by Prof Littlechild, The Director General of the Office of Electricity Regulation (OFFER) (1990 to 2000), to undertake this course. I owe my international consultancy success to the UCE MPhil/ PhD programme, and to the support of my, then, employer. I specialised in the economics and competition philosophy as defined in the Electricity Act 1989 and later, the Railways Act 1993. From 2000 to 2012 I was a team leader (TL) and international consultant, working with selected major consultancies on EU Accession Contracts (as TL), and in the case of Albania, as the TL designed to establish Albania at the starting point of the route to Accession; the Stabilisation of Laws; the prelude to a full application for Accession. In many of the EU related countries I was also - because of the topic of my PhD - invited to address university seminars (both for economists as well as lawyers!), on the opening up of the transport; but specifically, the Railway Market as required by the EU for Accession to be realised. This was a significant and useful way to use the PhD thesis in a constructive way! None of the above could have happened if I had not undertaken the UCE PhD course, and for that I am forever grateful to the university for giving me such an opportunity.



Appointed as Chair of the Board of Trustees at the World’s largest body for Safety Practitioners, IOSH.


architect, project manager and developer on various projects in the suburbs and south Mumbai. For more information please visit my website www.naharprojects. com.

now responsible for the export to Europe market, for more than a year now. I am wishing all of BCU’s alumni the best, and look forward to hearing from you again.


MSc Supply Chain Management, 2007


BEng (Hons) Communications and Networks Engineering, 2003

Worked for the European Commission for four years and proceeded to set up my own company in 2011. Successfully running that company from Brussels, Belgium today. Expecting first child in March 2014 with my girlfriend of 10 years keep in touch! ;-)

I started my own business in e-commerce in January 2013. It’s great so far and I expect to extend the business overseas, in Australia first maybe. Wish to come back to Birmingham and say hello to my dear Rogers and Course Director Chima Pamijit and Senior Lecturer Michael Clark and Steve Barson. Miss all of you!

BA European Business and Languages, 2000


Certificate in Education FE, 2000

I am currently working as an Adult Education Tutor teaching fitness and martial arts. Recently a small team of tutors (myself included) were put forward for consideration for a Chamberlain Award under the ‘Local Hero’ section. We made it to the final and attended the awards ceremony at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham in November 2013. It was a fabulous evening and everyone had a great time. My fellow tutors and I were presented with a trophy, certificate and prize.


BSc (Hons) Health Studies, 2003 and Practice Teacher Preparation (Part-time), 2012 I’m at present working as a Community Practice Teacher within Health Visiting and although it is very busy I enjoy it very much. I have featured on the University’s website (YouTube film) entitled ‘Placement Experience – Health Visitor’ which shows me in action at a clinic in a local children’s centre.

HARRIS ADITYA PASHA MSc Management and Marketing, 2006

I’m a registered member of the council of architecture and the Indian institute of architect. I have strong views on cities’ infrastructure and ideologies in the construction industry. Besides this I’m also pursuing my career in the family business of builders and developers ‘Nahar Group’, a reputed name in the building industry for years. I’m currently working as an


Publications: Book: ‘Reading Musical Interpretation’ (Ashgate 2009); Article ‘Modifying the Score’ (Music Performance Research, Vol 3, 2010); CD: ‘A John Ireland Collection’ (ASC Records, 2012).

DipHE Nursing, 2007 Married, working in private sector orthopaedic surgery in Oxfordshire and studying back at BCU for acute care BSc.


DipHE Nursing (Child Branch), 2007 I’ve relocated to Dubai for a second time, working for a logistics company as a Regional Business Development Manager (UAE, Bahrain and Other Middle East).


MSc Audit Management and Consultancy, 2007 Currently employed at McKesson Information Solutions (UK) Ltd as their UK Audit and Risk Manager. Co-authored and published a book: ‘Bribery and Corruption Casebook: The View From Under The Table’ John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey: ACFE, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners April 27, 2012. Edited by Dr. Joseph T Wells, Founder and Chairman of ACFE, and Laura Hymes, Managing Editor at ACFE. ISBN 978-1118-24878-2.

