Alumni updates

#Merky FC

"Since graduating with my BA Hons in Graphic Design, I spent a year in a few different jobs, with the help of the Kickstart Scheme post-lockdown, along with freelance work to continue working on my design skills. I had regular catch-ups with Staffs Graduate Consultants Holly and Rory, with hunting for jobs and fine tuning my portfolio, CVs and cover letters.

This led to a huge opportunity created by Adidas partnering with Stormzy in November 2022; a scheme centred around providing a pathway into off-pitch football related work for folks of Black Heritage. While studying, I was very fortunate to have the chance to work with local club Port Vale FC for 18 months, providing a plethora of experience and portfolio work. In conjunction with all of the learnings and project work from my studies, it helped me land one of the 15 roles available from this national scheme, as a Graphic Design assistant for AJ100 Architects: KSS Design Group.

As of today, my initial 12 month contract has been made permanent, and I have been heavily engaged in '#Merky FC', as it continues to create opportunities for people like me that wanted to work in football. I cannot thank Staffs enough for being a large part of my career thus far."

Ayo Oluyede graduated from BA (Hons) Graphic Design in 2021.

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The KSS Group website

Ayo standing in an office environment presenting with a microphone.
"I would not be in this position without all of your help and guidance while I was studying"

To celebrate and reminisce

"John and Janette Knight had used a WhatsApp group to spread the word and make arrangements with the disparate group - one came from as far away as Gran Canaria - and we met at the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre at Wolseley around mid - day. The unseasonal warm weather relaxed everyone instantly and we had a gentle walk around the lake and lunch from the Kingfisher café sitting on outdoor tables. There was no problem recognising everyone - grey hair or no hair it really didn’t matter.

We decided to move on to Shugborough after a couple of hours in the sunshine, and Howard Price led a march up to Hadrian’s Arch and a walk around the parkland, while some took a stroll in the walled gardens.

We eventually retired to Stafford to prepare for the main event- a Curry arranged by John Beckwith (1974 Geography intake) in the Thawa House on Bridge Street in the evening. Everyone came and we completely filled the tiny restaurant. An informal geography quiz stimulated much debate and banter and the evening went with a swing thanks to the amazing staff at Thawa House.

Many of the group stayed at the Vine Hotel in town and there was lots of opportunity for nightcaps and meet ups in the bar over the weekend. You can imagine the tales of drunken nights at the 5p bar on Tipping Street- our semi derelict Students Union which has long since been erased from the Stafford streetscape.

We had tried to involve two of the most influential lecturers - Norman Sharp and Rod Tolley in the event but they weren’t available or sensibly kept their heads down in case of recriminations!!

The year group who entered Geography in 1973 were the first cohort of the course- and it was sometimes difficult to distinguish the keen young lecturers from their students.

We have managed to mark several key anniversaries over the intervening years, and it was mooted that we should perhaps do it again to celebrate a half century since we graduated!"

John and Janette Knight graduated from BA (Hons) Geography in 1976.

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Find more of the photos on Facebook!

The cohort from the 1973/4 Geography and Modern Studies sitting around a table outside.
To reminisce about yesteryears.

Andy Cooke, #StaffsAlumni Creative Director and Head of Design at BBH London, explains what design brings to the whole creative table...

There are people who would have you believe that design, as a practice, has long been dead inside the walls of advertising agencies. Who hasn’t heard tales of designers being briefed on Friday afternoons for Monday morning deadlines, where hovering art directors use designers as their hand then take all the credit later on, and of design teams being treated as mere cogs in a machine where the 'creative' part is done elsewhere.

And you know what. They’ve been right about a lot of it, for a long time.

The value of design and designers has been viewed through a concave lens in many quarters of the ad industry for a while now. With a focus so heavily skewed on ideas (rightfully so), designers have been placed in the running of things at the end of the conveyor belt, only called upon to bring other people’s ideas to visual fruition. With a knee-jerk reaction from ad agencies of writing TV scripts in responses to briefs, designers probably needn’t be involved until an end frame layout is needed, anyway. And with growing strategy departments just focusing on collaborating with creative departments, it feels like the design department is just there to add the final flourish to all that thinking. Right?


Respectfully: *Expletive*, no...

Andy Cooke graduated from Graphic Design in 2010.

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Continue reading

Illustration with 2 hands open with an eye in between with the wording present

Crystal hellscape

English and Creative Writing graduate Oliver Laws has a passion for all things bizarre and fantastical. The sci fi and fantasy writer has published his debut novel, Crystal Gunslinger - The Obsidian Outlaws.

Oliver, who graduated in 2020, said: “The book is selling quite well and I’m proud of my work. I know it wouldn’t have been possible without my time at Staffs. I even thank a few of my lecturers at the back of my book.”

