From theatre director to climate change communicator and strategist, Ben Twist talks carbon management, going back to university as a mature student - and making your dissertation count.
|Degree Course||MSc in Carbon Management|
|Year of Graduation||2010|
Your time at the University
Carbon Management was an area that had a real interest for me, because I could see that it offered opportunities outside the sector I had worked in previously. I was a theatre director and arts strategist for 25 years, but I felt I had done all I could in that field.
I wanted something that would offer opportunities to work strategically and on a national scale. It was also important to work in a field that contributes to the public good, and yet has the potential to be every bit as engrossing and exciting as theatre directing.
Ironically, the course enabled me to combine my old knowledge and experience with new skills and do something that overlaps the two. I know more about theatre and the arts than most people in the climate change/carbon management world, and more about climate change and carbon management than most people in the arts.
Your experiences since leaving the University
It was very affirming going back to university after 25 years, and discovering I wasn’t only keeping up - I was actually pretty good!
I work in Edinburgh in the cultural sector, preparing it for climate change - reducing its climate impacts, encouraging it to adapt to forthcoming changes and working out how it can help encourage attitudinal and behavioural change amongst the wider public around climate change and sustainability.
What did I take from the course that I use today? Specific knowledge and skills - carbon foot-printing, carbon management, background knowledge of climate change science and economics - all of which I use to persuade and encourage the organisations I am working with as to why they should take action.
The Edinburgh Centre For Carbon Innovation has also been very useful to me in my work, as it provides contacts, support, ideas and interesting conversations in both the areas that I work in, and those alongside it that I don’t know so well. We have collaborated on some research and, less formally, keep in touch about ideas and projects. I see them as a key partner in my work.
For mature students like me, work out how you can add your new skills and knowledge to your previous experience, rather than trying to branch out into a completely new field.
And, some advice for everyone: do a dissertation that will get you work in the area you're interested in.
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