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Announcing the Visionaries Scholarship programme

Posted on 7 December 2020

We are delighted to announce the Visionaires Scholarship programme, a unique package of financial and industry support to welcome talented UK undergraduate students from Black, Asian, Gypsy, Traveller, and ethnically diverse backgrounds to our creative community.

Each scholarship is worth £3,600 (£1,200 a year over three years) and comes with a package of mentoring from industry experts from across the creative arts and screen industries. Eligible students will have secured a place to study and train on one of our four undergraduate courses from September 2021: BA Business of the Creative Industries, BSc Interactive Media, BA Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance and BSc Film and Television Production. 

Professor Duncan Petrie, Head of Department and Professor in Film and Television, said: 

“We are delighted to announce this innovative scholarship programme. In a complex and fragmented world, our creators of arts and culture will decide which stories are told and whose voices are heard. It is therefore vital that this next generation of writers, directors, producers, actors, designers, cinematographers, editors, executives - in film, television, theatre, games and other digital media are more representative of the diversity of our society, creating content that truly reflects the world, challenges our preconceptions, enlightens and entertains us.” 

News of the scholarship programme has been welcomed by recent graduates. Malik Haddington-Ahmed, Class of 2018, said: 

“As a 2018 Film and Television graduate and someone from an ethnically diverse background, I was so excited to learn about the Visionaries Scholarship programme. As a student, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at York - my course was fantastic, I met some amazing people and I felt supported throughout. However, I was well aware of the fact that I was one of only a handful of non-white people in my cohort. The Visionaries Scholarship programme will work to improve that, ensuring greater diversity amongst the department’s undergraduates and providing financial support, mentorship and community to some of the most underrepresented groups. Through my time at York and having gone on to work at a national charity for LGBT+ young people, I understand the importance of representation and community, and wholeheartedly believe that everyone succeeds when we strive for greater equality and inclusion.”

Sekeenat Karim (Class of 2017), now an Assistant Producer at HOME and a member of the department’s Advisory Board, said: 

“The University of York is an amazing place to explore your creativity and grow as a professional. The course offers a wide range of opportunities from learning technical skills like lighting design to more analytical roles like producing, you are encouraged to learn new skills and receive support from amazing staff.  One of the things I valued most about my time in the department and more specifically on the BA Theatre programme was the opportunity to choose my own path. The Visionary Scholarships are a fantastic opportunity to uplift the next generation of talented creatives from underrepresented backgrounds, both in the university and in the industry. Now more than ever we need opportunities like this to support those who feel like there is no space for them in academics or creative industries and help them build the confidence to claim their space.”

And Jade Smith from the BsC Interactive Media (Class of 2020), said: 

The Interactive Media course allowed me to build a solid foundation of both technical and design skills. It also helped me gain confidence socially and I made lifelong friends along the way. I am currently working at Jumpship, an independent games studio in Guildford as a Junior Designer. My role involves helping block out levels and implementing mechanics in the game. The Visionaries Scholarship sounds like a brilliant opportunity to gain a unique insight into industries you’re interested in from those who have had a range of experiences in them, which will help you in your future career.”

Scholarship applications will open in Spring 2021, with the department welcoming the first Visionary Scholars from September 2021. At least one scholarship will be available across each of the undergraduate programmes from academic year 2021/22. 

The Visionaries Scholarship programme is funded by the department plus donations from alumni and friends to York Unlimited, the Campaign for the University of York. The department is working with the Office of Philanthropic Partnerships and Alumni (OPPA) to form a team of Visionary Mentors and Donors from across the industry to help our Visionary Scholars achieve their creative industry career goals. 

For further detail on the scholarships, or to suggest rising stars and established experts from within the industry who may be inspired to be part of our team of Visionary Mentors and Donors, please contact Sharon Oakley, Philanthropy Manager on sharon.oakley@york.ac.uk or mobile +44 (0)7795 315 108.