BSc (Hons) Nursing RN, 2007

Hi there, how are you all? Since graduating from the University, I have been working in the sales export related area, back in my home country Indonesia. I am currently working with PT Gajah Tunggal Tbk, a local tyre manufacturing factory/ company, which exports to more than 90 countries worldwide and also produces an off-take for Michelin North America, where I am

PhD (Music), 2007




MSc Construction Project Management, 2002



Since leaving university I have co-authored two books on electrocardiogram (ECG) interpretation with another previous student; the second of which will be published later this year. In addition I have also had several articles published in the field of cardiac nursing. I am currently embarking on a PhD programme that combines elements of research linking elements of computer science with ECG interpretation.

I have worked at BCH theatres since qualifying. In 2012 I got my team leaders (band 6) post there. The following year in January I had my daughter and will be getting married this June. It’s been a very busy few years for me :0)


DipHE Nursing (Adult), 2008

I’m doing great. Many thanks to my personal tutor Phyllis Reeves for her continuous help and encouragement through my university years. I started out in acute medicine and after nearly two years went into intensive care. I had wanted to do intensive care however it was difficult as a newly qualified to get into, but I still held hopes until the opportunity came and I grasped it with both hands. I worked on the intensive care unit in the said trust for just over three years and wanted a change so I got a job in the Channel Islands (Guernsey) ICU and here I am. Big thanks to the University of Central England now (BCU).


BA (Hons) Sociology with Criminology, 2008 Since graduating I have put my sociological skills to use in roles at Oxford University Press, as well as setting up and managing a complimentary county magazine, through to my current position as a technical author. Thanks to my degree I have been able to acquire well-paid positions, and bought my first property three years ago - two years after graduating. Thanks BCU!


I run Ort Cafe and Ort Gallery in Balsall Heath, Birmingham. I started Ort in 2011 with my business partner who I met on my MA. We are a community cafe with a variety of events including live music, exhibitions, workshops, skills share and much much more. We have become a cultural hub in south Birmingham offering the neighbourhood opportunities and cultural activity otherwise lacking. Ort Gallery is fully funded by public money (including Arts Council) and offers both, critically acclaimed contemporary art and one-to-one sessions for residents to get involved in cultural activity. I am proud of what I have achieved and I feel my studies in art have given me the confidence to go on and start my own business. It’s amazing to be my own boss, to work in my chosen industry and to make a living from that! It’s a very rewarding career!


BA (Hons) Fine Art, 2008

Since graduating in 2008 from Margaret Street School

Class notes of Art, I have been showing my work in galleries and exhibitions both nationally and internationally and been included in some notable collections in Istanbul, Frankfurt and California. I now co-run the Studios of A3 Project Space and Studios in Digbeth and I am currently working towards my first solo show at Gusford Gallery in Los Angeles in September of this year.


BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS (Music), 2009 What a journey it has been! Since graduating I landed what I believed was my dream job teaching in a large infant school, teaching fouryear-olds and supporting music across the school. I left within a year to teach in a rural village school with only 90 pupils. I learned so much and developed so much; this was what my degree had helped me to develop, a love and passion for learning and teaching. Fast forward a further two years and I am Assistant Headteacher supporting staff, parents and pupils and about to get married! I cannot thank BCU enough for preparing me for my journey - the rough and the smooth. I wish everyone luck in their future careers: stay strong and see every opportunity, no matter how tough, as a learning opportunity to grow and develop and become the person you always dreamed of being!

MATTHEW GROCOTT BA (Hons) Visual Communication, 2009

Since leaving the course I set up my own company, where I work for clients such as the NHS, Harvey Nichols and Baylis and Harding.


BA (Hons) Accountancy and Business, 2012 I work at a small private school as the office manager; the job is not as easy as it sounds!! I’m also studying for my CIMA Professional qualifications and I’ve gained a Diploma in Islamic Finance from CIMA since my graduation.


BA (Hons) Fashion Design, 2009 I have set-up a design studio with husband in London since Nov 2010. Website


MBA Marketing, 2009 Got married in 2013!


BA (Hons) Marketing, Advertising and PR, 2009 Since leaving University I have had an exciting career in marketing starting in financial services and moving into software and technology. My career has taken me from Birmingham to London where I am also now studying for my professional diploma from the CIM. In my spare time I perform in amateur musicals and compete in adventure races such as Spartans, Survival of the Fittest and the Zombie Evacuation race for my chosen charity Cancer Research. I think fondly of my time at BCU and attribute my success to the experiences and knowledge I gained on the MAPR course!


BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering, 2010 Hi all. It’s very much true that everyone misses those days at university! Although it was a stressful time considering the challenges with assignments and exams, still I miss those times sitting in the library late at night with my friends and batch mates! I’m working with Siemens as continuous improvement engineer. Thanks to BCU Alumni Community which takes an effort to get connected again. There are a lot of missed connections please contact to be in touch! It will be fun seeing you/ meeting you, I am sure all my batch mates are doing well! Good luck. Regards Vinay Agarwal


Diploma in Writing, 2010 My final assessment for the NAW Diploma was a proposal for “Such Friends” based on my PhD research into

early 20th century writers’ salons. I have been doing presentations about the writers at the Birmingham & Midland Institute - in November about The Irish Literary Renaissance and the Bloomsbury group before WWI and coming up in February about James Joyce in Dublin and Paris. I will be doing the Joyce presentation for the Birmingham Irish Heritage Association in February also and a talk on the Algonquin Round Table in July for the University of the Third Age. All year I am blogging about what the writers were doing 100 years ago at www.suchfriends.


PgCert Education, 2010 Hi there, just thought it would be good to announce that I’ve published an edited volume with Palgrave Macmillan about sociolinguistic research in Scotland ( dp/113703470X). Best, Rob


BA (Hons) International Finance, 2010 One of my good days spent with my college mates studying over BCU. Miss them all.

SHOUBNA NAIKA-PATEL PGCE Post Compulsory Education and Training, 2011

Since completing my PGCE I walked straight into my dream job as a college lecturer in media and games. With students, I have worked closely with gaming charity Special Effect to raise money and awareness of children with disability and the possibilities of gaming for them. Students and I met the people at Special Effect at Eurogamer last September. This is a great and rewarding experience for students to get involved and I feel this was the best step to take with my games development students at City College Coventry.



Hi, I had been running an Indian restaurant in Coventry, right after my degree. However, quit the restaurant after one year and now I am working for Ocado (the largest dedicated online supermarket by turnover in the world) as Inventory and Ops Support Team Manager.

After graduating from BCU I felt I needed a break from education to explore the opportunities available to me. With my degree behind me the opportunities were overwhelming. From jobs related to my degree area to jobs in general, my degree made every difference when applying for jobs. I am currently following my dreams and completing a PGCE in Computer Science for secondary school. I will forever be grateful to members of staff at BCU for constantly pushing me as without BCU I would not have been able to pursue my career!

MSc Management and International Management, 2011


I’m preparing for my textiles exhibition in a gallery, and writing a book on my UK experience, which is going to be completed very soon.


BSc (Hons) Information and Communication Technology, 2012 Since leaving BCU I’ve been working for Lockheed Martin and last year I got married 12 October 2013.


BA (Hons) Visual Communication (Photography), 2012 I’ve been in London a year now. And I truly feel like I’m living “The Dream”. I’m a fashion photographer. Please check out my work on my blog: http:// adambennettphotography. Since the start of 2014 I’ve photographed Men’s Collection fashion week which included Alexander McQueen, Jonathan Saunders, KTZ, Kent Curwen, and many more. I’ve also been taken on by a second modelling agency ‘D1 Models’ and a gallery in Balham has asked to show and sell my work. And on top of all that I work for Google full-time taking photographs for Google Maps. And I’m a gig photographer for a magazine called ‘The Upcoming’.

BSc (Hons) Information and Communication Technology, 2012


Had excellent time with my mates. Unforgettable moments we have been through.


MA Writing, 2012 I’ve published my latest book The Derring-Do Club and the Empire of the Dead, launched at ArmadaCon in Plymouth, where I was the guest of honour.

ROBYNNE FEENEY LLB (Hons) Law with Criminology, 2013

Since finishing my degree and waiting to graduate in March 2014, I’ve found employment within the NHS in forensic mental health, which helped me to apply my legal knowledge to every day practise in regards to the Mental Health Act. I found it hard to find employment within the legal sector and this seems to be a common problem among legal graduates. Therefore I am debating returning to university to hopefully complete a nursing degree.

To get back in touch with anyone listed here, email and we will try to reconnect you!


Class notes JESSICA SWEETINGHAM (Now Wade!) BA (Hons) Business and Marketing, 2013

To get back in touch with anyone listed here, email and we will try to reconnect you!


BTEC HND Gemmology, 2013 Having qualified with not only my HND but also two internationally recognised industry qualifications, the renowned FGA (Fellow of the Gemmological Association) and DGA (Diamond Grading Award) I went intrepidly into the Jewellery Quarter in search of work knocking on every door of every shop, workshop and counter offering my services and experience. It was only at the end of the summer that I found work; my CV was handed to somebody opening a new lab and office in the Jewellery Quarter who needed someone to run the office while he worked in Hatton Garden, London where there is a large jewellery quarter also. I am now happy to say I am a diamond grader and administrator for the trade. My real passion is coloured stones which I find very exciting. I go back to the School of Jewellery every Tuesday where I have ‘Artist in Residence’ status. It allows me to teach and tutor the two years of Gemmology as well as allowing me full access to the laboratory equipment at my disposal. I have another passion for photo-micrography (photographing gems under the microscope to see their often beautiful inclusions) and I have been awarded and published in two gemmological journals. In my spare time at uni I make use of the workshops where I make jewellery, mostly for my girlfriend who is a jewellery student.


Well what a crazy few months since graduating in July: I got married in September with a beautiful outdoor ceremony with all my friends and family seated on the lawn while we took our vows under a fairy tale summerhouse with roses and ribbon! I secured THE most perfect job as a Marketing Executive for a B2B Marketing Agency and Sales Consultancy - I specialise in Social Media Marketing but get to work alongside clients in some fantastic digital marketing projects across SEO, website design and development, email marketing and many more.


M.Arch Architecture, 2013 After the end of year M.Arch exhibition I had an interview with Hawkins\Brown and have now been working with them for six months mainly on the new Crossrail Station at Liverpool St. A great practice to work for having been voted the best Architect Employer of 2013 by AJ (Architects Journal). So much has happened thanks to the Architecture Department at BCU. Many thanks!

AMARPREET HAYRE BA (Hons) Business and Human Resource Management, 2013

After finishing university in April I struggled to find a job for months. I then went to ASK (the University’s careers service) for careers advice and help to see where I was going wrong and I was told about the programme Kickstart for graduates. This was a week long and an external speaker from Parity Solutions came in to help us how to find a job and access the hidden job market as well as to help make our CV and cover letter stand out. From each session I felt I had learnt so much and from this I changed what was needed and a week later I started to get people ringing me and having telephone interviews, and two months later I started a graduate scheme for an RPO working as a

Graduate Trainee Recruiter. I am now four months in to the scheme and that’s thanks to ASK careers service and Parity Solutions.

SARAVANAN ILANGOVAN MSc Data Networks and Security, 2013

Hi BCU, it’s a pleasure to get in touch with you all after a long time. I am right now working as a Senior Solutions Network Security Architect in a private firm. I can’t ever forget my team of professors from Data Networks and Security course for sure, who helped to reach this heights in all times of difficulty and happiness - THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Hope I should get back a Sponsorship VISA in UK for job and meet you all soon. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to wish everyone all success. With love and regards, Saravanan Ilangovan, Chennai, India.

ANDREAS THEODOTOU MA Media and Creative Enterprise, 2013

Along with my team, I participated in the Startup Weekend Cyprus. We won third place which I believe is worth mentioning in the Aspire Magazine. We have launched Socialicious. Socialicious is an online community which connects homemade food lovers with cooks. If you are interested you can visit our pre-website and subscribe to our mailing list., like our Facebook page to learn first our news! https://www. Thank you for your time!


BSc (Hons) Midwifery Midwife at royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.


