On Friday 9th May, Birmingham City University’s second year media students conducted their Into the Future event.
On the same day as the Birmingham Made Me Job Fair, over 200 students (including myself) presented themselves and their media skills to the public and professionals at Millennium Point. The media careers and networking event also included talks from industry professionals who discussed the future of the media landscape.
After taking a selfie of herself with all of the students, Beverley Nielsen, Director of employer engagement at Birmingham City University and the lady behind Idea Birmingham and Birmingham Made Me, opened the event by talking about the history of the city, its industrial roots and the concepts behind the first ever Birmingham Made Me Jobs Fair.
Her speech focused upon encouraging the knowledge of Birmingham and its business assets and helping to find ways that people in Birmingham can showcase the different sectors across the city.
Beverley then excitingly introduced the first of four guest speakers, Phil Riley from Orion Media. Orion Media are the company behind Gem Radio and Free Radio across the midlands.
Phil talked about three things, the things that he believes to be of huge importance, the wider issues facing radio and the future of radio:
3. Talent and content
“The need to be a multi media professional is there, you can’t just sit behind a mic now, you’ve got to do more than just be a presenter”
The main message that I took from Phil’s speech was that the rate of change in the industry is very high, that adaptation is vital to the success of the media.
The next guest speaker was Selena Brown from Little Miss Creative. As a former media (BA and MA) student at Birmingham City University, Selina spoke on a level that all people in the audience would understand and presenter the highlights of her wonderful journey to where she is today, Founder and CEO of Little Miss Creative, a company that provides creative workshops and events to young women in Birmingham.
Selina was inspiring, full of energy and really captured the minds of the people in the room – creativity and being yourself being at the heart of her messages.
“Aim for excellence”
Throughout the day there were slots for students to showcase themselves through the presentation of their individually designed portfolio poster. This gave them a chance to talk to people about their theoretical ideas for their third year dissertation, and also to discuss their skills and work experience.
Download my poster here: My professional portfolio poster
Another feature of the event saw 9 student speakers, including myself, and we were all tasked with discussing ourselves and our personal development, as well as touching upon topics. My topics were social media, consultancy and public relations.
Download my presentation for my speech here: Sophie Drake presentation for speaking
Jason MacKenzie, from public relations company We Are Liquid, outlined the confusion surrounding the definition of public relations and tried to make some sense of it.
“PR professionals, we want to be respected professionally” – Jason believes that as public relations professionals, we are insecure about our field and this is one of the main problems facing the industry.
He captured the audience, even those who are not focused on public relations, with his enthusiasm and interesting insights on the public relations field.
His main prediction and suggestion for the future of the field would be the increased leading from the industry bodies, giving them more of an influence on the practices and the changes set to happen.
Richard Battye, the photographer behind River Studio, “shoots people for a living”. His presentation highlighted some key developments in the industry of photography and as he has been a photographer for 24 years he has been there throughout each one of them and emerged out of the other side.
“If I could hear myself talking about photography now, my old self would have no idea what I was talking about, it’s another language”
– Move from dark room/film to digital
– Improvements in post processing software
– Freelance photographers – demands on certain equipment and restraints on the practice that can be a huge task during shoots.
Annette Naudin talked about the Future of Media Entrepreneurship, developments in the approaches to the media industry and opportunities available to students to do so. Followed by Caroline Thorley, who discussed the Job Prospects and Careers Events that occur at Birmingham City University for students to get involved in.
Into the Future closed with a final slot for the remaining students to showcase their poster presentations.
The event was a great success, a thriving environment at which all of the students had the opportunity to present themselves in a professional way. If the skills and professionalism is anything to go by, the future of the media world looks hugely promising, and I cannot wait to be a part of it.