Birthdays, Burgers, Birmingham and Brighton


Seems a long while since I last wrote anything here, so lots to catch up on!

Since the last post I’ve had a birthday (and very nice that was), attended the Learning, Teaching and Assessment Conference here, went to a BBC ACE event in Birmingham, ate a burger at the Wellbeing BBQ, went to Salford for a ‘Change in HE’ workshop, accepted a carbon reduction award for us at the ‘Business in the Community’ awards, chaired a BBC Outreach event at the NMeM, took a day trip to Brighton and helped witha BBEC University Academy event.


Just the usual couple of weeks then!

 The LTA conference was very good this year, although I always have the fear that there won’t be time to implement all those good ideas into good practice. Hearing what the schools’ strategies are proved that although we all have much in common the diverse subject areas that we cover mean that there are some different priorities areas in each school. Which is to be expected, but it’s hp we pick out the cross-school themes to prioritise at a Univesity level that’s important.

The BBC ACE event was interesting, not least for the fact that I found out that the set of the Politics Show is in fact the corner of a shared office! No need for expensive studios now then!!! But more importantly it was good to hear how the BBC 4 ‘North’ commisions are developing, and to have a chance to discuss the future of programmes with regional content such as Late Kick Off.

Our ‘Wellbeing‘ week certainly improved my personal well-being. Well, a good barbbequeued burger usually has that effect on me!

Carbon Reduction Award Winners Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and University of Bradford

Do I always look this uncomfortable in a dinner jacket?

Winning a Carbon Reduction award at the BitC Excellence Awards was very pleasing, even if I felt a little unworthy as I only chair the Energy & Carbon Task Group and everyone else does the hard work. We were also ‘highly commended’ in the Sustainable Travel category. It was an added bonus that my allocated ferret was a winner on the night, but that’s a whole different story!

Next major event was the BBC’s Yorkshire Regional Audience Council ‘Outreach’ event at the NMeM. I was chairing this for the first time and it covered three topics – ‘localness’ and what it means in relation to the BBC, feedback on the election coverage and finally what would people like to see more (and less of) as part of the BBC’s strategy of ‘doing less better’. Always interesting to hear a variety of opinions, although there were some definite themes emerging that will be fed back to the BBC Trust.

The ‘day trip to Brighton’ was a bit of an ordeal. Because of other commitments, I had to travel for my external examining duties to Sussex and back in one day. That involved getting up at 3.30am and getting back at about 11pm. Still, letting the train take the strain was relatively relaxing and fairly eco-friendly.

BBEC University Academy

BBEC University Academy

Last but not least is was the awards for students from Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College ‘University Academy’. This is for high academic achievers, and the  presentations were held here at the University. Good to see so many bright pupils and their families, I think there’s hope for the future of the planet after all! And my assumption that the crisps would go quicker than the fresh fruit proved to be completely wrong, children are clearly listening to the healthy eating message. Thanks to Jennie for helping to arrange the evening and the catering.


Of course in between all this there’s been the usual meetings, marking, assessment committees, etc. I think a quiet weekend is in order, but with England v Germany on Sunday, that can’t be guaranteed.

BBC (again), ESD, Game Republic student success and City of Film

Another week, another BBC event. Well two actually. A quick tour and meeting some people at the BBC in Leeds last Monday as part of my new Yorkshire RAC role, and then attending a consultation event about the BBC Asian Network. That was an interesting way to start the week, and I’m already learing a lot about how the BBC works both locally and nationally.

On Tuesday we had a meeting with Tom, Deb and Jeni from the NMeM regarding BAF 2010. They’ve already got some great speakers lined up, but that’s under wraps for now. Plans look good for this year, we even more planned to be held here at the University.

Sumo Digital Game Technology award 1st Prize Winners

Sumo Digital Game Technology award 1st Prize Winners

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to the Game Republic Showcase in Huddersfield. This was a real shame this year as our students did extremely well, scooping up the Game Technology award and runners up prizes for Best Team, Game Art and Game Design. They were the only team to be in the top three for all categories, which just goes to show the breadth of the talent there. Well done to all involved.

Wednesday was the ‘Education for Sustainable Development Pioneer Showcase’, and it was great to see so many projects under the Ecoversity banner across the University. This was closely followed by the Deisgn Show from EDT, which had some really interesting projects on show, not least of which was a ‘restored’ dalek originally made by some of our students!

Thursday was of course Celebrating Diversity Day, which I only managed to make the early part of due to other commitments. So worst of all I missed out on all the interesting food, which as you’ll probably know was particularly upsetting for me.

And so to Friday, and the City of Film board meeting. As usual this was a good meeting, and although this project has really had relatively little funding it’s achieved great things in the last year (not least because of the enthusiasm and drive of Peg as the director). The one big worry at the moment is whether the project can continue to deliver in the tough times ahead as no doubt the small funding that’s there at the moment will be squeezed as people prioritise what little there is in their budgets. Fingers crossed as being the world’s first UNESCO City of Film is something that the City really needs to make the most of.

After that it was good to have a three day weekend.

Two days in London

This week began with a trip to London for a meeting with Skillset about CPD modules and a visit to the BBC.

The Skillset meeting went well, and we are  looking at developing some modules to fit into the ‘Build your own MA‘ programme. This is very different from traditional PG programmes and offers a flexible approach to study for people already in industry.

Tuesday was my first event as a member of the BBC’s Audience Council. It was an induction event covering the responsibilities and what the BBC Trust expect from council members. We also had a chance to have a quick tour of the studios and the newsroom and meet some of the people working there (and yes, I still get a bit excited at being in the Later with Jools Holland studio when they’re preparing for the next show).

It was a very interesting day, and I must admit looking forward to taking on the role of chair of the Yorkshire Regional Audience Council, although it will be a big responsibility, especially for someone from the South!

I’m expected to draw on my contacts and networks to get a wider picture of peoples’ perceptions of the BBC’s output, so questions/answers on a postcard to the usual address please.