Free Peopling the Palace Festival – Line Up Announced – 7-20 June 2021

Conducting conversation / Connecting Creatively / Creating Courageously / Courageously Carrying On / and Cabaret! / Come on and join us!

Peopling the Palace is a yearly festival of performance, workshops and events that showcases the work of Queen Mary academics, artists, current students and alumni. 

This year’s theme is care and features over 25 events from outrageous cabaret nights to a day exploring the rituals of care. In times of global unrest and pandemic, Peopling the Palace Festival, creates a space to explore how important caring about each other is. The festival tackles important contemporary issues of racial inequality, mental health, care provision, neurodivergence, art in a crisis, climate justice and aging.

All events are free to attend and open to all. Advanced booking required for all events. 

New Performance

  • I am Leah (13 June) A vital new play inspired by the stories of survivors of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda. 
  • Dadders (19 June):  Escape to the Meadowdrome with acclaimed artists Daniel Oliver and Frauke Requardt (The Place, Latitude Festival) to delve into their experiences of neurodivergent parent. 
  • Last Gasp WFH (19 June): Playing with the fragility of technology, particularly the unpredictability of Zoom, the team found new avenues to the classic Split Britches (Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw) aesthetic of broken down theatrical conventions, exposing the self on stage.
  • The Tempest in English and Spanish (17 June): This interactive experience explores how the arts can break the stigma around autism. 
  • The Possibility of Colour (12 June): Dystopian play about a new miracle cure and explores themes around mental health voice hearing, synaesthesia, neuro-diversity, Artificial Intelligence, privatised health and the illusion of choice.

Cabaret & Showcases

  • Alumni and Current Student Performance Showcase Nights (10,15 & 17 June): Be shocked, surprised and inspired when you support new artists and performers as they show their latest works.  
  • Her-Pees (9 June) a comfortable, inclusive, and questioning performance night ahead of their Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club Debut. 
  • Friday Night In (Film Night) (11 June): A small screen celebration of work from QMUL students, alumni, staff and other exciting filmmakers.
  • Cossy Fanny Tooty Cabaret (16 June): A cheeky performance cabaret curated by Vivian Harris. 

Workshops, Conferences & Conversations

  • A Queer Climate Justice Workshop (16 June) by Queen Mary Theatre Company in the lead up to a new show, The Cabaret at the End of the World.
  • Free Creative Skills Workshops (14-15 June) to help QMUL students and the community get into the creative industries with Creative Skills Academy. 
  • Workshop on Writing Race (16 June) for sixth-form students with acclaimed artist Vanessa MacAulay. 
  • Enlightening Conversations and Conferences: ‘Women, Theatre, Criminal Justice’ with Clean Break, ‘Making During States of Emergency’, ‘Cults, Conspiracy and Pseudoscience’, ‘Mental Health and the arts’ and ‘How do Universities Care for Students Learning’.

Check out the full programme and book free tickets: https://www.airsupplycollective.com/programme 

Practice in a Pandemic: Drama Alumni Panel – 17 March

Felicity Bush our careers consultant along with Lois Weaver and Cat Fallow have put together this amazing event for drama students at QMUL.

Practice in a Pandemic: a Queen Mary Drama alumni panel – login to Target Connect to Book


On Wednesday 17th March, 5.30-7pm, we are holding a live online panel discussion of Drama alumni working in the theatre.

This event will give you the opportunity to hear about the career journey and experiences of our brilliant panellists, how they have adapted in the past year, and gain their advice about actions you can take now to build your career during the pandemic. 

This session will not be recorded – please come along with your questions to the live event! Book your place here!

Panellists:

  • Beth Watton – Artistic Director at Poplar Union. Graduated from Queen Mary with MA Theatre and Performance, 2018.
  • Charlotte Potter, Freelance Producer; Marketing and Production Manager at COLAB Theatre Productions; Social Media Manager at Jury Games; Manager at Escape Rooms. Graduated Queen Mary with MA Theatre and Performance 2019.
  • Ellie Simpson, Producer at Pleasance Theatre. Graduated from Queen Mary with BA English and Drama 2009.
  • Lucy Dear – Applied Theatre Practitioner, currently working with Young Vic Theatre and Southwark Playhouse. Graduated from Queen Mary with BA Applied Drama, 2006.

