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Spring 2015

Have you got an exciting new job, working on a new project, want everyone to know about your own business, had something published or exhibited? Perhaps you are getting married or had a baby? Whatever your news, we would love to hear about it and share it with your fellow alumni. Visit our 'Share your Experiences' page to download the profile form if you would like to be included in the next edition or just email us.

Phil Baines

Class of 2011, Stage Management

Phil has always known he wanted to work in the theatre industry. He greatly enjoyed his time on campus at Brampton Road, particularly the Stanwix Arts Theatre ‘a great space to be creative’. He made life-long friends, and credits the course with “sending [him] in the right direction to achieve [his] ambitions”.

Phil is now the Technical and Facilities Manager at the Montgomery Theatre in Sheffield. After assuming that he would pursue a career backstage, he found an aptitude and skillset for venue and technical management.

Phil is especially happy to be working in his home town. After stints in London and not getting paid much at all, he is rightfully proud to have achieved so much and to be at ‘the’ up and coming venue in Sheffield; he certainly has no plans to look elsewhere anytime soon. "I feel like I have achieved my career ambitions. At 23 this Yorkshire lad ain’t done too badly."

Phil’s advice to get a career like his: "If you want it badly enough, you’ll get it, just be patient."

Sarah Johnston

Class of 2013, Primary Education with QTS

Originally from Carlisle, self-confessed "home-bird" Sarah had only one choice on her uni applications: the University of Cumbria to study primary teaching at the Fusehill Street campus in Carlisle.

"I had heard good things about the course and was made-up when I got in."

Sarah has wanted to be a primary teacher for as long as she can remember and is very proud to have achieved her dreams. Now a full-time long-term supply teacher, covering a maternity leave at lovely village school Great Corby. "I honestly don’t think I would be happy in any other career, I love how rewarding it is and how every day is different."

Sarah credits the University of Cumbria and the teaching course with changing her life "absolutely definitely" for the better, it is here where she grew in confidence and met some amazing life-long friends. Looking back Sarah recalls, "There were loads of funny stories from uni. Most teachers are up for anything fun, and always enjoy acting like big kids. Nobody likes a boring teacher!"

Sarah’s proudest moments in teaching so far are when she sees the kids in her class truly enjoying their work or when she receives feedback from parents to let her know they have repeated an activity done in class at home. Sarah’s ambitions for the future are to continue learning and improving, "to teach as well as the experienced teachers I have observed."

Alex Louise Hodgson

Class of 2008, Photography, Film & Media

Originally from Lazonby and schooled in Penrith, a career in anything creative seemed miles away until Alex grabbed the opportunity to study in Carlisle.

"I undertook my A levels at Cumbria Institute of the Arts in Photography, Film and Media studies from 2006 - 2008. My time spent there really set the ball rolling as to where I saw myself going in the future. The teachers were wonderful: Edward Cooper, Debbie Sweeny, Rachael Elliot and Darren Connor. Darren Connor, who is sadly no longer with us, introduced me and my classmates to topics such as British New Wave cinema which continues to inspire me. I could not praise their influence on me enough and they were all very encouraging.  

"Upon graduating, I moved from my home county to study a BA (Hons) degree in Photography and Film at Edinburgh Napier University. Currently, I hope to extend my studies further and undertake a Masters Degree in Screenwriting. In the mean time I have worked on-set and as a film editor on low budget films. Although my years at college are nearing a decade ago, I'm thankful for the doors which studying there opened and the memories made. I could not have spent my most influential years at a better place."

Nathalie Grobe

Class of 1996, PGCE Secondary French

Originally from France, Nathalie secured a place at St. Martin’s College through the Erasmus programme with an ambition to teach in the UK. Now employed at the French International School in Hong Kong as a French teacher, Nathalie has travelled and taught all over the world.

Crediting her PGCE with changing her life she says, “the qualification gave me the chance to do what I love, travelling and teaching in great schools.”

She has never looked back after deciding to leave to UK to teach internationally and states, “it was the best choice ever. Teaching is the best job to have when you are travelling as it is easier to find work. I am most proud of being able to combine a family and work life balance - my job has taken me to places many people only ever dream of."

Abigail Ede

Class of 2010, PGCE Early Years

Abigail is a year 1 class teacher at the Nord Anglia School in Dubai. Her teaching career has taken her from the UK, to Beijing, now to Dubai and next onto Hong Kong! Rightfully proud she says, “I’ve achieved my ambitions and have a fantastic lifestyle full of interesting people and fantastic opportunities to see the world.”

If Abigail hadn’t come to Carlisle she would most likely be living and working in her home town in Wales. She chose the University of Cumbria because of its location in a most beautiful part of the world and the quality of the course, where she learnt from teaching professionals and had a fantastic experience - meeting her now best friends along the way.

Training to teach has been one of the best decisions she has ever made. “It felt good to have a qualification that allowed me to go on to earn good money and get a job straight away.” Abigail’s hopes for the future include becoming a part of the leadership team in her school and to start up a story-telling business with a fellow teacher.

Johnny McCann

Graphic Design alumnus and also current member of staff!

After graduating from his BA (Hons) Graphic Design, Johnny worked initially as a freelance web designer in Cumbria, before returning to Northern Ireland to work as an IT Technician for Hewlett Packard. This was followed by an art and design placement teaching post back at the University of Cumbria and, when a job in the IT-Services department came up, he decided to change career paths and is now Senior IT Technician (North).

Alongside his job, Johnny enjoys street performing and fundraising for the NSPCC with the 501st Star Wars costuming group. He also fronts a band called Spookshow and organises the annual SOPHIE fundraisers, Labyrinth Ball and Zombie Walk for Carlisle. He likes to help where he can in the community by wearing the Iron Man costume he built to raise funds for children’s causes.

Johnny regularly hosts events and runs a costuming group where the members learn construction techniques in his home/workshop which they have dubbed ‘The Tardis House’ because of its big blue door and ‘bigger on the inside’ nature. On Saturday 18 April 2015 he has set himself his biggest challenge yet; organising and hosting ‘Edencon’, a movies, games and popular media convention to be held at the University of Cumbria’s Brampton Road campus in Carlisle.  

Edencon will be a celebration of the best in pop culture, featuring fantastic artists, writers, costumers and crafters. The event will feature arts and crafts stalls, competitions, guest talks to benefit anyone wanting to work in media, including a film industry talk from Honorary Fellow Mally Chung (James Bond, Doomsday, Sherlock Holmes) and a panel talk from several of the most respected artists and writers in the British comics industry including our very own Associate Lecturer in Visual Culture, Nick Dodds. More guests will be announced as the date gets closer. Keep up to date on or Facebook.

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