A photo of Hannah Phipps

Hannah Phipps

BA, PGCert

Head of Campus

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A photo of Hannah Phipps
Hannah is a bilingual music-maker and teacher, with a passion for French culture and designing her own clothes.

What did you do before joining dBs?  

I've worked across many different aspects of creative higher education, including; teaching, student support, course leadership, curriculum development and senior management. My most recent role was College Principal at BIMM University in Bristol.

Why did you first get into music education?

I went to a pretty old-fashioned school where music wasn't taken seriously as a career option, so when it came to choosing a university course I felt that I had to pick something considered 'sensible'. However, my interest in music only grew and after graduating I felt a bit lost career-wise. I stumbled across a job as a receptionist in a small music college, and haven't looked back since. Not only did I find an amazing music community there, but I discovered a love and curiosity for learning that has only continued to grow over the last 15 years.

Any special areas of interest?  

I'm a bit of a nerd about new ways of working and the patterns found in progressive organisations. Inclusive and happy environments are where great work is produced, so I really focus on how I can facilitate people-centred workplaces and classrooms.

When it comes to music, I am a songwriter first and foremost. I am especially interested in the idiosyncratic expression of identity through sound and words (and art generally!) So - pop music, but make it weird!

What do you love most about what you do?

Without a doubt it's the community of staff and students. I love that I can work alongside people who really care about the things I care about, and who inspire, energise and challenge me to keep learning and trying new things. Education is a continuous cycle of improvement and I find that to be a really motivating environment to work in. It's literally impossible to be bored!

Tell us about your proudest career moment?

I've been lucky to work on lots of great projects over the years but I'm most proud of my career progression journey from receptionist to principal in less than a decade. Both music and academia have historically been quite male dominated spaces and I'm proud to have encouraged other women to advocate for themselves and move into leadership positions. I also love it whenever I run into an ex-student at a festival, show, conference etc. doing their thing. It happens all the time and it's so validating to see how these courses really do lead to incredible careers in the creative industries.  

What do you get up to outside of your role at dBs?

Making music takes up most of my time. I write for and perform in two bands, so I'm often found in my home studio, a rehearsal room or performing somewhere in Bristol and beyond. I'm currently working on a new album for my solo project with support from a great team, including brilliant mix engineer TJ Allen (known for Bat for Lashes, Anna Calvi and Hannah Peel). I also love fashion! I design and sew a lot of the costumes I wear on stage. I'd love to get to a point where I have made my entire wardrobe but there's never enough time to fit in all of the hobbies…

Tell us something our students may not know about you?

I speak French and I'm mildly obsessed with la chanson française (classic French pop music from 1950s/60s). Don't leave an acoustic guitar lying around unless you want me to serenade you with endless slightly questionable Serge Gainsbourg tunes... je suis désolée d'avance...

I love that I can work alongside people who really care about the things I care about, and who inspire, energise and challenge me to keep learning and trying new things.

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