We caught up with MA Visual Communication Course Director, Rob Gibb, to find out more about his career highlights so far and what he believes it takes to work in the creative industries.
What have been your career highlights so far?
Having the opportunity to teach at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
What is your favourite thing about working at Birmingham City University?
The interaction and dialogue between engaged students and staff. The debates and discussion are very stimulating. I learn as much from my students as they do from me.
How did you come to your current role?
Before I was at BCU, I was a part-time tutor in Edinburgh College of Art and a freelance commercial/fashion photographer. Initially, and for quite a number of years, I was the Course Director of Photography within the School of Visual Communication. Two years ago, the opportunity to take the reins of the Postgraduate studies came about, and I was lucky enough to be made Course Director.
What are your specialist areas of expertise?
I’m a photographer, but with a very wide understanding of Visual Communication. I have curated a number of photographer/artists exhibitions over the years, and have had both solo and group exhibitions.
What are your research interests?
The areas that really interest me, are those of the nature of ‘offence’ and the perception of pornography in the media. This is the area of my PhD studies.
What can prospective students look forward to most when they join your course?
There is a great deal of regular tutorial contact, as this is essential to the development of a Master's students. The staff are specialists within their fields and have a very extensive knowledge. The sense of an international community is something that is fairly unique to a course like ours. Students can also be expected to be pushed beyond what they already know.
What are your top tips for anyone thinking about joining your course?
Number one is, ask yourself why do you want to do an MA and what can you bring to it. Come with a number of skill sets, including technical (within you area of specialism), an awareness of contemporary practice and a willingness to try, fail, evaluate, reflect and then succeed.
Why do you think it’s important to study a Master's degree?
Given that most students studying at undergraduate level successfully complete their degrees (ranging from first to third class honours), this means that a large percentage of the population emerging from universities will have a BA. The only way to separate and improve your prospects is to engage with postgraduate studies.
What do you believe it takes to work in the creative industries?
Tenacity, punctuality, meeting deadlines, being able to use your conceptual and technical skills to solve problems, and being a good and understanding human being.