'Oxford Brookes is a playground for the mind,' says new Chancellor, Paterson Joseph

Paterson Joseph
Paterson Joseph will be officially installed as Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University on Thursday (25 May)

Higher education is not just a way of getting a job, but a way of learning how to live life, says the new Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, Paterson Joseph, ahead of his inauguration later this week.

The actor and author has worked extensively on screen, television and in the theatre, and last year published his critically acclaimed debut novel, The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho. 

Paterson will be officially installed as Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University in a graduation ceremony taking place on Thursday (25 May) in the Sir Kenneth Wheare Hall on the University’s Headington campus. 

Speaking to Oxford Brookes in a recorded interview ahead of the ceremony, Paterson described the University as one of the most exciting academic spaces he has ever been to. 

“I didn't go to university. University is a very strange place to me, a very strange environment. But this place isn't. This place feels like a sort of playground for the mind.

“Oxford Brookes is a welcoming, open campus, you can even tell that by the way it looks. It doesn't look like a dusty place where only people who are of a certain class or ethnicity attend. It’s clearly a welcoming, open community.

“If you're somewhere like Oxford Brookes and you find yourself curious about anything, everything's here for you to learn, whatever you might want to learn.”

The role of Chancellor is ceremonial, and the new Chancellor will give an annual lecture, preside over certain ceremonies, and act as an inspiration and ambassador for the University.

Paterson added: “I think Oxford Brookes University stood out to me because it seemed to not really be focused just on academic achievements, but actually on the sort of wider curiosity within the student, a desire to do more than they've achieved before.”

Paterson was born and raised in London and trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). He recently wrapped on Boat Story, a six part mini series for the BBC, and will next appear in the musical feature film, Wonka, alongside Timothée Chalemet. 

Paterson's previous on screen credits include: Anansi Boys, That Dirty Black Bag, Vigil, The Mosquito Coast, Inside No.9, The End Of The F***ing World, Noughts And Crosses, Avenue 5, Grantchester, Peep Show, Green Wing, In The Name Of The Father, Aeon Flux, and The Beach. On stage, Paterson's theatre credits include A Christmas Carol (Old Vic), Troilus and Cressida, The Last Days of Don Juan, King Lear (RSC); Elmina’s Kitchen, St Joan, Emperor Jones and The Royal Hunt of the Sun (National Theatre).

Paterson’s novel, The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho, based on the true story of the 18th-century writer and composer who became the first known person of African descent to vote in a British parliamentary election, has been shortlisted for this year’s Jhalak Prize, which celebrates books by British/British resident BAME writers. The winner is due to be announced at an event on Thursday (25 May).