Exhibition: Bristol Students' Union 14th - 22nd March 2018.

Facebook event

I set out to capture some of the faces behind the halls and residences of the University of Bristol while they're still here.

Since 2010 I have photographed various events linked to the university, predominantly for halls and residences but also for societies, subjects, alumni etc. During this time I have noticed how each hall is unique, driven by those running them.

Over a period of about a month, I sat down with 10 wardens, deputy wardens and student support advisers. We spoke about what they do at the university and their role at a residence, what led them to Bristol and in some cases their thoughts on the residential life proposals, both good and bad. Whilst taking the photos I visited parts of the university I have never been to before and found out more about the history and some of the halls.

The exhibited photos were all taken prior to the announcement of the revised residential life plans on 20th February, where those photographed found out their fate as of summer 2018.

I am considering doing another round of photos for those that I didn't find time to meet between now and the summer. Please contact me if you are keen to be involved: photography@alexsheppard.co.uk.


Amber Bartlett: Student Support Adviser - Goldney Hall Dr Scott Greenwell: Acting Warden - Manor Hall Miles Taylor: Deputy Warden - Hiatt Baker Dr Steve Bullock: Warden - City Centre Old Town Sandy Payne: Warden - Unite House and Orchard Heights Dr Martin Crossley Evans: Warden - Manor Hall Prof Robert Vilain: Warden - Wills Hall Pru Lawrence-Archer: Warden - City Centre Riverside Tilly Beech: Warden - Durdham Hall and University Hall Emma Keen: Student Support Adviser - New Bridewell
Robert Vilain

Prof Robert Vilain

Warden - Wills Hall

Photo - Wills Hall grounds

Robert has been warden of Wills Hall for nearly three years. Prior to this, from 2012 to 2015, he was Head of the School of Modern Languages. Towards the end of the term he was looking for something with more direct contact with students and the warden's role seemed ideal. The warden role goes well with the academic side of teaching German, as he has learned a great deal about how student life really works, which he feels will improve his impact as an academic and teacher in future.

Robert is married with three children and juggles the demands of an academic post, a pastoral role and family responsibilities as best he can. He tries not work (too hard) at the weekends so that he can spend them with family, but is always on call in Wills. He is an enthusiastic cook and enjoys experimenting with new technology in the kitchen.

Wills Hall has fourteen formals a year, at which Robert usually gives a speech. He tries to make these relevant to the occasion (talking about Robert Burns on Burns Night or 'in persona' as Professor Dumbledore for the Harry Potter Formal). The students like the tradition of wearing gowns too. He tries to maintain a visible presence in the hall, often hosting a round in the hall's bar, attending (and taking part in) cultural activities and events such as concerts, the pantomime and chapel. Last October he organised for some of the residents to collect and press apples from the Stoke Bishop grounds, with the generous help of other UoB staff, excellent juice was produced for sharing (and for some to make cider from!).

Robert is an avid book collector with his office filled top-to-bottom on all four walls and is not looking forward to potentially having to move them all out this summer.

Amber Bartlett

Amber Bartlett

Student Support Adviser - Goldney Hall

Photo - Goldney Hall gardens

Amber studied French and German from 2011-2014 and then continued her study with a masters between September 2015 and 2016 whilst being a senior resident at Goldney.

Three student support adviser positions became available, one of which was Goldney with Hillside Woodside and 2 other positions for other halls. Whilst 3 positions were available, having lived at Goldney during her undergrad and as a senior resident, Amber only really wanted the position at Goldney. As well as her office based in Goldney, she is SSA for Hillside Woodside and Winkworth House, which allows her to get wider views and perspectives from the different residences and therefore doesn't focus on just the needs of Goldney.

In her spare time, Amber plays netball and has started reading more, since whilst studying most of the reading time was based on French and German texts. She likes dog walking over at Ashton Court and Leigh Woods, but has spent a fair amount of time with Goldney cat, that has recently had £600 raised for vet bills and special food by the residents.

Amber attends the annual Goldney / Constitution Ball and is looking forward to a university friend from Goldney coming back to have their wedding in The Orangery.

The student support advisers meet up regularly as a group for social activities. If there was one warden she'd like to get to know more, it would be Robert Villain of Wills Hall, who was also one of her professors in German.

