Subject Futures Week continues with more professionals sharing their experiences and insights into working in the creative industries and giving their advice on how students can make an impact when entering the world of work.
On Tuesday 26 January, Newton Grand Hall welcomed architect James Binning, one of the 2015 Turner Prize winning collective, ‘Assemble’.
The fifteen strong collective, ‘Assemble’, have tackled a number of architecture and design projects, including ‘The Cineroleum’, a self-build project in central London, which saw a disused petrol station turned into a cinema.
The prize winning project ‘Granby Four Streets’, saw the collective work with a local community land trust and local residents to regenerate a run-down residential area of Liverpool.
Restoring and repurposing the derelict buildings, ‘Assemble’ and the community around them, began changing the face of an area of the city which had been largely abandoned or demolished after around 20 years of local authority policy. The result was the creation of a new style of living in the city which retained the vibrant cultural and historical themes.
Throughout the process, the original materials from the buildings in the area were retained and repurposed as far as possible to create modern, bright and functional properties, which offer a wide range of housing options to the community.
Speaking about the collective and the Turner Prize win James said: “Most of us studied together, and then drew in people who had the specialist skills we needed on each project. Everyone brings a unique, but shared interest to the projects; it’s a healthy mix of conversations and arguments, which then create something special.”
Meanwhile over at Maidwell, David Croft, the face of Formula One on Sky Sports, gave the University’s budding journalists an overview of his career and how he went from hospital radio to become a TV sports commentator.
Despite never going to University, David climbed the ranks from working for a local theatre and as a football reporter covering Stevenage Borough, before landing a contact with BBC Three Counties Radio. This then led to the national airwaves at BBC Radio 5 Live which is what kick-started his career in Formula One.
David started his talk with a video of his commentary on Lewis Hamilton becoming the World Champion after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2014 and what it was like broadcasting from such as exciting event. He said: “I get to shout a lot working on Formula One, in fact it’s actively encouraged!”
He also touched on the darker side of commentary and described the moment when Jules Bianchi was involved in a collision with a recovery vehicle whilst competing in the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014, in which he died later from his injuries. David said: “In the first few minutes you have to think carefully about every word you say.”
When asked by a student if he ever gets bored watching numerous laps of Formula One, David responded: “There is always something to talk about and we use Twitter a lot to interact with the audience when it is a bit slow. I see Formula One like an onion – it has so many complicated layers and the more you peel the more tears you will shed! What you’re seeing on screen isn’t always the full picture so you need a commentator to explain what’s happening.”
He ended his talk with some excellent advice to students on how to get on his their prospective careers: “If you work hard enough, it will come to you, especially if you find the right people to teach you. Everyone going into sports commentary wants cover football so my advice to you is to find something else. It’s a very competitive market, so find a niche sport that you can cut your teeth on and then move onto something else later.”
The Fashion and Interior Design students had the opportunity to find out more about working for an internally renowned brand from Maria Cooper, who is currently a print designer for Orla Kiely.
Having started out in a graduate role at H&M, Maria took the opportunity to work in Stockholm for two years before moving onto working with Zandra Rhodes. She said: “Zandra just takes you into her life. I was at her 70th birthday party and even attended a dinner with the late Alan Rickman.”
Now at Orla Keily, Maria has ventured into homeware prints; which is something new to add to her CV. As well as three shops, Orla Keily also has a range for John Lewis. Maria explained the challenges with working for a buyer: “You may think a particular print is beautiful, but your buyer may tell you differently. Basically they are looking for what will sell.”
In her advice to students she said: “Having the dedication to succeed is the key to getting a job in the industry. There are lots of graduates, but not that many in-house print designer roles so the competition can be stiff.”
The University also welcomed script editor Bryony Arnold. Bryony graduated from the University of Lincoln, before joining the BBC and cutting her teeth in the script department. Now a Script Editor for renowned independent Tiger Aspect Productions, she works on primetime dramas, including Peaky Blinders, Ripper Street and Cuffs. She is soon off to colder climes to work on the new series of ice epic Fortitude.
Bryony ran through her career to date, sharing a wealth of behind-the-scenes information on what it takes to craft a great story into an extended television production. She peppered her talk with fantastic advice for the room of journalism and media students, encouraging them to be “patient and persistent” in the competitive industry, and to do their research. “Look at company websites, know writers and their work. Know what is going on here in the UK as well as the US. Be present and aware of what is out there. Don’t contain yourself – watch other genres, and read other writers,” she encouraged.
As with many industries, networking is key: “Send lots of cold emails; script editors’ jobs are not advertised. Ask to meet people for a chat and a cup of coffee.” For the budding writers in the audience, Bryony advised: “Write what you know, what you are passionate about. Send companies samples of your work, they need talent. Also, be sure to enter competitions, win and you may be noticed by an agent.”