Roman Road Trust has launched their Crowdfund London to transform The Common Room into a fully-functional learning facility for the local community. Our alumna Rosie Vincent is the Director of the trust.
The Common Room is a temporary structure first built in 2014 in an un-loved corner of Roman Road. For the past six years, Roman Road Trust and Public Works have been testing out different uses for The Common Room to discover the needs and desires of local people.
The Common Room has been used by the local community for more than 50 events, workshops, and activities. It has become clear that local people are seeking a dedicated space to share their knowledge and skills with others.
However, The Common Room can only be used for
short periods during warm summer weather; the roof leaks, the floor is
slippery when wet, and it is too cold in the winter. It is clear the
structure needs to be transformed to enable Learning and Cultural
Programmes to be delivered throughout the year.
Roman Road Trust
is raising funds through the Mayor of London’s Crowdfund London to
transform the existing structure. The Common Room will need new roofing,
flooring, front extension, storage, and toilet.
Rosie Vincent, Director of Roman Road Trust says
‘This is a chance for the local community to come together to make something amazing happen in Roman Road. The Common Room is known and has been used by many local people and organisations over the years. It is now time for The Common Room to become what it truly deserves to be’
‘If we have enough support
from the local community, then the Mayor of London will pledge up to
£50k towards our project. But we have to first prove The Common Room is
something the community want through gaining pledges from local people
Once The Common Room is built, Roman Road
Trust and Public Works will plan a Learning Programme that will begin by
focusing on sustaining healthy high streets and providing training in
Community Organising to local groups. Cultural Programmes will be
planned in collaboration with local institutions to reflect our diverse
local community. The programmes offered in The Common Room will
continually evolve to suit the needs, desires, and interests of local
We caught up with creative entrepreneur Corinna Bordoli to talk about her new adventures in babysitting with ToddlerTunez after studying Drama at Queen Mary.
Tell us about ToddlerTunez. What’s the idea and how did it come about?
After graduating in Drama at Queen Mary, I started a Master in Arts and Cultural Management at King’s College. There I met Lea – my co-founder. One of the first things I remember about her is that she told me she had been babysitting on the side during her undergraduate degree in Music. She had created a company to better sell her services as musical babysitter, but at the time it was her alone doing the babysitting. I straight-away related to her as I also did babysitting on the side of my studies, and thinking about it, it had also been creative, mostly focusing on crafts and all families loved it. After completing my masters, we both went off to careers in arts administration. In December 2018, Lea asked me to join her as a co-founder of ToddlerTunez as she wanted to scale the business and give it a bit of a shake!
At the time, ToddlerTunez was basically musical babysitting to 0-5 year olds. When Lea and I started brainstorming together, we realised that we could do so much more with it! Now ToddlerTunez has a growing pool of sitters and we have recently started our first official marketing campaign. We cater for children from 0 to 15 with three different services – ToddlerTunez still 0 to 5 year olds, RocketTunez for children 6-10 years old, and FineTunerz for 11 to 15 year olds. ToddlerTunez combines two services in one: babysitting with creativity. All sitters help families with the usual babysitting chores – picking children up from school, taking them home, occasionally cooking meals. But they also provide creative sessions during those times, completely tailored to the families’ requirements. We match families with the perfect sitter for them – we also cater for different foreign languages and specific skills. Our sitters are all DBS checked and are professionals in their craft – we have actors, dancers, choreographers, musicians, singers and also puppeteers, mask makers, and more!
What are your favourite things about starting up a business?
All the reasons why I love starting up a business are connected to creativity. I have so many ideas every day. When you set up your own business you can actually follow all your ideas through and spend your time and energy making them happen. I love being able to set my own goals and achieve them following my own values. ToddlerTunez holds sustainability and diversity close to its heart and being the founder of a company gives you the option to operate following those values completely. Another one of my favourite things is the speed of learning.
