On Thursday 19th April,  over 250 Birmingham City University staff and students gathered to relax with some therapy dogs and find out more about the great work them and their charities do, all in aid of National Stress-Awareness month. With both staff and students feeling the pressure of deadlines around this time, these lovely canines couldn’t have been more appreciated!

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The event, run by a group of five second year Media and Communication students, welcomed three therapy dogs to the City Centre Campus – two dogs from Therapy Dogs Nationwide, Merryn and Lewis, and one from Pets as Therapy, Joe.

Beth Morgan, one of the team members organising the event said, “We put this event on to raise awareness of stress at university and the valuable work therapy dogs do in helping mental health”, with grace Thomas, another team member adding, “Being students ourselves, we recognise how stressful upcoming deadlines are at this time of year. We wanted to put on an event to highlight the importance of taking a break to better your mental health.”

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Throughout the event, as well as taking time out to relax with the dogs, there were many opportunities to talk to the volunteers from Therapy dogs Nationwide and Pets as Therapy, learn more about the work the dogs do, and how you can get involved yourself.

The event had continued popularity throughout the day, with over 250 people taking time out of their busy university day to ‘De-Stress with Dogs’, and an impressive amount raised, of over £175, to be donated to the therapy dog organisations involved, Therapy Dogs Nationwide and Pets as Therapy, to help continue their important work.

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While the real hard-working therapy dogs were taking their break, you might’ve spotted the team’s giant pupper on a tour of the campus, continuing to raise awareness, and brighten students day when they least expected it. With thanks to the team’s sponsor, Katz Dancewear and Fancy Dress.

 

Post by Emma Benningwood, BCU Media student

The reduction of plastic straws within some of the biggest restaurant chains is certainly shaping up to be an example of a good PR movement – something I’m rather fond of, I mean, why else would I be studying it?

This year has seen many major restaurant’s bidding adieu to plastic straws in an effort to end the ‘plastic tide’ of waste that is polluting the oceans.

These changes in the plastic straw spectacle come a year after parliament faced increased pressures to tax straws in a bid to reduce the quantity of consumption, although nothing was finalised at the time – however, it appears that brands have taken it upon themselves to step up and help the environment.

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The latest restaurant to announce the switch was McDonald’s, who confirmed they would be trialling paper straws in their stores in a bid to join the movement; it is likely that other fast food chains will shortly follow suit. McDonald’s are having an inventive and productive PR season, most recently with the launch of their Monopoly campaign (ever successful) and now with this, it can be said that many of their competitors will be looking for a chance to match their reputation. (Right, Burger King?)

Other companies ditching the plastic for paper include Nandos, All Bar One, Pizza Express, Wagamama and London City Airport.

This string of events perfectly marks the ‘PR’ chain reaction. A term coined by yours truly.

A chain reaction is defined as “A series of events, each caused by the previous one”, I’ve just put the word PR in front of it, makes sense, right?

When one large brand follows, others are bound to follow suit.

The first brand to instigate the movement effectively becomes a leader in the process and is known for their ingenuity and statement their make. Brands who imitate these actions are unlikely to receive such a level of high praise – this is because it becomes almost expected of them to emulate the approaches and positions of another.

Surely, this expectancy falls somewhere within their CSR (corporate social responsibility) right? Or is it just not wanting to face the backlash of not following suit?

When one company drives for change, others must subsequently follow in their footsteps, hence, the PR Chain Reaction.

In simple terms, observing the PR chain reaction, brands are not likely to see a magical PR turn-around in return, but it will certainly lend a hand in avoiding backlash for being behind the times.

Though the PR chain reaction is a term coined by myself, this idea of a reaction makes sense.

In today’s society, PR can be seen as a game of cat and mouse. Brands are often seen to be chasing each other to try and be the best, striving to go above and beyond their competitors; let’s be honest, that just how business works.

The chain reaction, whilst not allowing a company to be left behind, is something brands should aim to start, placing themselves at the top of the spectrum, to become the leader. If a brand becomes the first organisation to release a ground-breaking campaign, and others follow their footsteps, simply put, it is going to be a PR dream for the organisation.

At the end of the day, it’s all about thinking outside the box, being creative and taking risks.

 

Post by Erin Smith, final year BCU Media PR student, class of 2018

International Women’s Day,  Tuesday 8th March 2018, was celebrated at BCU with a week-long collection of workshops, guest speakers and film screenings.

