Tag Archives: alumni

Law graduate joins pro bono collective Oxfam Lawyers Against Poverty

LAP iulia mirzac

Iulia Mirzac, an Oxford Brookes University graduate, has started an internship with Lawyers Against Poverty (LAP). This pro bono initiative launched by Oxfam in June 2015 enables individuals from the legal community to work on legal projects that help fight the injustice of poverty. LAP targets global issues such as legal education, women’s rights to property, legal empowerment, climate litigation and Iulia will be working as a legal research intern for the team with a specific focus legal research on issues related to justice and poverty.

“I often feel honoured and privileged to be part of a team that works so hard to bring justice to those who need it most.”

Iulia Mirzac, School of Law graduate

Iulia, who studied Law with International Relations said “I decided to take the internship because the work Oxfam does globally, and specifically through Lawyers Against Poverty, is very similar to what I have always wanted to do – using my law degree for the good of those who need it the most.”

Since graduating this summer Iulia has been working on a range of projects within Oxfam’s legal team, including coordinating events and a fact-finding trip on migration, as well as drafting documents and using her linguistic skills to translate legal documents from English to French.

“One of the projects I am currently involved with is coordinating efforts across law firms and universities, to provide work experience opportunities for individuals from the refugee communities in the UK. I have also been involved in facilitating Summer Law Schools for young people from the refugee communities, in an effort to help them better integrate into our society and education system.”

“Lawyers Against Poverty Week, which took place from 13 to 20 June 2016, was the highlight of my first month at Oxfam, and I was particularly pleased and grateful that the School of Law at my own University hosted one of the events on June 17.”

Junior Lawyers Against Poverty will be launched at Oxford Brookes University in September 2016, providing research opportunities, a seminar series, a JLAP conference in January 2017, and potentially twinning  law students with law students from African countries.

To find out more about Lawyers Against Poverty please visit their website.

Rachel Crowther news piece

MA Creative Writing alumna’s next two novels to be published in 2016 and 2017 by Bonnier Zaffre

Congratulations to Rachel Crowther, whose second novel, ‘Things You Do For Love’, will be published in August this year – with her third novel (as yet untitled) scheduled for publication in August 2017.

Rachel studied for the Creative Writing MA at Oxford Brookes part-time between 2009 and 2011, whilst working as a Consultant in Public Health Medicine for the NHS. While she was completing her MA, Rachel successfully entered her first novel, ‘The Partridge and the Pelican’ for the Hookline novel competition, seeing it published in April 2011. Some passages in that novel grew out of exercises undertaken for seminars within the MA

By then, Rachel was already working on her next novel. Initially conceived as a pair, her idea was that one novel would be from the point of view of Flora, the retired surgeon protagonist, and the other from the point of view of her daughters. Rachel submitted extracts from the novel with a commentary along these lines for her final assignment of the MA under the title ‘Binocular Fiction’ – the term she chose to capture the advantages of developing two slightly different, equally weighted perspectives on a story.

In the end, Rachel successfully combined the two narratives into one novel, resulting in the soon to be published ‘The Things You Do For Love’. The novel looks back over forty years of Flora’s career and marriage, and her daughters’ childhoods, examining their choices, sacrifices, secrets, disappointments and hopes.

Rachel Crowther

On her experience of writing her novel whilst studying for her MA, Rachel writes that:

‘During the MA course I workshopped several extracts from the novel, some with the course staff but also with Kate Clanchy, and a couple of scenes grew out of exercises we did in class (especially in Jim’s Novel module). That experience was helpful in that it gave me a chance to test-drive some passages in a challenging environment, and helped me answer some questions about my characters and how I was telling the story. Another hugely valuable element of the course for me was the ‘Rewriting Fiction’ module I did with Rob Pope, who went on to supervise my final piece, because those sessions really stretched us all and brought out some wonderfully innovative, creative, even mad ideas from all of us in the small group lucky enough to be taught by Rob’.

On completion of her MA in Creative Writing, Rachel spent three busy years moving house, jobs and schools, whilst taking the manuscript apart and putting it back together again several times over, with various different characters and plot lines removed, rejigged or reinstated at each stage – a process that she feels yielded a much stronger novel than she started out with.

Rachel’s manuscript was taken on by Patrick Walsh at Conville and Walsh in December 2014, and sold to Bonnier Zaffre in July 2015 as part of a two book deal.

‘The Things You Do For Love’ is coming out in August this year, and the next novel (final title to be agreed) is currently in the editing phase and provisionally scheduled for publication in August 2017.
The following is an extract provided by Rachel which she remembers workshopping during the course. Flora’s daughter Kitty is a composer, just setting out on her career and not yet sure that she believes in herself as a musician, and this passage describes the moment when she first sees what she is capable of.

The opening notes lifted from the piano as slowly and carefully as if they were being thought of for the first time. Lifted and then lingered in the air, languorous but persuasive, perfectly placed. Kitty opened her eyes again, and her mouth opened too, as though she needed to see and breathe and taste the sound as well as hear it. It felt as though the song needed her complete attention to will it on – although the extraordinary truth was that Andrej and Daniel were making the sounds she could hear, evoking so precisely the music in her head. This must be like giving birth, seeing what was inside you take shape in the world.

        The rest of the audience had vanished now. There was only Kitty and the performers and the space above them in which the sound waves hovered and spread. Not even Kitty, perhaps; all that mattered of her was in the music. Andrej’s voice held a long G, closed it on a careful, not quite English diphthong, then slid gracefully onto a high E and unfurled the plaintive phrase that signified to Kitty something more than the words of the setting: something that Andrej’s impeccable breath control seemed to yield up between the notes. Kitty’s heartbeat accelerated with them, drawing out a pure thread of emotion from the interplay of words and melody. This was something she had never known before, a surge of feeling she couldn’t explain or control, bringing recognition beyond rational meaning: something that felt very much like love.

