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Jingle Bell Jog 2015 – Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice

Calling all Jolly Joggers!

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is looking for festive folk from across the city to join in at its annual Christmas fun run.

Now in its second year, the Jingle Bell Jog returns on Sunday December 6 to Kings Heath Park. All joggers are given a free Santa suit to complete the 2km run and will receive a medal and a well-deserved mince pie at the finish line.

Perfect for families, friends and workmates of all ages and abilities, last year’s event saw 250 Jingle Bell Joggers take part, raising more than £9,000 for the charity.

Hamish Shilliday, Head of Fundraising said: “We would love to see as many people as possible getting involved with the Jingle Bell Jog to build on the huge success of last year. It costs around £22,000 to run the Hospice on Christmas Day so all donations are crucial in ensuring our patients and families receive the support that they need. All of our staff try and make it the happiest it can be and we need help to continue to provide this exceptional care.”

Santas

2014 Jingle Bell Jog saw 250 happy runners!

On the day, registration opens at 9.30am and the run will start at 11am.  Kings Heath Park will be thriving with pre-event Christmas activities and a special visit from some Disney friends.

This year, the jog kicks off its ‘Care at Christmas’ campaign, a range of activities to drive support for the hospice during the festive period. Wannabe Santa’s can take part in this year’s run by registering at careatchristmas.org.

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Introducing #Brumscape

 

John Lewis celebrates Birmingham’s changing skyline with largest-ever photograph of city

Iconic photograph marks two months to go until £35m department store opens

John Lewis has today revealed the largest panoramic photograph ever taken of Birmingham’s iconic skyline.

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A small snippet of the magnificence

Commissioned to mark two months until the John Lewis Birmingham regional flagship shop opens on 24th September, the super-high resolution panoramic has affectionately been termed as a “Brumscape” and was taken from the Staying Cool apartments at the top of Birmingham’s Rotunda tower.

The gigapixel format, also known as deep zoom, allows viewers to pan across the skyline and zoom in on Birmingham’s city centre, discovering the smallest details of the city, as well as up to 15 miles in the distance.

The photograph is an 80 megapixel image made up of four rows of 33 separately-taken shots, meticulously stitched together to create a unique photograph stretching across Birmingham’s evolving cityscape. Iconic landmarks including Edgbaston Cricket Ground, the new Library of Birmingham, the BT Tower and the new John Lewis shop at Grand Central can be seen.

Lisa Williams, Head of Branch, John Lewis Birmingham, “Birmingham is a city undergoing a huge transformation and this striking image truly captures this.

“The support we’ve had from the local community since we announced the new shop has been fantastic and we thought this was the perfect way to mark the two month countdown to opening with something special we hope people will enjoy.”

The photographer, panoramic specialist Will Pearson, was one of the earliest adopters of the deep zoom format and is considered a pioneer in the field. Speaking about the gigapixel shot, Will said:

“It was obvious when bringing this image to life that Birmingham is a constantly evolving city – from the chimney stacks across the skyline echoing its industrial past, to a city centre of new, innovative schemes. “

John Lewis Birmingham is the business’ first full line department store to open in four years and will be one of the biggest John Lewis shops outside of London. The 250,000 sq ft department store will be the anchor tenant of the new Grand Central retail development, which sits above the redeveloped New Street Station.

The shop represents a £35m investment by the business in the city and will be John Lewis’s most innovative shop to date. It will showcase the best of the department store’s offer, allowing customers to shop from more than 350,000 products from the retailer’s full range, including those leading the latest fashion, furniture, homewares, beauty and technology trends.

The image can be viewed here: http://www.johnlewis.com/our-shops/birmingham/birmingham-panoramic

Key facts and stats about the image:

  • The photographer spent a day and half stitching the 33 shots together.
  • One of the furthest visible objects is a hot air balloon to the far left of the shot, just above the tree tops. It is up to 15 miles from where the photograph was taken and was totally invisible to the naked eye.
  • The photograph captures key Birmingham landmarks from Edgbaston Stadium right across to One and Two Snow Hill.
  • The tallest building visible is the BT Tower which stands at 152 ft and 31 floors high.
  • The Clent hills, in Stourbridge Worcestershire can be seen in the far distance, over 11 miles from where the photograph was taken.
  • The Rotunda tower where the photo was taken stands at a height of 266ft.

Professional media practice

This week I had to create a professional poster to ‘sell myself’ to the outside media world. The poster has to be focused on my theoretical approaches to the industry and show relations between theory and practical work I have carried out.

Specifically I have included the topics and research methods I have used for analysis on photography and public relations so far. These relate to and will support my dissertation.

