Guest speakers

I’ve listened to a few guest speakers that came to my university and I’ll reflect on three people who I found inspirational and relatable.

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I listened to Lauren Bromley who now works in the creative industry and is a social media manager in Birmingham. In my eyes, she seemed really genuine, down to earth and even relatable because, as Lauren Bromley mentioned, she wasn’t really sure what she wants to do after university and what direction she wants her career to go which I can apply for myself as well. She pointed out how big creative industry is and that there are opportunities for everyone which I didn’t realize at first as well.

Lauren Bromley was nice enough to emphasize the main skills that will help preparing for the interviews or already at work. The main tips were about being communicative and, as I have expected, hardworking. Something really essential in the creative industry is staying on top on the game and being up to date as well because every company, every employer wants better than others, the first one, the faster one, etc.

After the speech I came to a conclusion that it is okay not to know exactly what you want to become in the future and what path you want to take in terms of jobs. Lauren is the perfect example. If you work hard enough to get to know yourself and if you are not afraid to make stupid mistakes and decisions in life, you will end up where you belong to. You just have to be prepared and ready for anything and everything.

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Jonny Fewings was another guest speaker who’s a media consultant with many years of experience. He comes from a sphere that I’m not really familiar with so I was really intrigued find out more about it.

His main topic was money and where to get it from when making a successful film. Jonny Fewings pointed out that the main part of the money is spent on effects, talents, locations, special shots, music.

I loved how casually he was mentioning these huge amounts of money as if it was super casual and easy to get, let’s say, 1,2 or 3 million pounds for movie making.

At the end, I was really happy to see how professional, successful that man was and how he got the chance to work with such famous companies and movies. Even though I am not thinking about making a movie any time soon, he really motivates me to become successful with my career and do what I like to.

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Another guest speaker was Abbie Trayler-Smith who has more than 20 years of experience as a documentary and portrait photographer. She seemed like a very knowledgeable person and  I was inspired by how extremely stubborn to achieve her goals she is. As an example, I could mention that she was the first female photographer at The Telegraph.

I admire how she was so personal and made her speech really entertaining by giving examples of her own work experience and sharing her own pictures.

Abbie Trayler-Smith pointed out a couple times how it’s important not to focus on the rejections and make them put you off. It has to be the complete opposite. Rejections have to be like fuel to push you forward to achieving the set goals. In addition to that, she explained how competitive this sphere is and how important it’s to be different and not afraid to experiment and stand out because that is exactly what makes you wanted, or at least noticed and remembered by the employees.

In conclusion, I don’t know if I would like to relate my future with photography but this guest speaker was still really inspiring. The main tip I got from the speech is I need to keep growing some thick skin which will help to deal with rejection and that I have to know what I want and question HOW MUCH I want it and what meaning it has to me in order to never give up.

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Thank you for reading!

Sending best wishes,

Akvilė♥

 

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183MC reflection

 Reflection on  183MC – Media and Cultural Fields

This is the last module of the year which means I haven’t finished it yet nor do I have a y feedback though I can tell that I will definitely enjoy it from the very beginning. Even though it’s super intense and challenging because there are two days a week of the same module and we only have 4 weeks to learn all the material and finish weekly tasks. I’m really satisfied with the lecture/seminar themes and assessments because they seem quite diverse. We’ll be talking about adverts, zines, YouTube videos, apps. The only thing I’m a little bit concerned about it the fact we have to work in groups pf 8 people. Sometimes I found it difficult and tiring to work with 5 people so I don’t really know what to expect from this group work. I hope to finish the first year with a bang with this module!

A100DVA reflection

Reflection on  A100DVA – Visual Presentation Techniques

Visual Presentation techniques was my Add+vantage module that I had to choose from a huge list at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of the term I was scared to start it because I didn’t know what to expect as there weren’t enough information about it and a have a mild stage fear. After I’ve finished it, I made a conclusion that it wasn’t as difficult and tricky as I expected. It was really enjoyable and entertaining because the lecturer incorporated a movie screening, a few video watchings and a trip to the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. We learned the importance of visual communication, the difference typography makes and loads of presentation tips. The final assessment was a 6-minute presentation about anything. Even though I don’t have the grade and the feedback yet because of some moderation issues, right after my presentation I was told that it went really well. It was professional, aesthetically pleasing, well narrated and interesting. Even though my fear kicked in and in a way I got in the shaky body/voice mode, I managed to guide the audience through the presentation perfectly. Overall, I enjoyed the lectures and I believe that I will be able to use the knowledge that I got from this module in the future projects.

