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Alumni Association Magazine Spring 2015

FASHIONING THE FUTURE The fashion graduates shaping trends around the world

KEEPING AHEAD OF THE GAME Beyond the pitch – we meet alumni winning in the business of sport


Enterprising graduate puts Birmingham’s stars in the picture



Alumni Association Magazine Birmingham City University University House 15 Bartholomew Row Birmingham B5 5JU T: +44 (0)121 331 5506 E:

Cover photograph: Design by Stephie Lee, BA (Hons) Fashion Design, 2014

W: Course information and guidance T: +44 (0)121 331 5595 Switchboard T: +44 (0)121 331 5000 EDITORIAL Editor: Helen Geary Contributors: David Aust, Helen Eden, Rachel Whitehouse, Jo Goldhawk 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.

It feels very much that hardly an edition of Aspire has passed for several years without a reference to building work, and this issue is no exception. As I write, the finishing touches to The Curzon Building are almost complete, and we are looking forward to moving in to our flagship new building this summer. Not only will The Curzon Building – part of the City Centre Campus in Eastside – be the new home for business, law, social sciences and English, it will also give all of our students access to a new main library for the digital age, a renovated Grade II listed Victorian pub for the Students’ Union, and a student hub bringing our student support services together for the first time. When we open the doors of The Curzon Building to students in September, it will be a landmark in realising our vision to be truly a ‘city’ university. We have yet to finalise every detail of the longterm future of the City North Campus site in Perry Barr, but as we plan our departure we are determined to leave the strongest possible legacy for the community there. I know it will mark the end of an era when the last staff and students leave a site so integral to our history and held in such great affection by so many of you. The final pieces in the jigsaw of our wider campus developments are taking


shape now. Over the last few months, we have confirmed the designs for an incredible £46 million new home for Birmingham Conservatoire, the first newly-built conservatoire in the UK for a generation and a major new performance space for the city. We have also announced our plans for expansion at City South Campus, where we are investing £20 million to create space for the new School of Life Sciences along with a state-of-the-art new facility for the School of Education. Both buildings will open to students in 2017. There’s still more to come – new student accommodation, additional teaching space and office accommodation for the behind-the-scenes departments which make it all possible are all in the pipeline. The next two years will be incredibly busy as we meet the ambitious targets we have set ourselves to transform our university. Why are we doing all this? Our Strategic Plan sets out our goal to provide an outstanding education and learning environment. That means more than just ensuring we have all of the most up to date equipment students need. It means designing spaces which inspire, a setting which encourages the most stimulating teaching and the liveliest debate. Buildings are more than just bricks and mortar. Our campus tells the world what kind of university we are, and

Contents Spring 2015



WEEKEND REGULARS “We have also announced our plans for expansion at City South Campus, where we are investing £20 million to create space for the new School of Life Sciences along with a state-of-the-art new facility for the School of Education.”

News 04

All the latest news from your University: awards; estate developments; alumni news; and more.

Events 08 Information on the forthcoming Alumni Reunion Weekend and Inspired festival.

Where are they now? I hope you’ll agree that the investments we have made, and are still making, are putting us squarely in the category of a university for the 21st Century. A university which believes in providing the very best that we can for our students. A university which is a real player in the life of this vibrant city and its own exciting cultural and economic journey. I am very, very proud of the commitment we are making to the future of our university. The glass and cement, the bricks and the paint, they are the means to our end – which is the very best of teaching and learning, research and knowledge transfer, which will happen inside those walls.

Catch up with other alumni – where they are and what they’re doing.


FEATURES Alumni of the Year 09 Meet the two graduates recognised at our graduation ceremonies in January – and find out how you can put someone forward for Alumni of the Year 2016!

Keeping ahead of the game


Sons of the city


Fashioning the future


Sport is big business in the UK and we speak to some of those working in the boardroom instead of the locker room.

We interview the alumna photographing some of the city’s most famous faces to raise money for charity.

Find out how our fashion graduates are forging successful careers overseas.

Professor Cliff Allan Vice-Chancellor



Julian Lloyd Webber appointed Principal of Birmingham Conservatoire The world renowned cellist will join the University in July, ready to lead Birmingham Conservatoire into its handsome new building in 2017. “I am honoured and thrilled to be chosen as the new Principal of Birmingham Conservatoire. The state-of-the-art facilities being built within Birmingham City University’s superb campus will be second to none and superior to many, both throughout the UK and beyond. I am especially excited about the fantastic opportunities that will be on offer to our students.”

The striking new home for the Conservatoire at the City Centre Campus will open its doors in 2017, marking a new chapter in a history of producing talented musicians and performers dating back to 1886. The new facility is the first complete new build Conservatoire in the UK since 1987, and will provide state-ofthe-art performance space and acoustical quality. It will boast five performance venues, including a public concert hall with the capacity for over 450 seats and a full orchestra, plus a recital hall with 150 seats and smaller experimental music space, organ and jazz rooms. There are also plans for more than 70 music practice rooms of various sizes. Vice-Chancellor Professor Cliff Allan said: “Julian’s appointment is great news for the Conservatoire as it looks forward to moving to a superb new home, as well as for Birmingham City University and for the whole city – confirming its status in classical music education and performance.” Find out more about the new home for Birmingham Conservatoire at newhome.



Motorsports Technology student Christine Giampaoli Zonca is combining her studies with a promising career in rally driving. In her first year of driving, Christine has already competed in the Canary Islands’ Championship of Gravel, where she won both the Regional and Provincial competitions in the front wheel drive category. Next year Christine plans to compete again with her team Gazoline Motorsport. She said: “As soon as I finish my degree the idea is to concentrate fully on the racing and hopefully be able to race nationally in less than two years.”

MAKE YOUR BUSINESS IDEA a reality Recent graduates with an idea for a business are invited to apply for BSEEN. BSEEN (Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network) offers graduates from the last five years living in the West Midlands a great package of support to set up a business.

ROYAL SEAL OF APPROVAL In November, the University’s School of Jewellery was honoured with a visit from TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. The Duchess admired a range of student work and met with staff and students, while the Prince held a private meeting to discuss the Jewellery Quarter’s regeneration, in which his charity has been involved.

Application closing date: 10 May 2015 Full details:

After the tour, Vice-Chancellor Professor Cliff Allan introduced the royal guests to alumnus and awardwinning artisan and goldsmith Jack Row, who presented each of them with a limited edition handcrafted silver fountain pen.

BSEEN is a collaborative initiative between Birmingham City University, Aston University and the University of Birmingham funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Jack said: “It was a great privilege to meet them both. It was even more of a pleasure to present them with matching silver pens, which are hand-made in the Jewellery Quarter, on behalf of

Birmingham City University and the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust.” Head of School of Jewellery Gaynor Andrews echoed Jack’s comments: “It was an honour to share the work of our students and alumni with The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. They were both clearly impressed with the diversity of courses within the School of Jewellery and the quality produced.”

The University’s School of Jewellery is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year with an extensive programme of events. Find out more at 5


MBE FOR UNIVERSITY LECTURER Harriet Devlin, Course Leader for MA Conservation of the Historic Environment, has received an MBE from Prince William in recognition of her heritage work.

