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Matt Prestage

Nestled in the tranquility of Otford, Kent, Matt's childhood unfolded in your typical nuclear family setting. A love for languages evolved into a creative exploration, paving the way for the beginnings of a fulfilling academic and professional career at London Met, and a commitment to unlocking the creative potential of others.

"If you are foolish enough to walk London end to end, you would encounter so many different types of architecture, cuisine, people and cultures all in one city. That is not something that many other cities, capital or otherwise, can offer."
Person standing on grass in front of The Shard in London

The real London

"Near to the University in Angel, there's the Camden Head, which is a favourite of mine because there's a great stand-up comedy club above there. It's free to get in, not free to get out."
A person sitting in a dark pub with their hand on a glass

The real London

"I spend a lot of time in the London Bridge area. Borough Market nearby is a particular favourite."
A person standing outside Borough Market in London

The real London

Matt Prestage

My childhood was fairly standard. I've got the typical nuclear family; mum and dad, sister and myself. ​I grew up just outside Sevenoaks in Kent, in a little village called Otford, a blink and you miss it sort of place it. For a while it held the record for the largest roundabout with a duck pond, which gives you an idea of the sort of place that it was: beautiful, quaint, peaceful.

I am always happy to see what doors life opens for me. It was always impressed upon me that life is in equal parts difficult and full of potential. The more you put into life, the more you get out. In secondary school languages was something that I engaged particularly well with.

With language comes travel. I'm lucky to have been able to visit a lot of places, and being able to speak the language to people, no matter how clunkily or however many times I trip over the verbs, declensions and adjective endings, always added an extra dimension to the experience. Sometimes it's just as simple as knowing what's going on in the conversations around you in the coffee shop. Language allows you to delve deeper. You can know your history about the place as much as you like, but if you can't add to that knowledge while you are there through your knowledge of the language, then you are limited.

I enjoyed being a social media ambassador. The job helped prepare me for what I do now.

When university rolled around, I knew I wanted to go. Languages was the subject that jumped out at me. I didn't feel the pressure to have a plan so I didn’t feel railroaded into a particular career afterwards. There are all sorts of skills that you can put on a CV with languages.

After leaving university, I found work in translation. It wasn't particularly rewarding, and it wasn't a career I saw myself following for too much longer, so I started investigating other options. While I was at university, I discovered that I particularly enjoyed creative pursuits, especially written and performative ones, and that’s when I started investigating the idea of a postgraduate course.

London Met stood out to me. It offered a creative writing degree that covered a broad range of teaching styles and types of writing including script writing, journalism, and fiction. I felt that that breadth of knowledge would be nothing but an advantage. There was a real focus on community and on making sure that we were more than just students who happened to be on the same course.

I enjoyed being a social media ambassador. It was such a varied position week on week. I'd be tasked to go out and film five spots in London, put together a video about black history and write a script to be read over the top of that. Sometimes I was writing copy for social media posts. The job helped prepare me for what I do now.

The city is built from many different blocks. If you are foolish enough to walk London end to end, you would encounter so many different types of architecture, cuisine, people and cultures all in one city. That is not something that many other cities, capital or otherwise, can offer. London has a reputation as being an international city. It's the banking capital. It attracts people from all over the world. It draws people to it and keeps them there. It's more than just a tourist destination. London itself is full of production companies, which you just cannot get anywhere else in the UK, so moving to London was something of an inevitability if I wanted to pursue a more creative career.

London attracts people from all over the world. It draws people to it and keeps them there. It's more than just a tourist destination.

I spend a lot of time in the London Bridge area. It's not the prettiest, although the Shard does have a certain majesty to it, but it's so accessible. Borough Market nearby is a particular favourite. I'm not in love with it when it's rammed full of people, but later on in the evening there's a pub called the Market Porter that is there. The particular selling point of the Market Porter, is its ludicrous opening hours as it opens at 6am to cater to the market traders. Near to the University in Angel, there's the Camden Head, which is a favourite of mine because there's a great stand-up comedy club above there. It's free to get in, not free to get out. You get some really stellar acts who are maybe just making their way on the circuit for the first time, but you also get to see some industry vetarans trying out new material.

I began performing improv and sketch on stage as an undergraduate. The variety is part of what makes it fun. Night to night, you never know what's going to happen. One of the scariest moments was one of the first times I performed in London on stage. It was in front of a packed crowd, which had nothing to do with me. There is always packed on a Saturday night in that particular venue. I had no idea what I was doing; I'd only just joined the group, and I tripped and stumbled over my words. was one of those performances where people didn't say well done or bad luck afterwards. I was just left in that no man's land in the centre where no one said anything. I just knew I had to get up there again and repair what was left of my reputation. I either had to walk away or get back on the horse and I chose to get back on the horse and haven't looked back.

You can't do too much research when looking at universities. Going to university is a huge commitment, and it is something that you can get so much out of if you are willing to make the most of it. The worst thing you can do is take an opportunity like university and put yourself through that and not make the most of it.

One of the things I love so much about working at London Met the personal level of creativity that you are afforded. I'm not just helping a business sell a product. I'm helping students achieve their potential. London Met gave me the chance to realise my creative potential.

Matt standing in a churchyard

"There was a real focus on community and on making sure that we were more than just students who happened to be on the same course."

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