STAART Graduate and former President of LGBTQ+ at Greenwich Ryan Bryce tells their story


Over to Ryan who graduated from BA (Hons) Creative Writing and English Literature in 2020 to tell us more.

This article is also included in the most recent edition of the STAART newsletter.

My name is Ryan Bryce and I live with anxiety, depression, ADHD, dyspraxia, and gender dysphoria. I graduated from BA (Hons) Creative Writing and English Literature in 2020 and am now training as a further education lecturer in PGCE Further Education and Skills, with a specialism in English and Creative Writing.

Why Greenwich?

In regard to Greenwich itself, I came for an Open Day in July 2015 and instantly fell in love with the campus and the community. The idea that (and this is its best quality, in my opinion) Greenwich is a quiet pocket in the chaos of London was a fabulous prospect, and within my line of academic focus as a poet, the pure romance of the architecture and history of Greenwich itself struck me and stayed with me. After a couple of years spent ‘living a little,’ (as I tend to put it), I joined the university in September 2017.

Describe your journey with STAART

My story with STAART began more by chance than anything else.

When I started working within UK Student Recruitment at the university, at the start of my second year of my undergraduate degree, I had to train under the Student Ambassador project, and Dr Melanie Thorley - who heads the STAART scheme - came to speak about what STAART was. Having never heard of it, I listened intently, and approached Melanie after the presentation, my first question being, ‘Am I disabled enough?’ I hadn’t been diagnosed with ADHD or dyspraxia at that point, having only been given a diagnosis for moderate depression and slight anxiety a few years before. She reassured me that there wasn’t a scale of disability, and that it’s much more community based than I’d first thought.

What has been your involvement with the university?

Achievements-wise, I’ve been a visible and active force within academic and liberation communities.

With the Students’ Union, I ran LGBTQ+ at Greenwich between 2018 and 2020 (one of the university’s biggest student societies), which gave me the opportunity to attend and speak at the NUS 12 LGBT+ Conference in Sheffield, and attend a conference in Manchester around disabled and LGBT+ identities in higher education.

I also sat on the Activities Executive board during that time, who served to be a middleman (of sorts) between student group leaders and the SU staff. Within my time with the society, we won Event of the Year in 2019 for SHAG Week (Sexual Health, Awareness and Guidance) in coalition with the Feminism Society, which was a great privilege. To polish off that list, I ran for election as a full-time officer for the Students’ Union in my third year, placing seventh out of 22.

I also hold a First-Class Honours degree from the university - something that would not have happened without the unfaltering and incredible support STAART has offered me - which means I’m able to continue with my career with no academic boundaries. I also ran several spoken word poetry events during my degree, which were well received and well attended.

What have you gained from your experiences?

I’ve learned a lot during my time at Greenwich, both about myself and about the world.

I’ve learned how to speak, how to listen, and how to learn, which, vague as they might sound, are instrumental in my success both as a teacher and a student.

I live by the motto, ‘There’s always something.’

To me, this means there’s always a way, or place, or time, where something can and should be done, or for something you would like to do. The only obstacle I see in front of me is myself, and I know how to get around myself. There’s still work to be done, as there always will be. Accessibility for vulnerable students (whatever the reason for that vulnerability might be) still must be promoted and adhered to. The world is a happier and more interesting place when you listen to the whisper of the quietest voice. Platforms must be made and must be respected.

What’s next for me?

A lot, in so many words. After qualifying as a teacher, I’ll be taking a Masters degree in Creative Writing with a concentration on spoken word and contemporary poetry, and after that, studying for a PhD in a similar subject, with hopes of lecturing at university-level in the future.

Thank you for sharing your story with us Ryan.

Find out more about STAART

You can read our January 2021 STAART newsletter and find out more about STAART - Support through *AccessAbility retention and transition - initiative, on our website.