Happy International Volunteer Day: thank you to our Bristol Volunteers

Today marks International Volunteer Day and we would like to take a moment to thank all our volunteers who support the University across the world.

Bristol Volunteers live in over 60 different countries and support Bristol by mentoring, taking part in panel discussions, submitting material to our archives, speaking to students through Bristol Connects and organising local events and activities.

We’re so grateful to all our Bristol Volunteers. Thank you all for your continued support.

Volunteering can be a great way to make new connections, learn new skills and give back. Make 2020 count by joining our growing community of Bristol Volunteers.

Opportunities coming up in 2020

Bristol Connects

Our online platform, Bristol Connects, offers all alumni the opportunity to share the benefits of their experience with students and fellow graduates. Share your career insights online as Career Experts, link with prospective students as Study Experts, or share your Alumni Profile and inspire the next generation. Find out more on our webpages.

Bristol Career Insights events

Bristol Career Insights are a series of global events which harness the expertise of local alumni to support current students and recent graduates looking to take the next steps in their careers. We would love to hear from alumni who can share their career stories, give exclusive insights into their industries and share their experience at our upcoming events:

  • Shanghai, Friday 27 March
  • Beijing, Monday 30 March
  • Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, summer 2020
  • London, summer 2020

If you are interested in getting involved or would like to find out more, contact the Bristol Volunteers team at alumni-volunteers@bristol.ac.uk.

Bristol Mentors

Bristol Mentors is a programme that matches students with an alumni mentor, who can help them explore ideas and share advice on how to break into their industry. With a focus on supporting students from under-represented backgrounds, eligible students will be matched with a mentor to provide support throughout the academic year.

Find out more about our Bristol Mentors programme online, or get in touch with the team at alumni-mentoring@bristol.ac.uk.

Build our global networks

Working in partnership with the University, we have alumni networks, professional groups, Halls Associations, sports groups and networks in many locations all over the world. Find out how you can connect with our groups on our Alumni Networks webpages or talk to a member of the team about starting a new network by contacting us at alumni-volunteers@bristol.ac.uk.

Find out more

Keep up to date with our latest volunteering opportunities sign-up to our Bristol Volunteers digest, or explore our ongoing volunteering opportunities online.

Eastern Canada Reunion Weekend 2019

Heater Proctor (BSc 1964):

Our 2019 reunion was convened in Niagara-on-the-Lake at the Pillar and Post Inn, 17 to 19 September. This is a deluxe hotel with a great variety of amenities and wonderful food, in a very picturesque small Ontario town near Niagara Falls.

14 of us enjoyed fine dining at the Inn, lunch at a local restaurant, and dinner at Trius Winery, one of many delightful wineries in the Niagara area. Some of our group visited the heated outdoor pool and the hot springs at the Inn. At the local Shaw Festival Theatre we took in a performance of The Ladykillers, a hilarious farce.

During our first evening Heather Proctor (BSc 1964) brought greetings from the Development and Alumni Relations Office at Bristol, giving us an update on the new buildings at the University. George Plant presented an interesting talk about his examination of lunar rocks from the first moon landing in 1969.

Our reunion dinner at Trius Winery was exceptional. After an outdoor champagne reception, we were seated in a private room, and each course was explained and presented with theatrical precision by a flight of waiters!

This was a reunion to remember. Sefton Haisz (BSc 1967) and George Plant did a wonderful job organising this, and we thank them very much.

Next year’s event has been planned for 21 to 23 September in Kingston Ontario. We look forward to welcoming as many alumni as possible to the 2020 reunion. We plan on inviting particularly those alumni in our area who graduated between 1970 and 1990.

