Sam Coley and Dharmesh Rajput
BA (Hons) Media Production Course Directors
Could you tell us about your experiences and how these feed into your course?
Like so many of our staff members, we both started with careers in industry, and have worked across a range of production duties. We still maintain our contacts and often work alongside media production outlets. This helps to give the course a ‘real world’ appreciation of changes in the industry and to better understand what employers are looking for when it comes to finding new talent.
What is the philosophy of your course?
Although we’re committed to providing students with hands-on production experiences - it’s not just about ‘making stuff’. We want our students to become ‘thinking media professionals’ who understand the principles behind good programme-making and content creation. It’s about arming students with the editorial and technical skills as well as the knowledge they’ll need to secure employment and face possible changes in the industry.
If you had to name one thing about your course that makes it distinct, what would it be?
It’s difficult to put a finger on one thing that makes the course distinctive, but our students tell us it’s about the overall experience - we’ve got great facilities, fantastic staff with experience and industry connections. They love having ‘hands on’ experiences and the flexibility to tailor the course to do what they want to do.
Why is Birmingham a good place to study?
It’s such a diverse and vibrant city (with 40% of the population under 25!). The city’s home to a wide range of production companies and media outlets – which can help students to secure valuable work placements. Birmingham is an affordable city to live and relatively easy to get around too – which is especially handy for students who commute.
Why do you believe it’s important to study a degree and why might students want to study your course?
Studying for a degree on our course is more than just about studying a subject. It’s a holistic opportunity for personal and academic development through working collaboratively with like-minded individuals to unleash your creativity, giving you the edge in a competitive industry. Students relish the opportunity to network with industry contacts and build their own relationships while learning about and making media content.
Where will the students be based in their time here and what will their learning environment be?
Our City Centre campus is located just a short walk from town. Most of our production classes take place in our £62 million Parkside facility, which is one of the biggest university media centres in the UK. We have studio facilities and a hires and loans department which students can access outside of their classes to work on projects and put what they’ve learnt into practice.
What can students do to help prepare them for the course?
We really encourage prospective students to think critically about the media they consume and to start producing their own content. Whether it’s a simple blog, a podcast or a YouTube channel, anything that helps to build your confidence and experience is valuable. Securing a media placement is certainly useful too. It’s never too soon to be building a network of contacts.
What is your favourite element about working at Birmingham School of Media?
One of the best things about the job is working alongside the students to help them develop their production concepts. Seeing an idea take shape from inception to completion is incredibly rewarding. We love to hear from graduates who gain employment in industry and it’s great when they’re able to come back to the University to share their experiences with our current students.