Dr Amanda ML Taylor-Beswick is the Director of the Centre for Digital Transformation at the University of Cumbria

What does your job involve?

I am the founding Director of the Centre for Digital Transformation at the University of Cumbria, responsible for further transforming our educational offer, including the design and delivery of real-world relevant and accessible programmes of learning – based on our principles of people, place and partnerships and with a digital emphasis.

I drive a….

VW T6.1 Campervan called Viv, after my late mum-in-law's favourite designer Vivienne Westwood. I am currently hankering after a new motorbike, but don’t bounce as well I used to so might have to settle on something smaller, perhaps a Vespa!

Who would you invite to your dream meal? 

Lucian Freud, Melanie Klein, Grayson Perry, Rev Richard Coles, Jeanette Winterson, Olive Stevenson (first social worker to be involved in a Serious Case Review) – so many more but these names were the first to come to mind.

My favourite TV programme is?

I really don’t watch that much TV. Although my guilty TV pleasure is Gogglebox…

Most memorable meal or favourite food?

There is nothing quite like Irish breads. I plan trips home to Belfast when my freezer bread stash starts to get low.

My idea of a great weekend involves…

Apart from going back to Ireland to spend time with my son, his partner and my grandchildren, I love to pack up VivieVan our camper, and head off with our new 18-month-old rescue greyhound Luca, to remote locations. I love exploring new places, which includes paddleboarding around lakes and walking in the hills and dales. My Other Half was born in the North East of England, so we have been spending more and more time in that part of the world.

In Cumbria:

Biggest inspiration

People, like my late father-in-Law Paul Beswick or Charlie B of Cleveland Mountain Rescue, who train and volunteer for roles that provide essential, and often non-funded, services.

Best advice you’ve ever been given

Options and choices, and if in doubt ask yourself ‘what would Viv do’? Given the reference to Vivienne Westwood, it’ll likely be no surprise that this sterling advice came from my late mum-in-law Pamela – a very wise woman and a steadying presence in an ever-challenging world.

Which sport do you follow and who do you support?

This is such a tricky question – given that I was reared by a man of Kent, my maternal grandfather, in Northern Ireland. Outside of my new love of women’s cycling, the Six Nations is my favourite sporting event of the year. I am an England fan – an aspect of my personhood that doesn’t land well at home or with my Welsh family!

Favourite pub, café or restaurant in Cumbria

There are so many wonderful places to dine or grab a coffee in Cumbria. I think my favourite has got to be The Cavendish Arms in Cartmel – they pour such a great pint of Guinness. And it was where we went for dinner to settle our pre-wedding jitters!

Favourite walk in Cumbria

Where does one start… I fell in love with the area, hence why I didn’t return to Ireland after the three years I gave myself to complete my doctoral thesis. One walk that I could repeat over and over is the linear track from Howtown to Glenridding, the views are spectacular and it’s the view I really enjoy waking up to for an early paddleboard on Ullswater.

Best view in Cumbria

See above.

What was the first piece of music you ever bought?

I’ve Got You Babe by Sonny and Cher. A track that was my in-laws favourite track as a young couple moving from Manchester to the North East, that has become a firm favourite in our house too.

Tell us something you’ve learnt in the past fortnight

Again, where does one start! I read incessantly and across a range of subjects and disciplinary areas. A few things that stick out, the number of sayings and metaphors used, and understood, by people in the North East (I hope my Deputy Vice Chancellor doesn’t read this!), and that the Beluga whale remains at risk of extinction – my eight- year-old granddaughter and I read the kids and adult National Geographic respectively, she remains really quite concerned that we are not doing enough to resolve this issue.

In Cumbria:

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know

That I would have loved to have been a drummer in a famous rock band! Although I do have a friend (the wonderful Dez Holmes) who on first meeting me said to me ‘you’ve got that I’m with the band look’ (yes, it was a few years ago now) – quite a cool thing but not as I was just about to give a keynote to a rather large audience about the importance of digital in social work!

Early riser or enjoy a lie-in?

I love to experience the world waking up, for me it is the best part of the day, and now I have Luca, it is accompanied by a sound I can only assume is unique to her breed, and one that I haven’t quite decided if it's melodic or not!

How important is social media to you and what channels do you use?

This question will make most people who know me professionally LOL… largely because I led the charge for digital scholarship in my disciplinary area! I was invited to give a keynote at our yearly international conference JSWEC in 2014 – and it was impossible to fully join in without signing up to become part of the Twitteratti. Although given the change of temperature in that virtual social space I mostly now disseminate my work on LinkedIn.

The book or film which has had a lasting impact on you

Jeanette Winterson’s Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal. So much of that book resonates with my own life story. I read it in one sitting and went to a number of book festivals in the years surrounding its publication to hear Winterson speak. I remain in awe of what she achieved given the sets of circumstances she navigated growing up.

Apart from a mobile phone, which piece of technology has improved your life in the last couple of years?

I love all and any gadgets – which is unsurprising for a socio-technical scientist. I am currently enjoying my new Apple pen and how I can scroll all my ideas down and sync them straight to my files.