First year summary

Hey, hi, hello!

I have something to tell you.

This academic year is coming to an end faster than I would’ve expected and less than in a month I’ll be able to say that I’m officially done with my first year of university. I think I need quick moment to think about this because it seems crazy. Time flies so fast! I think it’s the best time to recap the whole year and think about what I have (or haven’t) done/achieved.

I would say that this year, in terms of being socially active, wasn’t as successful as I would’ve liked. Mainly because I was a bit too afraid and cautious about unnecessary things. I feel like it just wasn’t meant to happen even though I tried (NOTE to self: you can always try harder). As an example, I could tell you my hopeless situation with university societies.

Being a complete fresher during the first month of university I decided that joining some sort of society will help me become a more outgoing girl, give me plenty of opportunities to meet amazing like-minded people and just spend my free time by doing what I truly enjoy. It took me a couple weeks to decide which societies to join which at the end came out to be a Fashion Society and a Baking one. Fashion – because I really wanted to meet and hang out with creative stylish people and go to London’s fashion week! And baking… Well, I have always enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen and who wouldn’t like to learn a couple more perfect brownie recipes?

Now, Akvilė, how is it not successful if you found the perfect societies? Well, these societies never became active. There were 0 updates, 0 meetings held (maybe 0,5 meetings because there was one Baking society’s meeting but nobody, including people in charge, showed up and I just waited 30 minutes next to a locked classroom). At first I had a thought that people who created the societies need a little bit more time to get the required amount of members to get everything running and I waited, waited, waited hoping for some updates until it was probably too late to join a different society. It’s the beginning of May and nothing has happened since October. As sad as it sounds, I just wasted my fresher’s year in terms of societies.

BUT, there are positive things at the end of every story. Mine is not an exception. First of all, I managed to find people who bring me joy and I bond with really well. I always found it a bit difficult to invite new people to my life so finding myself a small circle of friends feels really rewarding and heart-warming. Thinking about it now, I can’t imagine my life without these precious human beings.

Secondly, I have been working on my confidence and I believe that joining the gym was the one of the factors that boosted my elf-esteem. I have been an active person for probably ~4 years so exercising isn’t something new. Having 2-3 week breaks wasn’t something uncommon but the last year was an exception. I have been working during the previous summer and physically couldn’t find time or energy to get back to working out which means that I had a pretty long break. After that, I moved to England and started university. It took me a couple more months to find a proper gym and a work out buddy because I didn’t feel comfortable going alone at the time. A couple months passed and I started noticing that the strength that I had at some point started coming back, and after a 5+ month break I felt more flexible, energetic and not as sluggish again. I have never been a part of a gym when I was at home (Lithuania) because it didn’t really feel right and I thought I wouldn’t be able to focus on myself because of all the people but here I discovered that people are just minding their own business and everyone (myself included) is trying to achieve their own goals. Now all of the self-consciousness disappeared and I happily go to the gym on my own without hesitating which is a huge step as well. Going to the gym makes me stay on track, have a routine and helps to improve my relationship with my body and my state of mind.

In addition to that, I traveled a little bit as well. I ended up visiting quite a few cities. The close ones such as Birmingham, Kenilworth, Warwick, also London, Newcastle and a few more (Oxford, Southampton, Sheffield, Leeds) which I visited by accident by getting on the wrong coach… Of course, I wish I travelled more and I can’t wait to visit Bath, Bristol, Dublin, Glasgow and many more.

So, this is a short summary of pros and cons of my time spent in university… I would love to be able to add something more exciting but I definitely wouldn’t take anything out. I value every experience and I can’t wait to see what future is holding for me.

giphy (1)Thanks for reading.