A royal visit from Prince Harry and Megan Markle to Millennium Point honoured the day itself, with the visit aimed at encouraging women to pursue careers in STEM – science, technology, engineering and maths – subjects. The celebrations addressed and raised awareness of issues relating to gender equality, women’s issues and the shortage of women in higher education.

Some highlights of the BCU activities started on the Monday, with a launch of  a ‘women of Eastside’ photo project’ at Curzon building. This explored the lives and experiences of women living, working or visiting Eastside.

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On Tuesday 8th the momentous day began with a ‘Gender, sexism and attachment theory’ workshop  hosted by Lydia Guthrie. Lydia hosted an interactive workshop around the theme of attachment theory, in particular the myths of maternal deprivation if a chose to opt out of becoming the traditional stay at home mum. Lydia also addressed the guilt surrounding women leaving children and in general sexism in the workplace.

The Big Read also took place on the Parkside atrium, with staff & students – many from media –  reading aloud from women writers every 15 mins throughout the day. There was also a pop up reading room with research and debate going on.

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The following day ‘He named me Malala’ was screened in the IMAX Auditorium; this film follows the story of Malala Yousafzai, the women’s’ rights activist who fights for all women to have an education in her home country Pakistan. Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 and is now a noble peace prize winner studying at Oxford University.

On the Thursday, a women’s creative entrepreneur lunch/ networking event was held and hosted by Nathania Atkinson. The aim of the session was to empower women and help them in their pursuit to become of entrepreneurship. Later that day, Sista’s in the Struggle was hosted by Kehinde Andrews to discuss the radical feminism of the Black Panther and feminist activism.

It is so important to keep fighting for equality like the Suffragettes did over a hundred years ago. Today, the battle fought by the #MeToo movement (which actually began in 2006 by Tarana Burke) allows women to open up about sexual assault and harassment. This movement led to the Hollywood #TimesUp campaign with many women this year speaking out about being victims of such abuse.

The finale of the week came from Alumni guest speaker Deb Leary OBE who is the founder and CEO of the international company, Forensic Pathways. She spoke of the successes and challenges of women in the workplace.

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On a wider scene, International Women’s Day also coincided with the Gender Pay Gap Report, in which major companies from all offices and fields in the UK, covering more than 250 employees had to file reports with the Government Equalities Office (GEO). The gender pay gap made for depressing reading, where companies such as HSBC, the BBC and others, revealed huge discrepancies in the pay divide. Phase Eight being one of the worst offenders, where women earn 65% less an hour than men.

As a woman about to enter the commercial world – the topic of equality is critical – let’s address it now and not in 100 years’ time as they predict.

 

Post by Elena Frankland, first year BCU Media student

 

 

Coming back after a long time off can be difficult for even the most focused of students. With today being the first official day of semester two here in the School of Media, we’ve come up with our top five tips to get you back in the zone and ready for the semester ahead….

  1. Say goodbye to that awful sleeping pattern

Nothing says ‘no responsibilitie’s quite like being able to fall asleep at 2am and wake up 12 hours later. So, to make sure you’re in the best possible mindset for the day ahead, try hitting the hay a little bit earlier and setting a morning alarm – even if you don’t need to get up!

  1. Get ahead of the game

With your timetable confirmed, familiarise yourself with your new schedule and try and get ahead of things by getting those pre-readings done so your organised before each of your new sessions. You’ll thank us later when that first 9am lecture rolls around!

  1. Set some targets


Nothing quite says personal achievement like hitting those mini-targets you set yourself. Start small and see how you go. Why not add in some rewards for some extra fun? For every week you make it in to every class, go ahead and treat yourself!

  1. Remember that budget


It’s been a month since that glorious day when just for a second, your bank balance is like music to your ears. If you haven’t’ already spent your entire budget on nights out and sale shopping, try setting yourself a weekly budget and sticking to it. Knowing how much you have to spend each week takes off a lot of stress, which we all know us students have enough of!

  1. Find a balance


With all the above tips aside, remember to find that balance between studying and downtime. University is stressful as it, we work hard for our degrees and we’re only here once so ENJOY IT.

With all that said, we welcome you back for another semester! We’d love to hear your tips on getting back into zone. Tweet us at @bcumedia to get involved.

