Student Union Committee Candidates 2016

Below are the nominations for the positions on the Student Union Committee!

Voting will open TOMORROW, TUESDAY 18TH OF OCTOBER and will close on SUNDAY 23RD OF OCTOBER at 6.00pm.


Elected candidates will be announced on MONDAY 24TH OF OCTOBER.

If RON (Re Open Nominations) wins a position, nominations for that position will be reopened and new candidates will be encouraged to run.


BA1 Representative

William Perkins

As Head of Events at my previous school, I made it a priority to create a team of people that represented the entire school, including international students, to the youngest pupils. This ethos of inclusion is something I hope to take to the job of being your BA1 Student Union Representative. I want to create an environment of support, understanding and ultimately; effectiveness. My time is your time, and any concerns or queries, no matter how small, shall be taken on in an efficient and sensitive fashion. With this, I hope to improve upon The Courtauld's solid foundations with a creative and resourceful flair, that will provide for all.

Thank you for your time,

William Perkins



BA2 Representative


Shayan Barjesteh Van Waalwijk van Doorn


Dear Friends,
In spending six years in my school’s Student Council (and the national-student-association) I have contributed to turning an ineffective council of a mere 6 members into a popular one of 64 (its current incarnation); this was achieved by organising large-scale parties, first-rate venues, monthly actions, plus spending hours every week analysing and evaluating.
As a Student Ambassador and member of several committees I have learned how to deal with particular problems, and how to represent a community well (last week I enthused and recruited some 150 students for the UoL Drama Society).
As BA1 representative last year I have actively participated in vital discussions and the organisation of parties and other events. We are still in the process of improving mental health services at the Courtauld and enhancing the symbiotic nature between the Gallery and Institute, making sure we can all make the most out of our time here. These challenges urge me on to offer you my utter devotion again this year.
I want everybody to be valued, and I act accordingly. I will be in the SU to act and speak for you. And in representing you, I’ll be a voice for all.
Yours, as ever,


Elina Gudmundsson


I am applying to become BA2 representative this year as I am very interested in the opportunity to act as an advocate for my year group and address any concerns or wants they may have. I feel I am an approachable individual, and really believe it is very important that each member of the year feels comfortable voicing any concerns they may have to the representative! Furthermore, if I were to be assigned this role I would ensure to be fully invested, and strive to make sure each request is addressed in a suitable fashion and the individual(s) concerned are satisfied with the result. Moreover, I believe it is important the representative has the ability to communicate with the various friendship groups that form our year; as an individual I strive to make a conscious effort to have a friendly relationship as many people as possible, and believe this will be beneficial as your BA2 representative.



BA3 Representative


Sabina Jardim



I will be running to become the BA3 representative as I am passionate about improving student life and experience at the Courtauld. As a third year student I have the personal experience of studying here that provides me with the knowledge of the improvements that are yet to be made. Being the Head of East Wing Biennial and Co-Head of the Business of Art Society, I am confident in my ability to represent my year by listening and working on the issues they raise, so that I could help make a change for future Courtauld students.



Graduate Diploma Representative


Rachael Wilner


We, the class that requires a description. We, the class that are seemingly unremembered. We will no longer be the invisible course wedged between the BA and MA. We must hold strong together!
Although understandable that the commencement of the year can be rather hectic for all of us, the Graduate Diploma students have regrettably, although unintentionally, been excluded from important events. I will ensure that this does not continue throughout the academic year. I am committed to be in direct communication with the teaching staff, the SU committee, and the other powers-to-be at our beloved institution to establish a high standard of representation for our year, ensuring that our concerns and thoughts are heard.
I have previous experience as a committee member, especially as secretary of the Archery Club during my undergraduate. In this role I provided open communication between members, event organisation, and securing funds for the group. As a team, we successfully led the club to its first Club of the Year victory.
As your Student Representative, you can approach me regarding any issue, anonymity is paramount, and your concerns will be taken seriously.
We are here for a year: let’s make it count!

Rachael Wilner


MA Representative (History of Art)


Harry Woodlock


My name is Harry and I am studying the Male Body in Nineteenth Century Art Masters degree option with Satish Padiyar. I am keen to promote an environment whereby students work in collaboration and are mutually respectful and supportive of one another. Competition and achievement are rewarding things but they mean nothing if not enjoyed in the company of others.
I would help foster and maintain a spirit of openness, ensuring all students felt that they could voice their concerns within a climate of collective interest that campaigns for progress on behalf of everybody. I am interested in developing the learning experience and working to deliver a broad program of events that caters to the diverse needs and interests of all students studying here at the Courtauld Institute.