Best wishes,

Akvilė ♥

182MC reflection

Reflection on 182MC – Critical Media Methods

Critical Media Methods was quite a useful module because we were thought different types of research such as ethnography, research of culture, space, visual, digital. As for students, research takes a huge part in the making of assignments and just studying in general so I’ll definitely use the knowledge in further modules. For the assignment, we had to produce a 30-minute behind the scenes video of us doing weekly tasks. For the first two weeks we were really confused because the tutor was a little bit uniformed and couldn’t explain the assignment properly but after some time we got the hang of it and managed to finish it without too much fuss. According to the feedback, behind the scenes video is amazing. It’s well planned, full of theory and properly done research, all of the ideas we chose work perfectly and all of it looks nice visually though I wish we got more feedback focusing more on the suggestions or something that should’ve been improved. Because it is such a long video, I’m sure there has to be something that could be changed, added and it can’t be perfect.

105MC reflection

Reflection on 105MC – Key Concepts in Media and Communication

This module was, I would say, really complicated and confusing. One of the reasons was that it took me a while to figure out what the module is actually about. What I really liked about were the seminars because the lecturer was constantly engaged with everyone and that Media and Communication students were mixed with journalists, Digital media, Media Productions students as well. This way we got the chance to hear opinions from and work with people from different backgrounds. The assessment was the most stressful one because it was an actual challenge. We had to come up with a media artifact and complete it in 72 hours. Because of the lack of time the was no time for mistakes and every day was important. After the media artefact was submitted, I had to write an individual critical analysis of the media artifact. According to the feedback, I’ve done enough readings to make the essay properly backed up but and then hard work can be clearly seen. Though I needed to focus on the artifact rather than the question/topic I created for myself. I believe I got a little bit lost in the writing process so I didn’t really do what the task told. I should’ve been more specific which made the piece a little bit too generic. The feedback and the grade was not necessarily what I have expected because I spent so much time and put a lot of thought into writing the essay but I believe I should’ve spent more time in the begging breaking the task down and understanding the assignment brief better.

 

181MC reflection

Reflection on 181MC – Contemporary Theories: Media and Cultural Issues in Context

This particular module was interesting because even though I was familiar with the topics chosen for the lectures, lecturers analyzed them in a new way in more depth and with a different perspective. I would call the module quite challenging as well because we had it during the first term which meant everything was still new, we had to get to know the group members in order to work smoothly for the projects, etc. Also, every single week we were asked to produce some sort of artifact which didn’t allow us to slack off.

For half of the assessment, we had to submit the group weekly tasks and from the feedback we got, I can tell that we did pretty well for the first assignment. The best tasks were the ones we did at the beginning but as time passed, every single project became a little bit rushed because, I believe, we got tired and were lacking time which was noticed by the lecturer as well.

Another half of the assignment was an individual essay. I spent quite a bit of time coming up with the main idea and actually writing it but as it is stated in the feedback, I could’ve expanded more on some issues and looked at the main theories more in more depth. Even though I had quite a few suitable references, I couldn’t manage to fully/properly use them. However, the main idea was interesting and it reflected the connections between the module topics

 

180MC reflection

Reflection on 180MC Living in the Digital World – Putting Theory into Practice

This particular module was very interesting. I enjoyed how the lecturer made everyone feel important by letting to express themselves, share ideas for the final project, discuss others’ work and so on. In addition, the assessment was one of the most interesting ones.

We were asked to produce a video essay which allowed us to be as creative as possible and express ourselves in the way we wanted. As for the feedback, we were told that the final video was really successful as well as original and well narrated. The lecturer pointed out that some more research could’ve been done to make the essay properly/strongly backed up and I have to agree to all of the points stated above. Our group was really interested in the topic of the video itself which made the making really enjoyable thus we tried to make it as original, different and entertaining for our audience as possible. The topic itself was a pretty broad one so we tried to narrow it a bit which probably made us slip in terms of the lack of research.

Another half of the assessment (an individual one) was writing reading responses. The feedback pointed out that the writings were clear, direct and well written though it pointed out that I should be more critical and emphasize strong and weak points more. Once again, I agree to the feedback. Some of the texts were a bit difficult to understand and analyze made it complicated for me to come up with strong pros and cons points and I still need to work on my critical thinking/writing.

