I was very lucky to have my university experience at NTU. I was the first member of my family to have the opportunity to go to university. I also knew I wanted to carry on learning and to experience a new city, away from my hometown of Leeds.
Once I had narrowed down which universities offered the courses I was interested in, I chose to come to Nottingham by looking through the gig guide in the NME. Every band that toured the country never failed to play Nottingham. That was as eloquent a recommendation as I could hope for, and I spent much of freshers week in Rock City.
I soon found that Nottingham is a lot different to what I had been used to. Leeds is a loud and intense place, and I found Nottingham to be far more relaxed. It’s a big, creative, seething city, but still manages to be calm and unassuming. And very very green. I loved spending time at Nottingham Castle- a grand, palatial museum, that was still very welcoming and endlessly interesting. I became a regular visitor (I revised for my final exams in the cafe), and it was this experience that convinced me that I wanted to work in museums. I would even go on to work at the Castle itself.
I met my wife while we were both students at NTU. We spent many long afternoons walking through Wollaton Park and the arboretum. I was astonished that there were such beautiful, extensive landscapes, so close to the city centre. These places remain special to us and the family we have had here.
I dived into the cultural life of the city while I was at NTU. There’s always something cool going on in Nottingham. I DJed at
It was all written about in LeftLion, an essential read that can be picked up pretty much anywhere in town, every month. I even took the chance to see Nottingham Forest, whose ground really is in one of the loveliest settings you can ask for, right next to the river. The view from the Brian Clough stand over the city can even make up for the rubbish often seen on the pitch.
After I graduated it was an easy decision for us to stay in the city, renting a flat next to the arboretum. Nottingham is in a constant state of renewal, and I’ve seen wonderful public places like the New Art Exchange, Rough Trade and Nottingham Contemporary open. These have quickly become an essential part of the cultural life of the city, forums to encourage everyone who visits to add to that culture themselves. I am a proud Yorkshireman but Nottingham has been the making of me, and I am excited to see how the city continues to grow and change.
By Simon Brown – Curator at Newstead Abbey
Simon is an NTU Alumni Fellow. You can find out more about how to get involved with the Alumni Fellowship Programme here.