UWE Bristol launches Paul Stephenson bursary to support students from BAME backgrounds

Media Relations Team, 23 June 2020

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UWE Bristol has launched a new bursary named after the Bristol civil rights activist Paul Stephenson OBE to help students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

The five successful recipients of the grant will each receive £1,000 in the first two years of their university studies. The funds will be provided by UWE Bristol and will assist students with their living costs; helping to widen participation within higher education and supporting BAME students to further their ambitions.

It is one of two new bursaries launched by the Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education (ACE) to help new undergraduate students from under-represented groups with living costs. The other bursary, The Dean’s Bursary, is aimed at applicants from ‘low participating neighbourhoods’ which are areas where young people traditionally do not consider Higher Education.

UWE Bristol has a long-standing relationship with Mr Stephenson and his family. He was awarded an honorary degree of Master of Education in 2009 and has worked closely with the University for some time to launch this new initiative.

Mr Stephenson’s daughter, Fumi, said: “Dad attended university in Birmingham in the 1950s, where after one of his first jobs was in teaching. He always promoted the importance of education in and outside the house. He is very happy to know that there is a bursary to support the gap in the system whereby talent can be supported in a meaningful way for the local community.’’

Mr Stephenson is a community worker, activist and long-time campaigner for civil rights for the British African Caribbean community in Bristol.

As a young social worker in 1963 he led a boycott of the Bristol Omnibus Company, protesting against its refusal to employ Black or Asian drivers or conductors. After a 60-day boycott supported by thousands of Bristolians, the company revoked its colour bar.

Professor Jane Roscoe, Pro Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean for the ACE Faculty, said: “Education is a vehicle for changing lives. We are committed to ensuring that all people get access to Higher Education at UWE Bristol. We recognise that for some people the challenges they have faced in their lives may mean that they may not have seen Higher Education as an option for them. We hope that with these two bursaries we can start to change those perceptions and enable more people to continue their learning and make a difference to their lives.”

In return for both of the bursaries, students will be expected to produce a piece of project work advancing the Equality Diversity and Strategic Aims of the University.

Students from BAME backgrounds who are starting their studies at UWE Bristol in 2020 can apply for the Paul Stephenson bursary by contacting myra.evans@uwe.ac.uk. Applicants must be new undergraduate students to the Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education. Applications close on 3 July.

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