Gok bares all at student talk Fashion guru Gok Wan, who received an Honorary Doctorate from the University last year, shared some of his most personal life experiences with students at a City Talk in January. Gok discussed his childhood struggles with obesity and anorexia, and how he overcame schoolyard bullies, telling investigative journalist Mark WilliamsThomas, “I struggle with anorexia every day – it’s like a parasite that won’t go away. Realising it doesn’t go away is the biggest weapon.” He went on to say, “When I was being bullied I wished the bullies a terrible fate. But now, over time, I’ve forgiven them as without them I wouldn’t be who I am today. In order to get through the dark times you need to remember that life is short and therefore you really need to focus on the good stuff. The little things that worry you are those that will ultimately fuel your success.” 6

During the public lecture Gok also gave tips on body confidence, arguing that age should never dictate how you look, dress and feel: “Identity is really important and it’s not something that should be overlooked. Have a relationship with the mirror and understand your reflection. Ultimately it’s all about the confidence. Fix that and you can fix everything.” When asked about his biggest fear in life he admitted: “I’m petrified of feeling unsuccessful. I’ve never said that before.” ‘Dr Gok: from Catwalk to City Talk’ kicked off the 2015 City Talks series – public lectures held at the University featuring high profile speakers that are free to attend and open to all. Find out more about our City Talks series and the next event at

She received the honour for services to ‘Heritage and the Historic Environment’, including the Hermon Chapel in Oswestry. Harriet said: “It really was the most amazing day. I am still in a state of shock. Prince William officiated and he was marvellous. He spoke personally, with knowledge, to each recipient about their particular interest.”

ACTING GRADUATE lands national stage role MA Acting graduate Andy Yau, has been cast in Sheffield Theatre’s new production of Anything Goes written by Cole Porter and directed by Daniel Evans. Andy, who was recently named as ‘One to Watch’ in the MA Acting Showcase reviewed by The Stage magazine, starred in the premiere at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre in December. Performances took place at the Theatre until January, but you can still catch the national tour until October 2015.

CHARACTERISTICS OF nursing serial killers revealed There are up to nine characteristics of nurses who become serial killers according to research by the University’s Centre for Applied Criminology, which suggests the potential for improved early identification of so-called ‘Angels of Death’. The study, carried out by criminologists Professor David Wilson and Dr Elizabeth Yardley based on 16 cases over 37 years, also found that Colin Norris, convicted of four murders at hospitals in Leeds in 2008, lacked many of the usual indicators associated with such serial killing. The research has been passed on to the legal team representing Mr Norris, whose case is being reviewed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Their examination of hospital-based nurses convicted of serial murder in Europe and North America between

RESEARCH RATED FOR REAL-WORLD IMPACT New ratings for higher education research performance show that the University has significantly increased the impact its work is having on society and the economy, and doubled the number of staff producing internationally recognised research. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) results, published in December, revealed that 90 per cent of the University’s submission was judged to have delivered ‘outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’ impact externally. The six-yearly assessment of research performance also saw the University achieve an increase in the four-star or three-star research

1977 and 2009 used a criminological checklist of 22 factors - ‘red flags’ and found a cluster of between five and nine such indicators of behaviour. Colin Norris satisfied just two of the red flags, the lowest of all those studied. The most prolific ‘Angel of Death’ was the American nurse Charles Cullen who was convicted of 29 murders in the US in 2003. The study found Cullen satisfied 11 of the red flags. Professor Wilson said: “We hope that this research might help hospital administrators to think more critically when they notice a spike in deaths on a particular ward, rather than relying on crude statistical analyses related to particular nurses and their shift patterns. Inevitably that method will lead to miscarriages of justice.”

on which public funding is partly based, from 40 per cent in 2008 to 60 per cent in 2014. Our research changes public policy and the way people do business. Examples include work that enables the migration of music on obsolete platforms to modern devices, and research that has influenced death penalty policy and practice around the world. Vice-Chancellor Professor Cliff Allan said: “Our 2014 REF submission was far more ambitious than ever before. Our results emphasise that we are a practice-based university that actively contributes to society and the economy. “Moving forward, our new research and enterprise strategies will enable us to do more and better research, ensuring new knowledge aligns increasingly with the needs of society and the economy.”

RADIOGRAPHER of the year

Graduate Melanie Mazzei has been recognised by the Society of Radiographers for her good practice, innovation and excellent patient care. Melanie, who completed a BSc (Hons) Diagnostic Radiography with the University’s School of Allied and Public Health Professions, was named UK Radiographer of the Year at the Society of Radiographers Radiography Awards held at the House of Commons in November. 7

News and Events

NEW FACILITIES for Life Sciences and Education


City South Campus in Edgbaston, already home to our health courses, will benefit from a £20 million expansion in 2017.

The University’s student radio station Scratch Radio has won Gold for Best Journalistic Programming and Silver for Best Interview at the prestigious Student Radio Awards.

The 10,000 sq m building will include specialist laboratories for the newly created School of Life Sciences, covering health, nutrition and biomedicine, which will reinforce the University’s status as the region’s largest provider of qualified health and social care professionals to the NHS. It will also provide a state-of-the-art new home for the School of Education. Professor Ian Blair, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences, said: “This investment clearly demonstrates the University’s commitment to the things that matter to our society and our economy, giving us the facilities we need to develop the next generation of specialists able to improve the region’s health and education.”

EVENTS Alumni Reunion Weekend 22 – 24 May 2015 City North Campus, Perry Barr Reconnect with your university friends at our Alumni Reunion Weekend. This summer the Students’ Union will be moving from City North Campus (Perry Barr) to the City Centre Campus. To celebrate the ‘end of an era’ we are inviting all graduates back for an Alumni Reunion Weekend jam-packed with networking, sports and social opportunities. Charges may apply and the programme may be subject to changes.


The Awards, organised by the Student Radio Association, are highly recognised in the radio industry and have kick-started the careers of many current radio professionals. Media and Communications graduate Emma Boyle received Gold for her piece ‘The Student Underworld,’ shortlisted for Best Journalistic Programming Category, while current student Ella Robson received Silver for ‘Best Interview’ with an extract from her documentary ‘Boscastle: 10 Years On.’

Scratch station manager Kristian Baycroft-Willmott attended the award ceremony at the Indig02: “This is fantastic news for Scratch Radio. There is a definite buzz around the entire team and it has spurred us on to keep up our rejuvenation of the station.”

The success marks the first time that the station has been honoured at the awards.

Friday 22 May Toons Reunion, 10pm – 3am


Saturday 23 May • Five-a-Side Football Tournament, Alumni vs Students, 11am – 2pm • Guy Charlesworth Memorial Rugby Match, 2pm - 4pm • Alumni Quiz , 7pm – 9pm • End of Era Party – Say farewell to Lounge North (Bar42), 10pm – 4am

A festival of arts, culture and creativity taking place in June and July 2015.

These are just some of the events taking place over the weekend. Register your interest: Need help tracing your uni friends or interested in submitting a football team? Email

With nearly 6,000 students enrolled on courses in music, theatre, writing, media, digital media technology, and art and design, the University is one of Britain’s leading providers of graduate talent to the cultural and creative industries. Our Inspired festival celebrates this through a series of concerts, performances, exhibitions, design, written work and more. It showcases to the city and the region the creative thinking, high-level skills and transformative experiences that shape and define our graduates. Full programme of events:

Alumni of the Year


of the


At the University’s graduation ceremonies in January, we recognised two more Alumni of the Year: graduates Raj Jhamat and Kevin Grey.

Community Engagement and Leadership

Raj Jhamat BSc Dimensions in Healthcare, 2012

Enterprise and Innovation

Kevin Grey BTEC HND Jewellery and Silversmithing, 2009 Kevin Grey is an innovative silversmith, combining traditional metalworking skills with new technology to construct award-winning bespoke silver pieces. Following a successful 25-year career producing hand-made parts for luxury motor vehicles, Kevin made the decision to use his metalworking skills for more artistic purposes, and enrolled on a course at the School of Jewellery.

