The University is currently in the process of improving facilities for students and colleagues in the Larkin East building. This overhaul of existing space includes the refurbishment of six lecture theatres in order to create modern and flexible learning spaces.
The work is due to complete in September 2018 and, what were previously lecture rooms A, B, C, E, F and G will be renamed after some of our most prominent alumnae. In this article, we take a look at the lives and careers of the alumni who are to be honoured in this way:
Ayesha Hazarika MBE
Ayesha Hazarika graduated from Hull in 1996 with LLB Law before moving on to study journalism and politics at the University of Westminster. She currently pursues a wide-ranging career as a political advisor, commentator, broadcaster and a stand-up comedian.
Beginning her career as an Administrator with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ayesha moved on to the Press Office of the Department of Trade and Industry under Patricia Hewitt where she honed her journalistic skills. It was at this time that she was persuaded by a friend to attend a course in stand-up comedy and began to perform paid comedy gigs alongside her day job.
Her sharp comedic skills began to gain her recognition on the circuit and with a wider audience and in 2003 she reached the semi-finals of Channel 4’s stand-up comedy competition So You Think You’re Funny.
Her political career also progressed rapidly and soon eclipsed her comedy career. In 2007 she stopped touring to focus on her new role as a Special Adviser and between 2007 and 2015 she advised a number of senior Labour figures including Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband. Breaking down barriers remained an abiding passion during this time; during her spell with Harriet Harman she worked in the Women and Equality Unit and was instrumental in drafting the Equality Bill, which, among other things, outlawed age discrimination.
Following the general election of 2015 Ayesha left her party role to focus on her career as a political commentator and stand-up comedian. Using her first-hand experiences of politics to develop new satirical material, she began touring again and took her show, ‘Tales from the Pink Bus’ to Edinburgh in 2016 before returning to the Fringe last year for a sell-out run of her new show ‘State of the Nation.’
Her career in broadcasting and journalism has also blossomed, she is a regular columnist for The Scotsman and the London Evening Standard and her TV and radio credits include appearances on The Andrew Marr Show, Newsnight, Question Time, Any Questions, Front Row and the Today Programme. In January 2016, she was also awarded the MBE for her political service and her media presence and influence in politics has been recognised by political commentator Iain Dale who listed her as one of the ‘100 most influential people on the left’ in September 2017.
Indhu Rubasingham MBE
Indhu Rubasingham graduated from Hull in 1992 with a degree in Drama. Despite having a background in science, her arts degree brought the realisation that directing theatre would enable her to use both the creative and scientific sides of her nature.
She decided to explore directing as a profession, and received an Arts Council bursary to be an Assistant Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East in London working under Mike Leigh. She went on to work freelance and directed ground breaking productions at the Birmingham Rep including Ramayana and the work of emerging playwrights such as Roy Williams, David Hare & Tanika Gupta. She also gained experience working at the National Theatre, The Royal Court Theatre, The Gate Theatre, The Hampstead Theatre. She also worked at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn during this period and went on to secure the role of Artistic Director at Tricycle.
Significant success followed during her tenure at the Tricycle including productions of Lolita Chakrabarti’s Red Velvet, which won an Evening Standard Award and a Critics’ Circle Award, Moira Buffini’s Handbagged and Florian Zeller’s The Father, all of which transferred to the West End.
Indhu also set up the programme Minding the Gap, through which the theatre worked with newly arrived asylum seekers and immigrants aged between 12 and 18 – this increased the number of young people they worked with by 50% in the first year.
Whilst leading the Tricycle Theatre, Indhu also directed sell out hits at the Royal Court, The Almedia and at the National Theatre, most significantly Stephen Adly Guirgis’, The Motherfucker with the Hat
During her career she has also worked in New York, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Uganda and India and has also directed radio plays for BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 3 and the BBC World Service. Amongst other significant awards in 2017 Indhu was awarded an MBE for services to Theatre
Marianne Elliot graduated with BA Drama in 1989. Today she is best known as a multi-award winning British stage director lauded for her inventive productions, most notably War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
After initially working in the casting department at Granada Television, she joined the Royal Exchange Theatre in 1995, becoming Artistic Director in 1998. She drew early critical acclaim for her direction of such plays as Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance and Noël Coward’s Design for Living. In 2002, she relocated to London and became Associate Director at the Royal Court Theatre before moving on to her current artistic home, the National Theatre
In 2006, her directing was recognised with a 2006 Evening Standard Theatre Award for for Henrik Ibsen’s Pillars of the Community. During this period, she also achieved critical recognition for her fairy-tale take on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well.
A further breakthrough came with Elliott’s epic adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 children’s novel War Horse at theNational Theatre, which she co-directed with Tom Morris. The production received six Laurence Olivier nominations before transfering to the West End and Broadway, which ultimately led to a Tony Award.
In 2012 Elliott debuted The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Simon Stephens’s adaptation of Mark Haddon’s award-winning 2003 novel of the same name. The production drew acclaim for its innovative structure and special effects which lent a surrealist edge to the story and echoed the arithmetic obsessions of the central character. The adaptation attracted seven Olivier Awards, including best new play and best director.
Other successes have followed including Tony Kushner’s Angels in America (2017) which won an Olivier Award in play revival category. After transfering to Broadway, the play received 11 Tony nominations.
Dame Eleanor Warwick King DBE
Dame Eleanor Warwick King (nee Hamilton) graduated from this University in 1978. Her written work as an undergraduate was sometimes affected by dyslexia, however this was offset by her strength in oral presentation which was to become a defining feature of her career. Called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1979, she was a pupil of Shaun Spencer QC at No. 6 Chambers in Leeds where she quickly turned her attention to family law.
