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Jul 23, 2014

Salford graduate scoops top journalism award


A former University of Salford postgraduate student has scooped a top industry award in journalism - just a year after she graduated.

A panel of leading industry professionals judged that Sian Davies, 27, who now works at The Plymouth Herald, was the best young journalist in the South West of England.

Sian landed the award after securing a trainee reporter job while completing the MA Journalism programme at Salford, which is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

She has since been promoted to the post of Health Reporter at The Plymouth Herald.

After winning the Newcomer of the Year at the EDF Energy South West of England Media Awards, Sian said: “Salford University gave me a great start in what is such a competitive industry – one which I had been scared about venturing into for years because I thought I wouldn’t be cut out for it.

“Studying for industry-approved exams with the NCTJ, having the support of experienced tutors with a wealth of experience and being encouraged to do as much work experience as possible gave me the confidence I needed to make the most of the course and ultimately bag a job at an award-winning paper.

“I am still close friends with a number of my peers on the course and had a great year both personally and professionally while I was at Salford.”

Paul Broster, Programme Leader for MA Journalism, said: “Sian was an outstanding student and is now an outstanding young journalist, who, like many of our graduates, is now working in the industry. I’m absolutely thrilled - but not surprised - by her success.” 

Jul 16, 2014

The Outsiders – A Collaboration With Middle Tennessee State University


As well as making contacts and connections with the local creative community, here at the University of Salford’s School of Arts and Media, we believe it is also extremely important for students to make links internationally in order to gain a greater understanding of working on a global scale.

Luke Yale, a BA (Hons) Performance: Drama and Theatre student, has spent the last three months working in collaboration with the performance department at Middle Tennessee State University, assisting them with the scenic design for a production of S.E Hinton’s The Outsiders, which is due to take place at The Nashville Children’s Theatre in October 2014.

Hinton’s original novel of The Outsiders is set in Oklahoma in the 1960’s and although this new stage production does stick to the original story, Luke and the team at MTSU were given creative licence to create a whole new world in which the characters could interact with each other. For the set, Luke took influences from German expressionism and the work of Alfred Hitchcock to create an imposing scenic design, while incorporating a 1950’s style drive through cinema screen as a backdrop, allowing for projections.

Luke has documented his experience of working with the MTSU in a dedicated blog, which covers everything from his initial research and brainstorming sessions, to Skype sessions with various members of the team in Nashville.

Obviously working on a project with a team of people on the other side of the Atlantic presents its own challenges as well as rewards. As Luke explains; “Although I knew from day one that the project would ‘physically’ be happening in Nashville, I never thought it would be as challenging as it was. A lot of scenic design based work that I’ve done in the past I actually led on, painting, creating, and designing the final piece. With The Outsiders however, I had to get familiar with a new way of working, more virtually I suppose!”

Despite these challenges though, Luke says that the project was worth it in terms of the experience it has afforded him; “Doing such a project for a renowned, professional company has allowed me to take a step up from the work that I have already completed in the last several years. It’s allowed me to experiment with the ways in which a scenic-designer can ‘research’ into everything about a performance. Above all though, it’s showed me just how vital drama is in people’s lives. With regards to the way in which drama as a subject is perceived in the current climate, I think to lose such a subject would be a great loss from the lives of future students.”           

The University is constantly striving to forge links with schools and businesses around the world and new opportunities for students to collaborate on an international level are always being created. For more information about other international projects, please visit our website:  

Jul 16, 2014 / 1 note

Introducing: Sheep Knuckle


When Padraig Confrey and James Monaghan met three years ago, on the very first day of their time at the University of Salford, little did they know that it would be the start of a long lasting relationship that would see them forming SheepKuckle, an experimental performance partnership that has begun making waves amongst Manchester’s arts community and receiving commissions and funding from various arts organisations.

During their second and third years on the BA (Hons) Performance: Contemporary Practices degree, the duo began working together on a multimedia module due to a shared interest in technology. They honed their craft, developing a number of experimental pieces that they have since performed at various venues across Manchester and the North West.

For their final year project they performed an intensive week long ‘durational’ performance at Islington Mill. The piece, entitled Man Vs Artist questioned whether the actual process of developing a piece of work could be considered art. The audience could attend at any time, 24 hours a day to watch the duo at work.

Around this time they also applied for the O2 Think Big project, which offered funds to kick start projects. They were successful in their bid and received £300, which they used to set up performance workshops in the local area.

Shortly after, they were commissioned to perform their piece Echo at Works Ahead, an event held in collaboration with the Contact Theatre and Word of Warning, which sought to showcase up and coming, boundary pushing contemporary performance and live art.