The book has received five-star reviews with readers praising Oliver’s well developed characters and his ability to create tension in the plotline. It has been called a must read for lovers of the fantasy and western genres.

But what is the book all about? Over to Oliver:

“The Warped Scorch is known as the most dangerous area on the continent of Lux for good reason.

“Ever since a strange meteor hit the land and transformed it into a crystal hellscape, all four bordering nations have been trying to establish a foothold in the extremely dangerous new territory and lay claim to its many treasures.

“Cyrus is a crystal gunslinger, one of the individuals that face the horrors of the Scorch on a daily basis in order to make a living. With his trusty ruby repeater and plenty of experience, he is prepared to deal with whatever challenges the strange creatures and deadly environment can throw at him.

“But Cyrus will soon learn that the true horrors of the Scorch are much more human in nature, and no matter how hard he tries, escaping his past will be nearly impossible.”

Oliver Laws graduated from BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing in 2020.

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Available on Amazon now

On a dark background with smoke and blue lights, there is the back of a gunslinger wearing a hat, long brown trench coat and gun at the ready. Above him in gold coloured font, are the words “Crystal Gunslinger”, “The Obsidian Outlaws”.
Crystal Gunslinger - The Obsidian Outlaws is now officially out on Amazon UK/US!

Extraordinary members of our Connected Community

Our alumni and honorary doctors are a key part of our connected University community, every single one makes us #ProudToBeStaffs, and we are thrilled to celebrate those who have received recognition in His Majesty The King’s New Year's Honours list for their hard work commitment and dedication.

Women’s Engineering Society President and Staffordshire University Honorary Doctor, Dawn Childs FREng has been awarded a Damehood in the New Year’s Honours list for her services to engineering. From being named one of the Top 50 Most influential Women Engineers in the UK in 2016, to the first female Officer Commanding Engineering Wing at RAF Waddington, Dawn has many incredible accomplishments. Congratulations Dawn!

Dame Dawn Childs DBE FREng graduated from Honorary Doctor of Science in 2014.

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Dawn is looking directly into the camera and smiling. She is wearing a black blazer with a dark ref top and a beaded necklace.
The published list recognises the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom.

Score one for Staffs!

Sports Journalism graduate and assistant producer for beIN Sports, Saqib Uddin is covering the World Cup in Doha, Qatar, for the English channel.

Since graduating, Saqib has interviewed some of the world’s biggest boxing names such as Amir Khan, Ricky Hatton and Chris Eubank. He has also worked on some high profile live and recorded productions for both BT Sport and beIN Sports including three Champions League finals, two FA Cup finals, the 2022 Women’s Euros final and boxing matches such as Fury v Wilder.

Keep your eyes peeled for Saqib Uddin’s name! 

Saqib Uddin graduated from BA (Hons) Sports Journalism in 2019.

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Saqib Uddin is sitting at a desk within a TV studio smiling brightly into a camera. Behind him is signage for the “World Cup Qatar 2022”.
Saqib Uddin is part of the broadcast team working on the football World Cup 2022.

The new Presbytery of the Northeast and the Northern Isles

Staffordshire University Law graduate, Reverend Elspeth McKay is set to leave her current position as minister at Paisley Abbey, Church of Scotland to become the first Presbytery Clerk of the new Presbytery of the Northeast and the Northern Isles.

Elspeth was inducted as the first female minister, after more than 800 years at Paisley Abbey, and with a vast experience as a Church of Scotland minister within small and large churches, Elspeth has travelled to Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Greece to name a few.

Elspeth’s holds a reputation for including cows, sheep, horses and even donkeys in her services – ‘Follow the Star’, an interactive nativity story had a donkey play a large part in the story! Not to be outdone, Elspeth wore a tutu, angel wings and a halo as the narrator as well.

In January 2023, the new Presbytery will be formed, and includes Orkney, Shetland, Moray, Buchan, Gordon, Aberdeen, Kincardine and Deeside. Elspeth will bring so much experience and enthusiasm to her new role.

Presbytery: a body of Church elders and ministers, especially (in Presbyterian Churches) an administrative body (court) representing all the local congregations of a district.

Reverend Elspeth McKay graduated from LLB Hons in 1993.

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The Grampian Online full article

Reverend Elspeth McKay is standing in front of a stone building in traditional reverend attire, including a green stole. She is smiling into the camera with her hands held in front of her.
Reverend Elspeth McKay, the first Presbytery Clerk of the new Presbytery of the Northeast and the Northern Isles.

UK Games Education Awards winner

Graduated in 2022, BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming graduate, Fergus was among just 15 games programmers to be awarded the accolade Graduate of the Year 2022 by TIGA in July.

Building on this success, Fergus won the ‘Outstanding TIGA Graduate Programmer 2022’ award at the UK Games Education Awards after being shortlisted from talented graduates across the UK.

