UCL News


Spotlight on... Samantha Fanning

8 August 2019

Samantha is Head of Digital for UCL CAM and ISD. Here, she shares with us her experience uniting activity across teams in different parts of UCL, and her commitment to creating seamless digital experiences for everyone.

Samantha Fanning

What is your role and what does it involve?

I am Head of Digital for CAM and ISD. It’s a new role for UCL, uniting activity across teams in two different directorates (so, more of a “digital collective” than a single Digital team). We deliver and support UCL’s digital estate – content, ux, development, as well as a number of other platforms and services that support digital comms and marketing activity for student recruitment.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I'm still in my first year! And it's my first year in higher education, too. I was previously Head of Digital at St John Ambulance, and before that in local government.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

When “user generated content” was just a vague idea, pre YouTube, Instagram and others, my team battled some very scary senior stakeholders to launch a user owned and managed resource for Macmillan Cancer Support. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal now, but allowing people to share how they were really feeling about theirs, or their loved one’s, cancer experience was new and radical, and really empowering.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?

Our top priority right now is a many-headed project with lots of strands, that will improve the quality and inclusivity of the content on our web pages, the training and support for our editors, and also how we develop our publishing platform. We want to create seamless digital experiences for everyone – prospective students, staff, all audiences, and we can only do that by making some changes to how we work across the institution. You'll see some of that filter up through the Staff Intranet (and please do click the feedback link, to tell us what you think!)

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

Too many to choose, too many! If I have to commit, I’ll say – the last thing I put on constant repeat on Spotify was the Umbrella Academy soundtrack, the last cinema release I loved was Avengers Endgame, and the book I re-read the most growing up was Little Women.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

It’s Edinburgh Festival time, so how about last year’s festival “Joke of the Year” winner?

"Working at the Jobcentre has to be a tense job - knowing that if you get fired, you still have to come in the next day."

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Guy Garvey, Michael Sheen, Michelle Obama, Marian Keyes and Sharon Horgan.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t rush. And exercise more.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I was in a Lucozade ad when I was four. Initially I refused because I thought it meant I had to leave my family and live in the TV.

What is your favourite place?

Anywhere by the sea, more specifically the “sunny south east” coast of Ireland.