Get In: Cambridge

The phone rings.

It’s Tamsin Starr, Cambridge University Head of News. Do we want to pitch to make some films to try and get more British Black and British Asian young people applying to the University? Five films, YouTuber style, on a tight budget.

I wonder if she’s got the right number.

That might just be the fear kicking in. What do I know about making a film YouTuber style? And oh yeah, I’m forty-two and white.

A short search brings me to YouTuber Courtney Daniella. Courtney is a gift.  A young British black Cambridge grad who smashes it on Youtube.  She’s brilliant.  I breathe out. Maybe we can do this. Together.

Then I turn to child labour. My fifteen-year-old Luka who is a former (really excellent) YouTuber.  Son. Help. He seems pretty confident.

After that it’s an exercise in listening.  I don’t want to be the idiot who gets Cambridge Uni in the news again for all the wrong reasons.  So early doors I make contact with the Cambridge African Caribbean Society whose President, Wanipa Ndhlovu, could not have been more engaged.

I make a promise. The films will be honest. They will represent her community authentically, with the respect they deserve.

Actually, that was the easy part. Everyone was seriously committed, kind, easy to deal with and open.  And in Courtney, we had a fantastic presenter, willing to take risks and willing to give something of herself.

Cambridge Uni is not for everyone, but it’s certainly for far more than just the people bought up to believe they should get in. So if you know any bright BAME kids or teachers that work with them, please send them a link to the films.

I’m told the results so far are really encouraging. Luka actually liked one of my films. That’s a first. So, yeah, all good.


A big thank you then to Tamsin Starr, who brilliantly kept the project rolling through the highs and lows. Stephen Bevan who fixed up much of the shoot and made sure we never walked on the wrong patch of grass. Chris Keenan and Adrian Storey who shot the films.  Wanipa and all the lovely Cambridge students. Fiona Holland at Trinity College. Paul Seagrove. Alan Fraser and the great kids at Cranford Community College.

Finally, Courtney Daniella, you are an inspiration, to me and many others, please take a bow.


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