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