The launch of the SCIM OB truck

Tom Ingall interviewing Ian Palmer It’s a week on since the launch of the SCIM OB truck and time to reflect on the event. It was great fun to be interviewed by Bradford SCIM graduate and BBC Look North celeb Tom Ingall.

Then it was back down five floors to see the truck itself and for Tom to cut the ribbon to formerly ‘open’ the truck for business.

It’s great to have this facility, which is the only facility of this size and capability at any university in the UK. Giving the students the chance to learn what working on a real outside broadcast is like will really given them an edge.

With more and more ‘event’ television programmes driving the ratings (the Olympics would be just a small example of this of course!) the ability to go out in the field and capture events from wherever they happen is a key skill that they can develop to the fullest.

You can see some more about the truck and the launch here.

 

Graduation – another celebration of success!

The highlight of the year, our graduation is tomorrow. It’s always fantastic to see everyone get their degrees, and the friends & families pleasure in seeing them walk across the stage is always great to see and hear.

 

Here’s my bit about the School from the brochure:
It’s been another busy and successful year for the School. Our students have won prizes from the Royal Television Society and from the BBC in its Developing Talent Awards, showing that our courses continue to produce graduates capable of working to the highest standards.

We started a new initiative with the BBC to develop the skills of their software engineers, who will be trained by our staff at the BBC in Salford and London with a view to working towards a masters degree. We developed a ground-breaking new Masters degree in Music Video Creation in collaboration with the world famous Mute Records. We created the Digital Working Academy to provide work experience for students and recent graduates, resulting in 98 students working on commercial projects worth £108k, with some of these students already finding work for the companies who commissioned the projects.

Our research continues to develop and grow, with income attracted in areas including modelling of toxicity to help avoid animal testing of substances, the digitisation of archaeological bones to help understand medical conditions and creating a 3D model of the cornea. And we are now the university in the UK to have a full high-definition outside broadcast truck.

It’s a pretty good summary of the year.  We’re on first tomorrow at 10am, and there’s a reception for gradautes afterwards, invite repeated here in case you missed it:
Following the ceremony, you are invited to a free drinks reception with live music at the Norcroft Centre from 11.30am–1.00pm
(prizes presentation at 12.15pm)
Graduation Photograph in the Student Central Lecture theatre
1.15pm Department of Computing and Maths
1.45pm Bradford Media School
2.15pm Creative Technology
(please arrive 15 mins beforehand)

I hope all goes well tomorrow. And for those of you graduating, well done, good luck and when I pronounce your name wrong tomorrow (and although I’ve practiced, I WILL get some of them wrong), please forgive me!

So what happened to March?

It seemed to fly by and I have no idea where it went. The last time I posted it was all about struggling to pull together the proosal for the new academic calendar (that’s been to ASPC, LTC and Senate and been approved), the impending academic review (we’ve had the panel meetings and are waiting for the report) and the BCS accreditation visit (which went well and we await the written feedback).  And of course the City Park opened, which whatever you think about it has transformed the city centre and it’s a joy to see so many people out there enjoying the recent good weather.

If that’s not enough for one month, we’ve had the opening of the excellent Life Online gallery and TedX Bradford at the NMeM, another BBC RAC meeting, and Spurs have gone from Champions’ League certainties to Europa League hopefuls and back again.

In the middle of all this, we’ve moved offices. As you may know, I was in a shared space with the staff support team in the basement of Horton D (hence the original title of this blog). With the reclading of the building (which has gone very smoothly and looks great), we had to find temporary accomodation for the Student Support Office. This gave us an opportunity to rethink how we use our space. The position of the recruitment office was far from ideal (up some stairs and along a corridor), especially given the amount of traffic on applicant visit days. Given where we were located, i.e. in the ‘basement’ which of course is actually at ground level (don’t ask, it’s one of the challenges of labelling floors in buildings that are built on hillsides) and so had easy access, it made sense to use this forced temporary move to use that space more effectively. Hence the Recruitment Office is now using that, both as office space and to hold receptions and recruitment events. We’ve now moved to the fifth floor. So time to rename the blog. The Student Support Office is temporarily where Recruitment were, and when they move back we’ll continue to use that space for supporting our partnership work (someting that was originally located with us in the basement).

As with all these things, the disruption is substantial, but the move seems to have gone very smoothly with all parties happy with their new space. Which is something that is often tricky to achieve. So thanks to all involved, both in terms of those moving and the tech support team that made it happen, for such a slick operation.

As well as the cladding operation, those of you who used the small entrance door facing the Richmond Building will have seen our new ‘porch’ being constructed. The ‘official’ entrance to Horton D is round the back up the curved steps facing the Chesham Building. No doubt this fitting perfectly in the architect’s vision at the time, but now that we get a lot of traffice to and from the Richmond Building, and in these days of more awareness of access for those with mobility problems, it really didn’t make sense. Now the building work is complete we need to populate that space to make it more interesting, which will hopefully happen over the next few months.

Besides hoping that the warmer weather will drive away any more snow, there’s much to look forward to in April. The Bradford International Film Festival has a superb line up this year, with a wide variety from the obscure masterpieces to classic cartoons. If you’re in Bradford while it’s on, there really is no excuse not to pop along to something. There’s another ACE meeting, which are always interesting and lively. And of course there’s the usual day-to-day expected and unexpected challenges.

I expect come May I’ll be looking back asking ‘what happened to April’?!

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.