 

Post by Emily Eddings, second year PR student at the Birmingham School of Media, Birmingham City University 

Ahead of the next BCU open day this Saturday, hear from two Birmingham School of Media students on what to expect:

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Jack Walton: Earlier this month, myself and fellow Eastside PR member Jemma Lowman volunteered to work the undergraduate & postgraduate open day for the School of Media. The day was filled with meeting new people, a very achy jaw from so much smiling and also learning new skills and seeing different parts of the university campus that I had yet to discover (even though I’m a second year student!).

The day started just after 9am with an official briefing from Kelly. We were given schedules of how the day would run; this was super exciting as this was my first time working an open day and also my first time even attending one for the School of Media. I made the decision to come to uni quite late, so I didn’t get to experience an actual open day event at BCU myself.

Our job was to document the day as it unfolded through our social media channels, mainly being Twitter and Instagram (please give these a follow if you haven’t already!). We posted photos of the potential students, short videos of the workshops and quite a few selfies were taken too… any excuse to take a few extra selfies is always a good one!

The first tour of the building that Jemma and I went on was really interesting. I got to see numerous TV studios that I had never stepped foot in previously, heard from lecturers on different subjects such as photography, TV, journalism, music industries and PR. Just the vast number of modules we have on offer at the school is pretty impressive and means there is something for everyone. The amount of people with parents was a great turnout considering this was the 2nd open day of the new semester.

My workshop was journalism, new media and PR. I had the pleasure of helping out my PR tutor Kelly; she certainly kept me on my toes with the panda themed task we had (don’t ask!). It was lovely meeting students interested in all things PR who already had ambitions to become PR specialists. Many had questions which I answered through my recent experiences of creating campaigns and completing placements at PR agencies within the city.

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Jemma Lowman: As a broad course student, I had seen the television studios beforehand so had a good knowledge of the studios in order to answer questions from visitors. As part of the day, I attended the different workshops – Radio, Television and Events and Music Industries – in order to capture the workshops both live on social media and in photographs for future reference. Whilst at these workshops, I even learnt some new tips and tricks from each lecturer (assignment deadlines, here I come!).

As I had been to a BCU Open Day before attending the university, back in 2015, it was so surprising to me about just how much had changed in the open day layout. The taster sessions are a fantastic opportunity for prospective students to have a go at something to do with the field they are interested in.

I always remember a student ambassador taking time to talk to me and show me around throughout the day, which encouraged me to choose BCU as my first choice (and obviously, the amazing facilities helped with that too!).

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We both really enjoyed our day working on behalf of Eastside PR and we look forward to future experiences to put our PR studies into practice.

 

Find out more about why a BCU open day and visit to the Birmingham School of Media is not to be missed.

 

Register to attend the next open day here.

 

 

On Monday 30th, I was given the opportunity by Prova PR to attend the launch of the brand-new MG ZS. The launch itself took place at Whittlebury Hall in the Training and Conference Centre, which had a show room feel displaying the cars and visually pleasing graphics, giving us further information.

As a PR student, it was an eye-opening experience to attend the launch, as previously I have helped to organise events like this and witnessed the build-up but never got to see the final result. And as I was first to arrive, Aimee gave me a sneak peak of where the presentation was going to take place before all the journalists arrived!

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The presentation began with an introduction from Matthew Cheyne, Head of Sales and Marketing and followed with a talk from Carl Gotham, Head of Design at MG Motor. Both of them spoke about how important the design of the ZS was to the brand calling it ‘A new era’ for MG, and “a great drive designed for UK roads and UK drivers”.

The MG ZS is a compact SUV which is a “premium product without the premium price tag”. The car itself has three different driving modes: Urban, Normal, and Dynamic: all of which I got to test out when I took it for a drive!

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Whilst at the launch I was introduced to different journalists from around the country, such as Luke Edwards – a freelance journalist, who gave me his opinions and feedback on launches such as this one. It was great to understand different perspectives of launch events and what they believe makes a particular launch stand out from the rest. Such as the launch for the MG ZS took place in the countryside where the roads were quiet meaning they got plenty of driving time, compared to a previous launch he’s attended for another car brand where it was based in the city and the driving time was reduced due to traffic.

It was great to meet Aimee and Georgina from Prova PR who told me about how the event was pulled together and their roles in the launch. I also spent time with people from the in-house PR at MG who provided me with advice that will be extremely valuable in my future PR career.

