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Rule-breakers and change-makers: 30ish alumni making a big impact

1 November 2022

Image of Alex Davis with Dan Bickerton and Alex's wife, Kathryn
30ish winner Alex Davis with Dr Daniel Bickerton, School of Music Senior Lecturer, and Alex's wife Kathryn (L-R)

The university’s first 30(ish) Awards celebrated the achievements of alumni who have made a positive contribution to their community, and all before they hit 30. Well, 30(ish).

Eschewing the format of traditional ’30 Under 30’ lists, the inaugural awards were open to alumni under or over 30, who feel 30(ish). Designed to recognise the change-makers, innovators, and rule-breakers in the Cardiff University alumni community, there was an overwhelming response, with nearly 300 nominations submitted. Or 300(ish).

Alumni from across the globe and a wide range of industries, nominated themselves, or were put forward by their fellow alumni, staff, or colleagues.

30(ish) winners were invited to the inaugural awards event at the University’s innovative sbarc | spark building, hosted by Chair of Council and alumnus Pat Younge (BSc 1987) and emceed by alumna Babita Sharma (BA 1998). Around 70 alumni, guests and staff attended this special night, with some travelling from as far as the USA and Canada to receive their awards.

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences alumni featured among the glittering list of winners, including alumnus Alex Davis (BMus 2015, MA 2016) from the School of Music.

Since graduating, Alex has not only excelled in his career path as a music, but he has also made great strides to improve the aspirations of a challenging and diverse community of students in Dagenham, Essex.

Alex joined when the school was brand new and he established a "big band project" funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber foundation for every KS3 pupil to learn an instrument and play as part of a jazz ensemble, and he also created an 'Enrichment Programme' which enables every year group to attend a prospective university each year.

Alex has forged links with Cardiff University to create an annual 'Big Band Event’ for Year 9 students. He is a champion for equality, diversity, and inclusivity in the arts. He continues to transform the lives of pupils in this part of London, and many of them are now in sixth form and about to submit applications to study at university or conservatoire.

Read the full 2022 list of 30(ish) winners.

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