People Holding Hands

Civic Engagement: working with our community

Since the University’s foundation in 1884, we’re aware of the special connection between the institution and the area in which we’re based.

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The purpose of the day is to welcome our local communities here and

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share with them the wide range of work that goes on in the university,

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people may be aware of the building, it's a very iconic building,

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but maybe not aware of what goes on behind the doors,

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so today is really an opportunity to share the

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wide range of work that goes on, to meet staff, for staff to meet

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our local community and for people to have a wonderful autumn day

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in Bangor University.

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I think it's an opportunity for people to see how relevant is our work can be

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to people's everyday lives, to see opportunities to learn and to grow and

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to develop as individuals - more importantly, to maybe feel a sense

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of ownership of their local university,

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and to share that with the staff and the students.

Tudur Owen
Since those First days of Bangor University almost 150 years ago, the deep-rooted connection to the local area has been so important. 
And working with the community to raise aspirations and to improve quality of life was part of its beginnings, and it remains at its core to this day. 
The ability of the University to contribute to our economic, environmental, cultural and social wellbeing is crucial and valuable. 
And this is why the University’s civic mission is this: To prioritise the wellbeing of our communities and the area. 
By working together with our community partners, Bangor University can help to create a sustainable world for the current and future generations, right here in north Wales.
Join us as we hear from just some of those benefiting from that very mission. This film is about their stories, their voices.
Aaron Pleming
My name is Aaron Pleming and I volunteer here at Pontio, and I live with cerebral palsy. 
Volunteering here at Pontio has helped me develop my confidence in other stuff that I do outside of Pontio, like meeting new people and people that I wouldn’t basically meet if I wasn’t volunteering here at Pontio.
We’re basically like a big family, everybody knows each other, like I’ve worked with most of the volunteers here, so basically we’ve become like a big family.
I’ve had massive support from Pontio because they don’t see me as Aaron with cerebral palsy, they just see me as Aaron, so there’s basically no barrier there really: I’m just me.
Rhian Parry Jones
My name’s Rhian Parry Jones, I’m the headteacher of Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle in Penygroes. The school is a secondary school, for pupils between the age of eleven to eighteen years old.
The support that we have from the University has enabled us as staff to make sure that we are able to give the correct advice and support to pupils, and enabled them to think maybe wider about the possibilities they have in the future, regarding their careers maybe in STEM subjects that they may not have considered before now.
Huw Evans
So we started off working with Bangor University through Widening Access, quite a few years ago, and we’ve had quite a few projects since then. 
We’ve had projects with Reaching Wider, and also we’ve worked closely with M-SParc in Gaerwen.
So today we have a focus on STEM and science, so we have a group working with Reaching Wider looking at the local energy, and then we have Explore, which are Techniquest, and they are looking at the universe, astrophysics, and also looking at driverless car technology. 
Alaw
In my opinion my best part of the project is that we get different types of things to do and we can have a taste of different things.
Efa
I like how we’re wanting to learn new things and have the opportunity to do it. In my opinion I think that the World of Work was the best one, because different employers came in and taught us different things.
Huw
So over the years we’ve had quite a few projects going on between Widening Access and M-SParc and Reaching Wider. 
So we’re looking mainly at STEM and STEM projects but we’re also looking at career paths and expanding pupils horizons to careers in science or careers in STEM and also to develop soft skills for the pupils for the future.
So the support we’ve had from Bangor University through these projects has enabled the pupils to gain valuable skills that they wouldn’t have in other areas of the school curriculum. For the teachers it’s also expanding their horizons to the potential available for the pupils.
Guto Wyn Hughes
I’m Guto Wyn Hughes, I’m a PhD student here at Bangor University. So I’m Bangor born and raised, and started coming to Brailsford, or as it was back then Maesglas when I was still in primary school when there were sports lessons and such, and even did my work experience here in secondary school, and have kept coming back here ever since.
So I’m studying a PhD here in Bangor University in human physiology, specifically integrative physiology and autonomic blood pressure regulation is my area.
So Canolfan Brailsford has this fantastic setup for weightlifting. We’ve got the Welsh National Training Centre for weightlifting here, but what you really find that is unique about it is that in most places where you have specialty sports you have these really closed off facilities, where you don’t get any members of the public, you don’t get any interaction with anyone apart from elite athletes, but here this training centre is open to the public, so you’re there doing training with people who are elite in their sport, but you also have members of the general public coming in and seeing this going on and they’re asking ‘How can I get involved in this?’
