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17 March, 2020 - 16:42 By Kate Sweeney

Composer strikes the right note for Quality of Life initiative

Business and academic member organisation Cambridge Ahead has unveiled Professor Roderick Watkins as director and Jeremy Newsum as chair of its newly formed Quality of Life project group.

Professor Watkins was appointed vice-chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University in February 2019. He first joined ARU in 2014, as pro vice chancellor and Dean of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, before being appointed deputy vice-chancellor (Research and Innovation) in 2015.

Prior to joining ARU, he was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Canterbury Christ Church University, where he was appointed Professor of Composition and Contemporary Music in 2005. He is a composer with a particular interest in digital sound synthesis and his compositions have been performed and broadcast across Europe and the UK.  

Professor Watkins said: “I am delighted to join Cambridge Ahead and to support them in their important work. Ours is a wonderful city and region to live in but there is a huge amount to do to ensure it is sustainable, resilient and inclusive.”

Jeremy Newsum, honorary vice-chair and a founder of Cambridge Ahead, has agreed to chair the project group. 

Having first explored the issue of quality of life six years ago, the topic re-surfaced in 2019 with the creation of two new Cambridge Ahead groups; Policy and the Young Advisory Committee.

Much has moved on since the organisation’s first exploration of the topic and quality of life has now been formally adopted as a core principle for Cambridge Ahead and will be a consideration for everything the organisation does going forward.

The objective of the new group is to consider what quality of life means for everyone in Cambridge – not just employees of Cambridge Ahead member organisations. 

Commissioned research will enable the group to understand what constitutes a good quality of life for individuals across our region with the objective of positively influencing policy and decision making in the Cambridge region. 

Newsum said: “The experience of living and working in Cambridge is a different one for each one of us. And it’s often easier to say what we hate more than what we love so we land up with an unbalanced perspective.

“I know it’s possible to make aspects of living in Cambridge better quickly but what I am even more concerned about is the verdict of our grandchildren on what we did to make Cambridge one of the very best places to be living and working. We have a lot to do and I am sure this new Cambridge Ahead project group can help point the way.”

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