Labour MP sets Politics students the task of engaging young voters


Bob Ainsworth MP spoke to Politics and Media students at Bournemouth University as they look to study the EU Parliamentary elections.

Mr Ainsworth, a Visiting Fellow within BU’s Media School, set an online campaign task for five groups of first year students aimed at mobilising young voters in the South West region for each of the main parties: Labour, Conservative, UKIP, Liberal Democrat and Green Party.

Labour lost their MEP in the 2009 election and the Green Party missed their target for an MEP by less than one percent, so a small surge in voter registration and engagement could easily tip the balance for any of the parties next month. The students discussed what they saw as the main weaknesses and strengths of the existing online campaigns, which in their view were all weak and not currently aimed at young potential voters.

Shortly afterwards in a studio interview  four students Elina Kuusio, Alan Andrews, Jack Aspinall and Joanna Poulton (pictured) grilled Mr. Ainsworth, Secretary of State for Defence in the last Labour government, on his views on what the European Union offers young people, UKIP and the likely outcome of the elections.

Parts of this televised debate will be broadcast during the Media Schools coverage of the 2014 EU Parliamentary elections on the 22nd May between 10pm and 1am. Bob Ainsworth is returning to Bournemouth University to judge their campaigns on the 8th May when he will also be contributing to a student organised screening and debate on Belarus.

In an effort to engage young voters on May 15th, Bournemouth University will be hosting a hustings in the Allsebrook lecture theatre from 7pm where prospective MEPs from all the parties will be addressing students and local residents. Politics students will be attending this and learning more about this important election.

New publishing house launches in Bournemouth


A new Dorset-based publishing house was launched this week during an action-packed event in Bournemouth.

Fresher, based within Bournemouth University’s Media School, aims to ‘encourage and support aspiring writers and offer a platform to all new voices’ by offering a chance to submit work for publication and support from experts within the university.

The launch event, which took place at Kino in Bournemouth Square, also showcased the first publication from Fresher publishing, a book called Fresh, a collection of new writing and short stories produced entirely by final year Bournemouth University students.

The project has been driven by Fresher’s Editorial Director, Emma Scattergood, who is a Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media at Bournemouth University. Emma said, “We are delighted to be launching Fresher – and its first book – and are looking forward to growing as a platform for new writing talent in Dorset. Having our own publishing press is a great way of allowing our students to get valuable practical experience and, I hope, will go a step further in establishing Bournemouth, and especially the university, as a centre of creative writing.”

As a part of the launch event, authors were invited to read excerpts from their short stories. One author, Joan Ellis, read a passage from her new book, ‘I am Ella. Buy Me’ due to be published through Fresher as an e-publication later this year. Joan said, “The book, based on my experience, is the fast-paced story of a young woman battling more than just fat thighs and small boobs in the sexist world of London’s mad, bad Adland in the 1980’s. Thanks to Fresher I look forward to my novel being published in the summer.”

The event was also an opportunity to announce the winner of the Most Promising Student Writer Award, created to celebrate the achievements of the student writers who contributed to the book ‘Fresh’. The award was won by Charlotte Clifton (pictured), a Communications and Media student from BU, for her short story ‘Scales’; the tale of a young girl and her struggle with a medical condition.

Charlotte said, “It feels fantastic to know that all the hard work has paid off, and quite surreal to see my writing in a published book! I’m absolutely thrilled to win the award, especially as there was so much talent to choose from – being recognised for something that I love to do is so wonderful and has really given me the confidence to get back to my desk and keep writing.”

As well as giving an opportunity to aspiring writers, the publishing house offers the opportunity for university students to gain valuable experience of publishing by taking on various roles within the publishing house. These roles include marketing and PR, as well as editing, typesetting and cover design for some of the publications.

Writing submissions are encouraged from writers of all ages and backgrounds as the publishing house seeks to give opportunities to new writers. If you are interested in further information about the publishing house, or submitting a piece of writing, you can do so through the Fresher website.

BU Lecturer works on BBC Radio 4 production

Jo Tyler, Programme Co-ordinator of MA Radio Production at Bournemouth University, has been involved in a stage radio production of the classic ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ as part of BBC Radio 4’s character takeover day.

The production brought the 1978 classic into the 21st century and took place at the BBC Radio Theatre. Jo performed the role of production assistant on the script and assistant director for the Live performance.

