ALumnus OF THE MONTH -  November 2019

Mickey Mayhew (Social and policy studies, 2003 and phd in social sciences, 2018)

Mickey's academic path has led him back to LSBU as an Assistant Researcher. Having successfully completed two degrees’ here and being an acclaimed author, Mickey doesn’t let his autism stop him. Read Mickey’s story….

"My choice to study here was mainly a convenience to begin with, but then that blossomed into something far greater. I loved the people, the proximity to central London, and the liberal atmosphere, as it's one without any sort of overbearing pseudo-intellectual angle. Plus, the University was also extremely understanding when it came to issues around my autism.

My PhD supervisors Shaminder Takhar and Jenny Owen; Jeffrey Weeks and Gaim Kibreab are staff members who I will never forget. They gave me the support that was undeniable, and I am so grateful to them.

Life for me whilst studying was pretty traditional. I was full-time for my undergrad in Social and Policy Studies in 2003, but whilst completing my PhD in Social Sciences in 2018, I also worked as a writer.

My first year after graduating from my undergrad was very daunting. But, on the flip side, since achieving my PhD I felt sufficiently ‘well-clad’ academically to tackle life with some confidence. Plus, I'm a bit older now. I now work at LSBU, and what I love most about my current role as an assistant researcher is shining a light on a relatively unexplored area of research, i.e. adults with autism.

As for my biggest career achievement, undoubtedly having a book or two published makes me proud. For me the best thing was seeing one of my books on the shelf in Foyles on Charing Cross Road though. You know you're a writer when you see your book being sold in Foyles. I love writing. I write endlessly, often purely for my pleasure and that in itself keeps me motivated.

Achieving what I knew I had to achieve and wanted to achieve back when I was at school amidst all that autism angst and intolerance has brought such satisfaction and I'm proud of myself.

Stress has been something that has held me back, but you have to beat it. As PhD supervisor, Shaminder Takhar, once said to me, ‘You only get one life, and it goes by like that,’ so there’s no time to waste on something negative. You have to keep getting up and dusting yourself off.

One of the most influential relationships I’ve had was with a lady I met at a college called Sight & Sound when I was 16. Her name was Monique and she was my teacher and probably one of the most positive, morally ‘pure’ people I have ever met in my entire life. Her positivity really helped me.

The fact I now work at LSBU says a great deal about what I think of this place. My advice to current LSBU students is to just stick with it. I had to repeat a year of my undergrad because my disability meant that I really struggled with the practical side of things - you know, qualitative & quantitative data and all that - but I got there in the end. You have to be a bit like Teflon and not let any of the bad stuff stick. Look at me - I’ve not done badly for someone who was slung out of school aged just 12"

Follow Mickey on twitter with his handle @Mickey_Mayhew.

We feature alumni each month who have had an interesting journey. To nominate someone email

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