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.

On Saturday (14th October 2017), I watched Birmingham City University open its doors for the first open day of  the autumn, welcoming a diversity of potential media students in to experience how we #DoMediaDifferently here at the Birmingham School of Media. All of the students were brimming with curiosity and interested in finding out what BCU has to offer. It was strange for me as the roles were reversed – I was in their position only six short months ago! I’m now four weeks into my first year here at BCU and I was on hand during the open day to help guide students who are in the same situation I was in not too long ago.

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 To kick things off, we began the first group tour, viewing all four industry standard studios here at BCU. This included: Studio D, the news studio (which was one of the things that impressed me the most on my open day back in June), and here it was explained that students use this in TV production but can also experience it by taking part in the Scratch TV society. Studio B is our impressive green screen and home of Milo – a motion control camera used for filming CGI animation – Studio C is used for drama with movable sets and finally we went to Studio A, which is where students learn how to produce, direct, vision mix and put together productions.

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We then travelled up to the photography studios which created a massive buzz from all the budding photographers in the room. Although, I think after walking into the room and seeing the artwork our previous students had produced,  even the people without initial interest were inspired and keen to get involved.

Following a brief talk by Julian Kilsby, Senior Lecturer in Photography, we were given the chance to learn how to ‘take the perfect selfie’ using the studios lighting equipment and three glamorous mannequin assistants.

Next up, media taster workshops! I dived into two of the four that were on offer; Radio production first off then I joined in with Events and Music Industries.

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 In the radio workshop. we all had the chance to work in pairs to create a piece of content (as you would if you took radio production as a module or specialism). Students and parents went online to research content together then went into the booth to record their clips!

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After dropping some tracks in the studio, I slipped into one of our editing suites where a group were clicking away on their Apple Macs, working on an events and music industries task. Students were asked to put together a press release about their favourite artists and Matt Grimes talked through the unique facilities that BCU offers in order to get students #IndustryReady whilst Duncan Sedgwick checked on people’s progress.

Meanwhile, students were also able to attend a Journalism, PR and New Media session where news values were discussed and stories and social posts created in less than 30 minutes, whilst other visitors were running things in Studio D, putting on a news programme.

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Zooming out of the workshops, I managed to catch one of three course chats where we were given by Head of School Sarah Jones and BA Course Leader Vanessa Jackson, as well as other key members of the lecturing team. These talks provided a comprehensive overview of how to take advantage of the facilities, what opportunities could arise whilst studying here and why BCU media #DoMediaDifferently by encouraging students to embrace being innovative.

Specialism leaders then gave brief talk on what their subjects were about, encouraging anyone curious to approach them afterwards to discuss ideas and questions further.

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I really hope that everybody visiting had an awesome time and learnt something new, I know I certainly did.

Here’s my favourite tweet of the day from a father of (hopefully) a new 2018 fresher student:

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There are two more open days coming in November, on the 4th and 25th, where prospective students can come and see for themselves everything Birmingham School of Media has to offer – and to take advantage of a unique opportunity to take part in hands-on taster workshops in a broad range of disciplines. Find out more and register here.

 

Post written by Hannah Kent, first year BCU School of Media Student 

 

Owen Broomfield (aka Hulk) is an extraordinary reggae keyboardist who grew up in the 60’s/70’s on the Aston/Handsworth border. Proving that he is not just a man of music but also a man of words, Owen has recently had his book ‘I Ain’t Mad at Ya’ published and, this Friday, you can be one of the first to read it.

The book was published by Tangent Books and Reggae Archive Records with the help of Birmingham School of Media’s very own Jez Collins who played an important role in the publication process.

I Ain't Mad At Ya
I Ain’t Mad At Ya by Owen Broomfield

In this book, Owen takes the reader on a poetic journey, outlining the struggles associated with being a black youth in the 60’s/70’s. It uncovers the harsh reality of how the black community experienced racism on a daily basis, not just from peers but from authority figures too.

Moving on from the battles of his youth, Owen lightens the tone of the book by highlighting how important music, sports and family were to him throughout his journey. Clearly talented in many fields, Owen goes into more detail about how he made the leap from sport to music in a surprising twist of fate.