Robert Vilain

Dr Scott Greenwell

Acting Warden - Manor Hall

Photo - Hospital for Sick Children

Scott was Deputy Warden of Manor Hall from September 2016 to January 2018 and is now the acting Warden with Rachel Paterson. In preparation for his interview, Scott researched the history of the hall, noting that the architect was the same as Wills Memorial Building, Wills Hall and the Physics Laboratory he works in. This knowledge of the hall may have added bonus points during an intense interview with the warden, Dr Martin Crossley Evans, Rachel Paterson and Dr Tom Richardson of neighbouring Clifton Hill House.

Scott first came to Bristol in 2007 to study Physics as an undergraduate, living in Churchill Hall. Since then he has completed his PhD and is now developing scientific instrument for Rolls-Royce.

As acting warden, Scott prefers meeting with the residents informally, offering to go for a run or grab a coffee and is delighted to hear when students discover more of Bristol than the university bubble around Clifton. Scott has attended all of the formals, as well as the plays, carols and ceilidhs. At the first formal, he took part in a murder mystery, a great opportunity for residents to meet and interact with those on 'the high table'.

Scott is grateful to Rachel, Tom and Leo of Goldney, for their support whilst the warden was ill, and final thanks go to Nikki Press, the student support adviser that has kept everything together since 1999.

Robert Vilain

Miles Taylor

Deputy Warden - Hiatt Baker

Photo - Stoke Bishop grounds

Miles came to Bristol in 2007 to study Physics, however he switched to Computer Science and became a senior resident at Hiatt Baker.

After university, Miles was told about the deputy warden position becoming available at Hiatt Baker and has been in that role since October 2015. Before the expansion of Hiatt Baker, there was accommodation for both warden and deputy warden on site, however after the new blocks were built only accommodation for the warden was provided, so Miles lives next door at University Hall.

Miles attends the formals and quiz nights. At his first Christmas formal, he ended up having to liaise with the company providing décor as one of the reindeers antlers had been snapped off, as well as the usual student that had too much to drink and was a little worse for wear. Previously in his first year as senior resident, Hiatt Baker held a 'Take Me Out' night. He remembers one of the other members of staff being involved, so much so that Miles had to step outside for fresh air.

Miles' day job is Senior Faculty Assistant in the Health Sciences Faculty Office and works with Andrew Pearce, warden of Northwell House, The Hawthorns and Colston Street. Some of the faculties and schools within the university are good at relaying pastoral information back to the hall regarding its students, but this varies across faculties as the new student wellbeing advisers are not all yet in post.

Robert Vilain

Sandy Payne

Warden - Unite House and Orchard Heights

Photo - The Hawthorns

Sandy started as warden of Orchard Heights in June 2016 followed by neighbouring Unite House in July. During the day she is the IT Systems and Processes Manager for Residential and Hospitality Services, with 2 previous positions before this: Accommodation Department Manager and Student Systems Officer for the Academic Registry. She applied for the role as her manager, Pru, was also a warden and found it really enjoyable and rewarding, with the students being great.

Sandy attends the formals as well as hosting baking sessions for the residents and putting on film related quizzes. Game of Thrones went down well, so the next two will be Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. There are 800 students in total in the 2 residences, with 19 senior residents from a wide range of nationalities, meaning a variety of different events are put on.

The students are always keen to walk Sandy's dog, Tinka, and when she is down at the residences the students sometimes direct their hellos to Tinka rather than to Sandy.

Robert Vilain

Pru Lawrence-Archer

Warden - City Centre Riverside

Photo - City Centre Riverside Common Room

Pru is in her second year as warden of the City Centre Riverside residences: The Rackhay, Favell and Waverley House. Before this she was warden of Unite House for 5 years, with a small period of time as warden of neighbouring Orchard Heights as well.

Pru is head of accommodation services, which doesn't leave her with much spare time; however she occasionally brings her dog to the residences for the students to see.

Pru attends the formals and charitable events, such as breast cancer awareness, creating Christmas shoe boxes to send to refugees and the international food fair.

Through her 2 current roles she has met most of the wardens, deputy wardens and student support advisers.

Robert Vilain

Dr Martin Crossley Evans

Warden - Manor Hall

Photo - Home in Clifton

Martin first came to Bristol as an undergraduate in 1975 to study Archaeology and Geology, living in Wills Hall for 3 years. He later returned to the university as a postdoc, where he was senior resident in Hiatt Baker for 2 years, looking after 100 students in D,E,F block.

Martin applied for the role of Warden at Manor at age 26, becoming the second youngest warden, in 1984. He was the longest serving warden since the university first provided residential care for students. He is also president of the Manor Hall Association, a member of the corps of bedells (ceremonial officers) from January 1993 to February 2018, and sometimes University Marshal. Martin had an MBE conferred in 2001 for services to higher education and has served as a magistrate for almost 20 years in the city.

