In memory of Jo Hodges, the unmistakable industry stalwart and ground-breaking lecturer who sadly passed away from an ongoing illness in July 2017, London College of Communication has launched the Jo Hodges Memorial Fund in partnership with her family – in honour of her outstanding contribution to LCC and her commitment to diversity.

For young people who have no prior experience and no family members who have been through higher education, starting university can seem like a daunting journey, particularly when you consider course fees and the cost of living in London.

The Jo Hodges Memorial Fund – which you can support with a donation on JustGiving – will continue Jo’s legacy as a pioneer for diversity by providing bursaries for students wanting to study for undergraduate degree on courses in our Media School for whom meeting the associated costs is a challenge.

To celebrate the life of Jo and her extraordinary contribution to the lives and careers of staff and students, family, friends, colleagues and students gathered to launch the fund on Tuesday 1 May at an event at LCC.

Natalie Brett, UAL Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of London College of Communication, spoke of Jo’s incredible passion for driving diversity forwards:

“Jo always sought to push the diversity of the artistic and creative industries and fought for students’ equal inclusion regardless of their background or race.

“With the fund so far we’ve already been able to provide 2 students with £2,500 a year for their 3 years of studies and we’re hoping to expand that to more as the fund grows.”

Katharine Ford, of GK Partners and an advisor to LCC’s neighbour The Cinema Museum, shared the impact Jo had on the museum:

“Set up by Jo, we set a brief for students every year. The College provides us with amazing work from students that we can use and for the students they are given a real life client experience. It’s a proper partnership project and all that both partners want out of it is students to have had a fantastic experience and to have pushed their boundaries of what they think they are capable of.

“This year the brief is going to be ‘how are we going to take the work of Jo Hodge’s forward?’.  This is about students using the privilege of study at the moment to make sure that the people that walk in their footsteps behind them are going also to get a leg up.”

Katharine also shared some fond memories of Jo, a reflection on the type of energetic and inspiring character that she was.

“Carrying on Jo’s legacy is important to me personally as well… We’d been working together at the cinema museum for 2 years on these projects and one night we had gone to the theatre together.

“She brought up that she was from Leicester, as was I. She mentioned the high school she’d gone to, which was the same one I had. Everybody knew Jo in school because she was brilliant at everything and I said, ‘WOW! You’re THAT Jo Hodges!’. When I was in school I was known as Kate and she screamed ‘AND YOU’RE KATE FORD!’.

“There were 3 of us at the theatre that night and the third person didn’t get a look in!”

Sarah Ellison, LCC’s Development Manager who helped set up the fund, said: “We’re pleased and proud to launch the Jo Hodges Memorial Fund, which will continue Jo’s legacy as a pioneer for diversity by providing bursaries to students who could not otherwise meet the associated costs of their studies in the Media School at LCC.”

As part of the launch of the fund, LCC has set up a JustGiving page where people can donate to support.

Sarah added: “By donating to this fund you will help make a difference to the lives of students from diverse backgrounds – enriching life at LCC and the industries in which these students go on to work.”

Words by Dayna McAlpine, BA (Hons) Journalism graduate. Images by Lei Zhang, BA (Hons) Photojournalism & Documentary Photography student.