During his degree, Fergus completed a year-long industry placement with game developer Codemasters where he worked as part of the F1 2021 game team. This month, he has taken up a role with Creative Assembly – the studio behind the award-winning Total War series and the newly announced sci-fi shooter, HYENAS.

Congratulations Fergus!

Fergus Griggs graduated from BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming in 2022.

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TIGA Graduate Programmer award

Fergus is wearing a cap and gown for graduation, smiling brightly into the camera. Behind him are the words "Congratulations on your Award" in white font on a red background.
“I'm delighted to have won, there were some fantastic final year projects around me at Staffs and I can see now that it was the same around the UK. Congratulations to all the nominees, it's clear how hard everyone has worked to get here.” - Fergus

Clatter…. THUD

MA Fine Art graduate, Sarah Dwyer, has had her artwork exhibited worldwide, from Fabian Lang Gallery in Zurich, to Kyubidou Gallery in Tokyo. Her most recently and third solo exhibition bring her to the Jane Lombard Gallery in New York, presenting “Clatter….THUD”.

Open now, the exhibition incorporates figurative and abstract imagery to produce drawings, paintings, print work, and sculptures of vibrant and dynamic compositions. Throughout each art piece is a story and this is the tale speaks to weight of life experience that accumulates with time.

If you are in New York and would like to view a thought provoking exhibition, Clatter…THUD will be able to view until 15 October 2022.

Sarah Dwyer graduated from MA Fine Art in 2001.

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Interview with Sarah Dwyer

Artwork of multiple different coloured oil paints on linen. The art is an abstract piece of the female form.
Sarah Dwyer, Verdant Tangle, 2022. oil on linen, 78 3/4 x 59 inches.


Artist and Industrial Ceramics graduate Sian Mather has been a member of Project Ability for around 25 years. Being creative with paint, textiles and clay, Sian crosses several mediums to combine the traditional with new ideas.

Travelling Gallery has announced its Autumn 2022 exhibition, ReConnect, in partnership with Project Ability, touring across Scotland between September and December 2022.

Designed to inspire and reconnect, Sian will showcase beautiful pots made with a stoneware clay body. The distinctive hand-built pots depict various figures and sit alongside vibrant tiles inspired by Vincent Van Gogh.

The artists showcasing their artwork in ReConnect will reflect and celebrate diversity. This exhibition will be one to visit!

Sian Mather graduated from HND Industrial Ceramics in 1992.

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The exhibition

Sian is standing over a large bowl filled with clay. They are wearing a blue polo shirt which is covered by a white apron with various colours of paint on it. Behind Sian is an art studio with colour samples on the wall.
Sian in the creative process – image by Project Ability


Founded in 2004, Sport and Leisure management graduate, Jonny Edser has taken Wildgoose from a small start-up to becoming one of the most innovative team building companies in the world. With a team based across the UK and US, Wildgoose now delivers over 3,000 in-person, virtual and hybrid team building activities annually across the globe which can be booked online with as little as 24 hours’ notice.

Never satisfied with standing still, Jonny is passionate about disrupting the team building industry and making it possible for any organisation to bring their team together without breaking the bank or damaging the environment - in fact Wildgoose is proud to be carbon neutral.

Wildgoose’s latest vision of being a team building company with a difference has led to the arrival of Icebreaker games – 3 brand new activities designed to connect, energise and invigorate the team in 30 minutes!

With delivery of events within as little as 24 hours’ notice, on any time zone, anywhere in the world, team building is just a click away!

Jonny Edser graduated from BA (Hons) Sport and Leisure Management in 1997.

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Start your team building adventure with Wildgoose

Johnn is wearing a white shirt and black suit, smiling brightly whilst pointing to the words "wildgoose" on a board behind him.
Team building is just a click away!

Massive Monsters

Since graduating from Staffordshire University in 2009, Kol Humphries has gone on to have a successful illustration career, creating art for various industries of video games from mobile to AAA. He has also worked with major musical Legends such as the incredible Terry "Geezer" Butler, music writer and bassist of the band 'Black Sabbath'.

Kol has an incredible passion for creating all kinds of artwork from cute and friendly cartoons to detailed environment concept art. The cute and friendly cartoons can be seen in his recently published children’s book, Massive Monsters.

A story of self-discovery, originally created for his nephew’s first birthday, Massive Monsters was redesigned to enable the world to enjoy it:

“Henry is a huge City Monster. One morning he feels fed up with being a city monster and decides to go on an adventure to find a new home and be a different monster. With a little help from friends, will henry be able to find out what monster will suit him best?”

Kol is currently working on a follow-up book titled ‘Massive Monsters and The Grumpus’ – no doubt another perfect children’s book!