ToddlerTunez is the first business for both my cofounder and I, and as I have been working as an employee for a while during my journey with ToddlerTunez, I have been realising that what I love most is learning. In a job as an employee, you learn intensively for the first two-three months. As an entrepreneur, you can learn at the same intensity every day. I had to quickly learn about taxes, pitching, marketing and every day it is a challenge and there is something I realise I have to learn. Which makes every day absolutely worth it.
Another one of my favourite aspects of being an entrepreneur is the connections made with people. Seeing people loving your business and being able to create a community around it is my goal. We are a business that is solving two problems in one – that of helping families save time and money by combining two services in one, and that of unemployment of creative professionals. Being able to solve those problems is definitely a reason to get out of bed every morning and work hard.
Who or what inspires you to make the project happen?
As a child, I grew up with au-pairs. The one I remember most and whom I am still friends with now – Barbara – was extremely creative. I still love doing my crafts and singing in my free time and I use creativity in my daily life – being an entrepreneur is the most creative job in my opinion. Exposure to creativity in early years is proven to help development including fine motor skills, speech, social skills etc. It also helps developing problem solving, listening, communication skills, and it gives lots of tools to develop imagination, mindfulness and concentration and to help adults never stop playing. This is what I think is most valuable for everyone and I believe all children should be granted exposure to creativity for those reasons.
With ToddlerTunez, Lea and I really want to help families in the UK, offering a service that is almost self organised as we do all the admin, so that all families can access it easily. A more mindful, creative society full of individuals who collaborate to solve problems is the world I want to see in the future. This inspires me every day to work on ToddlerTunez and I think it can contribute to the present and future happiness of families.
What would be your top tips for students to think about if they
want to start a business or project?
First of all,I encourage everyone to dive into any work opportunities that come up – whatever the job is – as it will provide a lot of skills but mostly makes you realise what it is that you really want or don’t want to do. I felt a bit ‘behind’ as coming from Italy, I had never studied drama before, so during university I tried to catch up on work experience. I joined societies, found more or less paid internships, worked for catering companies, worked as a model in the fashion industry, organised events freelance and did my occasional babysitting. That helped me see so much of the world and understand a lot about myself. This helped me find the field that I love – arts administration and operations – and gain experience in it.
After you have found your field, I suggest you to share and challenge your ideas with family, friends and strangers and start testing your ideas out. If you are interested in starting up a business I suggest you to listen to entrepreneurs’ podcasts, meet up with local entrepreneurs from whom you can learn about almost anything. Entrepreneurship is a very high-responsibility activity and can often feel lonely, but it can be lived amazingly when feeling part of a community.
How could students at Queen Mary help?
ToddlerTunez is currently looking for friends who value creativity, diversity, sustainability and love our idea to join our community. We need ambassadors and volunteers to help us spread the word through marketing and help in administration. In exchange, students will gain experience in arts administration and in the startup environment. This is also an occasion to meet friends and to get inspired by other amazing creatives. Every Friday afternoon this January, we are organising meet-ups around London, so let us know if you want to join, and tell your friends!
Get in touch if you know any potential clients, are interested in gaining experience in arts administration, becoming a sitter or knowing more about us! We are also eager to hear about your ideas on key locations, events, communities where we can best spread the word about ToddlerTunez.
I am an ambitious, positive and proactive individual constantly on the move, seeking out my next challenge.
Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?
Becoming Editor in Chief of CUB Magazine, meeting new people that I would never have encountered had it not been for university and broadening my mind by studying modules that have changed my outlook on life completely such as all of the postcolonial based modules. Also completing my dissertation and seeing how my initial idea blossomed and having it published as an official document to be circulated in academic circles.
How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?
It has given me a first class degree which will make me stand out to employers. I am actively looking to pursue a job in journalism or editorial industries.
Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole? (societies/friends/community/values)
The diverse and inclusive community at QM which welcomes everyone and also caters/puts on events for everyone. Also being affiliated with and working closely with QMSU as Editor in Chief of CUB.
Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.