So we’ve currently got the setup going on for the British University Weightlifting Championships which is happening this weekend. It’s traditionally always been down in London, but this is the first time it’s ever been anywhere else, and it’s largely because we hosted a group of the British national team here for a competition and they loved the facilities.
I would absolutely recommend to people to come along to Brailsford if they want to get involved in any sort of sport, a bit of weightlifting or anything else. We’ve got a little bit of everything going on, and there’s a community and a group for everything here.
Tansy
My name’s Tansy and I am one of the outdoor education assistants and leaders. Wild Elements is all about getting people outside and getting them connected with nature and excited about nature.
So we look at why we should be looking after it, why we should respect it, how we can look after it, and our ethos is about being environmentally friendly and sustainable.
So today we’re at Draig Beats, this is a festival that was set up years ago as fundraising for a lecturer at Bangor University. 
Here today we’ve got all sorts of different events going on for families, all sorts of different workshops. There’s greenwood working, there’s archery, there’s s’mores, and I am doing craft activities for the kids to come and have a go at, and we’ve got our little eco-friendly shop!
My first touchpoint with Bangor was coming to do my undergraduate degree in childhood studies and I had a really great time, knew that I wanted to do further education, so I went on to do my masters in research through KESS, which is a European fund for further education.
I was volunteering with Wild Elements and then the opportunity with the funding came up, and I had a chat with my tutor at the University and we realised well we can all work together on this, and this is the perfect partnership for it.
The new Welsh curriculum is a lot about getting children outside, which obviously ties in really well with Wild Elements ethos as well. 
So we work a lot with the local schools in supporting them to get the children outside and to be able to take their classes outside, whether that’s through developing outdoor spaces or just going in and doing some training to show them how to do that.
I think one of the best things about working with Treborth Bangor University is having the access to be able to use these Botanical Gardens, with the forest school site that we’ve got, the work that we’re doing to develop it, working closely with Natalie the curator here, she’s really easy to talk to. 
If we want to bring a school she’s really accommodating, finding dates when it’s free and available, and the space, it’s easy to get the kids in and out. It’s just a perfect site really.
Anna Roberts
I’m Anna Roberts, I’m the CEO and founder of Explorage.com, and we’re based here in M-SParc in Anglesey.
Bangor University is our local university, it’s on the doorstep, so we’ve always been familiar with it, but my personal engagement with it was initially with ION Level 5 Leadership Course, and that was something that I hadn’t really considered until I was doing some work for another company and I thought I’ve actually got my professional qualifications but now I really need something to give me that rubber stamp around my leadership capabilities. 
And so that’s why I looked at the ION Leadership Course but actually the results of the ION course and the content of it and the contacts that I’ve made through doing it far exceeded my expectations, so that was great.
And then beyond that, they’ve also been quite supportive when we’ve been based here in M-SParc in terms of speaking with various faculty leaders about possible student collaborations that we can do with Explorage as we continue to innovate and grow.
You’re very much part of like a hub of activity basically, so you’ve constantly got your ear to the ground of things that are going on. We’ve actually worked directly with several of the other tenants in the building, so we use their services and pick their brains as well on things!
We’ve had a skills academy placement which has come as a result of M-SParc as well, so that’s transformed into a full-time employee so they’re now a member of our team, we’ve had an intern as well.
If we hadn’t had the support from M-SParc and Bangor University that we have had, it certainly would have been a much more difficult hill to climb and it would have taken us way longer to get to where we are.
The support has really made us feel part of something and helped us to keep that momentum going, and it’s opened up doors when perhaps we would have just been banging our head on a brick wall with certain things! So yeah, we’re very, very grateful for it.
Tudur
This, the story of individuals connected to the University in so many different ways. Here to work with you, and to support you. Bangor University: Your University, Your Community.
 

With thanks to our partners Aaron Pleming, Pontio; Rhian Parry Jones a Huw Evans Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle; Guto Wyn Hughes, Canolfan Brailsford; Tansy Swerdlow, Wild Elements; Anna Roberts, Explorage who gave their time to support this video.

About Us

Bangor University has a long history of working with our community to raise aspirations and improve quality of life. If you would like to work with us, whether as an individual, a group, a school, or an organisation, please contact community@bangor.ac.uk or complete this enquiry form.

Our new Civic Engagement Strategy outlines how we work with our communities. Our work in this area falls under three umbrella themes:

  • Identifying and addressing ‘big challenges’ (e.g. health, climate, Welsh language, housing, poverty, ageing population)
  • Enabling innovation and economic opportunities
  • Improving quality of life and sharing knowledge through social and public engagement

Through partnerships and collaborations, we seek to contribute to the economic, environmental, cultural and social well-being of our area. Take a look at examples of this work below.

