Tagged / Media work

BU model of work-simulated learning features in new research report

Making the Creative Majority is a new report from the All-party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Creative Diversity launched at the House of Lords earlier this week. The report analyses ‘What Works’ to support diversity and inclusion in creative education and the talent pipeline with a focus on the 16+ age category.

I attended the event for two reasons. The research closely aligns to my own: the report’s focus is work in the creative industries generally; mine is on work in the media industries specifically, so there is much common ground. But my invitation was also prompted by having found myself in the unusual position (for me) of also being the subject of the research. One of my Level 5 units – Client & Audience – provides the report with its case-study for work-simulated learning (see pp 137-138 of report). It is a unit in which media production students work on a live brief for an external organisation, but within a safe and highly controlled University environment. The report suggests that this model can reach students for whom the offer of internships and other forms of work-integrated learning will simply not reach.

The new report has been produced by King’s College London, University of Manchester, University of the Arts London, YouTube, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and the Creative Policy and Evidence Centre. Key findings are: the creative workforce is dominated by graduates; there is huge inequality of gender, ethnicity and class across creative HE courses and employment outcomes; the Russell Group of Universities has the most work to do to support DEI in creative HE; and apprenticeships aren’t working for the creative industries.

The report also includes a series of evidence-informed recommendations for government and Higher Education.

Making the Creative Majority full report is available here.


Media industries haemorrhage experience

Richard Wallis writes:

A new study of Media Production graduates’ long-term career trajectories exposes industry’s high levels of wastage.

Like consumable goods that come labelled with a ‘best before’ date, it seems that media careers may also come with a limited shelf-life. Research published this week suggests that media industries have a problem with long-term retention. The study is one of a series we have undertaken to investigate the career trajectories of our students. The more that we understand about their post-BU working lives, the better we can prepare them for the world of work, and the more effectively we can be the critical friend providing much-needed thought-leadership for industry.

The study took as its focus the BA Media Production (BAMP) ‘Class of ‘95’: the cohort of Media Production students who arrived at Bournemouth at the point at which the institution received its university status. These BU first-generation graduates are now in mid-career, and their working lives have spanned a period of unprecedented upheaval within the industries that they aspired to work in. The study has exposed a feature of media work that has wider implications for the way media industries operate.

We have long known that media work is not for the faint-of-heart, and that the transition from University into work can be extremely challenging. Many previous studies (including our own) have attempted to examine some of the difficulties graduates face, particularly during the early stages of their careers. In this study we set out to understand the way in which the demands of media work are experienced through the prism of age, and life stage. We were able to interview a sample of 28 of these graduates: just over one third of the ’95 cohort.

What we learned surprised us. We had thought that the major challenges of media work were those experienced in early career. What we found caused us to question this presumption. Although we confirmed much of what previous studies have highlighted about early careers, sustaining the relentless pressures of such work over the longer-term transpired to be just as significant a problem. Many of our contributors talked fondly, and sometimes passionately, about work they had found to be enormously rewarding, but this ‘labour of love’ had become increasingly difficult to sustain over time. The rate of attrition by mid-career is striking. This presents an important challenge to the media industries. Whilst they become increasingly reliant on well-educated, highly motivated neophytes who are inexpensive, willing, and able to be flexible and self-exploiting, they are heamorrhaging experience, honed skills, and organizational memory. This is a development that, ultimately, cannot be for the good of the individual worker, the media organisations in which they work, or the Creative Industries as a sector.


See: Wallis, R., van Raalte, C. and Allegrini, S. (2019) The ‘shelf-life’ of a media career: a study of the long-term career narratives of media graduates. Creative Industries Journal https://doi.org/10.1080/17510694.2019.1664099