 

Reading response. Week 7 || 180MC

Both of this week’s readings were explaining the concept of new and old media. Though their ideas were a bit different and, I may say, contrasting.

Charles Acland in “Residual Media” talks about how we can always find the presence of the past in something new, very recent. The old is always being improved and rediscovered which, in a way, does not allow us to let it go. Found Magazine (foundmagazine.com) is one of the examples mentioned in the text. This website allows people to share their findings of old Polaroids, notes, audios and makes the website act almost as a mobile museum or virtual cabinet of curiosities bringing people this weird, prideful feeling of discovery and nostalgia. Bringing history to the second life can be explained by vintage things being a new mainstream trend. Vinyls and secondhand clothing are currently being woken up by the millennials for the second life by being sold at garage sales and secondary markets because they are seen as something trendy and fashionably old-fashioned. Marc Auge says that “History is on our heels, following us like our shadows” which means that we can never get rid of our past whether it is memories or technology. The old and the new are in this constant circulation mode. They complete each other and go hand to hand.

Tara Brabazon in “Dead media: Obsolescence and redundancy in media” shows a little bit different and a harsher view on old media and the old in general.  The author believes that “Media has a cycle” and once it is forgotten, it is gone and nobody can bring it back for second life and to support her point, she came up with a pattern (“Excitement. Ownership. Decline. Denial. Decay. Disposal. Death”).  There is no need to cling on old, aged things because there will always be something new and better to replace it. Thus as soon as something new comes out, technically it is already nearly dead because new updates, new versions are being processed. The article suggests an equation (“Old Media + New Media = Now Media”) which shows where and how the old media disappears and states the new media is useful and relevant to current days.

I prefer Charles Acland’s ideas rather than Tara Brabazons because I strongly agree that old and new media cannot go without one another and they definitely do not need to be divided. As the author says, we are like compasses which “find an orientation between the past and the present”. Some aspects from the past can be put aside for some time but it will definitely be rediscovered if not by us then by another generation.

*Acland, Charles. Residual Media, 2007. pp. xiii-xxiii

*Brabazon, Tara. “Dead media: Obsolescence and redundancy in media,” in First Monday, Volume 18, Number 7, July 2013

 

 

Researhing the digital. Week 8 || 182MC

Social media ethnography: the digital researcher in a messy web

From the title I could tell that the text will be something I am familiar with already because I have learned about ethnography at the beginning of the course so I was interested to deepen my knowledge about it and maybe see ethnography in a different context.

According to the text, ‘social media are increasingly central to contemporary everyday life and scholarship’ which means that not only is it part of our free time but also lately it has been taking huge part in studies and doing research in particular. People are starting to use social media for investigating because they can explore blogging and look into people’s Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc. On one had it is a great development because it makes researcher’s life easier and he/she doesn’t have to go to a certain location to get the data for a research project. However, it can be really dangerous for both researcher and the person who is being researched. The researcher, because of a great population of internet trolls and pirates. For the researched person, because everything that is posted online, stays online even if it is ‘removed’. It was written what a researcher has to do in order to do digital ethnography which includes ‘catching up, sharing, exploring, interacting and archiving’ and after analysing every single step I came to a conclusion that almost all of us who are not professional researchers do something related with digital research every day. Especially if you are a part of a fandom because you will most likely want to follow your idols on social media, watch the most recent interviews, keep up to date with the most popular hashtags, etc.

I have a feeling that doing digital ethnography is really difficult because, as the authors mention, the digital is constantly progressing and changing and the information that was on the internet yesterday might be completely different today. That is why it is called the ‘messy web’ and that is why a good researcher has to be always in the ‘researching process’, keeping up to date.

The text was divided I two sections and bits of theory were mixed with a story of a research project about social media and activism that researchers did in Barcelona. A layout like this made me confused because not only did I not fully find out about the Spanish research outcome but the meaning of digital ethnography or a ‘messy web’
was fully explained.digital

* Postill, J. and S. Pink in press 2012. Social media ethnography: the digital researcher in a messy web. Media International Australia