Book your place here!

Vote to Help Alumna Franciska Éry’s Nominated Production of Hamlet Get Recognised in the 2020 Highlights of Hungary

Vote to Help Franciska get recognised. Voting starts on 4 Feb 2021 (today) and will be open for two weeks. Here is the link: https://www.highlightsofhungary.hu. The show is listed in the last category as ‘Nagyerdei Stadion – Hamlet

We caught up with Franciska and here’s what she said…

About her nomination

“I am writing to you because I directed a socially distanced Hamlet last summer and it has been named as one of the top 55 creative achievements in 2020 by Highlights of Hungary. I am incredibly happy as this was my first time directing in my home country in my mother tongue, and it was especially difficult to create a show in the middle of the pandemic that was safe for audiences and creatives/cast alike. 

The nomination itself is a huge honour, but this week Highlights of Hungary will open their voting system to the public, and it would mean a lot to me if my QMUL community could help me get Hamlet to the finish line.

About Hamlet:

“Hamlet is a 80-minute long reduced version of Shakespeare’s classic. We also added our own texts and even a Hungarian poem – it is very much the company’s version. In the first half of the performance the audience is sitting outside the Stadium of Debrecen, while the performers are inside the building behind glass. The audience listens to the actors’ mics through headphones, safely distanced from each other. In the second half of the show the actors leave the building and the show turns into a promenade performance outside the stadium, ending with the fencing scene in the stadium’s concourse. It is a piece about responsibility, death, grief and feeling stuck, which resonated with a lot of our audiences. Here is a trailer to give you a taste of the show:

We received great reviews, sadly all in Hungarian:) http://csokonaiszinhaz.hu/muvek/hamlet/

About Highlights of Hungary:

“Every year Highlights of Hungary nominates 55 creative achievements in the country without categories. This year the line-up includes the National Ambulance Service, Lili Horváth’s award-winning movie which will probably be Oscar nominated, and many other achievements in sports, community service, environmentalism, innovation and architecture, to name a few. The aim is to celebrate achievements without labels and competition, to raise awareness and connect people across sectors. This is the Csokonai National Theatre’s first time being nominated.

I will be shouting from the rooftops on Twitter at @Franciska_E if anyone wants to come and support. Our hashtags are #vitrinhamlet #hamletinheadphones. As an English and Drama graduate, QM has been a huge influence on the way I work and the way I see performance. If there is interest I am happy to talk more about this and the challenges of making socially distant work if that is of any interest for current students.

Thank you so much for supporting us. Let’s celebrate something that happened in this very bleak 2020.

Best,

Franciska

www.franciskaery.com

Careers Sessions for SED Students in Semester 2 – 2021

There’s some unmissable events coming up for you to get valuable insight and develop your confidence in these uncertain times.

  • Media & Creative Industries Summit

Thursday 28 January, 5.30 – 7pm

An online panel session of speakers in publishing, media and journalism, with the aim of helping students broaden their connections and knowledge within this field. Speakers – all alumni of SED – work at organisations including the BBC, Orion, Al Jazeera, and Sky.

Students can sign up for this event here: https://qmul.targetconnect.net/leap/event.html?id=7697&service=Careers+Service

  • Making the most of Semester B and finding opportunity in a challenging job market

Friday 29 January, 12-1pm

This is a talk exclusively for Humanities and Social Science students, particularly those not sure how to start or progress their career thinking and planning during Covid. This session will focus on the opportunities and events available right now to explore career options, make plans, and gain experience.

Students can sign up for this event here: https://qmul.targetconnect.net/leap/event.html?id=8073&service=Careers+Service

  • SED-exclusive workshop series in February

Tailored specifically to the SED cohort, this short series of three workshops aims to help students understand the skills they are gaining from their English and Drama degrees; make decisions about avenues they would like to explore and pursue; get an introduction to working for themselves (which may be of particular interest to those interested in a writing or arts career); and engage with ways of presenting themselves to prospective employers, connections, and clients.