A month later in June, SheepKnuckle performed their piece A Brave and Startling Truth at the Flare International Festival of New Theatre. The piece is an experiment inspired by the poem by Maya Angelou of the same name. The performance happens online through social mediums such as Facebook and Twitter in an attempt highlight how cold and sterile these methods of communication can be.

SheepKnuckle’s talent and creativity has achieved the pair a name for themselves in the arts community and it was the University of Salford that nurtured those qualities. Padraig says; “We are immeasurably grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to us and the energy and time that has been invested into the idea of SheepKnuckle by all those involved. We could not have done it without the support and feedback of students and staff at Salford. There is a real community vibe around the School of Arts and Media. Everyone from Music to Graphic Design is keen to collaborate and that truly is a wonderful, unique opportunity to have. Now we’ve left we are continued to be supported and guided through our professional and personal lives. Salford is a great place to study, to forge relationships and most importantly to find creative freedom.”


Mundaneaday will feat alongside other @genericgreeting gang @tttmcr tonight from 7.00 see you there #manchester #exhibition #illustration #graphicdesign #
Jul 10, 2014 / 4 notes


Mundaneaday will feat alongside other @genericgreeting gang @tttmcr tonight from 7.00 see you there #manchester #exhibition #illustration #graphicdesign #

Jul 10, 2014 / 5 notes

Student internships at Create Salford 2014


An event as large and extensive as Create Salford takes a lot of work to put together. It’s hard work but can be extremely rewarding, which is why this year we enabled a number of students to gain first-hand experience of working at the festival in various capacities.

Create Salford would not be the fantastic event it is without the tireless help of student volunteers who assist us with the general day to day running of things, however we also decided to give a number of more specialist opportunities to students in the form of paid internships.

BA (Hons) Photography student Warren Fournier was given the task of documenting the festival from the initial stages of setting up and preparing the various spaces, right through to the very final performance in Maxwell Hall. Although he was nervous at first, having not embarked on a project of such scale before, Warren proved himself to be an extremely competent member of the Create Salford team, taking some excellent shots during his internship. Warren said; “My personal photographic practice is quite reflective and quiet in nature so the fashion show especially was something I was particularly nervous about, but the team put me at ease, and as it happens it was actually a lot fun to do if a little more strenuous that I thought. It’s been hard work at times and taken me out of my comfort zone on at least one occasion but it’s always been enjoyable and I feel enhanced by the experience.”

A similar opportunity was given to MA Fiction Production student Chris Kneller who was tasked with filming various events and performances that took place across the Create Salford weekend. Chris did a fantastic job, as can be seen in the Create Salford highlights teaser below, which he shot and edited. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages for more of Chris’s videos as they’re released over the coming weeks.

Of the experience, Chris said, “It was brilliant! The place was buzzing with energy and creativity, truly showing the highest quality of student work. The one event that personally struck me the most was the fashion show, held over at Dock 10. It was an explosion of creativity and originality done to the highest professional standards. Overall the whole festival was a vibrant celebration of student work that was a joy to film as well as to be a part of

 There are a number of events happening in the not too distant future, such as Salford Media Festival, Salford Comedy Festival and Sonic Fusion Festival. We will once again be requiring the help of student interns, therefore If you would like to be considered, please email for more information.

Similarly, if you are a member of the arts and media industry and you are interested in engaging with our students on a professional level, please get in touch at the email address above.

Jul 9, 2014 / 1 note

Fashion Students win opportunity to work with Italian fashion brand Marina Rinaldi


Earlier this year, tutors from our Fashion course were approached by Marina Rinaldi, an Italian fashion brand specialising in high end designer wear for plus size women, asking if our students would like to collaborate with them on a live project. The label, which is part of the Max Mara group, were eager to work with us after hearing about Salford’s reputation for producing some of the best fashion students in the country.

Representatives from Marina Rinaldi visited to Salford to brief students from both Fashion: Design and Fashion: Image Making & Styling tasking them with designing a new range of clothing and rejuvenating their international brand identity.

The students were given six weeks to complete their projects, during which time Marina Rinaldi representatives returned to assist and guide the students. Eight students were then shortlisted and three lucky finalists from each Fashion pathway were selected to fly to Marina Rinaldi’s offices in Reggio Emilia, Italy to present their work to over 150 senior figures from the Max Mara group.

After painstaking deliberation two finalists – Fashion: Image Making & Styling student Nikki Jalali and Morven Leenhouts from Fashion: Design – were awarded the grand prize of a year’s paid internship at Marina Rinaldi plus £2,000 in cash. Although the brand originally promised this fantastic prize to just two students, they were so impressed by the level of work produced by Mehreen Ullah, that she was also awarded a paid internship. Mehreen, who did her 2nd year placement at Alexander McQueen, says; “The live brief was an amazing opportunity to design for a successful brand whilst still studying and the prize was phenomenal. As a finalist, I was very pleased to be offered a year internship in Italy after graduating. The project has helped get an insight of what is required working within the fashion industry from researching and presenting inspiration, to design developments and garment construction.”