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Hello, I'm professor Andrew Edwards, Pro vice-chancellor for Civic Engagement at Bangor University.

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It’s my pleasure to introduce our Civic Engagement strategy, which was launched this month.

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At its core, the strategy addresses how we develop, strengthen and expand the connections between the university and our local communities.

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The purpose of the strategy is to provide direction and status for our work in this important field. 

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The university has a wealth of skills, knowledge and expertise that we want to share with our communities. 

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We want to work together in order to improve quality of life and the wellbeing of people of all ages. 

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This is not something new of course, since it was founded in 1884...

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Working with communities to raise educational, cultural and economic ambitions is an integral part of our work as a University. 

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Through this strategy and our institutional strategic plan, Strategy 2030...

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We introduce our commitment to support a wealth of ambition in order to strengthen our civic mission regionally, nationally and of course, internationally. 

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This is a strategy that brings together University students and staff, in addition to communities across North Wales and beyond. 

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We have a dedicated Civic Engagement team now, in order to help develop and sustain the connections between the University and its communities. 

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Therefore if you are already in touch with the University through classes or courses... 

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Use our first class facilities in Pontio, M-SParc, Brailsford Centre or Treborth, we want to hear from you.

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Of course, you may already be working on a specific project with our staff, we want to build on these connections...

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And ensure that there is further cooperation between us and that we foster new connections for the good of this area. 

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I hope that you’ll have a look through our strategy, and please don’t hesitate to contact us on:

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community@bangor.ac.uk in order to discuss new ideas and ways of working together. 

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I very much look forward to hearing from you and working with you over the coming years. Thank you very much.

Working with stakeholders to identify and address ‘big challenges’

(e.g. health, climate, Welsh language, housing, poverty, ageing population)

Inner Quad at Bangor University Main Arts Building

Identifying and addressing ‘big challenges’ Bangor University Community Board

In 2022, the Community Board was established. The Board replaces the former Bangor University Liaison Group (BULG), and includes representatives from a broad range of organisations, institutions and public services partners within Bangor and across north west Wales. The Board is an important way of connecting the University with our communities, to discuss areas for collaboration and to work together on issues of common interest

Arm holding waste water sample

Identifying and addressing 'big challenges' Wastewater Monitoring Programme in Hospitals and Monitoring beyond COVID-19

Scientists from Bangor University initially developed the process of testing wastewater for COVID-19, and this work, carried out in partnership with the Welsh Government, Cardiff University, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and Hafren Dyfrdwy was used in the early detection of the Omicron wave across Wales. The team at Bangor have now added communicable diseases and hospitals to its capabilities.

The programme provides vital data on the prevalence of coronavirus in the community and adding these key sites and additional communicable diseases to the monitoring already in place across Welsh health boards and local authorities will deepen the insight and localised knowledge required in public health decision-making. A more recent study has investigated whether wastewater testing could be used as a way of monitoring the general health of passengers on flights coming into the country in future.

Social Worker smiling at an elderly man, sitting on a sofa

Identifying and addressing 'big challenges' M.A. Social Work

The MA in Social Work programme was established in 2012 to ensure a supply of bilingual social workers, who mainly meet the needs of the local social-work workforce. This is done in partnership with Anglesey, Gwynedd and Conwy Councils who provide work placements for students and this accounts for around 50% of their professional training.

By educating the local population to serve the local population the programme works with individuals to establish their well-being outcomes and collaborates with agencies and other professionals such as the police, health-workers, the education sector and the housing sector, to provide services that improve quality of life, protect against harm and abuse, and improve people’s prospects so that they can live as full a life as possible.

Elderly man sitting at a table with a young child eating fish and chips
Credit:Darlun TV

Identifying and addressing ‘big challenges’ Supporting people living with dementia

The University supports people living with dementia, their partners, families and carers in a number of ways, including the Caban Group, the North Wales Dementia Network, and working towards becoming a Dementia Friendly University. Research is developed alongside people affected by dementia.

Tin man sculpture sitting against a backdrop of Llyn Peninsula

Identifying and addressing ‘big challenges’ Ecoamgueddfa Pen Llŷn Ecomuseum

Ecoamgueddfa Pen Llŷn Ecomuseum – a partnership promoting Pen Llyn as a home not merely a destination or playground for visitors. 