They can find more information and sign up here:

Wednesday 3 February: SED Careers: Making choices: https://qmul.targetconnect.net/leap/event.html?id=7837&service=Careers+Service

Wednesday 10 February: SED Careers: Working for yourself: https://qmul.targetconnect.net/leap/event.html?id=7839&service=Careers+Service

Wednesday 17 February: SED Careers: Presenting yourself: https://qmul.targetconnect.net/leap/event.html?id=7841&service=Careers+Service

  • Humanities careers events in March

Starting off with online speed networking with QM Humanities alumni, this series of events aims to demonstrate to Humanities students the broad range of options available to them, and arm them with the knowledge and skills to allow them to follow their chosen path.

Further details are in PDF which you can download via the button below…

Don’t forget you can book careers appointments

Students can book appointments with Careers by calling 02078828533, and find resources, events and information on our website: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/careers.

Interview: Tilly Bungard on her magazine FEAR NAUT made by women on boats

We are excited to catch up with Tilly Bungard about her magazine project Fear Naught, her work in diversity & inclusion and her time at Queen Mary studying Drama.

What are your best memories of your time at QMUL?

Like most Drama alumni, my fondest memories take place in the Pinter Studio, where most of our performances happened.

These vary hugely from the absolute terror (and then elation) of exam pieces to the hilarity of watching my housemates perform ridiculous sketches at the student run variety evening “Slappin’ da Bass”. It’s mad to think of what’s taken place over the years in that studio for so many students. There was a tradition for doing a slightly tipsy last run-through of QMTC plays the night before public performances opened to attempt to shed any nervousness of messing it all up on the night (to varying degrees of success).

   My absolute favourite night of the whole three years was during the “Performance Composition” module (if you’re a current Drama student, this is one you absolutely must sign up for). Run at the time by the wonderful Stacey Makishi, whose practice combines radical mutual openness with the bizarre and surreal.

During this module students performed 5-10 minutes solo shows every week to the public, providing a constant state of terror and adrenaline for everyone enrolled on it. On the last week, after the graded performances had been completed, we each performed “in the style of” one of our class mates, treading the fine line between caring for and honouring our peers’ creativity whilst performing some of the most bizarre pieces I’ve ever seen, to hilarious effect.

Tell us about Fear Naut. How did it come about and how can people get involved?

Fear Naut is a magazine conceived and created from start to finish by women who live on boats.

One year after graduating from QMUL I moved onto a narrow boat on in London, something many students will have considered living and studying right next to the Regents! It wasn’t exactly new to me, I was born on a barge in Bristol and have always worked on boats, but I loved it immediately. What I loved most were the people I met. The boating community is so supportive, caring and full of huge personalities. I found quickly that so many of us were creative in some way, but living on a boat is like a part time job, and so many of my friends rarely had the time to give their creativity the attention it deserved.

We stand for the empowerment of women and non-binary folk, strong community, DIY, and the freedom to live as you please. Boat women are creative, brave and independent. We have a wealth of creativity and experience with a unique and special view of the world and we want to share that with you. This is a magazine for people living on the water, for those interested in alternative ways of living – from creatives and dreamers, to activists and environmentalists and many more.”

   Boat Women had such a unique view of the world, and the creativity to translate that to something that a much wider audience would find interesting and inspiring.

   Once I’d had the idea the rest happened so organically, I posted on the London Boat Women Facebook group (best FB group in the world!) and 15 women came to the initial meeting wanting to be involved. This was slightly terrifying, but the numbers quickly shrunk to three, Asha, Estelle (who luckily owns a Risograph printing studio in Hackney Wick!), and me.

   We’ve just published Issue 2 and already can see how much the magazine will grow and develop with each Issue. We’re both learning as we go along. Issue three is on “Growth” and will come out in early summer. If you’re a boating lady or non-binary person you can email us your ideas for contributions at fearnautmag@gmail.com.

Who or what are your inspirations?

   My friends and community inspire me more than anything, those people who have an idea and make it happen. It’s those people that have turned me from someone who would read a book and think “How does anyone have the time and tenacity to put so much work into something?” to someone who thinks that if you want to do something, you can, and that’s the only way it will happen.

You work as a Diversity and Inclusion Facilitator. How can arts and culture be genuinely more inclusive?

   It has to start from the top down. I don’t think an organisation run by straight white men can ever be truly inclusive, we need people in power within the arts who are black, trans, non-binary and neurodivergent to be making the big decisions, and only then will we get to the place we need to be. 

What advice would you give to Drama students about making their own projects and life after QM?