London Branch Annual Lecture: Sir Paul Nurse, ‘Science and the public good’

Sir Paul Nurse delivers the 2019 London Branch Annual Lecture


Scientific research is aimed at generating knowledge of the natural world and of ourselves, and also at developing that knowledge into useful applications, including driving innovation for sustainable productive economic growth and better public services, improving health, prosperity and the quality of life, and protecting the environment. – Sir Paul Nurse

Robert Dufton (LLB 1983, Honorary LLD 2014):

The London Branch of the University of Bristol Alumni has organised an annual lecture every year since 2006. This year it attracted a record crowd of 209, no doubt because of the speaker, Sir Paul Nurse, Chancellor of the University of Bristol since 2017, Director and Chief Executive of the Francis Crick Institute, and 2001 Nobel Prize winner for his research on protein molecules that control the division (duplication) of cells in the cell cycle.

The evening was hosted by London Branch Committee members: Chair Julian Metcalfe (BSc 1978); Treasurer Martin Lunnon (BSc 1973, PhD 1976) and Secretary Alan Ingham (MEng 1999). A brief AGM, involving the presentation of the annual report by Julian, the annual accounts by Martin and a vote of thanks given by Alan about outgoing branch committee member David Snoxell (BA 1966), who chaired the London Branch from 2005 to 2010 and who had inaugurated the annual lecture, was ably chaired by Julian and lasted 6 minutes, which may have contributed to his being re-elected for a second term as Chair!

Jonathan Phillips (BSc 1994), Chair of the Alumni Association Committee, spoke about the work of the association, and his aim that the association will in time become one of the reasons why students choose Bristol over other universities.

Sir Paul welcomed the audience to the Francis Crick Institute, the UK’s leading biomedical research institute which focusses on the fundamental biology underlying health and disease. The state-of-the-art building opened in 2016.

His lecture ‘Science and the public good’, (science meaning research of all disciplines) emphasized the importance of combining discovery research and its translation which then directly helped people. Great research required excellence, academic freedom and diversity of thinking/institutions and a determined curiosity about big questions. In addition to his current work at the Crick Institute, Sir Paul drew on his experiences at the universities of Sussex, Oxford, Harvard and Rockefeller, and his time as President of the Royal Society for five years.

Questions from the audience followed and conversation continued over a reception.

Alumni welcome international students to their Bristol community

Alumni gave a warm welcome to our incoming international students at a new welcome event this September. Enjoying a traditional afternoon tea and relaxed conversation, alumni helped welcome students to Bristol as they navigate their first few weeks of life in the UK.

With conversations flowing, the event was a wonderful opportunity for new students to get to know the city and each other. Conversations ranged from which societies to join, to the best of Bristol’s many eateries. Alumni shared their top tips, Bristol favourites and their own experiences of starting fresh in an unknown city.

The event was part of a programme of Welcome Lounge events, a calendar of social events designed to give new international students a taste of Bristol life.

To find out more about volunteering at the University, contact alumni-volunteers@bristol.ac.uk or explore our ongoing volunteering opportunities online.

Students and alumni mentors connect in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore

University staff, students and alumni mentors at the ‘Meet your Mentor’ event in Kuala Lumpur

A huge thank you to all our international alumni who are volunteering their time, experience and expertise as professional mentors to our Social Sciences and Law students this year.

This September, students met their mentors for the first time in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. All three events were a huge success due to the wide range of fantastic alumni who attended and the invaluable advice and guidance they shared with their mentees.

The events were well received by both mentors and mentees. Second-year Law mentee, Angus Yuen, said:

The Meet your Mentor event consolidated a fine connection between the University, alumni and current students. As the inaugural meeting in Hong Kong, the event provided the opportunity to gain an insightful view of my aspired career, and undoubtedly helped create a better framework to further my current studies!

University staff , students and alumni mentors at the ‘Meet your Mentor’ event in Hong Kong

Nina Sharil Khan (BSc 1998), Chief Unicorn Officer of Popcon, Economics and Accounting graduate and mentor in Malaysia said:

I felt that the event was amazing and such a great platform for students to connect with their alumni in a more structured way so, it’s not just a one-off meet and greet or networking thing, but is a fantastic platform to build a relationship with someone from the industry who they can go to for advice and coaching whenever the need arises.

