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UWE Bristol Arnolfini, City Campus ©UWE BristolUWE Bristol Arnolfini City Campus building with water and boats

University of the West of England – Paul Olomolaiye

My name is Paul Olomolaiye and I am the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equalities and Civic Engagement at UWE Bristol. I am also the Chair of the Board for the Cabot Learning Federation – a Multi Academy Trust of 21 Schools in and around Bristol; a Non-Executive Director of the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health NHS Trust; and a Board Director of the Designability Charity.

I moved to Bristol from Wolverhampton in 2009 with the impression that Bristol was ‘posh’. Lodging in Clifton confirmed this until I discovered that this is a city of two halves – with economic, social and historical challenges that need addressing.  There’ll always be challenges but it is how Bristol engages with them that make this the best city in the world for me.

Creativity and pursuit of innovation are in the DNA of this city and her people. There is enterprise everywhere and Bristolians are always experimenting with new ideas to make life better. It seems second nature for them to do all they can to assist each other. What a beautiful people Bristolians are!

Bridging the economic and social divide across the city seems challenging indeed, but efforts are continuously focussed on this by Bristol City Council and the energetic and passionate Mayor. I have seen Bristol build on her growing reputation as a City of Hope during the pandemic. I have seen teachers knocking on doors to ensure education continues in the homes of our most disadvantaged children.  Foodbanks across the city have supported thousands, and we all recognise the sacrifices that our health professionals in the NHS and care sector have made for us during this pandemic.

©UWE BristolPaul Olomolaiye head shot

I am very proud to live in a city that champions inclusivity and a sense of belonging for everyone. Our city’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement fills me with much hope that Bristolians fully recognise racial injustice and are ready to build a truly inclusive city, fit for the future.

Inclusion is core to my duties at UWE Bristol.  I am currently working with colleagues from across the university to help bridge the attainment gap between BAME and white students, making sure that we maximise life chances for all – no matter who you are or where you are from. By ensuring our curriculum, processes and environment are inclusive; and that diversity is encouraged and celebrated across all we do, we are focussed on playing our part and helping Bristol to lead the way.