Tyler said, “As an experienced live producer it is always fun to push the boundaries of your medium. So when you find yourself running a live stage for radio with a robot, live band and actors for company, that has to be close [to pushing the boundaries]”.

“I’ve been involved with the stage version for two years and this performance marks radio history bringing the show back home to the BBC Radio Theatre in London, with a live audience on air and in the theatre. You have to think carefully about the audience experience in both places and to assist Director Dirk Maggs in achieving this was a privilege. Dirk has always inspired students with his guest lectures, most recently on his ‘Neverwhere’ (Neil Gaiman) adaptation for Radio 4.”

The show which was originally broadcast across multiple platforms, is now available to listen on BBC iPlayer until 4th April 2014.

Tribute to BU student Tayla Woodard

bu-logo“We were very sad to hear of the death of Tayla Woodard, a Media School student.

Tayla was a very hard-working and impressive student who was popular with her peers.

We have spoken to her family to offer our sympathies and we are also providing support for her fellow students at this difficult time.”

Karen Fowler-Watt, Associate Dean, The Media School


If you have been affected by this and would like further support please visit our Health & Wellbeing services.

BU TV Production graduate wins Royal Television Society Award


A Bournemouth University TV Production graduate has won a prestigious Royal Television Society (RTS) Award.

Beth Lamont won the Best Entertainment RTS Southern Student Award, for a cookery programme she created in her third year of the BA (Hons) Television Production course at BU.

The show, Mini Munchies, is targeted at pre-school children and their parents, and aims to encourage them to cook and eat healthily.

It features a mother and daughter making a vegetarian pizza together and is also narrated by a child.

“It was a huge surprise to have been nominated, let alone to take home the award, particularly given the great work of my fellow nominees,” said Beth, who graduated from BU in 2013.

“I’m delighted to have won and the film has already opened doors for me by helping me secure an internship at Disney this year, which has so far been a brilliant first step in to the industry.

“I’d like to extend my gratitude, again, to the crew and cast who share this award with me.”

The RTS Southern awards, which took place at Winchester Guildhall on 21st February, celebrate the best in television talent in the South and highlight the quality of content produced by the region.

Bournemouth University graduates had been shortlisted in all of the student categories – with Ben Witt also nominated in the Best Entertainment category; Gulliver Moore for Best Fiction; and, in the Best Factual category, Matt Cotton.

Nick Bamford, Programme Leader of the BA (Hons) Television Production degree course at BU, said that the team were proud of all the graduates who were shortlisted for this year’s awards.

“The staff who teach on BA TV Production are thrilled to see such a good representation of our graduates’ work in the RTS awards,” he added.

“It’s a fitting testament to the creativity and hard work of our students, and a shining example to those who follow them of what they can aspire to.”

Dr Ana Adi discusses 10 years of Facebook on BBC Radio Solent

Dr Ana Adi, Lecturer in Corporate Marketing Communications at BU, was interviewed on BBC Radio Solent’s Drivetime programme on the 10th anniversary of Facebook.

Ana, who specialises in digital and social media, spoke to presenter Steve Harris about how the social networking site has influenced our lives, and what might happen to it in the future.

“Whether they’ll be around in the form that we know, ten years from now with the rapid change of the internet, that’s very tough to answer,” she said.

The site currently has over 1 billion users of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities, and when asked by Steve if the site could be all things to all people, Ana said: “If we look at the numbers last year, Facebook’s popularity with a younger demographic has been decreasing, it’s only this year that they somehow seem to have got back on trend with the youth.

“There are a lot of issues there – of course, Facebook is trying in this attempt to be popular for a lot of people, and at the same time trying to make money out of the business model.

“They are trying to be many things for many people and that’s very challenging.”

She added that she believed young people would, however, continue to sign up to the site – often because they have no choice in the matter.

“Most young people, very young people actually, have a Facebook account because their parents create one for them,” said Ana.

Listen to the BBC Radio Solent interview (55 minutes into the programme)

Winners of New Media Writing Prize revealed at BU


A sitcom based around conversations with voice-activated app Siri, a multi-media project on gang warfare in El Salvador and an interactive poetry website were named winners at the New Media Writing Awards.

The international competition, run by Bournemouth University’s Media School, showcases innovative story-telling designed to be accessed through new media devices.

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony at Bournemouth University, with prizes awarded to an overall winner, a people’s choice winner decided by an online public vote, and a student winner.

Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos was named overall winner, receiving a prize of £1,000.

Her entry, Siri and Me, consisted of a virtual sitcom made up of conversations between her and the voice-activated phone application.


Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos receiving the New Media Writing Prize award via Skype, for her virtual sitcom Siri and Me

Esmeralda, who lives in New York, received her award over Skype, saying: “I’m really excited and happy,”

“The way Siri talks to me now may be the way my fridge will start talking to me in the future. You will start to have relationships with your appliances.”

The student prize was won by David Devanny from Falmouth University, for his project Orange Sweatshirt.

His interactive site generates poems, which readers can then alter by changing words, the tone, and format used.

David Devanny

Student prize winner David Devanny (right), with Peter Phillips of Unicorn Training

David, whose prize was a three-month paid internship with e-learning company Unicorn Training said: “It’s amazing. The whole thing has been a very good experience, and I’m very shocked and surprised.

“I like the idea of giving over control to the reader as much as possible, so I try to make a point of doing that in my work.”

The winners were decided by a panel of judges which included Dan Franklin, Digital Publisher at Random House; Chris Meade, founder of if:Book UK, which explores the future of books; and  Joanna Ellis, Associate Director of The Literary Platform.

Chris Meade said: “What I love about this competition, and this year more than ever, is it’s about a new kind of writer. They are creating things for different platforms and not just writing for a book.”

There was also a People’s Choice Award, decided by an online public vote, with a prize of £250.

Ann Luce and Jim Pope

Ann Luce, one of the creators of People’s Choice award winner The Engineer, with event organiser Jim Pope.

Over 1,000 votes were received and the award was won by Mathew Charles, Juan Passarelli and Ann Luce for their multi-media project The Engineer, which follows El Salvador’s only forensic pathologist and looks at gang crime in the country.

As well as the winners being announced, the awards ceremony also featured talks from leading new media figures, including Rob Sherman, author of Random House’s first fully interactive fiction Black Crown, and Julian McCrae, creator of multi-media thriller The Craftsman.

They spoke about their work and gave tips for students in the audience who wanted to go into digital storytelling, including quickly making the reader care about your piece and characters, and knowing the genre and audience expectations.

 Andy Campbell, who has created Dreaming Methods – a digital scrapbook for authors featuring animation and visual imagery alongside written pieces – also spoke at the awards ceremony.

He said: “It is really a fantastic event and a great showcase for this type of work.

“It’s a nice chance to hopefully influence some up-and-coming writers and encourage people to give it a go.”

The New Media Writing Prize is now in its fourth year and organiser and judge Jim Pope said it was bigger and better than ever.

“I think it has been the most successful awards ceremony we have run, the biggest and most varied range of entries and audience,” said Jim, who is also Course Leader for BA (Hons) English at Bournemouth University.

“The quality of the entries was fantastic and it was so hard to choose a winner because they were all so different, it was like choosing between chalk and cheese.”

BU animation lecturer featured on Guardian website

Bournemouth University lecturer Sofronis Efstathiou has given advice to budding animators on the Guardian website.

Sofronis, Programme Leader on the 3D Computer Animation courses at BU, spoke to the Guardian Witness section of the website to ‘give his tips on how to get started in animation – and what makes a great animation’.

Guardian Witness encourages readers (or, in this case animators) to send in their own content to be shown on the website, and previous campaigns have included picture and video projects. This is the first time the Guardian Witness pages have run an animation feature.

Sofronis said in the feature, “My students love creating characters and worlds for them to inhabit – character and environment creation tends to be a very symbiotic process. The best way to develop those skills is by creating your own short animation projects.”

To read the section in full, including all of Sofronis’ tips, or to submit your animation to Guardian Witness – check out the Guardian website.

The Bourne Legacy: sharing top tips for industry success


Media School alumni who have gone on to industry success came back to Bournemouth University to give advice and inspiration to current students.

Top directors, writers, radio producers and business owners were among those who returned to talk to third year Media School students as part of the Bourne Legacy event.

The speakers for the day-long event, which is now in its third year, included Richard Senior.

Since graduating from the BA (Hons) Television Production course in 2002, Richard has gone on to become the youngest ever Director of Doctor Who, Lead Director for children’s drama M.I. High and an award-winning promo producer, creating ad campaigns for BBC dramas.

He said that his advice to the current students was to: “Work hard, build good relationships and don’t be afraid of taking risks.”

