UWE awards honorary degree to Carolyn Hassan

Issue date: 11 November 2009

Carolyn Hassan The University of the West of England will award the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts to Carolyn Hassan in recognition of her outstanding contribution, in her role as Director of the Knowle West Media Centre, to community cohesion, social justice and support for schools and colleges in the local community.

The Honorary Degree will be conferred at the Award Ceremony of the Faculty of Creative Arts at Bristol Cathedral on Friday 13 November at 17.00.

Carolyn Mary Hassan was born in Derby, and spent her early childhood in Wetherdon and Lackford, villages near Bury St Edmunds. Educated at the East Anglian Independent School and the Kingsley School, Leamington Spa, Carolyn Hassan later studied Art, the History of Art, English and Photography at the Mid-Warwickshire College of Further Education.

Carolyn Hassan read Photography and Film Studies at the Polytechnic of Central London, now the University of Westminster. Following the completion of her degree she moved to Warwickshire and worked in a respite care home for children with learning difficulties. In 1984 she completed an MA in Social Work and a Certificate of Qualified Social Work at the University of Leicester and this was followed by six years working for Warwickshire County Council and Bristol City Council as a Social Worker in child care and mental health services. During her time in Bristol, Carolyn Hassan became an advisor at the Watershed Media Centre and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of the West of England.

In 1995, Carolyn Hassan returned to the University of Westminster to complete an MA in Photographic Arts and also at this time started work in Knowle West Bristol as resident artist exploring the relationship between arts and wellbeing. In 2002 Carolyn Hassan set up the charity Knowle West Media Centre, an organisation which focuses on developing cultural projects for young people. In 2008, she oversaw the completion of a new Media Centre in Knowle West. The building itself won several awards including, in November 2008, the Bristol Civic Society's Environmental Award. The Centre is built of straw bales and involved young people in every aspect of the design and planning. At this time KWMC won the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

During 2008 Carolyn Hassan also oversaw the commissioning of a number of artists and the publication of “Collapsing the Gap” – a series of articles focusing on the increasingly complex area of culture and regeneration.


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