Raj Jhamat is a Learning Disability Liaison Nurse at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Her work to help children with learning disabilities has been praised by colleagues, who were so impressed that they nominated her for a Nursing Standard Award – which Raj won. The award was in recognition of her work with Birmingham’s South Asian communities to help families understand autism: Raj produced a DVD in Punjabi, which used local patients to explain the condition. Raj was presented with the award in March 2013. This wasn’t the first time Raj’s work with children with learning disabilities had been nationally recognised – in November 2012, she was highly commended and came runner-up in the Child and Adolescent Services

Award category in the Nursing Times Awards, as well as being shortlisted for the Nurse of the Year award. She was also recognised at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Staff Awards in 2012, where she won the Innovation in Service Award, and has received a prestigious Queen’s Nurse Award, which recognises individual nurses who demonstrate their commitment to patient-centred values and continually improving practice. She said: “For me, the recognition I have received from various people and organisations is an acknowledgement that I am doing my job the right way. It reinforces that I’m on the right track and using the right approaches to make a positive difference for patients, and also their parents and carers.”

After graduation, Kevin took up Residency at the School, sharing his skills and knowledge with other students. He said: “One of the main things I learned was how to design – to sit down with a blank piece of paper and develop an idea. I now read more than sketch, but learning how to develop an idea was very important. I also learned to throw away the bad ideas and push myself to make the best I could. To be able to make what I want, and earn a living from it, is a great position to be in, and I hope to continue to grow and progress in what I do.” Kevin is a three-time winner of the Goldsmiths’ Company Award, a

prestigious prize recognising work that achieves the highest standards of craftsmanship, design and originality. He now sells his bespoke pieces direct to the public through his website and via a gallery in New York and has ambitions for further international expansion in future.

Submit your nominations for 2016 at 9

Keeping ahead of the game

The rewards in top-class sport have never been bigger – but nor has the cost of success. Clubs have to explore every opportunity to maximise revenue and the boardroom is as important as the locker room. On the first anniversary of Birmingham City University’s innovative partnership with Warwickshire County Cricket Club, David Aust speaks to some of those involved in the business of sport.


irmingham City University recently celebrated the first anniversary of its relationship with Warwickshire County Cricket Club. As the club’s first Official University Partner, we have been able to explore various opportunities to offer work experience to our students and, in the longer term, to utilise the sports and media assets of the stadium to create unique academic programmes.


The first placement is currently under way, with BA (Hons) Marketing, Advertising and PR student Grace Thornett spending a year as a Commercial Executive, helping with marketing, PR and sponsorship activity. The University has also enjoyed a boost to its profile with branding at the ground and on players’ NatWest T20 Blast shirts, ticket offers for University students and staff, and a number of figures from the club coming in to give guest lectures.

Commercial Partners Manager Catherine Nuttall, herself a graduate of the University, has been at the club since May 2012. She firmly believes that the relationship has been beneficial to both parties, with plenty of opportunities for future developments: “It’s great from everyone’s point of view to have a partnership like this – delivering a talk to students is obviously fulfilling and just writing a presentation about your role really gets you thinking

“If the players are doing well on the pitch, more people want to be part of it; if you’ve got more spectators coming through the gate, that means more ticket revenue and increased sponsorship.”

about everything you do. The interaction we have with the University is always very positive; there are now a number of people I speak to regularly and we’re constantly looking at ways to work together and bring new elements to the relationship.

club, from ticket sales and marketing to sponsorship and community development, and she’s been able to get involved in all of those. She’s led projects by herself and has a great amount of confidence because she’s been given a lot of responsibility.

“If you look at Grace, the work experience she’s gained from working in a business such as Warwickshire is invaluable in terms of then going on to employment. The commercial team is responsible for many aspects of the

“We’ve already got plans in place for the next two years, including hosting a varsity match between Birmingham City University and the University of Birmingham, which is an opportunity for the students to come along and play

on hallowed turf, and it will hopefully bring new people to the ground to see what we do. Media students are another great area of potential for us; we can really improve on how we communicate with them and get them down on match days, get them involved in how we interact with media, which we do on a daily basis.” Sport is big business in the UK, with corporate hospitality and other commercial activities providing an important revenue stream to the 11

Catherine Nuttall

country’s football, rugby and cricket clubs, and Warwickshire is no exception. Catherine said: “I think the sporting and business sides go hand in hand – if the players are doing well on the pitch, more people want to be part of it; if you’ve got more spectators coming through the gate, that means more ticket revenue and increased sponsorship, and the money that generates can be ploughed back into existing players, new players and player performance, making sure they’ve got the best equipment to be at the top of their game. “The new Pavilion was redeveloped in 2011; the facilities are world class and are well-known to be some of the best in sport. Our conference and events business is massive for us, and revenues have increased 161 per cent since 2010. We don’t have the same finances as football; our players aren’t being paid £300,000 a week, so we have to be creative in how we use and maximise our assets. “The players are a massive part of it and if you can get them to interact with everyone else it’s great. Some of them actually rang members who hadn’t renewed their membership for this year, and had a chat with them, and 90 per


Scott Field

cent of those who received a call went on to renew – where else would you get players doing that? They know that it makes sense for us to be making money for them to get the best career they’re going to have – they’re great at getting out into the community and being part of projects; they really do buy into it because they want this club to be successful.”


ellow University alumnus Scott Field has a job many football fans would dream of as Head of Communications for the Football Association, giving him first-hand insight into the opportunities and challenges at the very top of the game. This followed similar roles at West Bromwich Albion and Watford football clubs, after graduating with a BA (Hons) Media and Communication (Broadcast Journalism) degree in 1999. Scott has seen many changes during his time in the game. When he joined West Brom in 2001, the club was only just setting up its own media department, whereas clubs are now expected to provide constantly-updated text and video content to meet the demands of the internet and social media. At the FA he now witnesses first-hand the huge financial costs and rewards at the top level of the game.

Jennie Price

While football has never been richer, the amount of money flowing in has caused its own problems, with concerns over the financial sustainability of clubs and traditional fans being priced out the game. However, Scott was optimistic that the FA and other ruling bodies had the procedures in place to deal with any issues. He said: “There will always be challenges, and if you compare the rule book from 150 years ago, which was only a few pages, to the thousands of pages we have today, you can see the efforts that go into ensuring the game is well-run. “For me, I’m so lucky that I get to see the good football does at such close quarters – I worked for two real community clubs, both of which were pioneers in their own way, and I get to see football manifest itself in a positive way on a day to day basis. The FA is a not-for-profit organisation and all of our commercial activities are carried out so we can continue to invest in the game. “The sport is getting more professional all the time – every area of the game is constantly improving and I think people sometimes don’t give football the credit it deserves for its professionalism and the amount of good it does.”

Keeping ahead of the game


ennie Price, holder of an honorary doctorate from the University, is Chief Executive of Sport England, the public body responsible for encouraging participation in grassroots sport. A barrister by training, Jennie has been in post since April 2007, and has overseen a new strategic approach which helped encourage record numbers of adults to play sport regularly, building on the impetus given by the London 2012 Olympics.

She said: “The overriding purpose of Sport England is to get more people playing sport and exercising regularly – that means about 30 minutes at least once a week at moderate intensity. Since we won the Olympic bid in 2005, 1.6 million more people are now playing sport, and when you compare immediately before and immediately after the games, there was a real jump, with an extra 600,000 people participating.