   You’ll all go through that period of time when you’re applying for every job on ArtsJobs that comes through (and definitely do this!) but you don’t have to wait for someone to employ you to do something worthwhile. Whether it’s a community project, creative project, or skill you’d like to learn more about, do it! Say yes to as many things as you can, you never know where they’ll lead.

Eleni Sophia in Final of £10k Gradventure Pitching Competition

Eleni Sophia from SED has made it through to the final of GradVenture, the University of London enterprise pitching competition, with her business Perspective Press Global.

She will be competing Dragon’s Den style against another Queen Mary student and six students from other University of London colleges for a share in the £10,000 prize.

The finals are online on 18 November 2020 from 2-3.30pm, and it is free to attend (although limited to 500 places) for anybody wanting to come and support the QMUL students. The link to register (by Monday 16 November) is here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/gradventure-the-finals-2020-tickets-124242959035.

Interested in entrepreneurship but not sure where to start? Join QHack – apply by 18 October 2020

Read how QHack prepared Veerna, a first year undergraduate student, launch her own business.

“QHack helped me feel confident in sharing my idea, as before QHack I used to keep my idea to myself. I was taught that it is not the idea that makes the business, but the person behind it!”

Dates: 31st October / 1st November – 7th / 8th November

Applications close on 18 October 2020, 23:59 Apply now

More information and email any questions to enterprise@qmul.ac.uk

Queen Mary English Alumnus Gabriel Krauze’s novel ‘Who They Was’ longlisted for Booker Prize 2020

The School of English and Drama at QMUL is delighted and proud that our alumnus Gabriel Krauze has been nominated for the 2020 Booker Prize longlist.

Gabriel studied English at Queen Mary University of London graduating in 2009 and Who They Was is his debut novel. He grew up in London in a Polish family and was drawn to a life of crime and gangs from an early age. Now in his thirties he has left that world behind and is recapturing his life through writing. He has published short stories in Vice and recently took part in our Show & Tell – inspiring mini talks series. Listen to his talk below…

Gabriel gave a talk at Show and Tell at All Points East Festival in 2019

The blurb describes the book best:

This life is like being in an ocean. Some people keep swimming towards the bottom. Some people touch the bottom with one foot, or even both, and then push themselves off it to get back up to the top, where you can breathe. Others get to the bottom and decide they want to stay there. I don’t want to get to the bottom because I’m already drowning.

This is a story of a London you won’t find in any guidebooks.

This is a story about what it’s like to exist in the moment, about boys too eager to become men, growing up in the hidden war zones of big cities – and the girls trying to make it their own way.

This is a story of reputations made and lost, of violence and vengeance – and never counting the cost.

This is a story of concrete towers and blank eyed windows, of endless nights in police stations and prison cells, of brotherhood and betrayal.

This is about the boredom, the rush, the despair, the fear and the hope.

This is about what’s left behind.’

About Gabriel

Gabriel Krauze came of age among the high rises and back streets of South Kilburn. He was not an observer on the periphery of violence. He was – personally – heavily involved in gangs, drugs, guns, stabbing and robbery – all while completing an English degree at Queen Mary University of London in 2009.

Who They Was comes directly from that experience and as such it is confronting, exhilarating, morally complex, and utterly unique. 

Quotes about the novel include:

‘An astonishingly powerful book. Krauze is an immense new talent’  Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love

‘A timely and vital exploration into London’s violence crisis by someone who experienced the sharp end of it. I cannot conjure another work which captures this culture in such depth – or with such brutal honesty – as only lived experience can tell. ’ Graeme Armstrong, author of The Young Team

‘Gabriel Krauze is an unbelievably talented writer. No one manages to blend “literary beauty” and “an uncomfortable feeling that he’s actually quite scary” like him’ Joel Golby

Pre-order the book and more links

Drama Alumna led project: Transform The Common Room exceeds fundraising target after receiving backing from Mayor of London, Tower Hamlets Council and 250 local people

Roman Road Trust (Director is Drama Alumna Rosie Vincent) & Public Works’ Crowdfund London campaign to Transform The Common Room reached beyond target and finished with £81,721 after receiving pledges from Mayor of London, Tower Hamlets Council, Queen Mary University of London, and over 250 pledges from local people.

