Introducing Fiona Sunderland, Student Insights Coordinator with the Arts team

Fiona has enjoyed finding ways to keep busy during lockdown!


What is your role at Arts at University of Southampton? 

I’ll be working as “Arts, Culture and Student Insights Coordinator” which is a fancy title I came up with to look cool on LinkedIn. In reality, it means I’ll be working closely with Louise Coysh and Jen Harris in the University’s Arts and Culture team, alongside our venues John Hansard Gallery and Turner Sims, to look at how we can develop the student experience around the University’s arts and culture offer. This involves supporting the student voice in the Heart of Campus project and city-wide cultural development. I’ll be particularly focused on making sure we have extensive student consultation and input! 

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‘Be More Chill’ in Hindsight or An Ode to Student Theatre

by Thea Hartman

I remember fondly one of the very last outings I went on before the world was turned upside down: Saturday 7 March 2020, closing night of Be More Chill at the Annex Theatre, University of Southampton.

It’s only about six weeks ago, but it feels like at least a year has passed. Therefore, I couldn’t possibly call this a review because I couldn’t be objective (can anyone ever be, really?) – that night is already rose-tinted with nostalgia. So I would like to offer my apologies for the delay, Showstoppers – I got majorly distracted, I hope you understand… but I’m here now, ready to sing (not half as well as you) your praises.

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#InternInsights, a Friday night concert and Turner Sims’ top 5 online music highlights

The team at Turner Sims have been working hard in the run up to the first week of term, preparing a feast for your ears to support you through that ‘back to school’ feeling. 

This Friday 24 April, Turner Sims is streaming a free-to-watch concert from Clara Sanabras and Harvey Brough to help you wind down after a week of study and their team of student Interns have been busy preparing the soundtrack to your week in their #InternInsights playlist series. To top it all off, Turner Sims has provided a round-up of their top 5 online music recommendations to be enjoyed during lockdown. 

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The Show Must Go Online: animating Arts at University of Southampton in the digital sphere

hrm199 (Siobhan Coen and Haroon Mirza), Dreamachine 2.0, 2019. Courtesy hrm199. Photo: Thierry Bal

During these challenging times and faced with the new normal, Arts at University of Southampton is joining our friends at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, in pledging that The Show Must Go On(line). 

John Hansard Gallery and Turner Sims are both exploring ways to focus their energies within the digital sphere, seeking to animate online spaces to bring you inspiring art and culture. Alongside this, Arts at University of Southampton’s digital channels will be dedicated to sharing with you the best of the arts to be accessed remotely. We’ll also be inviting the talented creatives and artists in our own team to contribute ideas and showcase their practice.

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Introducing our 2019/20 Arts Ambassadors: Molly Ellis

Molly Ellis (left) filming with SUSU TV

Third year Music student Molly Ellis tells of the impact the arts have had on her life here at University of Southampton and looks ahead to the next few months in her role as Arts Ambassador.

I had such a good time working as an Arts Ambassador last year that, when the opportunity came up again, I couldn’t not apply! Last year, I had a blast reviewing theatre, art exhibitions and concerts, attending events and networking with both my peers and professionals in the industry. This last year has really opened my eyes as to what kind of future could be possible in the arts beyond university.

This year I hope to continue working to promote the arts to both my fellow students and the local community. It’s so important for students to understand that the arts you’re involved with at university could pave the way to a career, regardless of your degree. Showing that the gap between the ‘student’ and ‘professional’ worlds is not that wide is something I’m really keen to do – exploring these possibilities and networking is what university is all about!

As a third year music student, the arts have shaped pretty much my entire time at University. I’ve been lucky enough to start shaping my passions for music, theatre and filmmaking into the beginnings of a future beyond graduation- something I’m incredibly excited about.

I’m a freelance filmmaker and photographer and have had the pleasure of working with some amazing groups, such as SÓN and SUSO, and on some cinematography passion projects- one of which has just been accepted for screening at the Canadian International Comedy Film Festival!

I am also a Musical Director for musical theatre society Showstoppers after joining last year (on the advice of previous Arts Ambassador Ben McQuigg). I soon found myself stuck in with nearly every show and my first as Musical Director, ‘I Love You Because’, is coming up at the beginning of February! Getting stuck in with all of these activities across a breadth of arts topics has been an incredible experience, and has really extended the scope of skills learnt during my degree. I encourage absolutely everyone to get involved with at least one arts passion they have during their degree!

Being an Arts Ambassador for me is about both being a role model for participation and engagement with the arts, but also being a gateway to helping others access the arts, particularly those that think ‘it’s not for me’. There’s a wealth of things out there to explore in Southampton and beyond!