“The traditional focus of Sport England was more on sport development which tended to benefit those who were already minded to play sport anyway; what we’re trying to do is expand to people who think it’s not for them. “To do this, we need to look at behavioural change and we now have a dedicated customer research department – just like the major retailers - to understand what’s going to motivate people, what they like or don’t like and why they take part in sport, or not. For example, there’s a very stubborn gender gap between men and women and we recently launched a big advertising campaign called This Girl Can, where we’ve tried to help women overcome their fear of being judged when they’re exercising. It’s early days, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The financial success of sports like football is significant as they can support us on programmes like Premier League for Sport, where we work with them to get people into the clubs to play sports – not necessarily football, but just using the power of the brand to reach young people and help them to get active. “There’s a really strong relationship between the commercial side and grass roots but of course we’re always looking for ways to make it even better.”

“Since we won the Olympic bid in 2005, 1.6 million more people are now playing sport, and when you compare immediately before and immediately after the games, there was a real jump, with an extra 600,000 people participating.”


SONS OF THE CITY An alumna and lecturer from Birmingham City University is putting some of the city’s most famous faces in the picture to raise money for charity. The Mr Birmingham exhibition brings together 30 new portraits of some of Birmingham’s most celebrated personalities.


mma Love, a lecturer in Building Surveying in the Birmingham School for the Built Environment, started the Mr Birmingham project – in which she photographs a variety of celebrities, sports stars and unsung heroes in iconic locations – as a way of celebrating her home city but, as the project took shape, she saw the opportunity for it to benefit others by raising funds for the new cancer centre at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Emma has a passion for photography, and is well known online under her alter ego of ‘Lil Wing’ where she takes pictures of graffiti around the world, as well as working as a freelance portrait photographer. Having previously studied at Birmingham City University, she returned here as a lecturer in 2014. She said: “I do a lot of travelling through my photography and I’m very tired of us always being the second city, the


also-rans, the people who are nearly there but not quite. I’ve found that one of our traits as Brummies is that we’re very humble, but I’m passionate about my city and I thought that there needed to be some kind of celebration of all these great people who’ve gone off and achieved success – sometimes locally, sometimes nationally and sometimes worldwide. “I started a very personal campaign, tracking down great ambassadors for Birmingham, and my approach is very simple; I go direct to source, so I research where I’m likely to be able to speak to them directly and, without exception, not a single one of them has said no. For example, I reached out to Duran Duran through their management and got an amazing email back saying they didn’t live in Birmingham any more but they’d be more than happy to support this – it’s just a question of timing, whether they’ll be in the city to have the shots done.

Emma Love in action

“It was important for me to get every sort of genre, so I have people from music, sport, even Bob Warman off Central News who I’ve been watching while I have my tea since I was about 12, so it was a big thing to get him on board.

his hair in the mirror before going on air. I’ve got to mention Birmingham City Football Club as well – they’ve been phenomenal and I’ve literally had the run of the place, usually with a very excited celebrity in tow, who immediately reverts to a seven-year-old boy in an empty stadium!”

Central News presenter Bob Warman

“Some people were passed on through other Mr Birminghams, so for example Dennis Amiss put me in touch with Trevor Francis, who strictly isn’t a Brummie but considers himself one because he lives here and loves the city. The contacts in my phone are now probably up there with some of the greatest agents around, from Roy Wood to Jasper Carrott and everybody in between. “And it’s not just about famous people – there’s a gentleman called Ernie Holt who’s in his 70s, who’s run a boxing gym over in Nechells for 40 years. He’s changed the lives of many young men who’ve come in literally off the streets and been taught the discipline of boxing, and he’s regarded as an absolute father figure in the community. “Because it’s a very direct personal approach, there is an element of trust and a lot of them have become quite good friends of mine because we have this shared passion and shared belief that we want to promote Birmingham.” Locations for the shoots have ranged from the Library of Birmingham and The Mailbox to the stadiums of Birmingham City and Aston Villa, with the subjects all choosing a venue that is significant to them. Emma added: “The location itself is their choice and the shots are worked out on the day. They’re very natural shots, not posed, and some are quite candid, such as Bob Warman combing

As the project developed, Emma realised that it could also be used to create a positive impact in the city by raising money for charity. Following her return to the University in September, she spoke to colleagues in her team, and then in the Marketing and Communications Department, and the details of the exhibition itself began to take shape. It will be accompanied by a City Talk – the University’s series of popular public lectures – on the subject of ‘What does being a Brummie mean to me?’, featuring Emma and some of the participants. “At first, I was just doing it for enjoyment, with perhaps the intention of publishing a book in the future, and then it occurred to me that I’d got this amazing, unique body of work and I could actually do something really good with it. I got in touch with Birmingham Children’s Hospital, so now if any money gets raised from this, it will go directly to their new cancer centre. I’m also very proud to have been a student at the University, and when I came back here and got talking to people, it seemed the ideal place for the exhibition.”

“Because of Instagram and Twitter we’re in a society now where we take a picture, we share it and then it’s gone – it’s yesterday’s news within minutes, and it’s important to me that we record and preserve these moments.” The exhibition will go on show at Millennium Point on June 11, followed by the City Talk. For more information, or to book a place at the talk, please visit

“I’m passionate about my city and I thought that there needed to be some kind of celebration of all these great people – next up I’ll be doing Mrs Birmingham!”

Bev Bevan, formerly of Birmingham band ELO

Emma is hoping that her work will find a long-term home and she is keen to repeat the idea in future with some of Birmingham’s female achievers as well. “I’m hoping someone like HS2 will hopefully buy the whole collection because they’re looking for Birmingham things to put in their new station and this is a whole body of work of great Brummies which is ready to go, so if that could happen it would be great. And then next up I’ll be doing Mrs Birmingham! UB40’s Astro, photographed at Birmingham City’s ground


FASHIONING THE FUTURE Allegra Ghiloni’s rooftop fashion shoot in Milan

Fashion is a global business and we pride ourselves on equipping students with the necessary knowledge, skills and attributes to succeed. Helen Eden spoke to some of the graduates forging successful careers overseas, with opportunities taking them to Europe and the USA.


fter moving to Milan, BA (Hons) Fashion Retail Management graduate Allegra Ghiloni met with an international stylist to learn about building her dream career in the fashionable Italian city. It led to work experience, which, six months later, became a permanent role.


Since then, Allegra has assisted on projects for publications including Vogue Accessory and Marie Claire, and has also travelled to Venice, Cortina and Amsterdam to work with clients such as United Colors of Benetton and the Dutch high-end department store De Bijenkorf.

The move to Milan was a return trip; Allegra had previously undertaken an Erasmus exchange to the city during her studies. “I found Milan to be such an inspiring city and it really helped me to develop creatively,” she explained. “I always knew that I wanted to travel after university, so Milan seemed like

the perfect place to experience living abroad while also starting my career. I think the Italian style is very classic and elegant, whereas English style can be a little more eccentric and grunge and I love that living here means I am influenced by both.

companies Tea & Cake PR and Neville McCarthy Associates.

come together. The final outcome is always something unique and special.”

Allegra aspires to become a head stylist with clients of her own but for now she is gaining essential experience and enjoys that every working day is different.

“Most people in the city work within the fashion industry, so there are lots of interesting people to meet, and lots of events and exhibitions. Fashion Week is held in February and September and I love going to fashion shows to see the newest designer collections.”

“It is my head stylist’s job to decide the concept of the shoot and which magazine we will be working with,” she said. “Then the most important step is to help her research fashion designers whose collections best match the concept of the shoot and contact them to request clothes and accessories. After this, I could be assisting with casting models, location scouting, finding props, researching set design and planning the looks that will be worn in each photo.