 

View my poster

 

Birmingham City University graduation ceremony 2014

Yesterday I attended the Birmingham City University business graduation ceremony at the Symphony Hall. I was there as a guest with my boyfriend’s family as his stepdad, John Woodward, was receiving the honorary doctorate in business.

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Donning the Mayor’s chain!

I had chance to meet and speak to Mike Leddy – the Mayor of Birmingham – and many of the Executive Deans at the university which was a great networking opportunity that I didn’t know I would be part of before I had arrived. The Mayor even let me wear his chain!

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John Woodward, CEO of Busy Bees Nurseries

The event was so heart warming and it gave me an insight into what I will be going through in 2015 when I graduate. I cannot begin to imagine how fast my graduation ceremony will come around and I’m not sure I want to wish away my time left at university, but I am very much looking forward to wearing the navy and cream gown and getting my degree certificate on that stage.

Vintage clothing kilo sale returns on 15th February in Digbeth

Judys Affordable Vintage Fair

Get saving the pennies people. After its success in October last year, the Custard Factory is hosting another Vintage Kilo Sale run by Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair on February 15th. Over 5 tonnes of vintage mass will be piled into the Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham, to create a hip happening hub of hidden gems for you to dive into.

More clothes than you can manage

How does it work I hear you say? Firstly, the collections are placed around a big open space and you browse and dig around, picking up the items you would like as you go. Then when you are finished you can head over to the weighing machines and are charged £15 per kilogram. Item weight varies but this works out on average 4 to 5 items per kilo. BARGAIN. They also have some great deals for the super shopper, if you purchase over 10 kilos the price drops to £10 per kilo.

Something for everyone

There is something for everybody at these events and they cater for all visitors throughout the day by replenishing the clothes and sizes in stages. So don’t worry, all the good ones wont be snapped up by the crazed and super savvy hunters before your alarms even gone off. They also have a heap of accessories for you to purchase per item, you never know what you may find!

For more information, visit the Facebook event page and click the ‘going’ button. This one is not to be missed.

Conceptualising the Audience

New media and photography theory – Week 6 2013

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Week six consisted of critiquing the common-sense approach to the audience. The audience is defined by Long and Wall as “an anonymous and variable collective of individuals addressed (as a group of individuals) by the organs of ‘mass’ media communication” (Long and Wall 2012:488). This week moved beyond the original ideas of audience and into the ideas of the audience being a product of the media (Long and Wall 2012:275).

A realisation that became apparent during the lecture was that without the audience, there would be no media and without the media there would be no profit. The more there is of media, in a variety of outlets and forms, the more competition. This adds pressure to the producers to attract more audiences using a variety of methods to continue to make the profit that they need.

Long describes how we are not always aware of being part of an audience, no matter how many millions of consumers are also sharing the same experience at the same time. (Long and Wall, 2012:279) Whilst Mattelart describes it from the perspective of producers “each media institution has its own specific way of positioning the viewer, regulating certain aspects of the production of meaning and production of emotional responses, and so forth”.(Mattelart, A 1992:82) Audience unawareness and power or manipulation by the producer implies in this case the vulnerability and passivity of consumers. I wonder how many people notice the ‘how are you feeling today John?’ question that appears in the box before you write a status on Facebook. Again this first person text positions its audience into feeling unique and influences them in some cases to carry out the producer’s desired response of a status and therefore, more time spent on Facebook.

That however, is not comparable to the possible media effects and influence from propaganda. It is an active manipulation of ideas, information and aims to inject its desired effects into its audience by restricting and misinforming them of other options. (Long and Wall 2012:286) Mattelart discusses the role of active minorities in manipulation of inert societies and discusses The Frankfurt School in their belief in the omnipotence of the mass media (Mattelart, A 1992:73). Nazi Germany used it to achieve large influence in world war two. However, the same concepts –if not slightly subtler- are still being used today in the likes of President Obama’s political campaign.

My two readings have altered my view on possible media power. I want to research further into modern day examples of moral panics created by new media. Fast paced and immediacy of the new media industry can create news before it has even been officially reported by the press and therefore the effects on the audience can be elevated.

References:

Long, P and Wall, T (2012) Media Studies: Texts, Production, Context (2nd Edition), London:Pearson.

Mattelart, A and Mattelart, M. (1992). New paradigms: The procedures of consumption. In: Translation by Cohen, J and Urquidi, M. Series editor: Bolton, R Rethinking media theory: Signposts and new directions. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. p72-86.