The campaign was launched in January 2020 to turn The Common Room from a deteriorating space into a fully-functional cultural learning facility for local people. The vision is for local people to access high quality community learning in partnership with cultural and educational organisations. The original target was £74,000.

The Common Room is a grassroots project that was initiated by the community of Roman Road in 2014. The space has been managed and led by local people for the past six years. The Common Room is a valuable resource for many groups, individuals, and surrounding organisations.

Transform The Common Room is part of Crowdfund London – the programme delivered by the Mayor of London and Spacehive aimed at backing Londoner’s ideas for improving their local area with funding and support.

After receiving over 150 pledges from local people in the first two months, Transform The Common Room was awarded the maximum pledge of £50,000 from Mayor of London in March 2020.

Following this, Transform The Common Room continued to gain momentum leading to a further 100 pledges. 15 of which were from local businesses who collectively raised £4,095 towards the campaign despite the current challenges facing businesses due to Covid-19.

During the final days of the campaign, Transform The Common Room was awarded the maximum pledge of £10k from the Tower Hamlets Innovation Fund. This was then followed by a £5,000 pledge from the Centre for Public Engagement at Queen Mary University of London on the very last day.

Rosie Vincent, Managing Director of Roman Road Trust and QMUL drama alumna said:

“We have been truly overwhelmed by the support shown by local people and neighbouring organisations.

“Receiving the maximum pledge of £50k from the Mayor of London as well as the maximum pledge of £10k from Tower Hamlets Council proves how vital this project is for our community and Roman Road high street.

“The Common Room is a project that has been trying to happen for over six years. We are very proud to know our 253 backers also agree it is time for this space to become what it truly deserves to be.”

The Common Room is scheduled to be ready in Summer 2021. Roman Road Trust is now developing the first wave of Learning Programmes to be delivered in The Common Room. If you would like to be involved or help the project please email: hello@romanroadtrust.co.uk

Student of the month: Demi Whitnell – BA English

Always got her head in a book, a pen in her hand and her eye behind a camera.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

My hightlights of QMUL has certainly been running CUB magazine on campus as editor-in-chief. I have learnt so many amazing skills through my position as well as having so many amazing opportunities, meeting the brilliant writers behind CUB and the students I would have have come across in my own degree. I found a little family in CUB and it will be so upsetting yo say goodbye in May.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

My course reinforced my love of writing, I was not an avid poet until second year and now I am published on Amazon as well as online publications. I also found my love of article writing through CUB which led me to my two summer internships with the Daily Telegraph Newspaper. My course showed me how diverse literature can be and I know how silly that sounds but A-levels and GCSE only gives you a small scope of literature and after university I know I will continue to explore the different pathways within literature and continue my studies.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

I cannot give CUB anymore of a shout out but without joining it in my second year as a writer, I would not be this confident or have this many amazing friends around me. I also would not have run for VP Welfare in the 2020 elections or be able to be this confident at public speaking, it gave me skills I could never have learnt without it. I also discovered how diverse peoples values and viewed can be, I met people from so many amazing backgrounds and faiths that it opened my eyes to new experiences and beliefs of my own!

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

I’ve had several part time jobs throughout university such as bar work or retail. Bar work gave me a boost of confidence which allowed me to stand up for myself in difficult situations and to respect myself ad a woman in a male oriented environment.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

Bridging the gap between SU and the students, making a less corporate relationship and more student led.

To give more opportunities to students who (like myself) travel to campus daily meaning we miss out on nights out or parties etc.

Find out more about our BA English

Student of the month: Yue Wang – PhD in English

I am a PhD student and poet.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

It’s fantastic! I love the people, the natural beauty and the adademic events in QMUL. I am so excited to learn from many excellent scholars, which makes me feel so good.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

I am so grateful to my supervisor Matthew Ingleby who invited me to study here and brought to meet many excellent scholars in 19th century studies seminar held by IES.

I am so lucky to listen to Mark Currie’s lectures in person, whose book I have read before in China. I am so grateful to Professor Scott McCracken and Professor Julia Boffey, whose classes inspire me a lot.

