Panel discussion: Birmingham School of Media Production Event (1st February, 2012)

Last week I was invited to speak on an industry panel at the launch of the Birmingham School of Media production event at Fazeley Studios, Digbeth.

The Production Event is a first year module in the BA Media and Communication degree at The Birmingham School of Media within Birmingham City University. As part of their studies all first year media students (around 180 of them) will be involved in organising a one day “event” which is based around a different theme each year. The idea is to give them an opportunity to practise the skills they have learned so far in as realistic a vocational environment as possible. Each year they have a different theme for the students to explore and the theme for 2012 will be “The 2012 London Olympiad” – allowing them to explore the alternative viewpoints of the games through the analysis of cultural events and impact, legacy and the cultural, political and social agendas at play, and fold them back into the event that they decide to deliver.

Alongside John Coster (@citizenseye) and Tina Barton (@somewhereto_EM) who I already work with quite closely in Leicester and through my research, we were also joined by Matt Lee from BBC West Midlands and Simon Flynn from Creative England, who presented on their own involvement with the Olympic Games.

I opened the event with an adapted version of the paper that I delivered at the International Olympic Academy in September, focusing on the complexity of the Olympic Games as a subject area and the tension between the mainstream narratives of the ‘movement’ and the impact that it has politically and socially on a community and a country. I also touched on the different types of media that are present during an olympiad and why this is important when considering an event during the run-up to games time, including their potential involvement with #media2012 West Midlands through their event.

My paper was followed on by presentations by Matt on the BBC’s involvement with local coverage in the area and John introducing citizen’s eye and their 2012 pledge. There were also interesting presentations about the film shorts cultural olympiad project and Tina’s (always engaging) somewhereto_ project, where she acts as the broker between 16-25 year olds and those who have empty and unused spaces, in order to encourage them to do something that they feel passionate about in those space.

The event itself will be in the 2nd week of May 2012 when the students will be producing newspapers, magazines or websites, television and radio programmes, photographic exhibitions, musical events etc – all focusing on issues around the 2012 London Olympiad. We will get to revisit the class in that time and see what they have came up with.