David Katz described it as ‘An entertaining and enlightening read’, in Mojo Magazine.

Owen will be at Waterstones in Birmingham city centre on 20th October 2017 for his book launch. Tickets are available now for just £3 on the Waterstones website.

Don’t miss your chance to get your book signed by the one and only Owen Broomfield and join in with what promises to be an enlightening Q&A session.

 

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

BCU School of Media opens up for World Mental Health Day

On the afternoon of Tuesday 10th October, there were a series of events happening in the School of Media in aid of World Mental Health Day – creating a welcoming, calm and comfortable space to raise awareness and create conversation on the topic of mental health.

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Organised by a team from the Mental Health and Wellbeing department and the School of Media’s Student Success Advisor, Ella Robson, the afternoon included a mixture of art therapy and mindfulness exercises, relaxing activities and opportunities to gain information around different areas of mental health and different ways you could possibly get involved with helping.

The afternoon’s events started with an hour-long session from a University psychiatrist, Makhan Singh. He explained and discussed some interesting thoughts about his study into ‘the inner voice’ and the discussion that goes through people’s heads. The reflective activities he included in his session were an art therapy session (designing a book cover for the story of your life) and a mindfulness session (imagining you are in the future and writing your own obituary – sending the message that you have the power to do whatever you want with your life).

Mental Health Session

The rest of the afternoon included drop-in sessions, where people can find out about the services on offer, a relaxing colouring station, one-to-one chats with the wellbeing team and, of course, cake. One of the services the staff were keen to promote is a new free service available to all BCU students called Big White Wall. It is an online community including medically qualified advice and guidance, courses to help you manage your situation and feelings and an anonymous and supportive conversation feed to talk with other people in similar situations.

The afternoon saw a variety of attendees, each leaving with new insight/information on mental health at University, a more relaxed mindset or more comfort and confidence in the support available to them at the University. With lots of positive feedback around the room, hopefully, this event means there will either be more volunteers for peer mentors or more relaxing and comforting events like this in the future.
Post by Emma Benningwood, a second year School of Media Student

CRAFT officially ended last night with the screening of six films and one audio book, making a total of seven very inspiring and creative pieces that is testament to how a truly collaborative project can yield rich media, and enrich student lives during their time at BCU.

Participants from the school of Media, CEBE, BSA, Architecture, Fashion and English worked together over a four week period to deliver new content in a pilot project that will hopefully set the stage for future, collaborative practice.

“I have had an amazing experience collaborating with so many different creatives across multiple disciplines. CRAFT has opened my eyes to the other areas in BCU and to the opportunities for collaboration in our uni. Furthermore, it has inspired me to carry on working with other creatives and develop my own projects.”

Peter Paton 2017 CRAFT participant

“Enjoyable to see how other courses work and how they can work together. I found that the filming students knew about the studio floor but nothing about the gallery. Whereas, the TV/ media and communication knew about the gallery more than they knew about the studio floor. Together the courses worked well in this respect.”

April Ely 2017 CRAFT partcipant

Above are some responses on the feedback forms sent out about CRAFT month and below are links to the productions that participants delivered during CRAFT. Some are works in progress, but what the students achieved during this month was quite remarkable, and they should be very proud of themselves.

https://youtu.be/0iip5nsVEmE   – Handmade Brick by Peter Paton and Jim Sloane

https://youtu.be/9qfeHp78FBw – Stationery Express by Hugo Von Fragstein

https://youtu.be/P5o5MKND4pY – Three Kingdoms by Seabert Henry

https://youtu.be/ADkFTVrHgaY – Best Before End by Sam Gould and Dominika Suskova

https://youtu.be/kZAZbzPSx_E – CRAFT media month catwalk show 

https://youtu.be/SsUqF9d-VS4 – Thelma by Gina George

https://youtu.be/4yKL7a9evSw – Diamond the Cat audio book by Emma Jarratt

https://youtu.be/6zWo8NHX_mg – Simon the Spider audio book by Emma Jarratt