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UPDATED - In Conversation With... School of Media and Performing Arts

Video and transcript attached - It was the turn of Media and Performing Arts to face student questions in yesterdays 'In Conversation With...' event.

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Yesterday was the turn of the School of Media and Performing Arts to answer questions in our ‘In Conversation With…’ event.

The Panel consisted of:

  • Steve Dawkins – Associate Head of School - Student Experience 
  • Annabelle Waller- Head of School 

Questions were posed to the Panel by our school reps:

  • Welfare Rep - Justice Unanka Eke
  • Faculty Officer – Jessica Isaacs

The event was hosted by Emily Long, CUSU Student Experience Coordinator. Here are a couple of key questions from the event.

What facilities and resources can students use during their course? Are there any buildings, resources or facilities you’d like to highlight to students?

The school is really well resourced. There is the Tank recording studio, video and radio recording and new podcasting booths that have been set up in Ellen Terry and music rehearsal rooms that have been brought in too and which double up as craft edit suites. This is helping to encourage a collaborative ethos that sees students from different disciplines working as one. Alongside these resources that can be found in the Ellen Terry building, we are close to opening the new Delia Derbyshire building which will provide fantastic facilities for all our students, regardless of course. There will be production suites, audio studios and motion capture spaces. We are hoping that we can invite industry in and showcase what our students do here. It’s very exciting.

The new building will be in a different league and the entire Faculty will be in there learning together – building a learning community. We don’t have a completion date but once that is open, there will be a refresh of Ellen Terry for students for the next academic year.

What opportunities will there be for us to get support as graduates in terms of job opportunities/alumni support in areas relevant to our degrees?

We are really passionate about this and have been working together to help with students trying to find connections with industry and steps towards employment. One of the things we are doing more immediately is that we are running a January Extra event again. We ran it last year; it’s an opportunity for students to engage with online and face to face activities and workshops with alumni. The guest speakers last year were really impressive – they were able to explain some of the opportunities in industry that are available. It’s not part of course work – it’s designed to be extracurricular for students to both engage with and shape to suit them. We also want to get some of our equipment out this year and show students how it all works. We believe that alumni should be invited back to help provide the steps that they have taken. The Talent Team is open for all to contact – they deal with placements, internships and employability skills University-wide. For third year students especially – get involved! If you want to put on a session during January Extra, we would love to hear your ideas. It’s not about just us delivering sessions – we want alumni and students to provide for each other. Details for January Extra will go out before Christmas. We also have plans with international partners too – but details of this will have to wait until after Christmas. Graduates need more than just a degree these days and opportunities like this are perfect.

How are the school ensuring they are supporting online students, monitoring online attendance, offering support sessions etc?

We are using a lot of varying systems on AULA to track engagement. We also want to put provisions in place for students who may not be attending as much as they need to be. We have provided the Student Success Coaches and are putting a lot of resource into this area as a University. Engagement on AULA is good on the whole, but attendance face to face is becoming a problem, and this could have implications for both domestic and international students. If people have elected to come into campus then they really do need to be attending. When we were in total lockdown, we changed all curriculum and assignments to make sure that no student was left without being able to complete work to the best of their abilities.

We can monitor attendance as much as we like online but that doesn’t always provide an accurate reflection – the engagement with AULA is the direction we are going with monitoring students. We can see from AULA if students are accessing course content, engaging with tasks and submitting work. It is really difficult for tutors to run sessions with no cameras on – we would definitely encourage everyone to keep the camera on! It really helps to create engaging classes.

For more information on the ‘In Conversation With…’ events, there is a full schedule available here. If you missed this event, a full transcript can be found here. If you would like to watch the event back, please see video below.


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