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A Taste of Media at Sunderland Uni

July 2019

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New Sixth Formers, Paige P, Toni C and Teigan G take on the VR Bomb Defusal Challenge.

Sixth Form Media students have attended the annual Media Festival at Sunderland University. The festival gives young people an insight into the various modules available as part of a Media-related degree course.

The day began with a thought-provoking lecture and debate on representation of heroes in the media with Dr Who and James Bond used as case studies. Students watched a video montage of both productions to see how the main character, and the show itself, had evolved through the decades. Students considered how stereotypes are used and if attitudes towards female characters as heroes have changed at all.

This was followed by a Q&A session via Skype with a successful Youtuber who explained how she had entered the industry and how she makes content to engage her audience. She emphasised the importance of meeting as many people as possible in relation to establishing yourself as a freelancer, pointing out that many of her commissions had come via contacts she had made.

Next, students touched on the world of gaming in a session which combined a mini-lecture and debate with the opportunity to experience Virtual Reality. Students considered the accuracy of the many newspaper headlines that claim gaming is highly addictive, destructive in today’s society and particularly damaging to a whole generation of young people. They learned about the definition of ‘immersive’ gaming before experiencing Playstation VR as a team attempting to defuse a bomb in under three minutes. This was an excellent activity to build both problem-solving and team working skills.

Finally, students took part in a practical workshop at 'Spark', which has radio studios and a magazine newsroom located within the David Puttnam Media Centre at Sunderland University. In small groups, students were given an introduction to radio production in terms of choosing music and operating studio equipment, and they were also able to try their hand at radio presenting between tracks.

The trip was organised by Mrs Davies, Director of Learning for Media at King James to give students the opportunity to explore the options for higher education in the Media industry. “Sunderland offers a wide range of media-related courses to suit those interested in journalism, graphic design, film-making, radio production and social media development,” she said. “Year 12/13 students will be applying for University very soon and trips like this help them to focus on making those all-important choices. Our newly enrolled Sixth Formers really enjoyed the trip and are excited to begin their Media course in September.”

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