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BBC team delivers workshop sessions in UCLan’s seventh Conference Week

Annual conference week.

Design students take home top tips

Design students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have been learning the tricks of the trade from a panel of experts at an annual conference week.

UCLan recently hosted its seventh annual conference week event, presenting a very impressive line-up of guest speakers who came to share their experiences and insights with design students.

This year’s event revolved around the theme of ‘the role of chance and luck in the design process’, with the speakers covering a wide range of creative disciplines, including digital design, advertising and graphic design.

The event ran over five intensive days, with presentations from designers from a range of creative backgrounds complete with question and answer sessions. One of the highlights of the week was a full day visit from BBC User Experience and Design team, led by Paul Crowley. The team returned for its fifth UCLan Conference Week and delivered creative and productive workshops throughout the day.

As the Head of the User Experience and Design programme at the BBC in Salford, Paul described the workshop event at UCLan.

“It’s a one day intensive introduction into some of our creative methods and practices; not necessarily ones that we’ve created, it’s ones that we’ve used and we’ve found elsewhere, but the way that we take a brief, unpack it, diverge and look at it from a broad perspective” he said.

The team’s visit also presented an excellent opportunity to provide a taste of the programme it runs at the BBC and talk to students who may be interested in applying once they graduate. Student Jason Kirkby described the workshop sessions as “fun and enlightening” adding: “I’ve really been able to play around with things.”

Paul spoke very highly about why he enjoys taking part in the Conference Week at UCLan.  He commented: “I’ve really, really enjoyed the time here. It’s good to remember why you started in this industry in the first place, and come back to an arts school and spend time with students again. The reason we care passionately about doing this; the more we teach, the more we get better at what we do. It’s really exciting to speak to the new graduates who could potentially be new employees at the BBC, and get a sense of what makes them tick.”

Joining Paul and the team was BBC UX Delivery Manager Zoë Hitchen.  Zoë is also a former UCLan associate lecturer in fashion promotion with styling and has now developed her career in multiple creative industries, both private and public sectors.

Zoë talked enthusiastically about her journey since UCLan and working at the BBC.  She said: “The minute I graduated I worked at a very high level and I’ve not stopped on this heightened state of working for a long time, but it’s took me over a decade to find my tribe. This is definitely mine. I get up for work in the morning and think ‘I’m excited to go and have a conversation, go and meet these people like the data scientists’. That’s what gets me up out of bed in the morning because I want to learn stuff. I’m interested to learn from people. No one’s the expert, we’re all learning.”

Design students

Other speakers who took part in the exciting week included Founder of SomeOne, Gary Holt, Executive Creative Director, Mark Elwood, and illustrator and UCLan alumni, Ben Tallon. As someone who felt like he could relate to the UCLan students, having graduated from the Illustration course himself, Ben offered his advice to students nearing the end of their course.  “Once you’re in the industry, get out there and just be a part of all these events, because that’s where you meet people and get new ideas and keep the ball rolling” he said.

“Try and retain what you have at University, which is studio place and opportunities to collaborate with other people. That’s the life blood of staying motivated and excited and developing your own personality and ideas. That’s what I say to people.”

Feedback suggests the students thoroughly enjoyed the week, reflected by high attendance numbers in each talk throughout the event.  Attendees said they found it extremely useful to hear from individuals who have been in their shoes and have worked their way through the design industry.

Third year graphic student Lucy Child who is currently on her placement year added: “It’s been very interesting to hear people from the industry.  It’s quite refreshing when you meet somebody who’s work you’ve seen quite a lot online and on blogs and they’re very down to earth.”

Hollie Donnelly | 05 March 2018