Last Friday the Professional Guidance department hosted a Beyond Bedales Sustainability careers talk, which involved five very influential people.
James Bidwell, co-owner of Re_set and owner and Chair of Springwise, spoke to us about the sustainability changes he is helping businesses to make. Re_set is an organisation that helps businesses reset themselves for the future. James’ job is to help create strategies to help transition the companies from linear fossil fuels businesses into much more eco-friendly companies thinking about the circulatory use of all their products.
Kemi Williams is the Development Director at the British High Commission in Tanzania, and she spoke to us about her role in the Department of International Development. She works in developing countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and currently Tanzania. She works on distributing the money that is given to their government from richer countries such as Britain to help these developing countries in a sustainable way. This means that she finds solutions to ensure that once the money is no longer being fed into their economy, the country is able to survive on its own.
Emma Cusworth works for the Green Finance Institute, where she is responsible for driving the organisation’s strategic brand and communication activity. She follows her own philosophy through a very fascinating story which was concluded with the lesson: work in alignment, everyone moving in the same direction, working together to make actions faster and less tiresome, something which the world needs to realise today in order to resolve the huge dilemmas with lack of sustainability on our planet. She also emphasised the importance of finance in our world, and how drastically finance needs to change in order to make more sustainable ways of life more profitable than fossil fuels, as right now that is not the case.
Roxy Rocks-Engleman has her hands in many different places, all associated with sustainable development. She is currently the Sustainability Manager for Cafédirect, a company empowering smallholder farmers. The company also set a charity to help smallholder growers in its network and has now helped an incredible amount of 1.3 million smallholders. Roxy emphasised all the incredible changes that are being made. Global supply chains have currently never been closer together, joining forces to make many opportunities that will surprise us and help us work towards something more positive.
Scott Emerson was also part of the lecture, telling us about the changes that are occurring in fashion and how there are so many sustainable ways in which to delve into the fashion world. Having been thrown into the industry through horrible high consumerism and unsustainable fashion trends he decided to research into eco-friendly ways in which to change this, finding extremely fascinating solutions such as plant dying. He recently used this newfound talent of plant dying in London’s Fashion Week, spreading awareness to the public that new changes must be made to allow our world to attain more positive and sustainable products in the world’s second worst polluting industry.
Overall, the lecture was extremely fascinating and opened the students’ eyes to how sustainability is relevant in any job and career that one wishes to follow.
Next Friday, the Professional Guidance team are hosting the next Beyond Bedales event in the Reading Room at 6.30pm. This time our guest speakers are involved in careers in sustainability, an area many Bedalians are keen to explore.
The panel comprises a mix of Old Bedalians and current parents: Emma Cusworth (Director of Corporate Affairs, Green Finance Institute); Kemi Williams (Department of International Development); James Bidwell (Co-founder/Chair of B Corps, Re_Set and Springwise; Roxy Rocks-Engelman (Sustainability Manager, Cafédirect) and Scott Emerson (Fashion Design BA graduate at Istituto Marangoni; plant dyed, biodegradable fashion). Read more about the panel members below below.
The event is open to all students and we would strongly encourage anyone interested in pursuing a career in the sustainability sector to attend. There will be a Q&A session after the guests have spoken.
Kemi Williams (Current Parent and Old Bedalian) – Department of International Development
Kemi Williams is the Development Director at the British High Commission in Tanzania. She joined the team in Dar es Salaam from her previous position as Deputy Development Director in Kinshasa. Previously Kemi was the Deputy Head of the DFID Pakistan office and has also been Human Development team leader in DFID Nigeria and Country Director for Girl Hub in Nigeria and Rwanda.
Kemi has over 30 years’ experience of development work in various countries including DRC, Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Angola, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Pakistan and now Tanzania.
She has a first degree in Development Studies from the University of East Anglia, a Masters of Arts (MA) degree in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at Sussex University and a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Public Policy and Management from the University of Birmingham. She is married with two grown up children.
Her profile can be viewed on LinkedIn and she would like you to follow her on Twitter.
James Bidwell (Current Parent) – Re_Set
James Bidwell is co-founder of Re_Set, a leading next-generation strategy consultancy for innovation and sustainability whose mission is to ensure its clients thrive in a disrupted world. Re_Set empowers and equips businesses and governments to make a positive global impact and create a new vision of success. He is also the owner and Chair of Springwise, the world’s largest source of global innovations. Committed to positive change, Springwise is essential reading for CEOs, innovators, investors, educators and corporates from all sectors. Both companies are members of 1% for the planet and certified B Corporations, part of a growing community of businesses committed to redefining the role of business in society as a force for good.
