This year I celebrate my 20th year as a member of the University of Cambridge. I also have a big birthday this year(!), at which point I will have spent half of my life in Cambridge as part of the University. I am, however, relatively new to St Edmund’s, having only formally joined the Fellowship in October 2019.
Having spent many happy years as a member of Newnham, it has been lovely to move to St Edmund’s and to spend time getting to know a new community. Everyone has made me very welcome, and I’ve learned a lot about the College, taking on roles as Director of Studies in Land Economy, Fellows’ Steward, and member of the Boat Club. I have thoroughly enjoyed the excellent dinners and long evenings in the SCR and can confidently say that St Edmund’s serves a wonderful port (thank you Dean!).
In my day job I am Director of the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research in the Department of Land Economy, where I have happily spent the past 13 years. I head up a team of amazing researchers leading the way internationally on tackling the numerous housing challenges we face, both here in the UK and around the world. I am very involved in local research and housing initiatives, given the levels of homelessness and high house prices in Cambridge, it is vital that we do what we can in our own community.
Outside of the Department I also hold a role as a University Officer as part of the University’s Proctorial team. Two Proctors are nominated by the Colleges every year, and usually serve for one year as Pro-Proctor, followed by one year as Proctor in office, and then a year as Deputy Proctor. I am, however, in my fourth year and have been nominated to serve a fifth. This is testament to how much I absolutely love the Proctorial role! The Proctors have been around since the beginning of the University over 800 years ago. My move to St Edmund’s actually brings the historical first of two Proctors in the same college, my ‘pair’ being the wonderful Gordon Chesterman. My favourite part of the role is Congregations of the Regent House for the conferring of degrees, and if you finish your degree in the next year or two, you may find me spouting Latin at your graduation!
The above may suggest that I spend little time engaged in anything other than University business, but I do find time to travel widely, am an enthusiastic gardener, a dedicated runner, a happy cyclist, a keen vegetarian cook and organiser of late night cocktails (negronis, if you’re ever buying a round). It is fair to say that the Collegiate University fills many of my days, evenings and weekends, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The friendship, camaraderie and community such a life enables me to enjoy is worth its weight in gold. Here’s to the next 20 years!