Emma Jones

Product and Furniture Design - BA (Hons)

Emma always knew she wanted to go to university to continue her education as she enjoys the learning process. When she first came to BCU to look around she was really impressed by the modern campus and all it had to offer. She immediately felt comfortable, reassured and excited talking to the tutors and seeing the friendly, welcoming atmosphere. When shown the examples of what students had achieved, Emma knew BCU was the place for her.

“For a while I was unsure about which subject to study, I was torn between psychology and product design. I decided to study on the Product Design degree as I thought I would enjoy the making process and luckily I was right! When I first joined, I was really shy and struggled to get to know many people, I could never bring myself to show up to a society on my own. I could never imagine that I’ll be helping to set up a social group for everyone on the course, with regular events such as quizzes, documentary screenings and evening meals at the local pub.

My course is relatively small, so everyone gets to know everyone well, which creates a real ‘family’ atmosphere. Our tutors are always approachable and friendly. Now that I’m settled at BCU, I try to meet with students across all year groups to make as many connections as I can. I feel very supported by everyone at Birmingham City University – there are always people around to offer advice and guidance such the ASK team or Student Success Advisors. As a final year student, I find the careers week extremely helpful – it is an opportunity to receive full guidance on how to prepare our portfolios, write CVs and build LinkedIn profiles, in addition to hearing what alumni have done with their degrees after graduating.

The facilities and opportunities at BCU are outstanding. For a subject like product design or architecture where it requires industry-standard software and equipment, photography studios and workshops, the Parkside building provides it all. I’ve also been very fortunate to have several employment opportunities on campus through helping at Open Days as a Student Ambassador or taking part in telemarketing campaigns which improves my communication skills and enhances my CV.

I’m most proud of how much I have learnt from when I first started compared to now. I’ve developed so many new skills that I wouldn’t have gained if I hadn’t come to BCU. In the past two years I’ve discovered a huge interest in sustainability and responsible design. This has really changed how I view the world and what positive changes I can try to make both personally and through my work.

In my second year of study I was invited to go on a Furniture Industry Tour sponsored by The Furniture Makers Company. In just four days I visited numerous furniture manufacturers all over the UK where I learnt a lot about industry practice and made some useful contacts via networking. In 2019 I also exhibited a lighting project from my first year at The Young Furniture Makers Awards in London. This was a fantastic opportunity to speak to others about my work and meet lots of other young designers from all over thecountry.

Recently I had the honour of exhibiting a conceptual bar soap tray at Minima – a designer furniture shop in the Jewellery Quarter. At the start of my studies my dream was to exhibit my work before graduating, which is something I’ve accomplished twice already. I’m really hoping to attend New Designers in July which means working extra hard on my final project.

Since joining Birmingham City University I’ve become a lot more confident in myself and socially. I used to get very anxious when meeting new people or taking part in something new, but now I throw myself into any opportunity that comes my way. What I love most about being a student at BCU is how I’ve found like-minded people, who are enthusiastic and interested in design in the same way I am, which really creates a sense of community.  It’s very enjoyable to spend time on campus - when I wake up in the morning I look forward to coming to uni, even when deadlines are approaching!”

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