Morven Leenhouts caught the judge’s eyes with her sophisticated style. Speaking about this incredible industry project, Morveen said; “Presenting your work to a showroom full of company employees makes you realise you have to believe 100% in what you’re doing and that gives you the confidence in yourself to know that a company of this standard could want you on their team. Being given the internship put me in an extremely lucky position because I can make the most of my final year knowing I have a job secured at the end of it.”

Nikki Jilali also had a similar point of view; “It was pretty exciting to work towards something the brand hadn’t seen before. They were open to something new, and it was our chance to make it. It’s been an amazing opportunity and has furthered my confidence in working in the industry. I can’t wait to get involved with more in the future.”

Of the students, a representative of Marina Rinaldi said “Logistics that we must consider everyday within an office don’t hinder the imagination of these young creatives. For them, there are no boundaries or limits to the kind of images they can create. It is this boldness and creative spirit that helped to create a beautiful, fresh campaign that we look forward to releasing in Autumn 2014.”

Keep your eyes peeled for more updates on the students’ work.

Jul 9, 2014 / 1 note

Q&A with Popular Music & Recording graduate Lei Jennings


Lei Jennings is a BA (Hons) Popular Music and Recording student with a bright future ahead of him. He has been performing since childhood and decided to pursue a career in the performing arts when he was chosen to dance in front of 50,000 people at the 2002 Commonwealth Games’ closing ceremony. He then went on to be a backing dancer for the likes of Atomic Kitten and Misha B, as well as appearing on the TV show E4 School of Performing Arts, which won him a place at the The Italia Conti School of Performing Arts. After a brief stint there, he decided that a career on the West End wasn’t for him, so he decided to join the University of Salford in order to concentrate on his music, which he describes as “new soul with a fresh sound”. He’s been busying away in the studio recording a soul EP, plus working on tracks with house producers and gaining the attention of BBC Introducing. He took some time to speak to us about his music.

Are there any particular artists or music genres that you draw a lot of your inspiration from or that particularly interest you?

I am inspired by all different genres of music and I don’t have a favourite artist, although the greats such as Lauryn Hill, The Beatles, Bob Marley and Amy Winehouse have all inspired my music.

 What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?

 I would say my biggest achievement is being discovered by BBC Introducing as that is a major platform which so many new and up-and-coming artists wish to be played on. I recently worked with UK House producers Dirtybuzz on a new track called Fallin’, which was featured by BBC Introducing and 1Xtra, so it was played by DJ’s such as the legendary Trevor Nelson. Since then I’ve also been contacted and asked if the track can be used in a new romantic comedy “Three In a Bed” which will be in cinemas nationwide from Friday 1st August.

 Have you got any new releases due out soon?

I am currently working on a soul EP which is with a full band and is being musical directed by a piano player who’s worked for established soul/gospel acts such as Mary Mary and Anthony Hamilton. The EP is being recorded at the moment and will be released this month. I also recently began working on a house EP which was very different to what I’ve done before but I decided to put that on hold until to concentrate on the release of my soul EP.

 What are your plans for after graduation?

 I will continue to work tirelessly on my childhood dream. I now have a whole team behind me who believe in making this dream become a reality. I hope to spend some time in America as well as touring the UK and I would love to get a record/publishing deal. I also have plans to work in Music Therapy, working with children and adults with disabilities.

 What do you feel you’ve gained from your experience as a student at Salford?

I have gained a lot of knowledge while studying at Salford. My tutor Tim France has supported me and helped me improve my music theory. He also believes in my talent and pushes me to explore my music, which is important and has prevented me from giving up when the course has felt difficult. The foundation year definitely prepares you for the degree and you get the opportunity to get used to the tutors and the level of work you will face on the course. It’s also a great head start if you have never done a composition piece or studied music in depth.

 As a current music student, have you got any tips or suggestions for prospective Salford students?

I would say that you have to study your craft and you must really want to succeed. Salford can offer you some great opportunities but you have to be willing to put the work in, as talent only plays a small part of how successful you can truly be.

Jul 9, 2014 / 1 note

Fashion Image Making and Styling Student Has Work Published in Boys by Girls Magazine


BA (Hons) Fashion: Image Making and Styling student Eliza Maciejewska has had her work published in the über-cool fashion photography magazine Boys by Girls.

Specialising in stylish images of young men, the magazine focuses on shots exclusively by female photographers. Eliza’s editorial was entitled New Face: Oliver at Boss Models and featured a series of captivating images that “play with feminine and masculine stereotypes in the 21st century”. The photographs, originally taken as part of her final year studies, were published in Eliza’s favourite magazine after she sent them to the editor. Eliza said; “When I read the confirmation email that they’d love to use my images, I was super excited as it’s super cool to be a part of the ‘photographers list’ with Boys By Girls and it is one of the magazines that as a photographer you want to be in and be a part of. I was really happy as this is an amazing start to my career.”


