Six people have been selected to receive the University’s newest honour – Civic Fellowships – which recognises both the contribution they make and their status as a member of Staffordshire University’s Connected community.
Staffordshire University Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Ieuan Ellis said: “Our University has a proud history of community and public engagement with our community partners voluntarily supporting a broad range of activity.
“We’re therefore delighted to welcome our first Civic Fellows to our Connected University community. This title recognises members of the public and community partners as key stakeholders of Staffordshire University who are helping us to deliver on our civic mission.”
The first recipients of the University’s Civic Fellowships are:
Tim Bailey; Tim is Prison Officer at HMP/YOI Drake Hall, Eccleshall. He is also a key partner and external advisor to the BA(Hons) Criminal Justice with Offender Management programme in the School of Law, Policing and Forensics. Tim delivers lectures and workshops on the course and provides students with the opportunity to visit HMP Drake Hall and meet the women prisoners. Tim facilitates presentations and talks by women who are working towards rehabilitation to students at Staffordshire University. He is recognised as a trailblazer in the sector and an inspirational role model to students.
Romy Cheeseman; Romy acts as Honorary Archivist for the Victoria Theatre Collection (VTC) which is a major feature of Staffordshire University’s Special Collections. She is a prominent figure in the local arts community, especially in drama and theatre arts. Her husband was Peter Cheeseman who founded the Victoria Theatre (now the New Vic Theatre) in 1962. Romy still has huge connections with the New Vic Theatre including the local Arnold Bennett Society. She has worked with the University to allow access to the rich and unique VTC. Staffordshire University Library has supported Romy and the VTC in its successful bid for a scoping grant from the National Archives which will explore increasing access to the VTC.
Teri Elder: Teri was a committed and important community researcher for the Get Talking Hardship project. She attended all the sessions despite having to bring her children along with her. Teri has maintained contact and continued to engage with the community research team since the end of the project. Teri has excellent links with the community sector in Stoke-on-Trent including Chamber of Commerce, NHS, Local Matters team, Councillors, Healthy Minds and Changes. She is an excellent ambassador for Staffordshire University and help us to raise our profile as an organisation committed to its civic mission.
Chloe Harris; Chloe was an active community researcher for the Get Talking Hardship research project, commissioned by the Hardship Commission between January and July 2019. She engaged in all aspects of the research and used her own contacts to ensure people with learning disabilities were included as participants in the research. She worked with members of Reach, an advocacy group for people with learning disabilities, to conduct a small piece of research specifically on how people with learning disabilities experience hardship and poverty. Chloe also contributed to the analysis sessions and presented her findings at a dissemination event in July 2019. The community research team were invited to continue to work with the Hardship Commission and Chloe has remained an active member of the group. She will support further research with the University.
Jennifer Spice; Jennifer works at McDonalds. She was also a community researcher for the Get Talking Hardship research project. Jennifer interviewed participants, held focus groups and played an important role in final dissemination event, presenting a section of the findings to over 80 people. She is keen to continue working to help alleviate hardship and poverty in Stoke-on-Trent and has gone on to join the Hardship Commission steering group and represent the team of community researchers there. She has supported a University bid for UKRI funding.
Monienne Stone: Monienne works as an insurance assistant but was also community researcher for Get Talking Hardship. She conducted interviews and focus groups, analysed and presented findings at the final dissemination event. Prior to this, Monienne has worked with Staffordshire University as a community researcher for many years. She has helped evaluate the Appetite project between 2013 and 2019. She also volunteers extensively across Stoke-on-Trent for arts projects, including Appetite and B Arts, as well as chairing a residents’ association in Fenton. Her extensive community connections will help the University’s understanding of community need.
The new Civic Fellowships are awarded for an initial period of two years on the understanding that recipients will work with Staffordshire University in an ambassadorial capacity and with staff to deliver shared outputs.
As part of the award, which invites nominations from across the University, Civic Fellows will receive their own university log-ins, access to all library and IT facilities, to staff intranet and the Employer Assistance programme.
Lead for Civic Engagement and Evaluation, Nic Gratton said: “The Civic Fellowships are designed to give the people who work with us most closely a real sense of belonging and access to some of the facilities and support that our staff and students benefit from.
“We are not aware of any other universities running similar schemes and so we are really proud to be demonstrating our commitment to our civic mission in this way.”