Representation, Discourse and Power

New media and photography theory- Week 5 2013

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This week’s lecture explored the subject of Discourse, a polysemantic term which has been defined in the core text book as “discourses are practices that systematically form the objects of which they speak” (Foucault in Long, P 2012:489). We discussed that discourse is closely linked to representation and aims to analyse texts within their surrounding factors, social and cultural.

In the lecture, we studied how discourse analysis has developed through various channels, leading to it becoming a term with many meanings and definitions. It is a method of helping us as media scholars to analyse the reasons for the production of a certain text.

A key theorist who is mentioned in both of my readings for this week is Foucault. His view is that we can only understand the meaning of something if we have knowledge of it (Hall, S in Wetherell 2001:73) Smith and Bell explore a similar angle of a products meaning by suggesting that a media product can only be analysed successfully if its social context is taken into account. In photography, a still image capturing only part of a scene or event can be analysed using discourse to fully understand its meaning.

Smith and Bell believe that what we read, see and hear should not be taken for granted (Smith and Bell 2007:81). Both of the readings link discourse directly to power and that discourses can be a misleading representation. When presented with an image, we are immediately confronted with our own responses. This leads me on to Stuart Hall’s encoding and decoding model (Hall in Smith and Bell 2007:82) To understand the image properly, we have to consider the social context of the shot, production and processing of the image, the text itself and then how we might interpret it ourselves in our context. Discourse are then, as Hall defines “a subject-position, from which they all make sense”(Hall S in Wetherell 2001:80)

These readings have made me think about the ways in which I consume and respond to images without any knowledge or context to apply to them. For a suggested research method, I would do a discourse analysis of a poster image by Nazi propaganda. Things to consider would be the power relationships between me – the audience-, the context of the era of the image, my own personal feelings and my context as an adult from the 21st century. This will help to prove a greater understanding of the photograph.

References:

Smith,P & Bell,A. (2007). Unravelling the web of discourse analysis. In: Eoin Devereux Media Studies, Key Issues and Debates. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. p79-100.

Hall, S. (2001). Foucault: Power, Knowledge and Discourse. In: Wetherell, M Discourse, Theory and Practice. A reader. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. p72-82.

Genre: Textual Meaning, Producers and Audiences

New media and photography theory – week 4 2013

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This weeks lecture aimed to develop our thinking into understanding the use of genre by organisations. Genre is defined by Paul Long as “recognisable groupings, subsets or types of media forms comprising the the paradigmatic elements (stories, rhetoric, signification) that are drawn upon in the creation of individual syntagmatic texts” (Long and Wall 2012:489) The reasons we discussed as to why producers are conforming to genres were for profit maximisation, its economic incentive and to inform or entertain its audience.

Genre theory explored the various codes and conventions used by producers of the media to fall into the various categories and the reasons why they do so. In photography, there is genre examples such as fashion, portrait, vintage, black and white, landscape, documentary and beauty (to name a few). Via creating their work to the codes and conventions of these genres, the artefacts made by producers can be recognised, known and looked for by consumers.

Long and Wall believe that the three key concepts when analysing genre are codes, conventions and context. They all play a part in the overall outcome of a specific genre, or could contribute to the creation of a new genre.

My found reading for this week provided me with a case study for the image of the ‘Migrant Mother’. This particularly interested me because I knew of the picture and its iconic history but never knew why it was famous or of its origins and purpose.

The photograph was taken by Dorothea Lange whilst working on a project for the government-run company called The Farm Security Administration (FSA) (Wells, L 2004: 39). Through the codes and conventions and clear context, we can see that the genre of the image is that of documentary photography. This has been defined by Profoto as “taking of photographs to provide a record of social and political situations with the aim of conveying information.” (Photography glossary n.d.)

The case study links to the points made by Long to analyse how genre and narrative combine to make meaning. (Long and Wall 2012: 95) “while photographs capture a movement in ‘media res’ they invite interpretations in terms of the narrative they present- however posed the situation”(Long and Wall :94) The case study considers the situation in which the image was taken of the ‘Migrant Mother’ and the photographers approach.

To research further into genres, production and audiences I would conduct a rhetorical analysis of some images that fit into the genre of fashion photography. Discussing the different codes and conventions that are used and how they define the image, hoping to find trends in both in my report.

References:

Long, P and Wall, T (2012) Media Studies: Texts, Production, Context (2nd Edition), London:Pearson.

Price, D. and Wells, L.. (2004). Thinking about photography: debates, historically and now.. In: Wells, L Photography: A critical introduction. 3rd ed. New York : Routledge. p37-48.

Photography Glossary n.d. Available: Last accessed 16th March 2013.