The first cohort of the two degree courses that I lead, BA (Hons) Media and Communications, BA (Hons) Media and Creative Writing, graduated this June! Three years flied by rather quickly. I can still remember vividly the first Cultural Theory session with Prof. Judith Williamson three years ago (2014) where we got an accidental lesson about non-discriminatory jokes (virgin mobile vs. walking into a bar – Ouch!). It was so effective that students created a spreadsheet graffiti as a response afterwards. Non attendance, late submission, PMC, etc. We had them all. After trying different methods (in-class assessment, guest speakers, workshops), I found one-to-one tutorials the best way to educate these students. In this way, we can work on each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

And they grow up, produce, and deliver. Anthea, for example, has matured so much. She not only wrote a first-class dissertation on fandom, but also produced a series of podcasts promoting black women’s achievements. Joe Stevens, in his usual stype, produced two books collecting humorous quotes from the private Facebook group ‘Farnham Rants‘ as a way of representing Farnham. Kayon’s podcasts ‘News in 3‘ for discussing ‘fake news’, and Danny’s digital magazine that aims to encourage student self-publishing and networking both contain good ideas. But, the highlight of the year has to be the short documentary ‘The Guildford Bike Project‘ made by Josh Jones, a well-considered and beautifully-shot documentary.

This film has received very good feedback from the visitors to our graduate show. For example, I received a note from James Burbidge on the 10th of June 2017:

I spent 10 minutes of my life this afternoon watching a really well produced and edited little film, raising a keen awareness of socio-economic impoverishment and a project attempting to improve the situation within the very heart of frightfully affluent Guildford.

The attention to detail and the pace and rhythm of it was spot on, and the captured comment by the staff member,  “ we seem to value money now over peoples welfare, ” is indeed a true sign of our times.

A documentary that just had to be made.

Thank you Josh.

This film has been officially selected by the Stockholme International Film Festival 2017. And I have no doubt that it will receive more attention in the near future. There are many more stories Josh could say about the key figures in his film, and we could only hope that he will have time to make sequences of this one to satisfy our curiosity.

The congratulations not only go to the students, but also to myself and my colleagues who have been supporting us all the way. Well done, all!


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