With ambitions to work in other iconic cities, such as New York, Shanghai and London, Allegra spends her free time working with young, talented photographers, designers and hair and make-up artists to create unique photoshoots, which they submit to indie magazines.

However, she believes living in Birmingham also provided her with a good grounding: “Birmingham is a really great city to start off in. The city has such a diverse music scene, a big art culture and lots of cool new fashion brands emerging. There is lots to get involved in and I think that is a good thing while you are studying.” She believes the subjects covered in her degree – including buying, merchandising, trend forecasting and PR – gave her a solid understanding of the fashion industry, helping her explore different career options. Her degree also gave her the opportunity to build valuable contacts with stylists through internships at London PR

“On shoot days it is my job to organise all the clothes on the rack in the look order, dress the models, write the looks credits and generally be a runner. “My favourite thing is that the final photographs are the combination of the hard work of many people, from the designers who make the clothes to the stylists, photographers and hair and make-up artists on set, to the magazine editors who print the photos. “I love seeing everyone’s creative vision

“Birmingham is a really great city to start off in. The city has such a diverse music scene, a big art culture and lots of cool new fashion brands emerging.” “Working like this allows us to be very creative and experimental and is a great way to start getting my work published,” she said. “I love that working with different clients and magazines allows you to travel and I want to take full advantage of this as my career develops.” London’s Graduate Fashion Week ultimately led BA (Hons) Fashion Design graduates Cleo McColgan and Phoebe

Allegra Ghiloni at Milan Men’s Fashion Week (right), a photoshoot with young photographer Carlotta Di Leonardo (centre) and fitting the model on set before a rooftop photo shoot in Milan.


Fashioning the future

Stonehill to secure roles as design assistants with a top US fashion label. In February 2014, the pair joined a handful of elite graduates recruited by Abercrombie and Fitch to work at its head office in Ohio after representatives from the firm were impressed by the portfolios Cleo and Phoebe displayed at the annual fashion event. Cleo explained: “With the course we got the option to go to Graduate Fashion Week, where the people from Abercrombie saw our portfolios and invited us to an interview in London. I thought it was worth a shot – I wasn’t expecting too much, but it went really well. They then gave me a project to see if I could cater for their customer market. They gave me a call to say they really liked it and I was called over for a second interview in the USA. The interview went well, and soon after I had the call to say I was successful! “Overall, Abercrombie and Fitch seems to be an amazing company to work for. You are encouraged to grow within the company, so there’s definitely the option to stay there and progress.” Like Allegra, Cleo found that her course provided an excellent insight into the industry and she undertook placements with London fashion designers. She describes her internship at Lulu Liu as an eye-opening experience.

“Working like this allows us to be very creative and experimental”

“I got to work with the designers and they trusted me a lot more than I expected. I did a lot of pattern work and worked with the team up to Fashion Week. After I completed my course, I did another internship with Julien Macdonald,


even though I already had the job with Abercrombie lined up, because I’d got so much out of interning before.” BA (Hons) Visual Communication student Dominika Wozniak is also forging an international career. Currently in her final year, she finds time to work between the UK, Poland and the United Arab Emirates and last year travelled to Miami Fashion Week where she was named International Student Fashion Photographer of the Year. Her prizes included an engraved crystal trophy from Tiffany & Co and a photoshoot alongside renowned fashion photographer Gio Alma. She also had the opportunity to show her work to hundreds of top fashion journalists at the event’s ‘New Stars in Fashion’ exhibition.

“I’d like to be able to travel more. Now I have a lot of ideas for assisting photographers and expanding my workflow and connections even more. I feel that my journey has only just started and I am excited to see where it will take me!”

“I had a great opportunity to meet a lot of people from the fashion industry, which was a very important experience. I also attended fashion sessions and press conferences, and had the opportunity to chat with many people from the fashion trade and have built some good relationships.”

She said: “Gio Alma, who was on the main jury, gave me a lot of life tips which changed my perspective on the world of photography and fashion. “I had a great opportunity to meet a lot of people from the fashion industry, which was a very important experience. I also attended fashion sessions and press conferences, and had the opportunity to chat with many people from the fashion trade and have built some good relationships.” Dominika was first attracted to photography through an interest in art. She explained: “The art world has always interested and fascinated me. Day to day, I started with photography. As a young photographer, everything I have learned is through experimentation and trial and error. For me, the most exciting thing is direct contact with people involved, common work and ideas which can appear in every second of our team projects.” Despite her achievements, she is still at the start of her career and is looking forward to finding out what the future holds.

Dominika Wozniak

Class notes


Share your post-university experiences with your classmates, friends and fellow alumni 1970s Christopher Painter

Head of School of Social Sciences 1972 – 2010

The month after retiring from BCU as Head of Social Sciences, in August 2010, I became a governor at King Edward VI Form College, Stourbridge. Two years later, in September 2012, I found myself elevated to the position of Chair of Governors at the College! The College has been approved by the Department of Education to become an academy sponsor. Its multi-academy trust (MAT) was, in fact, incorporated just before Christmas 2014, with the Board of Directors meeting for the first time in January of this year. Based on my academic expertise, I was also invited to join the editorial board of a national magazine entitled ‘Public Sector Executive’, which reaches opinion formers in the public services field, including councillors and MPs. As a member of the board I contribute regular articles to the magazine. The latest will be a two-parter evaluating the Coalition’s public service reforms in the run-up to the May 2015 general election. As an Emeritus Professor, the BCU affiliation continues to feature for these articles!

Hadi Mahdi Al Saffar MSc Accountancy, 1976

Hi, I have been in the oil and gas sector for a long while. Such as at Ministry of Oil in Iraq and OPEC in Austria/ Vienna. Now I am working for Saipem of Italy as a finance and tax expert in Iraq. Hope everyone is well.

1980s David Spurling

Senior Lecturer in Transport Economics, 1974-1980 Thank you for your excellent magazine. I was a senior lecturer in transport economics at what was then City of Birmingham Polytechnic from 1974 to 1980. I have written 14 textbooks and one joke book ‘Corny Jokes’. The proceeds from the joke book will all go to the charity Emmaus, which helps homeless people. I would love to hear from any students or lecturers who remember me.

Sarah Thornhill

BA (Hons) English, 1982 Recently passed 30 years in legal publishing.

Nick Gooneratne

BEng (Hons) Engineering, 1989 I have worked for 23 years mainly in a multinational work environment since graduating from the University of Central England in 1989. I thank the excellent education that I obtained in the UK at this great institution as an overseas student from Sri Lanka for whatever success I have had in my business career. Unfortunately I have lost touch with most of my classmates. I would love to get in touch with them. My course Director was Mr (I understand he is Professor now) Graham Rogers and his Deputy was Mr Ivan Gould. I do keep in touch with Mr Gould. It was

really nice to have been able to have dinner with Mr Gould two years back when I was in the UK.

Simon Haste

BSc Estate Management, 1989 So far I have had a pretty varied career in property, ranging from private practice via facilities management and client-side positions in the transport, telecoms, education and third sectors to my present job as Head of Property for the animal welfare charity Cats Protection. I visited BCU last year and could not believe how much it had changed (for the better), especially the new facilities and campus. I keep in touch with a handful of my classmates but I should be keen to hear from others. I enjoyed my time at the then Birmingham Polytechnic.

1990s David Hatfield

BTEC HND Electronics, 1990 I have returned to Aspen Colorado where I am practicing as a licensed acupuncturist. Classmates and friends let me know if you want to come and visit. The skiing is great!

