” I wanted to go to University for a number of very important reasons. None of these were informed by what is now referred to as ’employability’. I wanted to leave my parents’ home. I wanted to leave the rural village in which I grew up. I wanted to experience the city. I wanted to meet girls. I wanted to party. I wanted to study in greater depth a subject that had fascinated me and moved me and that was already starting to shape me. as a person. I started my degree at Middlesex University and I very quickly started to experience all this and much more besides and my first degree became the best and most formative experience of my life.
I passed. I left. I started acting. I devised my own work with one of the lecturers who became a very good friend. I worked with incredibly talented musicians to develop arts projects in prisons across the country. My degree and the work I made afterwards not only enabled me to work collaboratively and creatively with people I might not otherwise have met but also informed my world view.
When I needed a further challenge I returned to University and again met an extraordinary bunch of people who challenged me and inspired me in unexpected ways. I wanted to meet like minded people and met some, including the person who would become my wife, but I also met people with whom I did not agree and others who did not agree with me. Each were equally challenging.
When a previous lecturer asked me if I might consider directing a show with first year students at Middlesex University I leaped at the chance. This was in 2002 and I’ve never left Higher Education. In fact I recently calculated that I have only been out of University for four years since 1993 and throughout those four years I was working with somebody whom I had met on my first degree.
I am now a Snr Lecturer at Kingston University and although I am now beginning to develop a research profile and helping others to do so by convening a research working group for the Theatre and Performance Research Association I have never enjoyed teaching more. My raison d’etre is to encourage, and challenge students whilst attempting to provide the fantastic experience my lecturers gave me. I hope I may be able to offer something of this to Arts Emergency mentees. ”