A POP star turned arts supremo has moved to academia for the next stage of her career.
Marie Nixon, who played alongside TV presenter Lauren Laverne in the 1990s band Kenickie before working for the Arts Council, has now been appointed as the chief executive of Sunderland University’s students’ union.
Her new role will see her leading the union executive, made up of students, to make undergraduates’ stay on Wearside as happy as possible.
She said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the students’ union. The university is such an important part of the city and the students are its beating heart.
“I can’t wait to work with the executive committee, the university and other partners to develop the union into an even more vital resource for the students and the city.”
Marie grew up in Sunderland, where her family still live and where she formed the band Kenickie with St Anthony’s Girls’ School friends Lauren Laverne and Emma Jackson.
With Lauren’s brother Pete Gofton on drums, the band recorded two albums and four Top 40 singles before splitting up in the late 1990s.
Marie stayed involved in the music scene by working in artist management, but decided to return to the North East in 2005.
She said: “I was really keen to return to the North East. It’s an incredible place. It’s my home and my family are all here.
“When I came back it was such an exciting time, with so many opportunities in the region. The Angel of the North was new, Baltic was happening and The Sage Gateshead. You could really visibly see the place change. I thought ‘this is something I really want to be part of’.”
Now she is turning her attention to university life.
She said: “I want to make sure that the students’ union is the most useful organisation it can be, offering services which help our members punch above their weight both during and after their time at university.
“Many students are facing a challenging time with issues like increased tuition fees and difficulty getting the jobs they’ve worked so hard for after graduation causing concern. I want us to do everything we can to contribute to our students’ bright future.”
As well as the new day job, Marie also ensures she retains her passion for music as a member of The Cornshed Sisters.
Their album Tell Tales, released in April, was recorded at the Sunderland studio of Peter Brewis, of Mercury Music Prize nominees Field Music.