James specialises in leading positive and transformational change in business and has held many Board level and CEO roles. He outlines his philosophy in his book, Disrupt! 100 Lessons in Business Innovation, published by Hachette and now an Amazon best seller. He was listed in the Financial Times Creative Business Top 50, and named as one of London’s 1000 most influential by the London Evening Standard. During his time as Marketing Director at Selfridges, he was described as the “ring master extraordinaire” and “a theatrical agitator”.
James is also a high-profile speaker and commentator. He speaks regularly on navigating disruption, the rapid pace of change, the role of innovation in helping solve the climate crisis and how to achieve cultural shift. He is a visiting lecturer at the University of Bristol and Cambridge Judge Business School, a participant in the London Business School Innovation and Entrepreneurship programme, and committee member and judge at the World Retail Congress and mentor at Red Bull Amaphiko Academy.
Committed to protecting and securing the future of the natural world, James chairs the UK Steering Committee for 1% for the Planet, an international organisation, whose members contribute at least one per cent of their annual sales to environmental causes.
Emma Cusworth (OB) – Green Finance Institute
Emma Cusworth joined the Green Finance Institute in January 2021 as director of corporate affairs, where she is responsible for driving the organisation’s strategic brand and communications activity. Emma is also leading the GFI’s collaboration with the City of London Corporation on GHS@COP26, a hybrid 5-day platform for mobilising private finance in the transition to net zero.
Emma has 20 years’ international experience in strategic communications, content and integrated marketing for financial services firms with a particular focus on sustainability. She joined the Green Finance Institute from Lombard Odier Investment Managers (LOIM), where she was head of strategic communications. She spent three years at LOIM, which included a one-year secondment to its dedicated sustainable investment team focusing on communications and stewardship.
Prior to this, Emma spent 10 years as a freelance financial journalist specialising in sustainable investment. She regularly contributed news and feature articles to leading publications including the Financial Times, IPE, Financial News, Portfolio Institutional and Professional Pensions and developed her own sustainability-related blog, The Responsible Capitalist. Emma started her career in corporate communications and investor relations within a number of leading consultancy firms.
Emma has lived and worked in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and East Africa, and read Management Sciences at U.M.I.S.T., University of Manchester.
Roxy Rocks-Engleman (OB) – Cafédirect
Roxy Rocks-Engelman is the Sustainability Manager for Cafédirect and Chair of the British Coffee Association’s Sustainability Committee. Roxy has a Masters in Sustainable Development and has worked with mission-led businesses that work with cooperatives in both the FMCG and garment sector. Cafédirect is a UK based, coffee company, which was set up as a social enterprise to empower smallholder farmers. Cafédirect was the first coffee brand to be Fairtrade certified and was also the first UK Coffee company to certify as a B Corporation. Cafédirect purchases coffee directly from 20 coffee cooperatives in Latin America and East Africa and has smallholder growers on their Board. Cafédirect set up a charity, Producers Direct in 2009, which is now an independent charity that is farmer-led and has over 1.3 million smallholder growers in its network.
Scott Emerson (OB) – Fashion Design BA Graduate at Istituto Marangoni; plant dyed, biodegradable fashion
Scott Emerson graduated in June 2021 at Istituto Marangoni with a First Class Honours in Fashion Design BA. He was selected amongst the Top 10 best fashion designers of his course and was given the opportunity to showcase his 6-look menswear collection at London Fashion Week Sept 2021.
Scott has always been fascinated with the relationship between fashion and identity. He was interested in exploring post-war youth rebellion subcultures and how each subculture has a striking visual aesthetic. Their personality was reflected in their style. In 2021, fashion has become so fluid with mix and matching so he feels sole character is lost – we have been exposed to high consumerism and fashion trends.
Plant dyeing started out as a hobby in the first lockdown. He used various plants from his back garden and kitchen from acorns & spinach to avocado & onions. During that summer, Scott joined an Artist in Residency programme at Gallery NK in Kensington, where his inspiration turned towards waste and trash around London. He then began to fuse this with subculture fashion and plant dyeing when going into his 3rd year at university and from then on he used plant dyeing throughout his entire collection.
The River Teifi is the longest river in Wales; 73 miles in length from its source in the vast and barren Cambrian Mountains to the wide, slow flowing scenic estuary as it meets the sea just west of Cardigan. The stunning and unique locations it flows through inspired me to make a film, A Journey Along the River Teifi, as it seemed like a challenge to try and convey its beauty onto film. I co-wrote and co-produced the film with my father, Old Bedalian Gyles Morris, as we had started to make a river documentary a couple of years ago. That project didn’t go the way we wanted it to, so we re-approached the film with a new set of ideas. Instead of just making it with the idea of people and history, I wanted to make sure we followed some of the natural occurrences on the river as well as balancing the ‘people’ element of the film, which provided the perfect storyline to follow.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process of making this film, visiting the beautiful locations and trying to portray the beauty of the River Teifi and those who live in and around it, as well as the editing and choosing different music to highlight different emotions one might feel when watching a particular sequence of imagery.