Thanks also to Howard and Hari in the research teamwho helped me a lot during my study. Because of the excellect scholars in English department, my mind was open and my academic net was enlarged. Hopefully I can contribute my academic studies in future and I am willing to be a good bridge between UK and China.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

I think the academic atmosphere attracts me deeply and the independent thinking spirit and the friendly classmates all make me feel so encouraging and enjoyable.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

Usually, I take part in some lectures held by Senate House or KCL. And also I join some poetry recital events or watch a drama performance or visit a cultural site. I hope I can travel all the literary sites related my study project in the next 6 months.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

Hopefully, there will be more PhD communities, which can encourage exchange and build more social relationships.

Find out more about our English PhD

Join Alumna Christina Storey’s Instagram Book Club – Interview

We caught up with 2018 English graduate Christina Storey to talk about her brand new book club bringing a new book community to Instagram.

We asked her about the The Storey Book Club, her favourite books and her time at Queen Mary.

Tell us about your new Instagram book club. What should people expect when they join?

For ages I’ve been jealous of my mum’s ‘real life’ book club, and with everything going on at the moment I’ve seen lots of literary events move online so I thought, why not create an online book club?

I’ve been posting my own book reviews on my personal instagram for a while and got a few messages from friends and random followers saying that they liked my book recommendations and wanted more. I decided I wanted to create a little community on the internet that people can just discuss their favourite books and most recent reads.

I’m going to be posting recommendations a lot and plan to have a weekly post of a favourite book from childhood. The main point of it is, of course, the ‘club’ element of it! A book is picked every two weeks, it’s announced on the Saturday evening, and two weeks later there will be a post on the feed with some questions which (I hope!) will create some discussion in the comments! The first book is Everything I know about love by Dolly Alderton and we’ll be discussing it Sunday 26th April at 8pm.

It’s an incredibly new venture for me but I’ve had some great responses so far so I’m excited to grow it further! 

What are your 3 favourite books and why? (too hard? Maybe 3 recent books)

Yes that is a very hard question! I definitely can’t pick favourites but I’ll pick three that I love.

1)       Everything I know about love by Dolly Alderton

  • The reason I picked this as my first book club pick is just because I simply love it. Dolly writes so candidly about her experiences with everything – boys, alcohol, family, friends, loss – and it genuinely had me laughing one minute, crying the next. When I finished it all I wanted to do was text all my friends saying how much I love them!

2)       The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

  • This was the book that I always mentioned in my first year on university when I was asked what my favourite book was! It has such a unique tone of voice and narrator’s perspective, it tells such an interesting story and is very moving.

3)       A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

  • I love young adult books so much (I even wrote my dissertation on them) and this is one of my favourites. Set in the 1920s it has the glamour and wistfulness of The Great Gatsby, is beautifully written and also has great character developments and relationships.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What were the books that made an impression on you?

My time at QMUL was great, I split my time doing my English degree, being in the cheerleading club and working at drapers so I definitely had the full university experience. I am quite set in my ways when it comes to what to read and university definitely pushed me out of my boundaries and opened up so much great literature for me that it’s hard to pick specific books.  Some of the modules I loved were the Arthurian module, Dickens and Jane Austen modules. My favourite module was definitely Reading Childhood/ Writing Children as we analysed so many books from my childhood in a literary sense and I I found it really interesting and thought-provoking!

What advice would you give to current students at Queen Mary about life after university?

Well, my first piece of advice would be to travel! I travelled solo to Australia the January following my graduation. I travelled and worked there for a year and just had the best year of my life. I met so many people, experienced so much and although now some of my friends are ‘ahead’ in their careers compared to me, I don’t regret it at all as I had lots of great life experiences!

However, I realise in the current state of things travel may not be an option and the job market (or lack of) seems even scarier – and I get that, trust me I do! I started looking for a job in publishing when I returned from Australia, and then Corona happened and companies stopped hiring. It’s hard, it’s really hard but you have to try and make the most of it. I’ve been doing some online courses – FutureLearn and Google Digital Garage, which are both really good, and I’ve started up my book club! I’m trying to improve my employability skills so that when companies do start hiring again, I can show them what I’ve been doing with my time and try to be the best candidate possible!

I won’t lie to you, life after University is tough but it’s exciting as well. There is so much out there. Whether that’s career, travelling or your personal life – just try to look for the positives in everything and work as hard as you can!