He added: “I’m here because I wouldn’t have got where I am without Bournemouth University.

“I think some of the most useful sessions when I was here were when industry people came back to tell us about their experience. I wanted to be part of that and I hope that the advice I give is equally useful.”

Bob Fletcher, who graduated from BA (Hons) Scriptwriting in 2007, was also speaking at the event.

Bob is now working as an associate TV Producer, coming up with new comedy formats, as well as a comedy writer – creating sketches for the likes of Miranda Hart, Jack Whitehall and Harry Enfield.

“Bournemouth University has a really good reputation in the TV industry,” he said.

“If you say you went to Bournemouth, people’s ears prick up.

“People who leave here have every advantage, you just need to make sure you sell yourself and make yourself employable.”

His advice included making yourself stand out by creating and sending short films of your work, rather than just scripts, and not being afraid to hound people.

“You just have to make sure everyone knows who you are,” he said.

“Be really enthusiastic and have ideas. You have got to get past feeling bad about being a nuisance.”

He added he wished he made more of the extra-curricular activities and equipment available to him while at BU.

“I wish when I was at university, I’d made more effort to do things outside the course and collaborated with students in other disciplines.

“I wish I could come back and make some more films and sketches and use all the equipment you have here for free.”

Other speakers at the event included MA Radio Production graduate Mog McIntyre, who is now working on Chris Evans’ BBC Radio 2 programme, and Hollywood horror writer and BA Scriptwriting alumni Richard Hobley.

As well as talks, there was a question and answer panel sessions and the chance to network with the alumni.

Gavin Williams set up his own company, Fishrod, after completing the Interactive Media Production (now Digital Media Design) degree in 2010. The company, which develops web applications and interactive technology, now has clients including BskyB and WWE Wrestling.

Gavin said that he hoped his talk at the Bourne Legacy event would inspire current students.

“I hope it gives them inspiration and confidence to go out and do their own thing. They have the skills to do it,” he said.

“The most important thing is to seize opportunities. You do really tiny things and never know what it is going to snowball into.”

New Media Writing Prize shortlist revealed


An interactive murder mystery on a spaceship, a project about gang warfare in El Salvador and a sitcom based around the Siri voice application are among the shortlisted nominees for the New Media Writing Prize.

The international competition, run by Bournemouth University’s Media School, showcases innovative story-telling designed to be accessed through new media devices.

Entries could be anything from a short poem to a film or computer animation with audience interaction.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at Bournemouth University on the evening of Wednesday 22 January.

The New Media Writing Prize 2013 shortlist is:

  •  The Engineer (a multi-media project following El Salvador’s only forensic pathologist and looking at gang crime in the country) – Mathew Charles, Juan Passarelli, Ann Luce
  • Siri and Me (an online sitcom featuring conversations with the voice-activated application) – Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos
  • Orange Sweatshirt (an interactive poetry site where readers can control the words used and format) – David Devanny
  • Foursquare Tales (stories and song playlists to accompany places on the Foursquare location application)  – Declan Dineen
  • Opacity (a four-part interactive story accessed online) – Serge Bouchardon

The overall winner, chosen by a panel of judges, will receive £1,000, donated by if:book UK, while a People’s Choice winner – decided by an online public vote – will win £250.

There is also a student category, with the winner receiving a 3-month paid internship with Bournemouth-based e-learning company Unicorn Training.

The shortlisted student entries are:

  • Orange SweatshirtDavid Devanny
  • Foursquare TalesDeclan Dineen
  • The Ghosts of Yamaraja (an interactive murder-mystery based on a spaceship) – Jonathan Saunders

All of the shortlisted entries can be viewed on the New Media Writing Prize website, where people can also vote on their favourite for the People’s Choice Award.

The awards ceremony takes place in Kimmeridge House, at Bournemouth University’s Talbot Campus, from 6pm to 8.30pm on Wednesday 22 January.

The ceremony is free to attend and – alongside the announcement of the winners –three top writers will be talking about and showing their work.

They are:

  • Andy Campbell, who has created a unique body of work called Dreaming Methods.
  • Rob Sherman, author of Black Crown, Random House’s first full interactive fiction.
  • Julian McCrae, creator of The Craftsman, a multi-media thriller.

To book event tickets or to find out more about the awards ceremony visit the New Media Writing Prize Eventbrite page.