When he first came to Manor, there was no music or drama in the hall and the bar had 3 suppliers, 2 of which were in debt. This has been improved over many years; the hall now has multiple pianos, an organ and artwork. Martin put aside some of his salary each month to pay for items and improving the hall, such as plants in the garden, some to commemorate lost friends, and benches.

During his time at Manor he has hosted Christmas dinner for those residents staying in Bristol over the holidays, which could be up to 30-40 students. Over the years, he has told the students the value of charity and the community, and the hall is closely involved with supplying financial support and a significant number of volunteers to the Heswall Disabled Children's Holiday Fund since 1985.

Martin is disheartened that some deputy wardens may never get the chance to be warden if the residential life plans go ahead.

Robert Vilain

Tilly Beech

Warden - Durdham Hall and University Hall

Photo - Durdham Hall

Tilly has been at the university since 1999, where she started as an IT contractor replacing the terminals in libraries with computers and is now team leader in IT services for Professional Services, the Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Social Sciences.

Her first hall role came in 2001 when she became deputy warden of University Hall. This was meant to be for one year, however a few years later Tilly then became warden of neighbouring Durdham Hall in 2006 and more recently became warden of University Hall as well.

She is also on the board of trustees for both the university and students' union. This leaves her with little free time, which she spends running and tries to get away twice a year.

Tilly attends the formals for both halls, which being self-catered, are held in other university residences and buildings such as Wills Hall and Wills Memorial Building. She attends the annual Durdham music festival (Durdhambury / Oh My Quad) as well as the upcoming Chinese new year celebrations. For other large events she will be on site but out the way, treating the senior residents to a takeaway but being there in case any issues arise.

Robert Vilain

Emma Keen

Student Support Adviser - New Bridewell

Photo - New Bridewell

Emma has been at the university for the last five years. Her first role was as a careers adviser for two and a half years, which involved one to one meeting with students, workshops and even teaching a careers management skills unit for computer science. After a restructure, she became the student support adviser for the City Centre Old Town residences, where she has been for a further two and a half years. More recently she has focused on New Bridewell, which recently opened in September 2016, with over 400 rooms for university students.

As SSA, Emma's responsibilities include organising the formals, as well as spending the summer months organising the welcome week activities and schedule for September. During the first few weeks of term, the CCOT staff wore branded t-shirts so students would get to recognise a familiar face. Some of the recent events put on by the residences include movie nights, a Chinese New Year celebration, a speed dating event and a poker tournament. Emma also joined in the Fresh Student Living charity cycle ride in February to raise money for Young Minds.

This academic year the amount of welfare issues has increased significantly and this take precedence over Emma's daily administration, which can lead to long days. The SSAs have been self-organised in meeting to discuss best practice when supporting students with welfare issues.

Robert Vilain

Dr Steve Bullock

Warden - City Centre Old Town

Photo - Queens Building workshop

Steve came to Bristol in 2001 for his undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering, staying in Clifton Hill House (CHH). After a few years teaching science in London secondary schools he returned to Bristol for a PhD and became a Senior Resident, back in CHH. After three years as a SR he was promoted to Deputy Warden.

Two years later during a round of new warden recruitment, an evening was held at CHH for interested applicants. As the CHH warden was unavailable on the night, Steve was asked to host. Multiple attendees assumed he was there to apply and he is still surprised that he is now in his third year as warden of City Centre Old Town (CCOT), home to over 750 students.

Initially CCOT consisted of The Courtrooms and Nelson House, however once New Bridewell was completed Nelson House became a UWE residence. These 2 residences either side of Nelson House largely get along, although during Varsity they often tend to 'embrace the rivalry'.

During the day, Steve is a lecturer in Aerospace Engineering and finds his pastoral role incredibly rewarding alongside his academic position. His PhD was in formation flight for automated air-to-air refuelling. He now teaches on the aero second year wing build unit and is academic lead on a range of initiatives including the Airbus-sponsored 'Drone Dash', a soon to be announced collaboration with Aardman for their upcoming charity trail supporting Bristol Children's Hospital, and the popular Best of Bristol Lectures.

He welcomes students at the formals, loves taking part in the wide range of events led by students and the pastoral team, and tries to avoid wearing shirts unless giving a resident a telling off. Steve is incredibly thankful to the series of excellent teams he's been lucky enough to lead, with strong Student Support Advisers, Deputy Wardens and Senior Residents adding so much value to residents' experience in halls.