I had an internship writing for the UK branch of an American magazine called SOCIETY19 last summer writing mainly for the sex and relationships section. I have just started a two month placement as an Editorial Administrator for an educational company called SAM Labs. My goal is to find a permanent job doing the editorial work I love.
What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?
To really advertise the social side of the university and also the support side, especially for mental health.
A Season of Bangla Drama is back in Tower Hamlets for another
month-long festival of British-Bengali theatre. It is now in its 17th
year and firmly established in the area’s cultural calendar and
includes a magnificent performance of East Side Story in our very own
Great Hall in The People’s Palace.
What role can literature play in combatting hostile environments? In a
new and exciting collaboration between Wasafiri and London’s Free Word
Centre, Roger Robinson, Winsome Pinnock, Inua Ellams and Bridget
Minamore join forces for readings and debate on writing and
QUORUM Drama Research Seminar: Molly McPhee Wednesday 16 October 2019, QMUL Be sure to go to the next QUORUM entitled ‘Miasmatic Performance: Carceral Atmospherics in the Theatre of Clean Break’. Photo: Pests by Vivienne Franzmann. Photo by Jonathan Keenan.
How does philosophy contend with the mysterious and the inexplicable? Can it really be logic all the way down, or might rationality stand on something a little spookier? Our very own Nisha Ramayya is on hand to discuss at the Forum for Philosophy.
Decorating Dissidence, run by our very own Jade French and alumni Dr. Lottie Whalen, invite you to ‘WEAVE IT!’ an exhibition celebrating and challenging 100 years of the Bauhaus women’s weaving workshop. This exhibition considers the legacies of crafting and weaving from modernism to the contemporary, exhibiting textile practitioners who respond in different ways to the Bauhaus and beyond.
The launch night on 1st November will see performances by Rasia Kabir and SED’s Julie Rose Bower, with DJs and drinks. ONGOING
Join Read the Room every Wednesday (beginning 9 October) to gather together and fill the room with poetry. Each week we will read aloud work by a different poet or on a different theme, appreciating the culture of contemporary poetry and a collaborative environment.
Meet other poetry enthusiasts or casual readers, stay on top of poetry events, or just enjoy reading something new. Drop in or just come when you can, Read the Room aims to be an accessible space to have fun with poetry.
Daniel is dyspraxic and is too slow. Frauke has ADHD and is too quick. They are married and have kids.
Join the couple in the Meadowdrome, their fantastical escapist world. Together you will encounter awkwardly intimate interactive actions, strange dances, sweet and surreal songs, and other off-kilter “grown-up” activities.
This interactive show invites you to explore, converse and play within the neurodivergent realm Daniel and Frauke have created.
Launching an anthology of writings, Turning the Page, by the SBS Survivors’ Group: A literary conversation between two groups of BAME women – published writers responding creatively to the stories of the SBS support group.
Mojisola Adebayo will be presenting The Interrogation of Sandra Bland at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, in October, culminating in a performance by a huge chorus of black / women-of-colour on stage.
Pragya Dhital joined the English department in September as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, with a project on proscribed political pamphlets in colonial India. During the summer she had two articles published: “From ‘Imam ul-Hind’ to Azizul Hind: The ‘One Man Media House’ in Modern India”, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 42:3, 452-468, DOI: 10.1080/00856401.2019.1596778 “Media satyagraha in the broadcast age: underground literature and populist politics during the Indian internal emergency of 1975–1977”, Interventions: Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 21: 7, 942-958, DOI: 10.1080/1369801X.2019.1585908
Michael Hughes (Creative Writing Lecturer)’s book is reviewed by The New York Times: ‘Hughes’s story proceeds at a breakneck cinematic pace, full of booby traps, double agents and arias promising gruesome revenge.’ Read the full review here
Eleni Sophia (aka English student Sophia Hussain) has published her third book ‘This One’s For You’. The poetry collection is about encouraging young women about the importance of self-love and provides words of encouragement for those going through a tough time.