These are such precious relationships that will be able to guide new graduates and hopefully pave the way for a new tradition where they in turn give back.

Students and alumni mentors meet in Singapore

This year’s International Mentoring Scheme will run until March 2020. The team will be looking for more engaged Social Sciences and Law graduates from Singapore, Hong Kong or Malaysia to participate in next year’s scheme. If you are interested, please email fssl-pln@bristol.ac.uk.

The International Mentoring Scheme is run by the Professional Liaison Network in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law. Find out more on their website: www.bristol.ac.uk/pln

You can also find out more about becoming a Bristol Volunteer by visiting our opportunities page or emailing alumni-volunteers@bristol.ac.uk


London Branch Annual Walk: Secrets of the Famous Square Mile Part III, 30 April 2019

London Branch Annual Walk: Secrets of the Famous Square Mile Part III
Alan Ingham (MEng 1999)

On 30th April 2019 a group of 30 London Branch of University of Bristol Alumni gathered for the third installment of our Secret London series of London Walks, guided by a Blue Badge Guide.

Chris Green, a fellow Bristol Graduate, led our group on an informative walk around the City of London. Starting at Trinity Square Gardens (near Tower Hill) and ending in the Williamson Nicholson’s pub on picturesque Bow Lane, we heard about trade, architecture and characters spanning from Roman times to the modern day.

It is too easy to take one’s city and surroundings for granted as we go about our daily business, paying little attention to the history around us. Our walks aim to highlight the details we so often miss, thus keeping this hidden knowledge alive.

Although we walked streets which were familiar to many of us, it is always inspiring to hear of those feet who walked before us and look up to see the marks they left on the city we love.

The event concluded with a chance to socialise over food and drinks and appeared to be enjoyed by all.

Become a Bristol Volunteer: current opportunities

Throughout the year we work across departments to match our alumni volunteers with relevant and rewarding opportunities. To keep up to date with our latest volunteering opportunities sign-up to our Bristol Volunteers digest, or explore our ongoing volunteering opportunities online. 

Bristol Mentors

This week marks the end of a successful first year of our alumni mentoring programme. Bristol Mentors supports current students who are under-represented in higher education, and we’re looking for Bristol alumni to take part as volunteer mentors for 2019/20.

If you think you can share your professional experience, career insight and support current students at the University, we’d love to hear from you. We would particularly welcome interest from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) graduates with an interest in supporting students. This year we have a large number of applications from students who identify as BAME and have expressed an interest in working with a BAME mentor.

To find out more visit our website or contact alumni-mentoring@bristol.ac.uk.

Bristol Career Insights events

We are looking for alumni speakers and networkers who can share their career stories, give exclusive insights into their industries and share their experience at our upcoming Bristol Career Insights events:

Bristol, Thursday 13 June 2019
London, Tuesday 18 June 2019
Hong Kong, Thursday 11 July 2019
Singapore, Saturday 13 July 2019
Kuala Lumpur, Monday 15 July 2019

If you could support current students and recent graduates looking to take the next steps in their careers please get in touch with the Bristol Volunteers team at alumni-volunteers@bristol.ac.uk.

Welcome volunteers for our incoming international students

Our Global Opportunities team are planning a range of events and opportunities to welcome our incoming international students. We are looking for expressions of interest from alumni who can help give a warm and personal welcome to Bristol.

Events will be held on campus in the International Welcome Lounge from 9 to 13 September and 15 to 27 September.

Please send expressions of interest to alumni-volunteers@bristol.ac.uk.

Chair of the Cambridge Branch of the University of Bristol Alumni

After 10 years in the role, Alison Wilson (BA 1966) will be stepping down as Chair of the Cambridge Branch in October.

The Chair works closely with the University and members of the network to organise a calendar of events throughout the year, offering alumni the chance to connect and socialise.

To find out more about the role please contact the Bristol Volunteers team at alumni-volunteers@bristol.ac.uk.

