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Stephen Lawrence bursaries

First Stephen Lawrence bursaries awarded to students

Published on: 3 December 2020

Students Sumaiya Aziz and Hooman Valizadeh are the first Newcastle University architecture undergraduates to be awarded Stephen Lawrence bursaries.

Building Futures

The 19-year-olds will have their fees and a contribution to living expenses paid for the duration of their three year degree under a collaboration between the University and the Stephen Lawrence Charitable TrustThe bursaries are part of the Trust’s Building Futures programme, which supports students from under-represented backgrounds to study and qualify as architects.

The Building Futures programme reflects Stephen Lawrence’s own dream of becoming an architect, before his tragic murder in 1993, and now the scholarship will help Sumaiya and Hooman fulfil their dreams and potential.

“I feel so lucky to have been awarded this scholarship,” says Sumaiya, from Burnley, who has wanted to be an architect since she was a child. “I used to tell my uncle I wanted to be an architect even before I really understood what an architect was. Then as I got older and learned more about it, I realised it really was what I wanted to be.”

Sumaiya knew she wanted to study at Newcastle University after visiting an open day and seeing lecturer Andrew Ballantyne read from his book Architecture: A Very Short Introduction, which she loved. “I just knew this was where I wanted to study,” she says.

Hooman, from Saffron Walden, Essex, who grew up in Iran, says “I feel very honoured to have been awarded this scholarship. I feel very grateful for this support, especially as most of my family is many miles away.”

A love of design and a fascination with how buildings are made have led Hooman to study Architecture. And he has followed in his brother’s footsteps to come to Newcastle University, where his older brother Abbas is studying dentistry.

“I knew it was a good university and a good place to study architecture and that’s why I wanted to study here,” he says.

Sumaiya Aziz

Sharing our values

The University has committed £25,000 to support the bursaries with a further £75,000 raised through the generosity of alumni and the architectural practices where they work.

Dr Juliet Odgers, Director of Architecture at Newcastle University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape said: “We are delighted to welcome Sumaiya and Hooman into the first year of our BA in Architecture. It is a privilege to be working with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to support young people from disadvantaged and under-represented background in this demanding and exciting area of professional study.

“The bursaries are supported by excellent practices, who share our values and we applaud their continuing engagement with these talented young people through their financial support and mentoring activities.”

The Trust’s Building Futures programme was launched in 2015 to address the many barriers faced by young people from under-represented backgrounds who want to pursue a career in architecture. Students on the programme benefit from a wide range of support, including industry workshops, mentoring, networking, financial support and opportunities to showcase their work.

Chanel Noel, Head of Programmes at the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust said: “It was a pleasure to represent the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust on the bursary interview panel. Everyone we interviewed shone in the process and Sumaiya and Hooman are very worthy bursary awardees.

“We are looking forward to supporting them through the Building Futures programme in which they can attend our workshops, receive mentoring and other useful guidance on their journey towards becoming architects.

“We are also excited to further our partnership with Newcastle University to ensure that architecture becomes the diverse, inclusive and representative profession that we all want to see.’

Hooman Valizadeh


The University would like to thank the following donors who have made the Stephen Lawrence bursary awards possible:

• Grimshaw Architects, London and international
• Foster & Partners, London and international
• FaulknerBrowns, Newcastle and international
• Page\Park,Glasgow
• Napper, Newcastle
• Sheppard Robson


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