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By the end of the launch I was convinced I needed to invest in an MG ZS of my own and walked away with an extremely exciting press pack which included MG merchandise along with a press release and promotional film.

 

Post by Kate Harper, third year PR specialist at Birmingham School of Media

Cine-Excess International Film Festival is celebrating its 11th anniversary at BCU, 9th-11th November, where it is hosting a 3-day themed conference and exclusive screenings whilst simultaneously seeking out budding Quentin Tarantino’s (think Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction) through a series of cine-related tasks, including the challenge to create a short 3-5 minute film and also to pull apart a 5-minute clip of a well-known horror film.

For its 11th anniversary, the Cine-Excess theme this year is ‘Fear and the Unfamiliar: Wrong Time, Wrong Place, Wrong Crowd’. The idea of this theme is to get under the skin of horror films and why marginal communities are used to create fear and fascination in horror and cult cinema.

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There will be two main tasks alongside the provision of media mentoring which includes creating a short film around the theme of ‘Wrong Time, Wrong Place, Wrong Crowd’ and participating in the film criticism competition ‘Film Ripped Open’. With these two tasks, BCU students have the opportunity to become cult filmmakers and film critics to both create a short film that reflects contemporary social fears as well as unearthing the buried flesh of a cult film classic.  Students registering for

On Wednesday 1st November those students undertaking the ‘Film Ripped Open’ competition will be presented with a sealed envelope which will contain a well-known horror film from which they will focus on a 5-minute clip of and then critically dissect in the next 8 days. The winners of the ‘Film Ripped Open’ competition will receive free cine-world tickets for each team member.

On Friday 3rd November those students undertaking the ‘Wrong Time, Wrong Place, Wrong Crowd’  48 hour film competition will be given a brief to write, shoot and edit a short film that reflects contemporary anxieties. This will be delivered for judging on 6th November.

Speaking of judges, what is a Cine-Excess festival without a guest of honour? Sergio Martino, Italian horror film director best known for: Torso, All the Colours of the Dark and The Violent Professionals will attend to discuss his career and judge the ‘Wrong Time, Wrong Place, Wrong Crowd’ short film competition. He is well known for having a direct influence on filmmakers such as the beloved Quentin Tarantino.

This exciting opportunity to delve deeper into the mystery of horror films will take place between 9th-11th November. It will take place at BCU’s City centre Margaret Street campus along with screening venues around the region.

Places fill up quickly, so be snappy about it and register your interest for either the filmmaking or film criticism competitions by  31st October and be sure to highlight that you are a BCU student by emailing:

eugenio.triana@bcu.ac.uk (to register for the Fear and the Unfamiliar short film competition)

f.e.pheasant-kelly@wlv.ac.uk  (to register for the Film Ripped Open film criticism competition)

For more information on this fantastic event visit: www.cine-excess.co.uk

 

Post by Rachel Hickey, a second year PR specialist at Birmingham School of Media, BCU

 

Contrary to popular belief, there is no single ‘right way’ to graduate. You may be the sort of student who settles into university very quickly and soaks up the atmosphere, or like myself, you may take a while to adjust and find direction. If I was asked to give only one piece of advice it would be to do something that scares you every day, whether that is taking a risk on a university assignment or joining that society you have in mind. Scary can be good, and being petrified for almost my whole three years at university is what has got me to where I am today.

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The journey from A-Levels to University to Graduation may seem like a long time, but the experience itself seems to only last a few days; I still have times where I look back and wonder how on earth I survived first year, but nothing is more satisfactory than to look back and see how far you’ve come as a professional and as a person.

 

Whilst I don’t encourage you to fail, do not let that failure affect your drive and passion for your degree – remember you’re here for a reason and the admissions board and lecturers saw a light in you that you may not currently see in yourself.

I didn’t pass every module first time, yet here I am today with a 2:1, starting my career at one of the leading PR agencies in the UK, having applied for a graduate role shortly after leaving BCU.

This ultimately came down to my determination to succeed in my final year of my degree; I pushed myself to breaking points and I have survived to tell the tale and reap the benefits of this hard work.

My tips for graduate interviews:

Do not get disheartened if you do not get a graduate job straight out of university – use this time to develop yourself as an individual and create an identity for yourself.

Intern at agencies, make new contacts, keep on learning after you submit your dissertation and don’t give up. Find your expert area and take full advantage of this, own your knowledge, skills and experience and let your personality shine through in any interviews you may have.