Simply put, an ecomuseum is a collaboration aiming to develop a reflection of place or region, its people and its communities. The idea originated in France, where the term ‘ecomuseum’ was coined in 1971. ‘Eco’ is an abbreviation of ‘ecology’ but refers specifically to an innovative way of interpreting cultural heritage in all its glory rather than concentrating on certain artefacts of particular periods of history, as is the tendency with a traditional ‘museum’. 

Our aim since the ecoamugeddfa was established in 2015 is to ensure that communities today and the communities of the future can thrive in their own locale on their own terms, enriching the visitor experience whilst moving away from ‘extractive’ tourism towards a more resilient visitor economy. 

Funded by UK Government, and powered by Cyngor Gwynedd Levelling Up.

A pupil wearing a Covid mask, sitting by desk.
Credit:Canva

Identifying and addressing ‘big challenges’ Covid-19: Exploring the influence of media messaging on mask-wearing choices

The University led on new research in 2021 to explore the influence of media messaging on people’s mask-wearing choices during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gubay's Oriental Stores shopfront, Llandudno.
Gubay's Oriental Stores, Llandudno.

Identifying and addressing ‘big challenges’ Celebrating Llandudno’s Jewish History

In 2020, a map showcasing Llandudno’s Jewish history was completed. The map celebrates the presence of Jews in Llandudno from the late nineteenth century until the present day. It accompanies the earlier map of Bangor’s Jewish history

Open book on a table in a library

Identifying and addressing ‘big challenges’ Remote Instruction of Language and Literacy (RILL):

The project is designed and run by researchers at the School of Psychology and Sport Science, and the Miles Dyslexia Centre at the University. It comprises a short language and literacy programme for Key Stage 2 children, and was launched in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting national lockdown in April 2020. The project is now running in around 100 schools in Wales and England and has reached over 1,000 children. The mission is to ensure that children – particularly those who struggle to read and write - receive the best possible literacy instruction. 

"Dewch yn ôl" poster by MSParc

Identifying and addressing ‘big challenges’ Dewch yn ôl

A campaign started in order to encourage people who’ve moved out of Wales to return to live and work. So far five people have returned, one now based at M-SParc, and coming from as far afield as Liverpool, London, and Texas! The campaign is run in partnership with the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, Llwyddo’n Lleol, and others.

Group of students sitting in the library

Identifying and addressing ‘big challenges’ Students Supporting Mental Health services across north Wales

In a unique collaboration with the NHS, between 16-20 Bangor University MSc Counselling students are offering 2000 or more counselling support hours per year within Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB)’s Primary Mental Health Service. This type of placement collaboration is unique to Bangor University and was the result of higher public demand for the NHS service, and a lack of ‘client ready’ students coming out of university. 

Student in Bangor University Library

Identifying and addressing ‘big challenges’ The North & Mid Wales Law Clinic

The North & Mid Wales Law Clinic is a partnership of seven Local Citizen Advice branches and the University’s School of History, Law and Social Sciences which provides a service to support Litigants in Person at every stage of their journey. Bangor University students are trained in key areas such as family law, community care and employment law and are offered the opportunity to develop and use their legal knowledge in a real-life setting.

Ap Geiriaduron

Identifying and addressing ‘big challenges’ Language Technologies Unit

The Language Technologies Unit at Bangor University is conducting research into how people can communicate with each other in Welsh through the help of new computers and smart devices and developing technology that recognises what people say in Welsh, then type it out or answer questions in Welsh.

Cysgliad

Their Cysgliad programme, which includes Cysill (the Welsh spelling and grammar checker), and Cysgeir (a collection of Welsh electronic dictionaries) is available free of charge through the Welsh Government's generosity.

Welsh Terms

The Unit is also responsible for standardising Welsh terms for education in Wales, including The Education Terminology and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Terminology Dictionary.

SU roundtable discussion

Identifying and addressing ‘big challenges’ Student Volunteering

Student Volunteering Bangor organises a plethora of activities aimed at local residents and includes tea parties (which have been running since 1952), day trips for older people, afternoon tea outings and even visits to the popular Snowdonia Donkey Sanctuary. Students regularly volunteer at local care homes and help to organise a host of activities as well as providing a much-needed ear to those residents who simply ‘want to chat’. Likewise, the Hafan Café in Bangor City Centre provides an opportunity for students to volunteer at a community hub which promotes wellbeing, independent living and offers a place for members of the local community to visit for a ‘panad’ and to socialise.

