Caroline Thraves

I joined the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in 2009 and have successfully led several schools since joining the university and have a proven track record of turning underperforming areas into successful areas.

I am currently Head of the School of Fine and Media Arts at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David with management responsibilities for the departments of Fine Art, Photography, Film, Music and Performing Arts. Prior to this I spent 16 years working in Further Education. Before beginning a career in education I studied fashion and worked in the clothing industry as a pattern cutter. 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 beliefs in the value of education for transformation have not only enabled my professional development but this has also been fundamental to my approach to leadership.

Sadly, I am the only female manager within Swansea College of Art, UWTSD so I recognise the challenges that women face in the workplace, particularly within academia where gender pay gaps are evident. 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 be able to manage the roles of mother and manager. I try to be a visible working mother and manager for other women to recognise that it is achievable to be both manager and mother and that women do not have to adhere to gender specific norms and behaviours in order to achieve success professionally. I suffered from post natal depression when I had my daughter and I rushed back to work when she was 4 months old to try a present this image of being on top of everything. I didn’t share this with my male colleagues who I knew would have no understanding of what I was going through. It took me a long time to realise that it was not a sign of weakness and it didn’t make me bad at my job, it was just all part of the human condition that we live through. I wasn’t weak, I know that now that I am strong enough to recognise this. This led me alongside a few other colleagues to set up the UWTSD Women’s Network. The Network was established in 2018 to support female staff across UWTSD in both professional and academic posts. The network provides a support mechanism for females within the institution. The network currently has approx. 80 members across four campuses. I volunteer my time to the network because I feel so passionately about it. I manage the communications, emails, newsletters, set up events, speakers, coffee mornings and mentor and support other female members of staff.