Apply for graduate jobs you may not necessarily want just for the interview experience and use each of these situations to help build yourself and your confidence for when you finally get an interview in a company you want to work for.

Listen, learn and develop

My secret weapon comes towards the end of the interview, use your question time wisely and make the hiring managers think about you as an individual. My top question to ask is:

“In what way could you best utilise my skillset?”

This question will make that interviewer think about you as a person and will help to highlight your strengths.

I cannot thank my lecturers, Philip and Kelly, enough for their advice and knowledge and I would not be the professional I am today without their assistance. They are there to help you so make sure you take full advantage of their experience and expertise as it will assist you in your journey from graduate to executive.

If you have any further questions then do not hesitate to ask for my contact information and I will be more than happy to assist in any way that I can. I was in your position less than 12 months ago and I understand where you’re coming from – and where you could go.

 

Post by Dean Taylor, 2016-17 graduate of Birmingham School of Media, Social Media Executive at WPR Agency

 

 

This Saturday (4th), as well as the 25th November, Birmingham City University will be holding an undergraduate open days – and it certainly isn’t to be missed. These are a great opportunity for you to experience a little bit of life as a BCU student and this coming Saturday will also see prospective postgraduate students come onto campus to find out more about what we have to offer.

Birmingham School of Media may offer a great deal of information on our website and our social feeds, but there is nothing like an open day to show you how great your uni experience could be – and just how we #DoMediaDifferently so that our students are #IndustryReady when they leave us.

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Don’t believe us? Here’s 5 reasons why you shouldn’t miss our next open day:

  1. See the campus:  Take a tour of our state-of-the-art facilities and city centre campus and you’ll get to see where we learn and study, our industry standard media studios and equipment, places to eat and chill, but most of all to walk around and get a feel of the place that could be your home for three years.
  2. Meet current students, past students and lecturers: Find out about our expertise and range of course options from the people who know them the best! You’ll get unfiltered information and advice from students who can tell you what to do in order to succeed (and what not to do) as well as what they’ve learned. There will also be tutors on hand throughout the day to advise you on your first steps into a media career, and how we support you and give you the skills so you are #IndustryReady. You can also pick up some tips on personal statement writing and find out first-hand how to get your foot in the door of BCU tutors’ industries of expertise.
  3. Meet new people: Everyone walking around on open days is in the same position as you… so get chatting! Discuss your thoughts and opinions about the uni, and you never know, they might be your coursemates in a year. And don’t be a stranger – start engaging with the Birmingham School of Media by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and see what we (our students and staff) have been up to recently. Don’t forget, there’s #BCUjournos and #BCUWeArePR too to follow, so plenty of ways to join our community long before you actually start your first year.
  4. Have a go at something new: Our students really get stuck into their areas of interest – be is events, music industries, journalism, radio, TV, PR or new media – and you can too when you come to see us. Take part in one of our taster workshops and you could be shaping or even making the news, running a radio programme, presenting a TV programme or coming up with a clever media campaign.
  5. Explore the campus – and the city!  Join the walking tours of our campus accommodation buildings and where you’ll be staying throughout the year (this is also a chance to show your parents where you’ll be living independently as a ‘responsible’ adult). Don’t just stop at our uni, make the most of the day and wander through the streets of one of the biggest cities in the UK. Experience the buzz of the Bullring and Grand Central, the culture of the art museums, the architecture of the Birmingham library, or even make it an outing and visit Cadbury World!

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You can never leave a uni open day with less information that you started with and there’s no doubt you’ll be brimming with ideas and inspiration, so why not sign up now? See you there…

 

Post written by Julia Duke-Vinton, second year PR student at Birmingham School of Media

Birmingham City University School of Media is very pleased to announce a music industries / production masterclass led by world renowned producer, engineer and guitarist Dan Weller (Enter Shikari, Sikth, Monster Truck).

It will take place this Wednesday (25th October 2017) at 1pm-3pm in the C087  lecture hall (ground floor Curzon Building, BCU City Centre Campus) and is open to all students – for FREE!

Dan Weller masterclass e flyer JH 25th Oct

 

Dan will be talking about his prestigious career, imparting useful industry/production knowledge and advice. This is a great opportunity to hear about the industry, warts and all, from an industry professional. There will be a Q&A session following his talk.

 

You can register for a FREE ticket here.

Registration for this event closes on the 24th October. Student ID required for entry.