Fellowships awarded at QMUL summer graduation 2017

Four people have been made fellows of Queen Mary University of London during the 2017 summer graduation.

26 July 2017

L-R: (Sir Nicholas Montagu) (Jane Hill) (Simon Gaskell)
L-R: (Sir Nicholas Montagu) (Jane Hill) (Simon Gaskell)

The Fellowship is normally conferred on a person or persons of distinction who has rendered significant service to QMUL or to the community, or with a demonstrable connection to or affiliation with QMUL.

Kazi Ruksana Begum: is the producer of ‘A Season of Bangla Drama’, the largest Arts Festival celebrating the Bengali diaspora outside of West Bengal and Bangladesh. A true East Ender, she was educated locally at Mulberry School for Girls and later at Canterbury Christ Church University, before taking up a career in the arts.

Under Ruksana’s visionary planning, QMUL has been greatly helped in its aspiration to develop a rich and reciprocal exchange with the Bengali community, whereby researchers and policymakers, artists and students can collaborate through the exchange of best practice and forge new techniques in production, marketing, publicity and project governance alongside our Bengali and British-Bangladeshi partners.

Virginia (Gini) Simpson: is an arts strategist and a creative industries and cultural sector development consultant. She currently works with In Company, an arts development organisation which ‘hot houses’ diverse mid-career artists, notably through ‘The Sick of the Fringe’ initiative. She is also setting up intergenerational micro businesses through UnAge, which is based in areas of opportunity deficit. Gini is chair of Furtherfield’s board and sits on the Live Art Development Agency’s board.

Prior to this, she was Head of Learning and Participation at the Barbican and managed Business Development for the Creative Industries at QMUL.

Jane Hill: has been a television and radio journalist for more than 25 years. She currently presents the BBC News at One, Six and Ten, and the BBC News Channel, as well as Saturday PM on BBC Radio 4.

Jane graduated from Queen Mary with a Politics BA (Hons) in 1991, which has stood her in good stead for the many days she now spends on College Green, Westminster. Her antidote is the theatre, which is by far her favourite pastime. Passionate about the arts, Jane also hosts The Film Review every week with Mark Kermode, and fronts BBC News’ annual coverage of the BAFTA Film Awards.

Dajit Nagra: is one of contemporary Britain’s most successful, well-known, and critically acclaimed poets. His fourth collection, British Museum, was published by Faber and Faber in 2017. He has twice won the Forward Prize, among others, and twice been nominated for the T. S. Eliot Prize, the world’s most prestigious English-language poetry award.

The child of Punjabi Sikh parents who came to Britain in the 1950s, he grew up with Punjabi as the language of home and came late to poetry having thought that it was ‘not for him’. Nagra’s extraordinary poetic trajectory and reputation stand for much that Queen Mary’s Department of English prides itself upon. His writing, which is simultaneously experimental, accessible, and deeply poetic in sensibility, is renowned for opening up new perspectives on British Asian experience, in conversation with influences as diverse as Robert Browning, Seamus Heaney, and Linton Kwesi Johnson.

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