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.

mental health

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



Gina George was the last of the CRAFT month productions to be filmed on Monday night at the Woodman pub in the upstairs room.

Gina graduated from Birmingham School of Acting in May 2015, and has successfully worked continually as a self-employed actress.

“During Drama school I won the Lawrence Olivier award bursary, and received commendation in the prestigious competition ‘Carlton Hobbs Radio’. I also work as a freelance actress, in short films and music videos, as well as a singer and am piloting and touring my one woman show ‘THELMA’ written and produced by myself. “

She is currently doing a Masters in Television Production at Birmingham City University. The trailer has been edited for promotional use and will have its first showing tonight at the CRAFT showcase. See the link for more details.








Sam and Dominika produced Best Before End for CRAFT, shot in studio D over two days, Sam Gould the director gives a brief description of the programme below.

Sam Gould 2017

Dominika Suskova produced Best Before End and shares her experience of being involved in CRAFT month below:

“Becoming a part of the media month and being able to develop and bring Best Before End, our satirical TV and online news programme to life has been a great journey and an incredibly valuable experience. As a producer for this show I personally feel like I have not only developed some of my existing skills but I also learned a lot of new things from working with students from different courses. Putting together a production of such extent requires a lot of planning and organisation and I cannot be more grateful that I got to work with so many talented and skilled BCU students and professionals. I’m proud I’ve been a part of this project from the very beginning. And I’m very happy I got to be a part of Craft – the initiative is proof that when talented and hardworking people join forces, they can create something great together.”

Dominika Suskova 2017

April Ely is a student that worked alongside BSA students and Nick Prosser, below she recounts her experience of being involved in the workshops.

“As a part of CRAFT media month, I was given the opportunity to work with Nick Prosser.  Nick is a previous director of EastEnders. He is a part of Media month to teach the BCU acting students how to work to camera. During the shoot I was in charge of the main Gallery. I worked with Nick directly, running the ingest/ VT desk and vision mixing a multi camera drama.

I initially went along to learn the role of the director for my final year project. However, I left the experience also knowing how to use the VT desk and the pressures of Vision mixing. Before this, I only Vison mixed on magazine and chat show sets, where the director would tell you when to cut. However, I am now experienced with drama, where you are left to follow a camera script and actor movements. It was enjoyable but rather stressful. Luckily, Nick was helpful and remained calm with my efforts. I believe that my skills as a vision mixer have improved dramatically. In addition, I have more experience working with a large cast. I find actors pleasant to work with but overly energetic. It’s interesting to see the dramatic differences between cast and crew on a set.

Working on this project was informative and fun. It was great to work with a professional media worker. I would suggest that other media students get involved.”

                                                                              April Ely 2017

LukeLuke Brickley worked alongside Nick too but has been involved in other projects such as ‘The Hand Made Brick’, “Stationery Express’, ‘Diamond The Cat and Simon The Spider’ and ‘Thelma by Gina George’.
” I first heard of craft month from one of my lecturers posting on it on our courses facebook page and a few of the jobs looked interesting so I thought that I may as well give it a try and besides it would be another credit on my sound portfolio.
Honestly I was kinda expeciting it to be a pretty  run of the mill adverage few weeks … However what I soon discovered is that actually CRAFT month is great, Through the last few weeks I’ve met some of  the best contacts I could ever hope to get , whether that be Nick Prosser with his knowledge of directing or the BSA actors, who whilst some of there skills in directing and camera knowledge are a little rusty (this to be fair is to be expected, I couldnt tell you the first thing about acting and if you put me in front of a camera i’d act a damn fool) they wrote some of the best scripts for comedy that I’d seen in a long time… and they more or less  hit their marks every time, no nonsense, no wasted time trying to run scenes over and over and over.
If the CRAFT month where to ever run straight again and my schedule was free enough you can sign me straight up, it was awesome and to anybody considering doing it next year I really couldnt reccomend it more”
                                                                                                                                                         Luke Brickley 2017


Deborah Hunt is an MA student involved in CRAFT and below she describes her experiences over the last month.