Shmuel Brettler LLB Law, 1990

Hi to all my lectures and friends. I will be glad if I hear back from you.

John Choo

BSc (Hons) Computing Information System, 1992 I have started a new adults programme for mid brain activation and I realised that a lot of adults have benefited from this workshop, after their children also attended the workshop earlier. I would like to ask all my friends at BCU to take a look at this programme to help in anger management and a whole lot more. www.GeniusMindAcademy. or www.facebook. com/GeniusMindAcademy

Sharon Cox (nee Dingley)

BSc (Hons) Computing Information Systems, 1992 Hello I am Professor of Information Systems here at BCU. I graduated from the BSc (Hons) Computing Information Systems in 1992. I started the course in 1987 but whilst on placement during the sandwich year at IMI Computing I was offered a full-time job in data management at Jaguar Cars. I left the placement to go to Jaguar and delayed returning to complete the course for another year. While at Jaguar I was offered a studentship to do a PhD at Aston University. In 1995 I returned to UCE as a lecturer in information systems and have been here ever since, but I have kept working in industry through applied research projects and consultancy. For example, I was the Corporate Data Manager at Britvic Soft Drinks for four years. I was awarded a Professorship here in 2009 based on my applied research in collaborative e-business systems, strategic information systems planning,

and teaching and learning in Higher Education. For the last four years I have been the Associate Head of School (Research) for the School of Computing, Telecommunications and Networks. I have recently launched This is a commercial company but it is also a live case study to provide students with examples of how information is managed in organisations. My first book was published last year, ‘Managing Information in Organisations: A Practical Guide to Implementing an Information Management Strategy’. I also blog about information management issues at and you can follow me on Twitter @manginforg. When I enrolled for a degree in 1987, I never thought it would be the first step on a journey to gaining a Professorship here!

Debra Warren

BSc Industrial Information Technology, 1993 I have retrained as a yoga teacher and I am available for local corporate weekly practice. Please email any enquiries through the Alumni Association.

2000s Ena Yarde

PGCE Art and Design, 2000 Hello ‘Class of 00’. I’m back in Bristol after nearly 20 years. Interesting to see what’s changed...or not. Still knitting and designing, after a few career changes. A significant birthday very soon along with new adventures no doubt.


Class notes

Lykos Stavroulopoulos

BA (Hons) Accountancy, 1999 MSc Industrial Logistics, 2001

Fifteen years after my graduation, I’ve finally managed to return to Birmingham for a business conference, and did not miss the chance to visit BCU (UCE then), and of course our beloved ‘Coppice’, and have a chat with members of the alumni and academic staff.... Let the good times roll and.... cheers to Donna, Kostas, Makis & Theo!!!

Georgios Nikakis BA (Hons) Hospitality Management, 2002

After graduating, I worked for my family’s construction business for two years. In 2004, I was the project manager for building Thalassa Beach Resort, an 80 room beach hotel owned by my family. The hotel started operating in May 2006 under my management and soon became one of the most recognised summer hotels on the island of Crete. In 2012 Thalassa Beach Resort became the first couples hotel in west Crete and was awarded from TUI Nordic as the Best Couples Hotel for 2012 and 2013 among 20 hotels in the world.


Christiana Vasiliadou

BA (Hons) Fashion with Retail Management, 2004 Hi all, I am very pleased to announce that from the 2nd of February I’ll be employed by Nike EMEA for the position of Product Presentation Territory Manager role, based in Athens. I’ll be monitoring Turkey, Israel and Greece NFS (Nike factory stores). This job is very demanding and challenging, fulfilling my expectations for a worldwide career. I am very thankful to all my tutors, especially Jane Sarkar, and Bob for all their support during my studies.

Mark Persard

BSc (Hons) Management, 2005 My current role is National Contact Centre Manager for a company that specialises in providing support for disabled and long term unemployed clients. We also support young people through services relating to apprenticeships and the National Citizen Service. I manage 3 sites with 65 staff (two sites are based in England and one is in Scotland). I have recently won the following awards from the Midlands Contact Centre Forum: Contact Centre Manager of the Year, Contact Centre of the Year, Best Commitment to Training and Staff Development. I am very proud to have won these awards as this is very validating for me and for my team. I am very passionate about supporting people to fulfil their potential and I have worked hard over the last three years to build a culture of high employee engagement and positive staff empowerment within my centres which was recognised by the judges.

Amit Mann

BSc (Hons) Software Design and Networks, 2005 I currently have my own business in high end British made upholstered furniture! This is online and thus allows me to use my course experience. The software design aspect is valuable as these principles apply to so many different situations. Things are going well. People like the site and we have even been on TV! Take a look at and let me know what you think!

Thabani Dube

FC Engineering, 2006 I had an invaluable experience at UCE. I went on to do BEng Mechanical with placement at Aston University. I graduated in May 2011 and started at RollsRoyce in September 2011 as a Manufacturing Engineer.

Graham Joinson MA Professional Development, 2006

Currently a teacher in secondary education teaching design technology having gained QTLS through the IFL.

David Busst

BA (Hons) Visual Communication (Photography), 2006 I can’t believe it is nearly 10 years since I graduated from BCU, or Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. After graduating with a 2:1, I actually became a bar manager at a hotel that had been my part-time job throughout my studies. It felt great having money in my account for a change. After a short time I got my first photography job as a Photojournalist for a well know news agency. This was a fantastic experience where I learned a great deal in a short amount of time. I got such a buzz seeing my images and by-line

in national publications. After this I spent four years working for the Highways Agency. In my spare time I worked as a freelance photographer, covering mainly weddings and events. I then met my gorgeous fiancée, Christina at my tennis club. After a few years living together in Birmingham, we moved for her career to Switzerland. We have been here for nearly 2 years. It was a big thing for me leaving my family and friends, but it is such a beautiful place to live. I have recently started my own automotive business, part of which involves photographing cars. I am coaching football part-time and will soon be gaining my FA qualifications back in England. One of the best parts about living here is being able to take great landscape pictures. After a couple more years I should have a strong portfolio from here. I think about my uni days quite often. How I’d love to roll the clock back and sit in the Costa with mates tucking into our lunchtime beer and burger. I hope all my old mates and lecturers are well!

Mary Angela Marr (Angie)

BSC (Hons) Health Studies, 2006 Thank you so very much for contacting me. I completed a degree in Health Studies some years ago. I came out with an upper 2:1 degree, which I felt very proud of at the time. I do mentor students for a company though the work is very sporadic. If an opportunity arises at the University for supporting people directly who may require extra support then I will go for it. I am a Registered Mental Nurse, Registered General Nurse. I have Leadership and Management in Care Level 4. I did a diploma with the Open University in Health and Social Care. I enjoyed my time with the University of Central England.

Victoria Leonard (nee Jones)

BSc (Hons) Nursing, 2006 Well since qualifying I have worked at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. I have recently got my band 6 and am now back at BCU doing my non-medical prescribing course.

Krzysztof Czerwinski MMus Music (Conducting), 2006

(Excerpts from Czerwinski’s biography) Komorniki Polish National Organ and Chamber Music Festival (a summer series of concerts held annually in Greater Poland) was established with Krzysztof Czerwinski as its Founder and Artistic Director in 2006, and remains under his directorship. In 2008, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (The University of Sydney) in Australia, awarded Krzysztof a full scholarship prize (“Henderson Course Work Scholarship”), which has founded further conducting studies. Recently, in 2012, Krzysztof was appointed the Music Director of Macquarie Chapel Choir in Sydney, Australia. Under his direction the Choir won two first prizes in two choral categories at the 2014 City of Ryde Eisteddfod. Between 2006 and 2014, nine CD albums were recorded in Poland with Krzysztof Czerwinski as a performer and Artistic Director.