Eliza first decided to study at Salford as she had heard about the University’s excellent reputation for arts and media. She believes that her time here has been vital when it comes to kick-starting her career in fashion photography. She says “It has helped me a lot! Christine Ratcliff, the Pathway Leader, is an amazing person who helps me and advises me on everything. Seriously, she’s such a massive support that I don’t think I would be who I am if I had a different tutor. She does everything to develop my talent and help me find my true style. I have also recently been taught by Michael Mayren, who opened the door for me to the world of fashion photography, especially when it came to getting my work published.” 

Those with an interest in fashion photography will soon be seeing more of Eliza’s work as she has already been approached by another leading fashion magazine who asked her to do a shoot for them, although she tantalisingly says she is unable to reveal any more details until it’s published. Watch this space!

Jun 23, 2014 / 1 note

Salford student wins Graduate Fashion Week award

For anyone studying fashion at degree level, Graduate Fashion Week is one of the most important dates in the calendar. It is a chance for final year students from across the country to showcase their work in front of key figures from the fashion industry.

The University of Salford always make a splash at Graduate Fashion Week, receiving praise from the likes of renowned fashion blogger Susie Lau in previous years. This year was especially successful thanks to Fashion Image Making & Styling Student Lloyd Rimmer and Mayling Wong, who won first and second place respectively in the Fashion Photography Award.

 Lloyd’s work, entitled ‘Earthling’ explores boys who love and respect the planet, and was inspired by the film Earthlings, which documents the exploitation of animals in the fashion, food, entertainment and science industries. Lloyd explains; “Earthling tells a story of 6 boys who all share a common understanding. They grow their own food at the allotment and live at one with nature. They are best friends with all creatures and find secret places to reflect and feel part of the Earth. These boys reflect different parts of me, which I want to share.”

 Wong’s work explored recycling within fashion and challenged preconceptions about what is considered beautiful. Wong explains: “I don’t think we are aware sometimes of what we are wasting, and I feel that we often struggle to see the natural beauty within people, places and objects that have become worn over time.”

 The judges commended the high overall quality of the Fashion Image Making & Styling pathway alongside the exceptional nature of Lloyd and Mayling’s portfolios, sealing the pathway’s reputation as the leading Fashion Image Making & Styling course in the country. 

 Shortly after Graduate Fashion Week, Lloyd and Mayling’s work took pride of place in the Fashion Image Making & Styling exhibition at Create Salford 2014 at MediaCityUK, where it was seen by thousands of professionals from the fashion, design and media industries. 

Jun 10, 2014 / 1 note

Liam Hopkins presents ‘You get out what you put in’ at the Create Cube

Liam Hopkins is the founder of Manchester based creative practice, Lazerian. Since it was founded in 2006, they have been commissioned to produce innovative art installations, futuristic furniture and other such pieces for various illustrious clients such as Bloomberg, Virgin and Habitat. Lazerian has been featured in Vogue, Interior Design Magazine and Financial Times, as well as on TV programmes like Four Rooms and Grand Designs. It goes without saying then, that we are extremely honoured to have a specially commissioned installation by them appearing in The Create Cube at the Create Salford launch night on Thursday 12 June.

The installation, titled ‘You get out what you put in’, features a range of stunning typographical sculptures based on inspirational quotes from some of the University of Salford’s most notable Arts and Media alumni. Among those providing quotes are stars of stage and screen Robert Powell, Christopher Eccleston and Sir Ben Kinglsey; comedian Jason Manford, James Cook from the pop band Delphic, and XFM/BBC6 Music presenter Jo Good, whose quote became the title of the piece.

Liam has taken quotes like “Never take no for an answer” (Ben Kinglsey) and transformed them into beautiful sculptures using a range of materials. He said; “This was a great project to bring some inspirational quotes to life and with a little meaning and story behind them. I wanted to make them quite ‘fun’ as your time at university should be as much about having a fun time as well as creating one of your stepping stones in to your career life.”

These pieces will be the centrepiece of the festival launch evening on Thursday, being displayed in the Create Cube – a 16ft x 16ft custom built Perspex box in the Piazza of MediaCityUK that will be the stage for a number of art installations and performances throughout the Create Salford festival.

Liam will also be talking about ‘You get out what you put in’ and the history of Lazerian at our BLABMini event on Thursday night. He will be joined by four Arts and Media students who will be giving talks about their final projects to a room full of industry movers and shakers. Tickets are limited to this event, however there are still a few seats available. If you are interested in attending please register your interest via the Eventbrite page.