Stationary-Express-cast-and-crewDeborah Hunt above with the crew and cast of Stationery Express

I have found media month to be very informative and great hands-on experience of working on live projects and learning from both Dave Remes and Nick Prosser. Two of the projects I worked on were as an Assistant Director on comedy-drama Stationary Express; and Camera Op and Editor of Three Kingdoms – a short drama based on an interrogation scene.  Stationary Express required a lot of preparation and a long 12 hour shoot but was a great learning experience, productive and fun to do.

Deborah Hunt 2017

Students have been allowed to get involved in as many projects as they want during CRAFT month to broaden their skills and gain an understanding of how other people, either studying or from industry, approach their subject/area of expertise.  Actors have gained from working with cameras, and production students have gained an understanding of how directing actors influences composition and camera movement. Fashion students have gained from a live catwalk show and how to address the camera, and photography students have gained from shooting on location with studio lighting and also working with fashion clothing and models. Finally, drama students have also gained experience of creating character voices during the recording of an audio book with industry specialist Marc Silk. Create, collaborate and innovate was the premise behind CRAFT, and this month’s productions have captured how inspiring collaboration can be.

Below: Nick Prosser delivering acting workshops.

CRAFT collaboration month


CRAFT media month is a collaboration across faculties, allowing students with varied skill sets to work together and understand each others craft.  During this month we have produced six, innovative and creative pieces of work, with others working towards completion.  Collaboration is the focus of  CRAFT, and without the input of very enthusiastic students from under and post graduate courses in various subjects, and our wonderful technicians, none of this would have been possible.  Below are some of the projects we have been working on.

IMG_1010Nick Prosser, an industry professional and TV director, has been working with BSA students to help them better understand working with cameras and direction. Through a series of workshops involving the School of Media, BSc (Hons) Film Production Technology and MA broadcast students, they have recorded soliloquies and short form video dramas.

“I have received favourable comments from the acting students and I believe they did come away with a clear awareness, both of the techniques necessary to perform on camera and an appreciation of what is involved behind the camera.” Nick Prosser

Best Before End – Sam Gould and Dominika Suskova.

Best Before End is a satirical news programme featuring students from the BSA, MA broadcast and BSc (Hons) Film Production Technology.


Interrogation Room – Seabert Henry

A three hander video production featuring BSA, MA broadcast, BSc (Hons) Film Production Technology and School of Media students focussing on an intense confrontation in a confined space.


Catwalk Show – Studio B – Jason Johns

The catwalk show involved 150 fashion students and 150 models in one day in Studio B, Parkside. Filmed using Milo in the green screen room (Studio B) and by MA broadcast, BSc (Hons) Film Production Technology, School of Media undergraduates and photographed by actors and MA students.


Stationery Express – Hugo Von Fragstein

This comedy drama written by Hugo a BSA student, takes its influences from The Office and is set within a small stationery company. Working with other actors from BSA, MA Broadcast and BSc (Hons) Film Production Technology students, this four hander was camera scripted by director Nick Prosser.


Diamond the Cat and Simon the Spider Emma Jarratt

MA student Emma Jarratt has brought her two short stories to life with the help of voice over artist Marc Silk.  Marc gave a fascinating workshop about his career and how to develop character voices for audio productions.  This was a collaboration with the BSA and MA broadcast students


The Hand Made Brick – Jim Sloane

This short documentary follows the processes involved in making a brick from scratch to the finished, kiln-fired end product.  There are 12 architect students competing for the best design to be presented as the winner to a client. This is a collaboration between BSc (Hons) Film Production Technology students and the School of Architecture.


If you would be interested in writing and creating engaging content for CRAFT and this blog, please contact david.remes@bcu.ac.uk expressing your areas of interest, whether it be writing, photographing, interviewing of helping with design.