Class notes

Becki Smith

BA (Hons) Primary Education with Qualified Teacher Status and Art Specialism, 2006 Loving my job as a teacher and have explored many roles such as a lead teacher (like AST) and mentor.

Mohammed Aleid

BSc (Hons) Computer Aided Design, 2007 My research paper titled Green Jubail Industrial City has been published.

Darren Zitren

BSc (Hons) Real Estate, 2008

Trevor Moseley BA (Hons) Visual Communication (Photography), 2007

After university, I have been travelling and living in different cities by creating a portfolio body of work. I specialise in photography, creating social documentary. After a few years of experimenting, I’m gaining a reputation of being a photographer from my peers and gallery curators. I have been accepted in group exhibitions in Nottingham, and luckily enough I was asked to do my first solo show on 30th of January (this year). Apart from creating work, I have been keeping busy volunteering at galleries in Nottingham. I help out promoting graduates and help up and coming artists to create their first important show.

Neil Foster

DipHE Nursing, 2007 Hello. I hope this reaches you in good health. Since qualifying as an adult nurse I have worked from out patients to A&E - no easy task!! I’m currently in our wonderfully diverse community as a nurse, had a little girl, Pheobe, got married to my wonderful wife Toni and we are born again Christians. And have just applied for a prison nurse. God Bless you all and extra blessings to those from the military who work exceptionally difficult posts. Hi to Diane Giles my then personal tutor who I won’t ever forget xxx

Recently promoted to partner at Cluttons.

Jennifer Agu

BA PR and Business Law, 2008 Since graduating in 2008 I’ve successfully been working as a marketing professional. I am currently working as a PR and Marketing Executive for a leading biomass boiler manufacturer within the heating industry and I absolutely love my job.

Lyndsey Weaver

PGCE Secondary Music with Qualified Teacher Status, 2009 I’m now teaching and have been head of department but missed teaching so I’m now a teacher again.

William Mascarenhas

MBA Marketing, 2009

I did work in retail management for almost 6 years. I lived in Birmingham until August 2012 and moved to Bournemouth to join my girlfriend. Got married in 2013. Moved to Devon in 2014 due to promotion. I did quit retail last September and joined a law firm in Exeter. Currently, I work as an Administrator at Michelmores LLP.

Jennifer Martin

BA (Hons) Primary Education with Qualified Teacher Status, 2009 Completed my NQT year in Warwick 2009/2010. Moved to Manchester and taught in 3 challenging inner city

schools. Moved back to Oxfordshire to teach maths in my old high school. Enjoying secondary much more than primary!

A Level of Cie Cambridge University examinations, in a private institute. At the same time looking forward for my book to be completed, and ready to be published.

2010s Liam McEvilly

BA (Hons) Primary Education with Qualified Teacher Status, 2011 After graduating I got married and moved to California, where I run the school aged classroom at a private day-care. Does anyone need some penfriends?

Steven Lawlor

LLB (Hons) Law, 2011 I am now working for a local law firm specialising in Mental Health Law. I have been working there for around 18 months now and the work is very interesting and varied. I do hospital managers and CPA meetings along with going into psychiatric hospitals to see patients who want to appeal their section.

Faisal Hildid Hassan BA (Hons) Business and Management, 2011

I left London and headed to Musqat, Oman, where I stayed for nearly two months. I then moved to Doha, Qatar, where I am staying with friends. I am currently a job seeker. I have had interviews and am waiting for the results. I love all my classmates and teachers and I will see you all I hope when I come back to the UK to visit Birmingham City University.

Syed Nadeem Abid Zaidi

MA Textiles, Fashion and Surface Design, 2011 I miss the University, and Bar 42. Presently I am teaching art and design

Natalie Eccleshall BA (Hons) Media and Communication (Journalism), 2012

I am now a Digital Account Manager for the country’s leading automotive web software company. I am solely responsible for 20 of the business’s largest accounts and the largest that stems from the Midlands base. This year I am responsible for generating £1 million of revenue to the business.

Robson Njerer BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying, 2012

Attained MRICS status in November 2014.

Zarida Riaz

Certificate of Achievement, Practice Teacher Preparation, 2012

Natalie Letts

Graduate Diploma Adult Nursing, 2012 Now working as a Peri-Operative Practitioner Scrub Nurse at Churchill Hospital in Oxford.

Elena Thomas

MA Art Practice and Education, 2012 My Arts Council funded project “nine women” was launched in January. There will be bras! women! songs! (and undoubtedly cake!) The project will run throughout 2015, with an exhibition running throughout July of the finished installation of garments and songs… and possibly a live performance or two. It would be lovely to see old friends! (The exhibition will be held in Artspace Dudley, 4 Birdcage Walk, Dudley DY2 7AE). A selection of the works from the installation will be sent to New York for an exhibition in March. A blog documenting the project can be read (and heard in audio format) at blogs/nine-women.

Although I gave up working my part time hours to study for the Practice Teacher course, I am thoroughly enjoying working as Practice Teacher in Health Visiting. Advice: Keep motivated and keep going as it definitely pays off in the long run. Also essential to have a good work life balance.

Marc Di Luzio

Andrew Cheng

I’ve been with this new company for more than six months since graduation. I am now a sales woman who has to visit clients regularly. I love my job and I would like to do anything to make my job more interesting and fascinating. I keep in touch with my classmates from BCU which is wonderful. But I would like to know more graduates from BCU.

BSc (Hons) Film Production and Technology, 2012 Since graduating, I’ve been doing a lot of freelance work as a video director with various companies, as well as producing some of my own projects for film events. My last screening was held at the Venice International Experimental Cinema and Performance Art Festival, as part of the ‘Future Identities – Bodies. Places. Spaces’ exhibition held at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi.

MSc Video Game Development, 2013 Currently working at Feral Interactive on our Linux games!

Min Xu

MBA Business Administration, 2013


Class notes

Martin Hill

MA English Linguistics, 2013

Andrew Jennings BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production, 2013

Currently working for UCL in the Centre for Preparatory Studies at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan. The weather can be brutally cold and -40 is not unusual but the students are keen and the vodka is cheap. I do a lot of cross country skiing which is fantastic exercise but one does need to keep a good look out for wolves as they can definitely spoil a nice ski trip out on the Steppe!

Have since worked for: Music Group/Midas MKT (iOS Developer) - Degree 53 (iOS Developer) [Main client is Betfred] Cumulatively worked on apps achieving 100k+ downloads and used by experts and industry leaders worldwide in both the Audio and gambling sectors. Still playing music and also looking to release my next EP in 2015!

Nidhi Verma

Lucinda Perrett

BA Textile Design with Retail Management, 2013 Now working as a visual merchandiser for American Eagle Outfitters flagship store in London.

Mohammed Rahman MA Criminology, 2013

Hello to the class of 2013, its Moe from MA Criminology. Hope you are all well. Shortly after graduating, I took a lecturing position in criminology at Birmingham City University. I have thus far enjoyed the role more than expected and I am working alongside some of the best criminologists in the country. Recently I also started my PhD under the supervision of Professor David Wilson. The research aims to investigate the relationship between organised crime and murder in the West Midlands, England. I hope to convert my findings into a documentary series, but for now, there is loads of work to do. Catch you all soon, good health and best of luck!!