In 1987, while still a “junior” she was instructed in the first of what became a long list of cases of national importance. In Re: B she persuaded a Court that it had the jurisdiction to authorise doctors to sterilise a mentally incapacitated young woman. The controversial aspect of the case being that pregnancy was inimical to the well being of the young woman but that she should, if possible, be allowed the liberty to be sexually active. The House of Lords upheld the argument.
In 1999, she was appointed Queens Counsel and the following year was made a Deputy High Court Judge.
By 2007 her tally of leading cases was lengthy. Many involved poignant facts and difficult ethical questions – for example the Leeds case where a mix up at a fertility clinic resulted in a white mother inadvertently having her eggs fertilised not with the gametes of her husband, but of those of a black man who was also undergoing fertility treatment and who following their birth, saw the twins born as a result of the mix up as his own.
By now she was a regular lecturer both for her fellow professionals and on behalf of the Judicial Studies Board; involved in the training of judges. In 2008, following her election as a fellow, Miss Hamilton was asked to write and conduct the educational programme for the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers held in Krakow that year.
On the 24 March 2008, she was appointed a Justice of the High Court and assigned to the Family Division. She was thereafter appointed DBE and a Bencher of the Inner Temple.
The Family Division has jurisdiction to deal with family issues including divorce, wardship, medical treatment cases and a wide range of issues affecting individuals including the resolution of financial issues following divorce, the so called ‘Big Money’ cases. There are at present 19 judges in the Division who deal with all the most serious matters in England and Wales. They sit predominantly in London but also in leading provincial centres.
Following her appointment, she has decided a number of cases that have had a high profile; her decision to permit the press to identify the parties in the case of 13 year old ‘Alfie’, the putative father of a child when the details and photographs were already widely available on the internet was received with approval by academics and press alike.
Dame Jenni Murray DBE
Jenni Murray graduated from the University of Hull in 1972 with BA Drama. She joined Radio Bristol in 1973 before becoming a reporter, newsreader and presenter for BBC TVs South Today in 1978 where she worked for five years before joining the Newsnight team as a presenter.
In 1985 she joined Radio 4 as a presenter on the Today programme, launching the Saturday edition of the programme with John Humphries in 1987. It was in the same year that she made the career move for which she is most famous, when she took over from Sue Macgregor on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. Dame Jenni has been a regular presenter on the show for 31 years.
In addition to her high profile media work, Dame Jenni is also a prolific author and has published a range of biographical and historical works including ‘”Woman’s hour”, 50 years of British Women’, ‘That’s My Boy’, ‘Memoirs of a Not So Dutiful ‘Daughter’, ‘A History of Britain in 21 Women’ and ‘Woman’s Hour: Words from Wise, Witty and Wonderful Women.’
In addition to her published works, she was a weekly columnist for The Daily Express from 1998 to 2000 and has also writes for various newspapers and magazines, including The Daily Mail and the Guardian.
Her contribution to broadcasting was recogised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 1999 when she was awarded an OBE for radio broadcasting. She was later recognised in the 2011 Brithday Honours when she was awarded Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE).
Alongside her media career, Dame Jenni has also been an active supporter of a range of charitable causes. On 21 December 2006, Murray announced at the end of Woman’s Hour that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She informed her audience that her prognosis was good and returned to the show early in 2007. She reported that the most emotionally upsetting moment was losing her hair, and used this as an item on the centrality of hair to definitions of femininity. In November 2007 she became Patron of British medical research charity, Breast Cancer Campaign. She is also patron of the Family Planning Association, vice-president of Parkinson’s UK and a supporter of Humanists UK
Rosie Millard OBE
Rosie Millard graduated from the University of Hull in 1987. As a student reading English and Drama, Rosie worked on arts engagement projects in the city. and continues to be a passionate believer in the importance of accessibility to the arts for all.
After her graduation, she had an initial stint with Granada TV as a junior researcher for ”This Morning”. In 1995 she moved across to the BBC where she served as arts correspondent until 2004.
Her career in print journalism includes a role as arts editor for the New Statesman and profile writer and columnist for The Sunday Times. She has also been a theatre critic and property columnist, contributing regular comment columns for The Independent and i newspapers, and features, comment pieces and interviews for other national newspapers and magazines, including The Times and The Daily Mail. She wrote the Mr and Mrs Millard marital column in the Body and Soul section of the Saturday Times.
Rosie is the author of 4 books including The Tastemakers: U.K. Art Now and Bonnes Vacances (a comic travel memoir recounting a journey around the French Overseas Territories). The latter was published alongside a series of TV documentaries on the same trip presented by Rosie. Her first novel The Square was published in August 2 and a sequel The Brazilian followed in 2017.
In 2014, Rosie as made Chair of Hull City of Culture in 2014 and in 2017 presided over the award-winning year of culture which brought millions of visitors into Hull and created at least 800 jobs in the city. She was live on ITV’s breakfast show to support Hull when the City of Culture 2017 announcement was made; and her article in celebration of Hull published in the Daily Telegraph on the same day highlighted the beauty of a city “on the edge of the earth” and on the cusp of cultural, social and economic change
Rosie Millard is CEO of Children and the Arts, a charity which engages all children with great art across the UK. It is one of HRH Prince of Wales charities and has brought arts engagement to over 10,000 children and young people. She is also Chair of BBC Children in Need and a Trustee of Opera North. She was appointed OBE in the 2018 New Year Honours List for services in the arts to the city of Hull.
Rosie has returned to the University on a number of occasions over the years; speaking on her route into journalism, addressing the 2008 Alumni Reunion Weekend Dinner and our largest ever alumni event at Stage@TheDock in June 2017. Rosie also appeared representing the University in the special alumni editions of University Challenge in 2014 and the Hull team were the runners-up in the final.