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Joe Bourne


5 bits of advice to my teenage self…

  • You don't need to have a life plan, you can change your mind

  • As long as you are doing what you love then good things will happen

  • Working hard is always more fun than being bored

  • DON'T write those poems!!

  • Don't worry if things don’t seem to be getting easier or aren't going to plan; the adults that appear to know what they are doing are still just making it up as they go along

About me

As a teenager…

I grew up in rural Hampshire (down south) in a the sort of place where your bike is essential if you want to do anything and everyone is desperate to progress to 4 wheels as soon as possible. Social activities took a lot of organising, which I was often the person willing to do (I’m an only child so needed friends more than most maybe). There wasn’t ever anything obvious to do and weekends mostly consisted of hanging around the skate park or taking a bus to a bigger town to buy CD’s and roam around without any money in our pockets. A lot of our fun was self-made with a couple of people having video cameras and making silly parody films or skate films. I remember lots of nights spent out camping in the wild and/or walking miles home from house parties in the middle of nowhere. I always enjoyed working or volunteering somewhere, partly because I have always enjoyed meeting new people and this was a great way to do that; I enjoyed the independence it gave; but, also because (rightly or wrongly) I felt I was learning more than I was at school. I wasn’t bad at school, generally getting good grades etc but I never found it came easily: I’ll never forget the torture of forcing myself to read Tess of the d’Urbervilles. I was very lucky to have some amazing friends around me who I still keep in touch with today. Friendships and the fun we had is what I see most when I look back on my teenage years.


After school…

I came to Lancaster University to study Linguistics as the 6 hour drive felt enough of a distance to be a true leap into the unknown but the town and uni were still small and green enough for me to get my head round. I didn’t excel at my degree (I probably should have studied something else!) but I did well enough. I have admit I had no plan and was pretty ready to leave Lancaster when I graduated as I had been a fairly typical student in not really discovering the city and what it really offered. However, I got lucky with my first job for the Students’ Union at the University running a schools volunteering programme. This job was great for starting to get to know the real Lancaster and it didn’t take long for me to start to fall in love with it and to make my plans here. I have of course skipped detours to this path such as the six months I spent running a night club in North Devon.

Now I’m…

Always tired as I’m a Dad to 1 and 3 year old boys. We live in Lancaster and I still work at the university but as a Global Engagement Manager, developing international research partnership.. Outside of work I was involved in setting up City of Sanctuary supporting refugees and asylum seekers to settle and thrive here in Lancaster & Morecambe. I also recently delivered the Connecting Kids project responding to the needs of children and young people throughout the Covid-19 lockdowns.