BA (Hons) Marketing Advertising and Public Relations Scheme, 2013 After finishing in April 2013, I was offered a job back in Tetbury running the marketing side of a new pub. After a couple of months as Marketing Assistant I was promoted to Office Manager and did a brief stint as the General Manager too. I then decided to do my Teach English as a Foreign Language course and I am now in Thailand teaching with some marketing on the side! Thai marketing is very different!

Bradley Jolly

BA (Hons) Media and Communication (Journalism), 2013 It has only been two years since I left BCU but it feels longer. I now work as a journalist for South West News Service, the country’s largest independent press agency and have visited BCU several times in the past to talk to students about my experiences in the media. Certainly, I would not be where am I now without the amazing help from Paul Bradshaw and Sue Heseltine, two great journalism lecturers who I believe are still there now. I hope everyone else on the Media and Communication courses are forging successful careers in the industry.

Imran Uddin

BA (Hons) Architecture RIBA Part I, 2013 Since graduation I’ve been fortunate to have achieved a Part I Architect position at Atkins Global - World’s leading design and engineering practice that operates globally creating prolific feet of architecture and engineering, exposed to work on projects from airports, master plans and currently the new rail project in Qatar.

Abimbola Akinsanya MSc Business Computing, 2013

Hi guys, after graduating in March 2014, I got a job as a graduate trainee in one of the leading banks in Nigeria. I also got engaged to be married March 2015. Overall life has been good and I want to use this medium to appreciate BCU and its staff for everything and thank you guys for making a difference in my life. Cheers.

Samantha Haynes

BA (Hons) Fine Art, 2014 I recently graduated from Birmingham City University with a BA (Hons) Fine Art. Since then I have set up my own website and completed private commissions for the public. I also work as a supply teacher and am applying for PGCE study this year at BCU!

Sarah Fortes Mayer MA Fine Art, 2014

I am very busy organising Age Yard Shift a performance and photographic display for the over 60’s. To take place on 9th May 2015 on Edgbaston Street, Birmingham, from 11am. Be part of a work of art shifting the invisibility of us all. For information see the Facebook page ‘Age Yard Shift’ or email the Alumni Association to be put in touch with me.

Carolyn Blackburn

Oliver Woodhouse

Since completing my PhD in Early Language/Early Childhood Intervention, I’ve been offered a post in the Centre for Research in Education at BCU. I’m applying for funding so that I can continue my research and teaching on undergraduate courses. I’m also involved in the Research Ethics Committee and the Rethinking Childhood Research Cluster. I’ve been shortlisted for a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship and can’t wait to hear in February whether I’ll be a successful applicant. If I am I’m planning to go to New Zealand to look at relationship-based early intervention services for children with complex disabilities.

Having graduated the LLB Law course last year, I am currently completing my LPC course, full-time, at the University of Law, Birmingham. Thereafter I will be starting a training contract at Gateley LLP solicitors in Birmingham, September 2015-2017.

PhD Education, 2014

Janine Wright

PGCE Primary Education with Qualified Teacher Status, 2014 I have just got my first teaching post after moving to South Wales and completing my first term as a supply teacher. I am excited for the start of my career and new venture!

LLB (Hons) Law, 2014

Shona Okeke

BA (Hons) Management and Human Resource Management, 2014 Hi everyone! Since finishing, I started a graduate scheme with the Local Government Authority; working specifically with the London Borough of Sutton with the Public Health Team.

Aigerim Kalzhan Erasmus Year, 2014

Thanks to the classes I have taken during my Erasmus year, I had successful interview at IBM Global Financing. And now I am credit analyst here for my placement year.

Aisha Khattak

LLB (Hons) Law, 2014

Isacco Arnaldi BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production, 2014

I am now a MSc Analogue Electronics student at the University of Edinburgh.

George Cutler

BA (Hons) Business and Finance, 2014 Hi everyone! Just want to say that I have launched my own funeral directors and that we have so far done 21 funerals! Good luck for everyone finding a job, setting up their own business or going into further study.

Throughout my educational time at BCU, I had an excellent experience and time with the classmates, lecturers and many more individuals. I have learnt a lot from them. They were there with me at all times, when I needed their support. I have completed my LLB (Hons) Law Degree at BCU, now I am studying the PgDip Legal Practice Course (LPC) at BCU. Hopefully, after my LPC, I will apply for the Master’s.


Imani Ali

BA (Hons) Criminology and Security Studies, 2014

Since I graduated from BCU with a proud 2:1, I took some time out to travel and have my wedding abroad. Next year I plan to return to education and train to become a teacher, god willing.

Shareen Ashraf

PGCE Education Post-Compulsory Education and Training, 2014 Since gaining my PGCE, I am working at two different sixth forms, part-time equating to one full time job! But working at 2 different places is great!

Mario Stoynov

BSc (Hons) Film Production And Technology, 2014 Hello everyone, Hope you’re doing well and you’re part of the professional world already. Since my graduation I haven’t stopped working in my field of choice, precisely digital media technology. During the summer I was photographer for a respected nightclub in my hometown. Few months later I quit this job to move city and start working as AV technician and video producer for a major company in the area of live events. The knowledge and experience acquired in university were priceless skillset to offer which earned me quite quickly respect and recognition from my colleagues and managers

Fadhlur-Rahman Memi BSc (Hons) Computer Science with Sandwich Year, 2014

Have started full-time as a software engineer at Mott MacDonald after working part-time and placement for a year each!

Professor Frank Ariss Born 23 December 1937 – Died 3 November 2014 We were sorry to hear of the death of Professor Frank Ariss, design artist and professor, who has died aged 76.

Born in Birmingham, Frank completed the NDD Illustration and Design qualification at Birmingham College of Art, a predecessor of Birmingham City University, in 1957. He received a doctoral degree in design from the Royal College of Art in London and joined the faculty at the Norwich College of Art. Frank moved to Minneapolis, USA, in 1966 as a Visiting Professor at what is now Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He worked on many design projects including redesigning the Minneapolis Tribune newspaper, and ran Frank Ariss Design, working with well-known clients including the Guthrie Theater, Jaguar and the BBC, as well as continuing to teach. He spent most of his life living in Minneapolis and is survived by his wife Mary Rolph, sons Tristram of Canterbury, England, and Nathan of Brighton, England, daughter Charlotte of Minneapolis, and sister Brenda of Coton-in-the Elms, England. He had six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. His family are planning to establish a memorial fund. To find out more about the memorial fund please contact the Alumni Association.

Shabnam Khattak LLB (Hons) Law, 2014

Hi, BCU experience has been a delightful and a good journey to do the law degree. In the university you meet good people, and from which I have made very good friends and still keep in touch with. I have decided to carry out my postgraduate studies with BCU due to the experience I have had and the teaching is very good.

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

Acting Tutor David Vann Remembered Long-time acting tutor and Course Director David Vann was remembered at a special memorial evening in January. David who sadly passed away on Sunday 19 October 2014 will be remembered fondly by many former students. The Memorial Evening hosted by Birmingham School of Acting and David’s family at the Crescent Theatre provided an opportunity for family, friends and colleagues to celebrate the positive impact David had on many people’s lives.



WEEKEND Networking, sporting activities, socials, family fun & morE! PLUS, COME AND BE A PART OF THE last ever event HELD AT the Students’ Union building IN PERRY BARR, AS WE'RE RELOCATING TO THE CITY CENTRE IN JUNE 2015! ticket DETAILS & line up COMING soon

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Aspire magazine Spring 2015  

Aspire magazine Spring 2015