Beyond Bath Spa

From writing award-winning novels to winning Olympic gold medals, our alumni are doing amazing things!

You and your fellow alumni are part of a brilliant and diverse group of poets and painters, teachers and business owners, designers, musicians, filmmakers, beer brewers and opera singers.

You only have to read a few of the stories below to get a flavour of the vibrant community we’re building. And we’re always on the lookout for more examples! If you’d like to share your story with us please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.

“To be in an environment surrounded by peers who share the same difficulties, stresses and successes, created a unique creative community and that was very special to me.”

A few of our amazing alumni...

Mark Gardner, Creator of the Main Titles for Mad Men and Others

Bath Spa University Alumni Mark Gardner, graphic designer and creator of the main titles for Mad Men

Mark grew up in East Africa before coming to the UK to study graphic design. He is an award-winning multidisciplinary creative with over 13 years’ experience in the USA, Europe and South America. He is currently a freelance Creative Director in New York.

Mark has directed short films for Lexus, interactive installations for Lincoln Center in Manhattan, and main titles for Charlotte’s Web, Hell on Wheels and Nurse Jackie. His work has twice been nominated for an Emmy, winning the Outstanding Main Title Design in 2009 for the iconic title sequence for Mad Men.

“Bath is the most magical place. The student halls and campus up on Sion Hill can’t really be bettered as a place to spend three years. I remember being given a lot of freedom at Bath, but then having to learn to control that and instil your own discipline. That’s really helped since.”

Nathan Filer, Multi-Award Winning Novelist

Bath Spa University Alumni Nathan Filer, award-winning novelist and author of The Shock of the Fall

Nathan’s debut novel The Shock of the Fall received wide critical acclaim and won the Costa First Novel Award and the Costa Book of the Year in 2013, as well as the Betty Trask Prize and the Writers’ Guild Award for Best First Novel in 2014. His writing has also appeared in various publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Independent and Metro. He is currently a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Bath Spa.

Nathan initially began thinking about his novel in 2003, but he was able to devote the most concentrated amount of time and effort writing the book whilst on the MA course at Bath Spa in 2009, where he completed his first draft.

“A great thing about the MA creative writing course is you have the opportunity to learn from such a wealth of experience and talent. I worked with people who are skilled writers and tutors. To be in an environment surrounded by peers who share the same difficulties, stresses and successes, created a unique creative community and that was very special to me.”

Clare Sutcliffe, Founder of Code Club

Bath Spa Alumni Clare Sutcliffe, Founder of Code Club

In 2012 Clare created Code Club – a nationwide network of free, volunteer-led after school computer coding clubs for children aged 9-11. Code Club is a not-for-profit organisation funded by donations from the public, technology companies and grants and there are currently over 2,000 Code Clubs across the UK.

Clare’s company creates projects for its volunteers to teach at after school coding clubs or at non-school venues such as libraries. The projects teach children how to program computers by showing them how to make computer games, animations and websites. The volunteers utilise one of Code Club’s specially written projects to teach children how to program. Each Club meets for one hour a week and one project is taught per session. Every term a new set of projects is written to challenge the students while encouraging them to use their imagination to create their own projects.

“Teaching children to code empowers them to bring their imaginations to life. Code is another tool they can use to be creative and express themselves - which is what children do best!”

Jason Gardener MBE, Olympic Gold Medalist

Bath Spa University alumni Jason Gardiner,

When Jason enrolled at Bath Spa, he had already won a 60m Silver medal at the 1998 European Indoor Championships and been part of the team that won the 4 x 100m relay 1998 Commonwealth Games Gold. In addition, during his first year of study he became the third fastest 60m sprinter in the world and joined the sub-10 second club for 100m, clocking 9.98 - a time that broke Linford Christie’s European record.

By the time the 2004 Athens Olympics rolled around, Jason had not only graduated from Bath Spa but he had significantly added to his athletic achievements with a second 60m Gold at the 2002 European Indoor Championship and a 4 x 100m 2002 Commonwealth Games Gold. Jason went on to win Gold in the 4 x 100m relay in Athens.

“Graduating from university was one of those things I never thought I would do, so to be able to walk onto the stage and know I had achieved it was quite special. I cherish those memories and still keep in touch with some of my old lecturers to this day.”

Davide Rossi, Violinist, Composer and Arranger

Bath Spa Alumni Davide Rossi, ciolinist, composer and arranger

Davide has carved out an innovative and genre-spanning career as a violinist, arranger and composer. He may be best known as a member of Goldfrapp, performing with them from 2000 until 2013, when he left to focus on composing and other solo projects. Davide’s work can be heard on records from various artists such as Siouxie Sioux, The Verve, Dido, Röyksopp, Alicia Keys, One Direction, Recoil, Moby, Jon Hopkins, and Rihanna.

In 2006 Davide began what would become an ongoing collaboration with Coldplay, contributing and recording string arrangements for several songs on their Viva la Vida album, released in 2008, and has collaborated with them ever since. In February 2016, Davide travelled to America to arrange the music for the band’s halftime performance during Super Bowl 50, which took place in San Francisco.

“My career flourished quite nicely and now I’m doing what I always wanted to do and still pushing myself to new horizons hopefully. I worked hard and kept making myself interested in my work, which luckily I love so much.”

Eleanor Furneaux, Member of the British Skeleton Team

Bath Spa Alumni Eleanor Furneaux, member of the British Skeleton Team

In April 2014 UK Sport and British Skeleton held trials to find the next generation of talented athletes to join and compete for the British Olympic Skeleton team. From over 1,000 applications a final selection of just eight were chosen, and Eleanor was one of them. Eleanor trained and went through the trials whilst studying for a degree in Contemporary Arts Practice, graduating in June 2015. The course enabled her to explore different creative arts and to find that she had a flair for photography.

Her year is split into two parts: summer training which involves gruelling sessions in the gym up to twice a day for six days, and winter training which involves a tough schedule of skeleton sessions, gym workouts, sliding sessions and mobility training. Eleanor takes it all in her stride and is thankful that she chose to go to Bath Spa University, where it all began. Fingers crossed, she’ll be competing in Beijing in 2022!

“The first time I stood at the top of the track, I had never been so nervous in my life and I was really shaking. Then I got to the bottom and started crying – but in a good way because it was so exhilarating. If I wasn’t based in Bath I definitely wouldn’t be where I am right now and I would never have heard about the trials; I’m very lucky.”

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