Matthew Beach

VP Communities

Matthew Beach

Tell us a bit about yourself, your role and your time at Queen Mary

I am a part-time postgraduate research student in the School of Geography (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences), and this will be my sixth year at Queen Mary, having first enrolled in 2017 as a postgraduate taught student (also in Geography). I live on the outskirts of London in zone 6 in between the city and the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with my husband, dog Elliot, hundreds of houseplants, and occasional jellyfish!

My involvement with our SU was first as a Course Rep (now called Postgraduate Subject Reps). During the Covid-19 lockdowns, communication from the university and my department was not great, so I co-ran for a Part-Time Officer position in the role of Postgraduate Research Representative for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, first in a joint role-share and then solo when I ran again and was re-elected.

I was inspired to run for Vice President Communities after having worked closely with the previous two VPs and desiring to continue their work, my own in my previous role, and additional new projects! I’m extremely excited to carry forth these plans with additional time and resources, improve what isn’t working, and maintain what is!

Outside of my studies, and when not representing students, I am also a practicing artist mainly working in photographic printmaking. You can check out my projects at

Favourite spot on any of our campuses?

Department W Roof Terrace!

If you could recommend one thing the Students’ Union has on offer for students to get involved in, what would it be?

I would love to see more students get involved with Student Council. It’s open to everyone and students have all the same rights as council members apart from voting (except at the Annual Student Meeting). It’s a space to learn what your representatives are working on and directly voice any concerns (or support!) across the student body’s diversity. Please come!

Top study tip?

Register for SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries) Access and make use of university libraries across London: for the books, and for the study spaces!

Tell us about a hobby you do and why you love it

I spend a lot of time tending to my houseplants, many of which I grow using passive hydroponics. I love the watching new leaves unfurl, trying new growing methods, researching cultivation histories, the thrill of an auction for a cutting, and creating relationships with the plants I share my home with. After a cutting of certain plant (mainly Philodendron…)? Email me! I might have it.

What’s one thing at Queen Mary that you couldn’t live without?

The various green roofs!

What’s your ideal day out in London?

I’d probably prefer to stay in to be honest, but I love a good plant swap and recommend Another Plant Swap!

What’s a piece of advice you’d give to students?

Independent of your degree level, your personal development is just as important as your academic development during your time here. Get to know yourself, embrace new experiences, and don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Also, if you need support, please, please ask for it!

If you could have one superhero power, what would it be?

I would love to be able to fly!

What are you looking forward to most this year?

Re-centring students in our union and enacting their desires and visions!

View my manifesto