I believe in total equality and access to all in spite of gender, ethnicity, orientation, ability or background. With this in mind I would work tirelessly with the student body to ensure the Courtauld Institute is seen within the wider community as an inclusive and accessible place. There are no losers in a culturally diverse society and your learning experience here should be enhanced through multiple perspectives and ways of living.


MA Representative (Buddhist Art)


Archie Phillpotts


My masters course consists of a small group all of whom I know well: this makes an ideal opportunity for me to liaise quickly and efficiently about any problems or concerns to the higher authorities. More promisingly, I'm fortunate to have an extremely interesting class, all of whom have plenty of ideas and thoughts about how the Courtauld could improve student experience. I would be honored to be the mediator of these suggestions along with our course tutor. As our course is relatively new, it would be rewarding at these early stages to help iron out any difficulties that arise out of inexperience. Also, there is tremendous possibility, again at this nascent step, to set up a Far-Eastern Society that would be a valuable addition to the Courtauld - after-all the relationship between the Eastern and Western art worlds has never been stronger.
Thank you for your consideration.

Archie Phillpotts



Research Student Representatives


Jacek Olender, Natasha Morris and Kyle Leyden


Vote 1 get 3!
Hello Fellow Students!
My name is Jacek Olender and I would like to ask for your vote for the position of PhD Student Representative. I am in my second year of a Conservation Ph.D and have been a member of several student unions over the past five years. I was vice-president of the SU at my University, where I was responsible for matters of education and research and later, I was a PhD Student representative at the Polish Academy of Sciences. As such, I have unrivalled experience working with all academic and administrative matters. In particular, I am keen that the Ph.D. students at the Courtauld are given a collective voice both within the wider student community and also within the academic and administrative staff. For too long, Coutauld Ph.D. students have been a disparate lot, scribbling away in detached fortresses of isolation which has made us, as a group, far too easy for the Institute to ignore. We have very few facilities when compared with other universities and are rarely taken into account in decision-making within the Institute. I wish to give voice to a coherent Ph.D. body to ensure we are given due consideration in facilities and planning within the Institute.
Whilst the serious business of administration and academic research is foundational to this end, of almost equal importance in creating a coherent group voice is the social side of things and this is where this very special offer kicks in! Two other 2nd year Ph.D. students, Natasha Morris and Kyle Leyden, have agreed to come on board to plan a rip-roaring frolic-filled year of mayhem for the Ph.D. community along with me. Both believe that the social side of Ph.D. life is of paramount importance to keeping sane in a mad academic world and they have the experience and capability to ensure that the Ph.D. social events are well attended and will become (in)famous within the Institute. Having been at the Courtauld 6 years and counting, social butterfly Natasha has an extensive experience of Courtauld social events (read: parties) so will know how to throw what’s good and what needs to be improved. Kyle meantime was the social secretary to the Bar of Ireland for over eight years and was events manager of an historic estate in Northern Ireland for over six. If anyone knows how to stretch a party budget and throw a themed party to cater for all tastes, from dukes to delinquents or magistrates to mobsters, he can do it as only an Irishman can. Pursuing a PhD can often be a lonely road, so both know that it’s important that we let our hair down together once in a while and bond over some serious drinks.

So vote for this talented Trinity of able administrators and vivacious bon viveurs and get the whole package!




Academic Affairs Officer


Rebecca Morris, BA3


This year at the Courtauld is very exciting time, with major projects such as Courtauld Connects in the works. It is my belief that during these times a strong focus on teaching and learning must be maintained.
I would like to make sure that students have appropriate input to academic development and that they are adequately represented at Academic Board. Having participated in Programme Boards last year and from my knowledge of the upcoming implementation of the Teaching Excellence Framework I believe that I am a strong and apposite candidate for this role.




Societies and Events Officer


Jaydi Dean, BA2


After having been at the Courtauld for a year, I feel I have gained a much better understanding of the Institute and the student body as a whole, and as a result would love to be part of the Student Union. I believe, with my experience in both PR and communications, that I would make a valuable Societies and Events Officer. I am both organised and approachable, and thus believe I have the ability to manage both events and societies, as well as translate the wants and concerns of the student body in relation to the various societies and events that take place at the Courtauld. I strongly believe that both the Societies and Events at the Courtauld should be fun and accessible to all; for this reason I would really love the opportunity to exercise my skills in PR and communications to create such an environment.