Annual Golf Day co-ordinator

We are looking for keen golfers to take a lead on co-ordinating our annual Golf Day. Golf Day has been running for 10 years and sees alumni take on staff and students for an afternoon of sport and socialising.

To find out more please contact the Bristol Volunteers team at alumni-volunteers@bristol.ac.uk.

Clifton Hill House Association

Anthony Duncalf, current Physics student (2018- ), is starting an Association for alumni of Clifton Hill House.

There has been plenty of interest from current students, and Anthony is now looking for local Clifton Hill House alumni to participate in initial meetings to shape the network, and possibly join the Committee.

To find out more please contact the Bristol Volunteers team at alumni-volunteers@bristol.ac.uk.

Arts Careers Week a soaring success thanks to our alumni

Humanities, Modern Languages and School of Arts students were wowed with the passion, knowledge and expertise of the alumni volunteers who came back to Bristol to talk all things careers during this year’s ‘Arts Careers Week’. Run by the Faculty of Arts and Careers Service, this year saw a week of talks and panel events geared up to get students thinking about the kinds of jobs they could go into upon graduating.

For the first time, this December we also hosted a careers networking evening which proved to be a real hit with our students. Feedback received was hugely positive from the event, which allowed students to talk to alumni from a whole host of different areas from TV to Law about how they found their career calling over drinks and nibbles. 

Now in its third year, this year we saw our highest ever attendance figures, which is a real testament to the quality of the talks that our alumni give. Panel sessions were held on careers in law, banking and finance, charity and the not for profit sector, working in higher education, media and journalism, publishing, advertising, event management, languages careers and working in the film and TV industry, to name but a few!

Mu Ali with English student Josh Peleg

Special thanks go out to the following alumni, who gave up their time and travelled from far and wide to be there to give something back:

  • Mu Ali (Classics, studied a little while ago, in his words!) who works as Chief Growth Officer for media agency Wavemaker UK has attended Arts Careers Week for the second time running, where his talks on working in advertising shed light on the pros and cons of the sector, as well as his top tips for success, including bringing all of yourself to work. Mu has also assisted English student, Josh Peleg, to find an internship opportunity in advertising.
  • Charlotte DC (BA Philosophy 2013) works as the Event Manager for MOMA festivals and told us about the ‘glamorous 1%’ of what still sounds like a very cool job!
  • Lucinda Elliott (BA Spanish & Portuguese 2012) was kind enough to fly from Brazil where she is now a journalist covering South America, to remind students of the benefits of doing a languages degree, and the amazing possibilities this opens to them upon graduation.
  • Rosanna Quigley (BA French & Portuguese 2015) works as a Conference and Event Manager and gave a down to earth recollection of what it’s like to enter a competitive job market for the first time, but how beneficial her experiences on her year abroad in France were to her current career.
  • Katie Foxall (BA English Literature 1997works in Publishing for e Cancer, a site that provides free oncology information and education worldwide and talked to students about the various paths available in the publishing industry, as well as the importance of gaining all-important work experience whilst studying.
  • Rosalind Neely (BA French and German 1984), Freelance Editor, Proof Reader and Project Manager for Illustrated Art Books provided an insight into the varied and rewarding career of an experienced publisher.
  • Francesca Wilson (BA History of Art 2011), Arts Charity Director of Programming and Development for a non-profit organisation called the Easel Initiative was inspiring and open about working in the sector and the importance of opening up the arts industry to a wider and more diverse audience.
  • Eleanor Boyer (BA English 2015), who now works at Google in the Government and Public Policy team, allowed students to consider how their degrees can have more of a relationship to working in the tech industry than they might at first think.
  • Sarah Pit(BA English Literature & Community Engagement 2014), who works as the MD for MSP TV has attended both our networking evening and our session on Film and TV! Her wisdom on the area and channelled creativity were truly second to none.
  • Natasha Riordan-Eva (BA Music 2011), Event Manager at the Southbank Centre specialising in classical music, captivated the audience with her experiences of being at Bristol and how this has helped her in her career, including achieving her life-long aspiration of presenting on BBC Radio 3).
  • Piers Alder (BA English 1988) works as a Copywriter and extolled the virtues of working freelance, writing for a living and being able to work on a variety of different projects and initiatives.
  • Hannah Armstrong (BA Archaeology and Anthropology 2010), Principal Heritage Consultant at Pegasus Group, works in the planning sector and advises on heritage assets. It was interesting to see how relevant a degree in Archaeology and Anthropology can be to the legal world.
  • Gemma Brace (MA History of Art 2010), Exhibitions and Engagement Officer at the University of Bristol highlighted the dedication, passion and drive that go into forging a career in the arts and culture sector.
Natasha Riordan-Eva talks to our Music students about working in live events