MA English alumni Highly Commended for the Bridport prize 2015!


Sarah Taylor has been Highly Commended for the 2015 Bridport Prize, Flash Fiction category for a piece called Good at Crisps. The category imposes a limit of 250 words, leading author Patrick Gale, 2012 Bridport Prize judge, to describe Flash Fiction as the “love child’ of poetry and the short story. Sarah was also shortlisted for another piece of Flash Fiction entered in the same competition. A total of 2141 stories were received this year of which 50 were shortlisted and an anthology of the winning entries produced.

The award ceremony was held on Saturday 17 October during Bridport Open Book week, with established and widely published authors such as Roger McGough, Jane Feaver and Jane Rogers handing out the prizes. The Open Book week included a reading with the three judges and various other events and workshops.

Following her first degree in French Literature from the University of Kent, Sarah studied for an Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing at Oxford University. In that time she wrote a one-act play called ‘Death on the Turnpike’ which is open to performance for Drama students looking for a gory, bloodthirsty play packed with villains, murder and gibbets – do email Sarah if you’re an interested student! Sarah then completed a full-time MA in English at Oxford Brookes University where she studied between 2013 and 2014.

Studying at Brookes was amazing, truly a life-changing experience. That sounds really dramatic but it’s how I feel. I loved engaging with critical theory and it was exciting to look at literature through so many different lenses. Although certainly a steep learning curve, I felt constantly stimulated and left our amazing seminars each week with my head spinning with new ideas and new ways of looking at not just literature but at the world! Working on my dissertation was a curious mixture of total agony and incredible breakthroughs that made me feel wow, I can do this! The Brookes tutors were brilliant – so passionate about their subjects and an absolute inspiration.

Sarah’s MA dissertation was entitled ‘Post-war Masculinity and the Imaginative Annihilation of Motherhood’, and her interests lie in post-war fiction and drama – Northern writing in particular. Sarah currently lives near Thame, but her roots – and much of the inspiration for her writing – are back in her native Nottingham, as reflected by her story written in a Nottingham dialect entitled Popping Your Cherry; itself highly commended in the Flash Fiction category of the Bridport Prize in 2012. Sarah describes Flash Fiction as perfect to fit around a busy life with three children, including working at Oxford Brookes as an Academic Support Worker for two days a week. Around this, her biggest goal in the coming year is to finish her first novel.
Contact Sarah:

Published in – Bridport Prize 2012 Anthology – Highly Commended with Popping your Cherry in Flash Fiction category.

Published in – Bus Pass Britain Rides Again with a chapter Love on the 159, a poignant look back at Sarah’s daily commute from Streatham to the West End of London on the 159 routemaster bus.

Published in Bridport Prize 2015 Anthology  – Highly Commended with Good at Crisps in Flash Fiction category.

Oxford Brookes law graduate published in The Barrister magazine

ToksFormer president of the Oxford Brookes Law Society and 2014 LLB graduate Adetokunbo Hussain has been published in The Barrister magazine, the UK’s largest independent magazine for practising barristers. His legal article was based on the third year module Computer Law and Intellectual Property.

In his article, Adetokunbo constructs a critique of the feasibility of regulating the Internet, with a focus on hate material and the concept of free speech. He cites the ineffectiveness of state law beyond national borders, forming a discussion of alternatives – in particular non-regulation and self-regulation through education and democratic choice, based on the formation of a culture of internet users.

Mark O’Brien, Head of the School of Law at Oxford Brookes, commented “It’s very encouraging to see our students and graduates increasingly sharing their research with the wider legal community. As a staff team we actively encourage students to engage with the practice of law outside the classroom, and we’re very pleased to see Toks’ success.”

If you’d like to read Adetokunbo’s article in full it is available on the link below:

History and History of Medicine MA Alumni Evening

Drs Tom Crook and Viviane Quirke chat with MA students past and present at the MA alumni evening

On Tuesday 25 October, five former students on the History and History of Medicine MAs returned to Brookes to present to the current cohort of students and staff within the department about their careers and life after the MA.  Their enthusiasm and experience provided invaluable insights into the variety of careers available to history graduates and the widely applicable skills which are developed through MA study.

Huw Bradbury, who progressed from the MA to a PGCE for secondary school history teaching at the University of Oxford, outlined the nature of that qualification, its rewards and challenges, and the ways in which the MA had developed his profile as an applicant for teacher training, his skills as an original thinker and practitioner of history and his own confidence.  Sarah Cox, an archivist for the Red Cross in London, described her key responsibilities in her current role, the career path to becoming an archivist (including a specialist MA) and the skills developed on the History MA, particularly self-discipline, determination, time management and self confidence.  Both Huw and Sarah described the work experience they had undertaken alongside the MA and emphasised how useful that had been for enhancing their profiles.  Finally, Hannah Dolton described her recently won job in publishing and highlighted the important personal and organisational skills that allowed her to excel in that role, whilst illustrating that her job allowed her to maintain an interest in history, by coming into contact with cutting-edge historical research in the form of new titles.

Two current PhD students (Anna Gordon and Catriona Gilmour Hamilton) reflected on continuing with postgraduate study, the challenges of finding funding, the ways in which to use the MA as an opportunity to learn skills and ideas about professionalization and why it was that they felt strongly motivated about their areas of research.

Current MA students enjoyed the opportunity for informal discussion, and overall the group was left with a very positive impression of the tangible benefits of MA study in History and History of Medicine.