Kolin Humphries graduated from BA (Hons) Animation in 2009.

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Take a look at Massive Monsters

In a cartoon style, four large monsters are standing amongst a cityscape. There is a green monster (similar to a dinosaur) at the front, a red octopus-like monster to the right, a blue yeti-like monster to the left and a yellow monster in the background. At the top in bubble writing are the words "Massive Monsters", and below are the words "written and illustrated by Kol Humphries".
A story of self-discovery for children.

How to win the World Cup

With secrets and insights Sports Journalism graduate Chris Evans features exclusive interviews with top managers and players to explore what makes a successful international football manager in his new book - How to Win the World Cup.

From tactical innovations and revolutionary strategies to the bizarre superstitions, psychological masterclasses and bonkers team-building regimes, this book charts the successes, failures, dramas, and controversies of 90 years of World Cup action. With never-seen-before contributions and interviews from leading World Cup stars, including Luiz Felipe Scolari, Geoff Hurst, Carlos Alberto Parreira, Pierre Littbarski, Roberto Martinez, Mick McCarthy, Tomas Brolin, Jamie Carragher, Alexi Lalas, Patrick Barclay, Raphael Honigstein and Graham Hunter, this is a must read for any football fan!

What are you waiting for? It’s out now!

Chris Evans graduated from BA (Hons) Sports Journalism in 2009.

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Available on Amazon now

On an off white background at the top are three managers, pointing, cheering and holding a trophy. Below the far left is another manager holding a trophy. Below the middle and far right managers are the words "How to win the world cup" in gold, "Secrets and insights from international football's top managers" in black, "Chris Evans" in gold, and "Bloomsbury" in black.
“Superbly Insightful . . . A brilliant new perspective on World Cup management”

Mental health art exhibition

An exhibition of work by up to 20 artists to get people talking about mental health.

Outloud will run in a family-friendly gallery and workshop space below Great Bear Tattoo Studio in Tunstall from 19 August to 2 September.

Organised by freelance graphic designer and Illustration graduate Daniel Rhead-Brown, from Packmoor, the aim is to break down taboos and help people to enjoy art and talk about mental health in a location that feels accessible to anyone.

“A few friends and people I’ve been close to have committed suicide,” said Daniel, whose business DRB Designs is based in Silverdale.

“It’s important to get people talking and to help to spread the word about the help that’s out there. There’ll be signposting to support at the exhibition.”

For Daniel, whose own artwork will be amongst that on display, art is a great way to get people talking about their feelings.

“People can express themselves through creating art and through enjoying other people’s art. A lot of people take up art for their own mental health reasons.

”The support group Men Unite is set to have a hub at the exhibition and Daniel is bringing in other groups for sessions and workshops. The exhibition will also be open to the public. The work on display will include paintings, photographs, sculptures, illustrations and ceramics."

25% of the proceeds from any work sold will be donated to mental health charities. Daniel is hoping the exhibition can become an annual event. He added: “I hope that we can use the medium of art and the accessibility of a venue right in the heart of the community to highlight a different issue each time we stage an exhibition.”

Daniel Rhead-Brown graduated from BA (Hons) Illustration in 2012.

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Outloud Art

Daniel is smiling into the camera whilst wearing a dark blue t-shirt and a cream baseball cap backwards. Behind him is a blurred background with the letters "DRB" in large white writing within a dark blue circle.
“I hope that we can use the medium of art and the accessibility of a venue right in the heart of the community to highlight a different issue each time we stage an exhibition.”

Felt Right Then, Feels Right Now

Fine Art graduate Ashton Blyth has been selected as part of the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2022 – an exhibition demonstrating a rich diversity of voices and approaches to making.

Consisting of 728 unique cels hand-drawn with fine-liners and colouring pencils, using a live-action video of the artist and his sister for reference, this animation breathes life into the memory of Blyth trying on his father’s boxers at age eight before leaving for Brownies. It is one of many memories that have contributed to Blyth understanding that his gender identity did not align with the sex which he was assigned at birth, leading to the artist coming out as transgender at eighteen. Currently creating a feature-length compilation of these contributing memories, Blyth aims to demystify and illuminate the trans experience.

New Contemporaries is delighted to partner with Ferens Art Gallery and Humber Street Gallery to launch Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2022 in Hull from 23 September to 27 November 2022. Ashton’s work will then go with other artist’s work to the South London Gallery for the fifth consecutive year, from 9 December 2022 to 19 March 2023.

Ashton Blyth graduated from BA (Hons) Fine Art in 2021.

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New Contemporaries 2022 Artist bio

Artwork of a female presenting girl trying on masculine clothing in the bathroom. The artwork is created with fine-liners and colouring pencils.
Felt Right Then, Feels Right Now

Latest alumni news

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021