A day which stood out for me in particular was filming water buffalos. The initial reaction for that is: “What?! There are Water Buffalos in Wales?!” and indeed there are. Cattle cannot graze on marshy ground partly because they don’t want to but also they can suffer from red water fever, so to keep the Teifi Marshes intact, water buffalos are brought in for a couple of months in the summer from a nearby farm. When filming big animals, you always have to be careful. We had achieved the drone shots successfully, but I wanted to make sure we also got some close up/intimate shots of the animals. The field they were in stretched a couple of acres and we could only see two buffalo out of the three who were in the field. As we tiptoed around the corner of this mound, in the middle of the field – 400 metres away – two females we looking at us down their noses. But where was the third male? Suddenly a metre or two in front of the females, the male erupted out of the foliage. We knew instantly that our presence was not wanted! Slowly they began to walk towards us, I stopped filmed for 30 seconds and then quickly rushed back and repeated the same as before. Finally, I got the shots I needed, but what an incredible experience. Looking deep into its eyes, it felt like I could be somewhere in Africa filming this amazing animal.
The most challenging aspect of the film was the sound recording and balancing it to the imagery. A lot of inspiration came from the major BBC shows of Blue Planet 2, Planet Earth 2 or Seven Worlds, One Planet.
The hardest thing about making this film was noticing the effects we are having on the river. Increasing intensification of agriculture has resulted in three major slurry spillages and poisonings in the last five years. We searched for the dead fish because I felt it was important for the story to be told and put the reality of the river into perspective. As we turned a corner, a cloud of flies engulfed the air around us and when they cleared, the true devastation was revealed. Around 60-70 fish were on the stones next to the river with around 10 which were visible on the surface. This was only a small river, the incidents on the river Teifi have killed over 1,000 fish. That was the most difficult aspect to film because it was heart breaking to see this had happened.
This film was such a joy to make and I’m looking forward to see what I can do for my next project.
Watch Jake’s film, A Journey Along the River Teifi on YouTube here.
By Cheryl Osborne, Head of Careers Education and Guidance
Last Friday, we carried out our first virtual Beyond Bedales Careers event, covering the fashion and design industries. We are so lucky to have amazing alumni and parents who are willing to give up their time to talk to Bedalians about their career paths and offer advice to our students about how to maximise their chances of a successful career in their chosen field.
The students spent an hour and a half listening to and engaging with our guests; Zoe Berman (OB), who is a founding director of UK based design group Studio Berman; Juliette Bigley (OB), who had an interesting career path to her life now as a sculptor, before which she had been a musician and worked in healthcare; Matthew Shave (OB), an acclaimed photographer of 25 years whose lucky break came when he submitted his portfolio to a prestigious magazine; Alexander Bond (OB) and Fraser Park (current parent), both of whom work for The Business of Fashion (BoF) and discussed the alternative roles within the fashion world. Alexander discussed his role as a project manager, and Fraser, who is the Chief Financial Officer, wanted to persuade the students that even the most creative people need to understand how to make money in the ultra-competitive world of fashion and design.
In February half term, I went to Nepal – a country with an incredibly rich and diverse culture, which makes it the perfect basis for a film.
It seems that whenever anyone speaks about Nepal, they instantly think of the Himalayas or Mount Everest, but not nearly as many people speak about who or what lies beneath the villages clinging to existence on the mountain slopes (they may look photogenic to Westerners, but in reality, people there live below the poverty line) or the extensive smog that hangs above the hustle and bustle of its capital city, Kathmandu.
When I realised this, the title of the film – ‘Light and Shade’ – came into my mind. It was an idea with two meanings; the physical light contrast, but also the way of Nepali life being so different to ours.
By Al McConville, Director of Learning and Innovation
Friend of Bedales and educational reformer, Professor Bill Lucas of Winchester University, gave a keynote speech to the Mercers’ Company in London about ‘the Future of Education’ on Monday, which I was privileged to attend.
Bedales was name-checked repeatedly as a key pioneer in the context of a pretty dreary and narrow educational landscape. Alongside School 21, collaborators of ours in the East End of London, Bedales was held up as the example of the sort of holistic, broad, practical education that more and more external agencies are clamouring for, from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) to the CBI (Confederation of British Industry).
Going to Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire, Wales, has always been on my mind as somewhere I wanted to film, as it is jam packed full of puffins. I was fortunate enough to borrow a really great telephoto lens and a good, sturdy tripod from Old Bedalian Andrew Graham Brown, who went to school with my father. This made filming at Skomer Island challenging but enjoyable; trying out professional gear is always really exciting.