Student of the month: Abdur-Raheem Modan – BA English Literature and Linguistics (Hons)

I am an avid bibliophile and writer.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

My first year has been very exciting and exhilarating. I’ve greatly enjoyed my course and learning material(s). I’ve also had a wonderful time exploring the myriad opportunities/events student life has to offer.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

I intend to continue my course to completion. It’s helped me to further explore areas that have long interested me as well as potential careers/roles.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

I have enjoyed many of the extracurricular activities and events.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

I am a writer and have self-published before. I continue to write, as well as working within my local community as a Young Advisor.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

Perhaps more contact with tutors.

Find out more about BA English Literature and Linguistics

Help Drama Alumna Rosie Vincent to Crowdfund The Common Room a community space on Roman Road

Roman Road Trust has launched their Crowdfund London to transform The Common Room into a fully-functional learning facility for the local community. Our alumna Rosie Vincent is the Director of the trust.

The Common Room is a temporary structure first built in 2014 in an un-loved corner of Roman Road. For the past six years, Roman Road Trust and Public Works have been testing out different uses for The Common Room to discover the needs and desires of local people.

The Common Room has been used by the local community for more than 50 events, workshops, and activities. It has become clear that local people are seeking a dedicated space to share their knowledge and skills with others.

However, The Common Room can only be used for short periods during warm summer weather; the roof leaks, the floor is slippery when wet, and it is too cold in the winter. It is clear the structure needs to be transformed to enable Learning and Cultural Programmes to be delivered throughout the year.

Roman Road Trust is raising funds through the Mayor of London’s Crowdfund London to transform the existing structure. The Common Room will need new roofing, flooring, front extension, storage, and toilet.

Rosie Vincent, Director of Roman Road Trust says

‘This is a chance for the local community to come together to make something amazing happen in Roman Road. The Common Room is known and has been used by many local people and organisations over the years. It is now time for The Common Room to become what it truly deserves to be’

‘If we have enough support from the local community, then the Mayor of London will pledge up to £50k towards our project. But we have to first prove The Common Room is something the community want through gaining pledges from local people and organisations.’

Once The Common Room is built, Roman Road Trust and Public Works will plan a Learning Programme that will begin by focusing on sustaining healthy high streets and providing training in Community Organising to local groups. Cultural Programmes will be planned in collaboration with local institutions to reflect our diverse local community. The programmes offered in The Common Room will continually evolve to suit the needs, desires, and interests of local people.

Help making something amazing happen and pledge to The Common Room today: spacehive.com/transformthecommonroom

Student of the month: Kerry Hunt – BA Drama (Hons)

Always willing to participate

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

Study Abroad programme, QMTC, working for the SU and student ambassadoring

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

Grown my confidence, met new people, taken part in programmes which I otherwise wouldn’t have

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole? (societies/friends/community/values)

Meeting the most amazing international friendship group

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

Producer at Stage 3 Theatre Company, working for the SU and a bar in Aldgate, currently looking for full-time employment

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

Livelihoods could have included some speakers who didn’t just tell us that we would be unemployed and working for free in the future!

Drama alumna Corinna Bordoli on her new creative babysitting start-up ToddlerTunez & how you can help

We caught up with creative entrepreneur Corinna Bordoli to talk about her new adventures in babysitting with ToddlerTunez after studying Drama at Queen Mary.

Tell us about ToddlerTunez. What’s the idea and how did it come about?

 After graduating in Drama at Queen Mary, I started a Master in Arts and Cultural Management at King’s College. There I met Lea – my co-founder. One of the first things I remember about her is that she told me she had been babysitting on the side during her undergraduate degree in Music. She had created a company to better sell her services as musical babysitter, but at the time it was her alone doing the babysitting. I straight-away related to her as I also did babysitting on the side of my studies, and thinking about it, it had also been creative, mostly focusing on crafts and all families loved it.  After completing my masters, we both went off to careers in arts administration. In December 2018, Lea asked me to join her as a co-founder of ToddlerTunez as she wanted to scale the business and give it a bit of a shake!