To all the alumni who contributed to our events this year, including those who could not attend but would have liked to, we would like to extend a huge thanks from all of us in the Faculty of Arts and Careers Service. Your input is invaluable to our students and provides both a source of inspiration and greater clarity on what it’s really like to work in your chosen sectors.

Faculty of Arts alumni: please get in touch with Anona Williams (Faculty of Arts) if you would like to get involved in future events, interviews or promotional videos at anona.williams@bristol.ac.uk.

Find out more about the Bristol Volunteers programme for alumni.

Cambridge Branch spring event, 4 May 2019

Dr Jessica Gardner (left) with alumni

Alison Wilson (BA 1966)

Cambridge is celebrating a significant event this year, the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Cambridge Philosophical Society.  Among its members were some of the most famous scientists in the world, many of them Nobel Prize-winners. CBBA’s spring event this year was a visit to an exhibition at the University Library entitled ‘Discovery’ showcasing books, papers and equipment to illustrate the achievements of these Cambridge scientists. We were hosted by the Librarian, Dr Jessica Gardner, who formerly held the same post at the University of Bristol. She began with a lecture, which was in three parts; first some information about the proposed new Main Library in Bristol with slides showing the situation and concept, then an introduction to Cambridge University Library and the many initiatives which are making it a more open and interactive place and thirdly an introduction to the exhibition and its treasures. After a short break for refreshments she mingled with the group as they viewed the items: Newton’s annotated copy of ‘Principia’, Darwin’s own copy of his ‘Origin of the Species’, Lord Rayleigh’s home-made equipment for studying waves, Bell-Burnell’s chart from which she deduced pulsars, and much more. Jess made us feel very welcome and we are most grateful to her for the private view.

We then adjourned to nearby Clare College for a delicious ‘champagne tea’. Sitting at round tables 44 people greeted old friends and got to know new members. We all enjoyed this stimulating afternoon, connecting us back to Bristol.

Alison will be standing down as Chair of the Cambridge Branch at the AGM in October. Alumni interested in the role are asked to please email alumni-volunteers@bristol.ac.uk.

Bristol career insights 2018

A big thank you to our Bristol Volunteers for all of their efforts in making our Bristol career insights events this year such a resounding success. Over 60 of you volunteered your time, experience and expertise to inspire our recent graduates and help them to take positive steps in their careers. 

Bristol career insights: Bristol and London events
This year we saw our global alumni network in action with seven careers events in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and at home in the UK.

Recent graduates connected with established alumni in their home cities to get practical guidance and insider advice. Graduates seized the opportunity to network with alumni across different industries, hear about their career journeys since Bristol and gain insights into their current profession.

Whether you took part in a panel discussion, presented about your experiences or shared your stories with an audience; our heartfelt thanks for your support. Our recent graduates benefit hugely from your knowledge, expertise and passion for what you do.

We are busy getting ready for our next events in 2019: Beijing and Shanghai in April, Bristol and London in June.

Get in touch with alumni-volunteers@bristol.ac.uk if you’re keen to get involved in 2019.