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Meet UIS's Content Designers

last modified Feb 10, 2021 03:18 PM
Dave Pitchford leads the Content Design Team, which is a subgroup of the Product Services and Design Division. Read the team members' bios and find out what they also do outside of work.

Dave Pitchford:
Content Strategist /Team Lead


Jessica McArdle:
Content Designer


Joanne Back:
Content Designer




What were you doing before joining UIS? What were you doing before joining UIS? What were you doing before joining UIS?

In the '90s I was a freelance journalist. I ran a small outdoors magazine, interviewed Vint Cerf and occasional film stars and reported on harmonic distortion in energy-efficient lightbulbs among other things. I’m more a planner and improver of others’ material - a ‘sub-editor’ in the trade - than a reporter or copywriter.  

In 2001 I became a Content Strategist and, alongside tech, business and UX teams, advised multinational companies how to become digital publishers.

Also I founded and for three years ran a web-based charity to match donors with charities.

I studied literature and language at university but decided to study journalism after that, to make myself useful.

I started working at my local newspaper in Essex, then moved into communications working within healthcare industries or charities and normally ended up managing intranets or websites.

In 2019 I did the Content Design Academy with Content Design London and loved it! I had felt like I was doing most of it already, but it offered a process and a set of wonderful principles.

I spent 11 years at the University of Plymouth and then 3 years at HM Land Registry, doing content and digital comms work.

Before that, I was living in France teaching English in all sorts of companies and industries such as, L’Oréal, Bosch, pharmaceutical, plastic extrusion, springs and pet food to name a few! I also taught undergrads and masters students in the European Institute of Quality.

Where are you from? Where are you from?

Where are you from?

Raised abroad, I am cursed by wanderlust and forced to travel to stay sane, so wherever I lay my hat...

Previously a Londoner, I now live in splendid isolation in Matlock in the Peak District. I stay in Cardiff one week a month to enjoy my parents' cooking.

I grew up in Essex but made the move to London a few years ago. I’m currently living in Lambeth (not far from Lambeth Walk) with my boyfriend Nick, which was great pre-pandemic. But we’ve decided to move to Cambridge, so we will be there in March if we can.

I’ve lived in the South West for over 30 years but still have a fairly subtle north-east accent! 

I live with my husband and 2 children aged 14 and 11 and our 2 cats, Willow and Sherlock. We adopted Sherlock over the Christmas break so the house is a bit chaotic at the moment!

What about life outside of work, any hobbies or interests? What about life outside of work, any hobbies or interests?

What about life outside of work, any hobbies or interests?

I’m a semi-qualified plumber and I generally like to roll up my sleeves and lose myself in DIY projects. My call-out rate incidentally is very reasonable!

Other things I like include:

  • Hiking
  • Running
  • Photography
  • The Peak District
  • The Lake District
  • Asturias
  • Expeditions in my ancient Range Rover 

When I’m not working I seek out anything that’s creative. I love to paint and draw, and more recently potter but it’s hard to do when the studio is always closed.

I’m pretty active and get involved in swimming or running challenges. I love the outdoors but not sure it likes me that much, I’m fairly accident prone.

Another random thing is I have an identical twin but we are complete opposites in personality. Played a few tricks on various teachers growing up though, which was good fun.

When I’m allowed, I regularly get down to Norfolk to escape the city and visit family, walking around the county with Casper and Bailey (Jack Russell and Labradoodle).

I’m really into food and baking. If I’m not reading about food or eating, I’m thinking about what I’m going to cook and eat next. I ran a cake business for 3 years which was great fun but now I just bake for pleasure. I think the stress of wedding cakes made the decision to stop easier!

I also do a lot of running.

I suppose my love of France and languages is an obvious one to mention. It sort of goes hand in hand with my other hobbies.  We go over to France as much as we can to see our friends and neighbours and explore a new part of the country. Fingers crossed for this year...



UIS's Content Designers role

The Content Designers have a varied role. 

Find out more on their team intranet page.