At the time, ToddlerTunez was basically musical babysitting to 0-5 year olds. When Lea and I started brainstorming together, we realised that we could do so much more with it! Now ToddlerTunez has a growing pool of sitters and we have recently started our first official marketing campaign. We cater for children from 0 to 15 with three different services – ToddlerTunez still 0 to 5 year olds, RocketTunez for children 6-10 years old, and FineTunerz for 11 to 15 year olds. ToddlerTunez combines two services in one: babysitting with creativity. All sitters help families with the usual babysitting chores – picking children up from school, taking them home, occasionally cooking meals. But they also provide creative sessions during those times, completely tailored to the families’ requirements. We match families with the perfect sitter for them – we also cater for different foreign languages and specific skills. Our sitters are all DBS checked and are professionals in their craft – we have actors, dancers, choreographers, musicians, singers and also puppeteers, mask makers, and more!

What are your favourite things about starting up a business?

All the reasons why I love starting up a business are connected to creativity. I have so many ideas every day. When you set up your own business you can actually follow all your ideas through and spend your time and energy making them happen. I love being able to set my own goals and achieve them following my own values. ToddlerTunez holds sustainability and diversity close to its heart and being the founder of a company gives you the option to operate following those values completely. Another one of my favourite things is the speed of learning.

ToddlerTunez is the first business for both my cofounder and I, and as I have been working as an employee for a while during my journey with ToddlerTunez, I have been realising that what I love most is learning. In a job as an employee, you learn intensively for the first two-three months. As an entrepreneur, you can learn at the same intensity every day. I had to quickly learn about taxes, pitching, marketing and every day it is a challenge and there is something I realise I have to learn. Which makes every day absolutely worth it.

Another one of my favourite aspects of being an entrepreneur is the connections made with people. Seeing people loving your business and being able to create a community around it is my goal. We are a business that is solving two problems in one – that of helping families save time and money by combining two services in one, and that of unemployment of creative professionals. Being able to solve those problems is definitely a reason to get out of bed every morning and work hard.

Who or what inspires you to make the project happen?

As a child, I grew up with au-pairs. The one I remember most and whom I am still friends with now – Barbara – was extremely creative. I still love doing my crafts and singing in my free time and I use creativity in my daily life – being an entrepreneur is the most creative job in my opinion. Exposure to creativity in early years is proven to help development including fine motor skills, speech, social skills etc. It also helps developing problem solving, listening, communication skills, and it gives lots of tools to develop imagination, mindfulness and concentration and to help adults never stop playing. This is what I think is most valuable for everyone and I believe all children should be granted exposure to creativity for those reasons.

With ToddlerTunez, Lea and I really want to help families in the UK, offering a service that is almost self organised as we do all the admin, so that all families can access it easily. A more mindful, creative society full of individuals who collaborate to solve problems is the world I want to see in the future. This inspires me every day to work on ToddlerTunez and I think it can contribute to the present and future happiness of families.

What would be your top tips for students to think about if they want to start a business or project?

First of all,I encourage everyone to dive into any work opportunities that come up – whatever the job is – as it will provide a lot of skills but mostly makes you realise what it is that you really want or don’t want to do. I felt a bit ‘behind’ as coming from Italy, I had never studied drama before, so during university I tried to catch up on work experience. I joined societies, found more or less paid internships, worked for catering companies, worked as a model in the fashion industry, organised events freelance and did my occasional babysitting. That helped me see so much of the world and understand a lot about myself. This helped me find the field that I love – arts administration and operations – and gain experience in it.

After you have found your field, I suggest you to share and challenge your ideas with family, friends and strangers and start testing your ideas out. If you are interested in starting up a business I suggest you to listen to entrepreneurs’ podcasts, meet up with local entrepreneurs from whom you can learn about almost anything. Entrepreneurship is a very high-responsibility activity and can often feel lonely, but it can be lived amazingly when feeling part of a community.

How could students at Queen Mary help?

ToddlerTunez is currently looking for friends who value creativity, diversity, sustainability and love our idea to join our community. We need ambassadors and volunteers to help us spread the word through marketing and help in administration. In exchange, students will gain experience in arts administration and in the startup environment. This is also an occasion to meet friends and to get inspired by other amazing creatives. Every Friday afternoon this January, we are organising meet-ups around London, so let us know if you want to join, and tell your friends!

Get in touch if you know any potential clients, are interested in gaining experience in arts administration, becoming a sitter or knowing more about us! We are also eager to hear about your ideas on key locations, events, communities where we can best spread the word about ToddlerTunez.

To get involved email at info@toddlertunez.com or check out our website at www.toddlertunez.com