Working with stakeholders to enable innovation and economic opportunities  

A group of children on stage at the end of a performance at Pontio
Credit:Iolo Penri

Innovation and Economic Opportunities BLAS

BLAS is funded by the Arts Council of Wales and Children in Need, and is the youth art participatory programme run by Pontio. 

person in a laboratory
Dr Simon Middleburgh of Bangor University

Innovation and Economic Opportunities Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2)

Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a major pan-Wales operation supported by European Social Funds (ESF) through the Welsh Government. KESS 2 links companies and organisations with academic expertise in the Higher Education sector in Wales to facilitate collaborative research projects, which work towards a PhD or Research Masters qualification.

Group of participants of the Leadership Programme in front of an ION Marketing banner

Business Growth Programmes: ION Leadership Programme

Led by Swansea University in partnership with Bangor University, the ION Leadership project is supported by the European Social Fund via WEFO. The project is designed to develop and enhance the leadership skills of owners, managers and key decision-makers of businesses located across West Wales and the Valleys.

Professionals working at a desk with a laptop, calculator and papers

Business Growth Programmes: 20Twenty Business Growth Programme

Leadership and Business Growth Wales at Cardiff Metropolitan University, in partnership with Bangor University, have an established track record for delivering high quality leadership and management skills and sustainable business growth in Wales.

A couple standing behind the counter of a cafe

Business Growth Programmes: Help to Grow Management:

A unique executive development leadership and management course designed to help you to grow your business. Further information may be found here.

M-SParc building at dusk
Credit:Richard Chivers

Business Growth Programmes: Enterprise Hub:

In order to support businesses outside of the low carbon, energy and environment, digital and life science sectors, M-SParc and Menter Môn have partnered on the Enterprise Hub. Funded by European Regional Development Funding through the Welsh Government, the Hub allows M-SParc to support new businesses in any sector by providing fully funded office space, events, and business support.

Students looking at a laptop together

Business Growth Programmes: Employability Service:

The Employability Service supports students and graduates through a range of services including one to one support, workshops, self-employment advice, aspirational mentoring, employer presentations, internships and work placements, as well as a range of online resources. The service also works with employers of all sizes, especially local companies, national and international to source opportunities for engagement and development. All organisations can register with our online serviceto work with any of our teams or projects and advertise suitable jobs, placements, internships and volunteering opportunities. Graduates of Bangor University are eligible to access our services for three years post-graduation, and may also be eligible for funded work experience and training through the Graduate Support Programme.

The Prince Madog research vessel docked in Menai Bridge

Business Growth Programmes: Integrated Research and Impact Support (IRIS) Service:

The role of the IRIS Service is to support research excellence and impact activities in the University and the team is central to the delivery of the university’s new Strategy 2030: Research and Impact Strategy. IRIS works with researchers to build sustainable relationships with local, regional and national business partners and other key stakeholders identified as potential collaborators and/or beneficiaries of our research. As well as supporting researchers to secure research funding, IRIS also plays a key role in reporting and assessment exercises, such as the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and HE-BCI. 

Improving quality of life and sharing knowledge through social and public engagement

Meet the team and Contact Us

For further information regarding our Civic Engagement work, please contact: 

Professor Andrew Edwards

Headshot of Professor Andrew Edwards

Professor Andrew Edwards is the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Civic Engagement and the Welsh Language. He is also Head of College of Arts, Humanities and Business. He was appointed PVC and Head of College in May 2020, having previously been Dean of College from 2012.

Dr Lowri Angharad Hughes

Headshot of Dr Lowri Angharad Hughes, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Civic Engagement)

Lowri Angharad Hughes is Head of Policy and Development at Canolfan Bedwyr, and is the Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Civic Engagement).

Iwan Williams

headshot of Iwan Williams, Senior Civic Mission Officer

Iwan Williams is the Senior Civic Engagement Officer. Iwan began in post in January 2022. Iwan’s previous roles include working for the Welsh Local Government Association, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Gwynedd/Anglesey Councils and Bangor City Council.

 iwan.marc.williams@bangor.ac.uk

Kathryn Caine

Headshot of Kathryn Caine, Civic Mission Officer

Kathryn Caine is the Civic Engagement Officer. Kathryn began in post in November 2021 following various roles within the University including Campus Services, Pontio and most recently IRIS. Prior to joining the University, Kathryn spent 10 years working in the Financial Services sector. Kathryn is also the Wellbeing Champion for the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, IRIS, Legal & Compliance, and Planning and Strategic Projects 

 kathryn.caine@bangor.ac.uk

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