In July, both Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian shared her poem ‘Her Mindset’ from my first poetry book, ‘Good Morning to Goodnight’ on their Snapchat and Instagram stories.
Susheila Nasta (English Professor) is has edited a collection called Brave New Words: The Power of Writing Now (Out 7 November) an anthology of essays by 15 world writers to celebrate 35 years of Wasafiri but also channels the hot political topics of today. It features work from Bernardine Evaristo, Tabish Khair, Blake Morrison, Mukoma wa Ngugi, Marina Warner and many more.
Pathologies of Solitude project has been awarded a ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ grant by the Wellcome Trust (£21,192) for a project addressing solitude and loneliness as aspects of migrant and refugee experience.
The 18-month project is led by Akshi Singh, postdoctoral fellow on the ‘Pathologies of Solitude’ project, and Nisha Ramayya ( Creative Writing Lecturer at QMUL), and is partnered by Akwaaba, an anti-racist migrant befriending centre in East London.
The project will support six creative arts workshops to be held at Akwaaba, facilitated by BME writers and other diverse artists. Its results will be disseminated through zines made with workshop participants, an exhibition and a public story-telling event.
People Palace Projects’Xingu Encounter has been nominated for a Times Higher Education award for ‘International Collaboration of the Year’. The project explores new ways to work with indigenous people in Brazil to preserve & protect their knowledge & culture.
Mahima Tyagi (English with Creative Writing student) has taken over the School of English and Drama Instagram.
“I’m Eloina Haines, I graduated from Drama at QM last year and I am now a performance artist/clown in London.
On 30 September, I am performing my solo show FISH DON’T BLEED and a scratch of a new performance I am making with another QM alumni, Emily Redpath, called Porn Flakes.“
Here’s some information about the shows…
Step into a feminist world of grotesque celebration and throw a middle finger up to any ‘lady’ taboos.Queen Mary alumni, performance artist and clown, ELOINA, is at Camden People’s Theatre on 30th September with TWO NEW SHOWS.
On the verge of a natural disaster, a prison guard is called into work and discovers a newcomer to the team – an Artificial Intelligence named Sally. When the city is evacuated, what happens to the prisoners?
The final 24 candidates for The Mars Mission Programme have been observed for a month by the public in a reality TV show designed to choose the final four. The public have voted and the candidates are about to be sent off to Mars with no hope of return… as soon as the final confirmation is granted.
Lola, Eleanor Rigby, Brown Sugar, Roxanne, and Monica – you may know their names, you may even remember singing them in the shower or at a party. What you probably don’t know is their stories. Neither do they, but they’re trying to figure it out.
‘Celebrating their final year as Europeans, island monkeys Becca and Louise got invited to the 2018 European Capital of Culture in Malta. Lads on tour…Sh!t Theatre went to drink rum with Brits abroad but found mystery and murder in the fight to be European. Here it is, another excuse for the multi award-winning Sh!t Theatre to get drunk on stage. ‘
‘From an Essex-based, sad, weird kid to a less sad, trans, lesbian loudmouth. She’s grown up, gotten hurt and she’s still here and ready to share in her debut hour. Winner of the Best Comedy Show Award at the Brewery Fringe Festival.’
Criticism and Insight
Bechdel Theatre: BT talk gender and representation on stage and list shows that pass the Bechdel Test.
PhD candidate Ben Walters has recently hosted an event called Dr. Duckie at Royal Vauxhall Tavern to explain his work around the legendary performance company and his theory around the power of queer fun.
Develop your skills to work in the creative and cultural industries with this series of free workshops at Queen Mary University of London. The creative skills project formerly known as DIY HIGH SCHOOL is back for 2019 as DIY LIFE SKILLS.
DIY LIFE SKILLS gives our Queen Mary University of London students and our community vital extra practical skills for working in the creative and cultural industries. These include making videos, photography, tax, CVs, public speaking, social media for work and WordPress/blogging.
DIY LIFE SKILLS is supported by Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen Mary University of London. The workshops are free for our students and our local community.