MSc Audit Management and Consultancy, 2013

Hi, I am now employed in an oil and gas sector company in Qatar as Chief Internal Auditor. The position reports to the CEO and Board of Directors of the company. My role ensures internal audit function to act as a trusted business partner and adviser, and work as a driving force behind a culture of governance, accountability, compliance and execution to help the organisation in achieving its corporate objectives.



BMus (Hons) Music, 2013

MA Fashion Promotion, 2013 Hello! Fashion promotion teachers and friends. I miss you guys.

Since finishing in May 2013 I have successfully set up and ran my own promotional media business called LAITO, with two other graduates: James Otto and Kirsty Devaney. LAITO is a promotional video company specialising in working with clients in the creative industries. The last 12 months have had many highs and lows, as with every start-up business, but the support and mentoring from Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) and BSEEN has ensured a successful first year for LAITO. Some of the highlights include being accepted onto the BSEEN programme and winning the Deutsche Bank Award for creative enterprises.


BSc (Hons) Computer Networks, 2013 Got a new job shortly after leaving university and got engaged to my partner!


PROFESSOR DR ROBERT POTTER 12 May 1935 – 30 October 2013 Robert Potter passed away on 30 October 2013. He will be missed by many including his wife, two daughters and three grandchildren. Robert became the Head of Department of Three Dimensional Design at what was then Birmingham Polytechnic in 1974. In 1985 Robert was awarded his MA in Art Education. In 1992 Robert and the other Heads of Departments were awarded personal Professorships by the Vice-Chancellor at the time, Dr Peter Knight. In 1996 he headed up the Department of Fashion and Textiles in addition to the Department of Three Dimensional Design. Robert retired in 2000 and in 2010 he received his MPhil degree from Birmingham City University. The title of Robert’s research was “Persistence and change in the Birmingham furniture industry 1900 to 1970”.



Sunday 11 May 2014, 2.30pm, Symphony Hall, Birmingham When you’re into classical music, you’ve got more than 300 years of great tunes to choose from! So where do you start? Well, how about this concert of bite-size classics for the whole family, as presenter Alastair Malloy, maestro Mike Seal and the 80 super-talented musicians of the CBSO whisk you from Beethoven to Freddie Mercury in just two fun-packed hours!

Michael Seal conductor Alasdair Malloy presenter CBSO Children’s Chorus Highlights from: Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra Glinka: Ruslan and Ludmila - Overture Fauré: Dolly Suite Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 Copland: Rodeo - Hoe Down

THE PRIZE One lucky As pire reader will win four tickets for the CBSO Family Concert: Bite-Size Clas sics at 2.30pm on Su nday 11 May 2014.

Prokofiev: Classical Symphony Mercury: Bohemian Rhapsody and more


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For you chance to win, simply send an email with ‘CBSO Bite-Size’ in the subject line to stating your name, address and telephone number.

Closing Date: Friday 2 May 2014, 12pm



Competition Terms and Conditions This competition is open to graduates and former staff (current employees may not enter) of Birmingham City University and our predecessor institutions (including University of Central England and Birmingham Polytechnic). We can only accept entries by email, and your entry must include your name, address and telephone number to be valid. The winner will be drawn at random from all entries received by 12pm on the closing date and advised by email by 30 April 2014. Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted. The prize is not transferable and there is no cash alternative. The draw will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

POSTGRADUATE OPEN EVENING Wednesday 30 April, 4-7pm Shaping the world through postgraduate study • Over 100 flexible postgraduate and professional courses. • Graduate destinations include big-name companies and organisations such as Jaguar Land Rover, Ernst & Young, Network Rail, General Electric, DHL and the BBC. • Our lecturers have real-life experience of business and industry, ensuring that we enjoy close relationships with leading employers. • Our range of flexible, industry-accredited taught and research degrees are always relevant, up to date and meet the needs of the current marketplace. • We involve employers in planning the curriculum and you learn first-hand from the experts providing our postgraduates with that extra edge in the competitive world of work. • Within six months of studying, 93 per cent of our postgraduate students are in employment or further study. (DLHE 11/12) International students are welcome to attend the event or can pop into the international office at any time.

Visit us at Millennium Point 4-7pm Book your place: +44 (0)121 331 5595

@MyBCU /birminghamcityuniversity

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Aspire Spring 2014  
Aspire Spring 2014