Student Environment Officer


Inés Balasch, BA3


Dear All,

My name is Inés Balasch and I am a BA3 student running to be your Environment Officer. I would like to use this position to tackle the Courtauld’s overall energy use in order to create a more pleasant indoor climate while making more funds available to more interesting ends, such as Student Union events or bettering our Institute's premises. As returning students will remember, winter-time in the Courtauld often takes on tropical temperatures. This is obviously not our most sustainable habit; moreover, I believe the resources used to mantain it could be better spent elsewhere. I would like to continue improving the Courtauld’s facilities, and in particular the Student Café, working with Leafi Catering and the Facilities department to make it the clean, streamlined, and comfortable environment that is so vital to the social and intellectual life of the Institute. I am confident that the knowledge and experience I have acquired volunteering for Westminster City Council Recycling Champions program during the past year will enable me to carry out these tasks successfully. Lastly, as a member of the SU Committee I will defend and promote practical and financially uncompromising actions to make the Courtauld a more sustainable university.



International Students Officer


Sarah Williamson, BA2


My name is Sarah Williamson, BA 2 student this year. I would like to be considered for the position of International Students Officer. Below is my official manifesto.

As a Dutch-American dual citizen who grew up in Cairo, Egypt, I have been lucky enough to live and study around the world my entire life. Though I love living an international lifestyle, I also understand the unique circumstances and concerns that arise while managing studies, family, and governmental requirements on multiple continents, and as International Student Officer it will be my goal to ensure that International students have their unique needs recognised and supported during their time at the Courtauld Institute. At the age of 18 I moved to the United States from Egypt to begin my university studies. In my three years there, I spent a lot of time learning to cope with feelings of being “other” in a country that was meant to be my home – as International Students Officer I hope to ensure that the Courtauld remains a place where people of all backgrounds and nationalities feel both comfortable and at home. My experiences working, volunteering and interning in the USA, UK, Egypt and Ghana have left me with a strong work ethic and an ability to communicate ideas and pursue opportunities across borders and cultural boundaries. I look forward to working with the Courtauld Institute and its international student body to represent you and build a welcoming, supportive home away from home together.


Women's Officer


Jacqueline Kent, BA3


Hi everyone! For those who don’t know me, my name is Jacqueline, and I’m a BA3. As one of the heads of the Courtauld Feminist Society, I’ve decided to run for Women’s Officer to try and bring the concerns of our female students straight to the SU.
Despite women being in the majority in our university, I feel that there are a few areas in women’s welfare at the Courtauld which need some attention. Over the last year, there has been a lot of media focus on the frequency of sexual harassment and assault in universities, and the discomfort that students feel in reporting incidents. This has made me want to run for Women’s Officer in order to push for a clear system within the Courtauld through which students can comfortably and safely report harassment, without fear of repercussions.
Aside from tackling these university-wide issues, I would also be available have casual and confidential chats with people about any problems or questions they have – whether by email, during society meet-ups, or in one-to-one meetings – and help to advise them, take their concerns to the SU.

Thanks for your time – feel free to email me or find me at uni if you have any questions!




Black and Ethnic Minority Students Officer

Harr-Joht Takhar, BA2


Individually, I would like to act as an earpiece for BME students who feel victimised or uncomfortable, both inside and outside the Courtauld. Collectively, I believe that through dialogue the SU can enhance understanding and awareness of BME issues within the wider Courtauld community.
The small number of BME students here can lead to amplified misunderstandings, meaning BME concerns are not necessarily vocalised by large numbers, but can prove overwhelming for those who raise them. I hope to act as a medium through which BME concerns can be identified, tackled and resolved in a sustainable manner.
Already it is promising that efforts have been undertaken to appreciate the diverse range of issues affecting the student body. I understand that ‘BME’ concerns encompass a broad range of problems that can manifest socially and academically. I also appreciate the fact that listening is fundamental for a position involving student welfare, and I am sensitive to the fact that this a process of understanding for myself as well as the University.
I am not concerned that I fill this role, but that the role is fulfilled by someone who will help diversify the dialogue within the SU. My name is Harr-Joht Kaur Takhar, and I am a second-year undergraduate here at the Courtauld.
Thank you,




Disabled Students Officer


Robyn Sampson, BA3


My first-hand experience with both mental health and being a student at the Courtauld has highlighted the many gaps in the service provided to students by the Institute. I am acutely aware of the sometimes obvious and urgent requirement for student needs to be met, to assist their health and therefore study, as well as the experience gained at our university.

The introduction of disability officer is an inspiring new opportunity to convey the much needed thoughts of the students to effect change in order help and support others.

I have learnt, and am not afraid, to talk openly about mental health. In the last year, I have worked hard on campaigning for the destigmatisation of mental health including being Neon Moon’s ambassador for World Suicide Prevention Day.

My plan for action is to open conversations to start a sense of ‘normalisation’ and to eradicate fear. This way I will collect ideas, insights and issues in order to format plans for change, engaging the appropriate people and organisations who know just how to step in.

I will work tirelessly to provide the support I wish I had had access to when I needed it.

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