Case study

Lecturer and social action coordinator — Lewis Wedlock

As both a social action coordinator and one of the youngest lecturers in the UK, Lewis has a busy and varied workload. Find out more about how his psychology degree has helped him achieve success in both roles

What degree did you study?

I studied psychology with sociology at the University of the West of England (UWE), graduating in 2019.

How did you get your jobs?

I am very big on developing and maintaining strong networks. I volunteered on and off throughout my university career with OTR,  a mental health social movement by and for young people aged 11 to 25 living in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

I also offered my feedback to module leaders at university until they gave me a chance to produce the content I was asking for. I am incredibly grateful to both organisations for trusting me to work within the roles they have given me.

What's a typical working day like?

I am fortunate enough to have two roles. I work for Project Zazi as their social action coordinator, which basically means that I get to teach young people in Bristol from primarily Black and Asian backgrounds about activism, campaigning and social justice.

I am also one of the youngest lecturers in the UK at 23, designing and delivering a module called 'Flourish' to foundation-year social science and year-one sociology students at UWE. The module brings together positive psychology and personal development to provide students with the opportunity to study the most important subject of all in higher education: themselves.

In my role at Zazi, I either teach (social action or masculinity workshops) or develop resources for our wider community like Black Bristol. I also spend large parts of my day reading and researching so that I implement the latest ideas into my work with young people.

In terms of lecturing, I either deliver and develop materials for the Flourish team. Similar to my role at Zazi, I also read a lot of articles within the positive psychology field so I can bring new ideas to the cohorts.

How relevant is your degree?

Incredibly relevant. Both my roles are very much embedded in the principles of psychology - they require an understanding of people, place and methodologies. I use my sociology more so in my mental health role, because I am actively critiquing structures that often marginalise and oppress people. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

As a young Black man, the Zazi role is therapeutic in many ways. It allows me to go back and soothe so many frustrations that I carried for a long time as a teenager that I didn’t know how to solve at the time.

As for the lecturer role, the moment I finished my first lecture, I knew that was what I wanted to do. The best part of my job is that I am doing what I love every day.

What are the challenges?

The Zazi role is deeply personal - sometimes you find yourself almost talking directly to a younger you. With the recent resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement as well, balancing your activist title and your personal triggers surrounding the movement is a very delicate balancing act.

In terms of lecturing… the 8.30am lectures...boy! I love my students dearly, but that start is incredibly challenging.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I hope that the Flourish module will be one of the best academic personal development modules in the world and I will have personally helped thousands of young people channel their magnificence to the world.

What advice can you give to others?

  • You decide what you can and can’t do. Do not listen to limiting beliefs.
  • Repetition is the mother of success. Prioritise consistency over hard slog during your academic career and you will go far.
  • Recognise that you deserve to be where you are. You wouldn't be studying on your course otherwise.

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