A picture is said to be worth a 1000 words and this is more true than ever in the age of social media. Join us for an afternoon of photography with DSLR cameras for intermediates. The workshop will include a showcase of Holly Revell’s work and top tips for better performance photography.
#3: VLOG LIKE YOU MEAN IT: Video Production 101
POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE – PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR MORE DETAILS
Work with professional videographers to plan, film and edit a short film in one day with pros from Signature Pictures. The intermediate workshop will look at more advanced editing techniques and film production.
Social media = jobs & opportunities. Ignore it at your cost. This session will cover moving away from using social for well, ‘social’ purposes and look to how these channels can be used to network and make important career connections.
‘A one woman, musical, comedy shit-storm about the first time your heart gets smashed into a million tiny pieces, and the songs that make you feel less alone with your crazy, crazy break-up feelings. Part stand-up, part music performance and part emotional unraveling, ‘Dumped’ is about surviving through song.’
‘This show unpacks the beautiful, pathetic and empowering break-up song genre, highlighting the good, bad and the most pitiful. The concept centres around tapping into the experience of rejection through the close dissection of break-up songs. I interweave music analysis and anecdotal material with live song covers accompanied by my badass electric ukulele.’
Oliver Kent graduated from Queen Mary with a BA in French and Drama in 1995 and has since gone on to have over 20 years’ TV drama experience. On Tuesday 12 March, Oliver discussed his career with Dr Caoimhe McAvinchey, Head of the Department of Drama. Oliver aims to demystify the television industry, to enhance people’s understanding of the range of work in it and how to navigate opportunities within it.
Right Mess Theatre are here to bring you an evening of Cabaret
splendour as they raise funds to bring their new show Alcatraz to New
Horizon Youth Centre for homeless young people. You can find out more
about New Horizon and the work they do here.
The line up includes Elf Lyons, Hannah Maxwell, Kayla MacQuarrie & Emily Howarth.
Alcatraz by Nathan Lucky Wood is a thrilling play about family and
social care that follows Sandy on her daring, Christmas mission to
emulate Clint Eastwood and bust her gran out of lock-up. It will
premiere at the Vault Festival 2019.
An alternative cabaret night hosted by our very own PhD Drama graduate Daniel Oliver celebrating neurodiversity, featuring performers whose minds work a little differently…
Daniel Oliver: The cabaret night will be hosted by Daniel Oliver, a performance artist who makes participatory performances that aim to embrace dyspraxia.
Mawaan Rizwan: Mawaan is an actor, writer and comedian. He’s written for the New York Times and his comedy videos on YouTube have amassed over 18 million views.
Vijay Patel: Vijay Patel will present Asperger’s Question Time. A space where you (the audience) will be able to ask him any questions you like, any questions on your mind, think everyday, not any questions about his Asperger’s. He will have some things in place for his access, such as a respite, some care in case he might leave.
IndoorGoblin: ‘A solo project performed on keyboard, IndoorGoblin hopes to present the imagination clouds through a mixture of musical creations, combining spoken word with story-singing, hypnotic piano loops and glittery glockenspiel melodies.’
Don Biswas :Award winning ‘left wing conspiracy theorist with dyspraxia!‘ Twice winner of the London Comedy Store Gong Show.
Khia Spencer: Khia is a dancer and artist who has been identified with dyspraxic mind and ADD…
Join Rosie Vincent a BA Drama Gradutate to celebrate her identity as a Type 1 Diabetic as she attempts to transform the mass of her medical waste from the past 2.5 years.
On 14th November millions of people will come together to raise awareness of living with Diabetes for World Diabetes Day.
Rosie Vincent has been a Type 1 Diabetic for over 14 years. Je m’appelle Diabetic combines ritual, object, and projection to present the challenges of living with diabetes as well as celebrating the resilience of Rosie’s diseased body.
This piece reconnects the medical waste that is produced by the condition with Rosie’s own body to honour it as the means to keep her alive despite its hostile appearance.