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Professional Futures Big Picnic

My third-year peers and a group of eager second year students, were recently invited to participate in the Professional Futures Big Picnic. The one-day event of industry lectures and portfolio reviews was organised to celebrate the successes of our academic progress and to provide us the opportunity to ask questions about the next steps after University.

Laura Chen
BA (Hons) Photography

We get offered a range of integrated curriculum over the course of our three-year journey to increase academic achievement and engagement. Network events act as a bridge that connects us with the real world outside of university walls. As a soon-to-be graduate, opportunities like these are invaluable. Networking is key, and thus it’s vital to be able to talk to people and feel comfortable doing so. During my time here at BCU my social skills have no doubt extremely improved. I used to be very shy and found it quite daunting to start and hold a conversation, but now that I’ve gained more confidence, I really thrive on meeting new and like-minded people.

The event kicked off at 12pm with free lunch to fuel up for what was going to be a fun afternoon of talks from and with visiting practitioners, agencies and alumni. The creatives came from different backgrounds, with different journeys, which ultimately led them to the same place and a name in the photography industry. It was very interesting to hear about how they got where they are now and what they did to achieve that. The talks left me feeling inspired and motivated to get my own foot in the door of industry.

The list of speakers included:

    • Isaac Newman (Creative content photographer and filmmaker)

    • Nicola Shipley (GRAIN)

    • Jonny Wilson (Alumni)

    • Chloë Tibbats (Alumni)

    • McCann Central

    • William Beck (Alumni)

    • Laura Rhodes (Commercial photographer)

Afterwards, every student was given the chance to meet the creatives of their choice and receive useful one-to-one critique on their work and advice for the future. Sign-up sheets were spread across the room and everyone was allocated a 15 minute time slot to talk through their work and ask for feedback. I signed up for as many talks as I could, because each speaker had their own distinct style and story. It was great to exchange contacts and I really enjoyed bouncing off ideas with one another. It’s not every day that you get the chance to share your thoughts and views with working professionals and show them your portfolio. It was very insightful to learn about all the ins and outs of the industry through their first-hand experiences. 

There was a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere in the classroom. The informal setting really added to the overall experience of the day’s event. I think it gave lots of my peers that extra little last push and direction whilst finishing our degree, and introduced the second year students to the options available to them in terms of furthering their studies and after graduating.