UWTSD’s Caroline Thraves wins education and academia category at WeAreTheCity’s Rising Stars Awards 2019


Congratulations to UWTSD’s Caroline Thraves, Head of the School of Fine and Media Arts at Swansea College of Art, who won the education and academia category at the WeAreTheCity’s Rising Stars Awards 2019 in London.


Now in their fifth year, the Rising Star Awards, powered by The Times and Sunday Times, focus on the achievements of women below senior management or director level – representing the female talent pipeline and the next generation of future leaders.

The awards also recognise the efforts of senior leaders who are championing gender equality, as well as putting the spotlight on a “company of the year” that is actively supporting its female talent pipeline above and beyond industry norms.

Over the past four years and with the support of leading organisations, WeAreTheCity has been able to highlight the achievements of over 450 women (350 in the UK, 100 in India) through the Rising Star Awards’ process.

It is the second award for Caroline who also won the Welsh Women’s Awards 2019 category for services to education at a ceremony in Cardiff on April 3.

Caroline said: "I am absolutely delighted to have won this prestigious award. The Rising Stars Awards are National Awards which highlight the successes of women in leadership who are not at senior management level. This is such an important platform for women in leadership and I am thrilled to receive this award.”

Caroline joined UWTSD in 2009 and has played a key role within the Swansea College of Art. She is currently Head of the School of Fine and Media Arts with management responsibilities for a portfolio of provision in the areas of Fine Art, Photography, Film, Music and Performing Arts.

Prior to this, she spent 16 years working in Further Education. Before beginning a career in education Caroline studied fashion and worked in the clothing industry as a pattern cutter.

She said: "My first job in education was on the bottom of the ladder so to speak as a technician and I worked my way up into teaching roles, head of department and head of curriculum after which point I joined the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. I have studied a lot whilst working full time as I strongly believe in the power of education to empower and develop potential. It was not easy to find the time to study whilst working but I knew this along with my determination would pay off. I achieved a PGCE, BA Education MA Education and MSc Management. My personal belief in the value of education for transformation has not only enabled my professional development but this has also been fundamental to my approach to leadership.

"I am a busy working mother to a 4 year old daughter and so I have a personal understanding of the challenges that working mothers face attempting to balance work and life commitments. I believe in the importance of flexible working to enable women to achieve this. I try to be a visible working mother and manager for other women to recognise they do not have to adhere to gender specific norms and behaviours in order to achieve success professionally.”

Caroline is one of the founding members of the UWTSD’s Women’s Network.  She also chairs a task group within the University to support refugees and Asylum seekers, working with Swansea City of Sanctuary with the aim of achieving University of Sanctuary Status.

She said: "This is something I feel passionate about. I work closely with Race Council Cymru and support student internships within the organisation along with other initiatives. I was born in Swansea to a working class family, I am the only one of three siblings to go to University. I feel that my early interest in creativity and the arts has helped to shape my entire career which I feel very fortunate about. I believe strongly in the importance of access into the arts. I am a huge supporter of arts initiatives that are inclusive and draw in disadvantaged young people.”

Caroline is also a director and vice chair of the board at the Mission Gallery in Swansea. She said: “I am a huge supporter of grass roots art and the importance it has to the culture of Swansea City. I believe that collaboration is essential in the arts. I also work collaboratively with the Elysium Gallery, Galerie Simpson, and the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.” 

In 2009 she was invited to meet The Queen at Buckingham Palace in recognition of her contribution to the British Fashion Industry through EU Funded Projects that aimed to support business within the clothing industry in Wales.

She said: "I have always believed in bringing others up with me as I have progressed through my career and this is particularly the case where women have been concerned. I recognise the challenges that women face in the workplace and I am proud of the fact that I have worked alongside many women who through my support have gone on to have very successful academic careers. I have and will continue to informally mentor other females to provide them with the support needed to progress their careers.”

Caroline is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; Fellow of the Institute of Knowledge Transfer; Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors.

The winners of the WeAreTheCity’s Rising Stars Awards 2019 were announced on July 3, at an evening reception at The Sheraton Hotel, Park Lane, London.

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

Tel: 01792 483695
Mobile: 07384 467071
Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk