Page 1



C u m b r i a j o u r n a l i s m graphic design u n i v e r s i t y film + TV brampton road e N G L I S H f u s e h i l l performing arts a m b l e s i d e f o r e s t r y l a n c a s t e r + more FREE



editor Jack Stride


Welcome to CAMPUS, a new publication showcasing and celebrating the talented students at the University of Cumbria. This magazine’s aim is to give exposure and promotion to the hard work done by past and present students featuring some of the most exciting, inspirational and interesting stories around the UOC campuses. I hope you enjoy this wonderful magazine that is produced by journalism students and don’t forget to check out our continually updated website. Thanks, Jack. @campuscumbria


PHOTOGRAPHY KATIE JOHNSTON with thanks to sylvia grainger



S 3-5 6-9 10-11 12-13 14-15 16-17 18-19 20 21 22-23 24 25-27

Ffion Harris

Outdoor Leadership /

Paddling on the tarn at the woodsmoke site in cumbria below ffion taking part in a pot hanger demonstration

Call of the wild for bushcraft instructor in training Taking part in a traditional snowshoe expedition to the North American wilderness is just one of the enjoyable experiences Ffion Harris has had whilst working as an apprentice instructor at the internationally renowned Woodsmoke bushcraft company. Ffion became an apprentice instructor for Woodsmoke, which is based in the Lake District, in 2012 while studying for a degree in outdoor leadership at the University of Cumbria. Ffion had been to the Woodsmoke site when she was younger then rediscovered it after coming to university. Her enthusiasm for bushcraft inspired Ffion to try and get a job at the company so she rang Ben McNutt, the owner, to ask for a job. Next year will be the 24-year-old’s final year as an apprentice which is known as the knife year within the Woodsmoke company. This is when an apprentice brings together all the skills they have learned over the course of the apprenticeship to teach a course on their own and earn their instructors knife. “The whole aim of being an apprentice is that you will have worked towards teaching the woodlander course on your own. It’s a week long and teaches woodland skills in depth to make living outside more comfortable and more efficient.” “We go into things like water purification, fire lighting, cooking on the fire, preparing food, cordage, flora and faunas and tracking.”

“So you need to know in great detail about each of these subjects and be able to deliver a high standard of teaching to paying customers, once you do a whole woodlander course on your own you get awarded your instructors knife, taking on an instructor status.” During the winter months Woodsmoke runs international expeditions to Borneo, Africa and North America. Earlier this year Ffion had the chance to go on a traditional snowshoe expedition through the frozen north woods of Maine in North America. The expedition lasted two weeks with the group coping with temperatures of minus 20 degrees. “It was just brilliant. The snow shoes are a challenge at first, you wear felt socks with moccasins over the top so everything is really flexible, you are basically wearing slippers out in minus 20 with just woollen and

cotton clothing to keep you warm, it was just amazing.” Ffion has always had an interest and felt drawn towards bushcraft activities since an early age. “I grew up in the city. There were a few parks that we knew, I used to nick newspapers and matches from the house and start little fires and build dens, climb trees and play in the rivers, something was always taking me to those places and I can’t pin point what but I wanted to be there because I felt happy there.”

‘I used to build dens, climb trees and play in rivers. I’ve always had a calling to do bushcraft, I just love it’ So when she found that all these activities came under the banner of bushcraft it felt only right for her to head in that direction. “When you have done this kind of stuff anyway and you have always had a calling to do it, it kind of feels right to go in that direction, I just love it.” Although Ffion’s degree in Outdoor Leadership has not directly prepared her for a job in the bushcraft industry, there are elements of her studies which have helped her in the role of an apprentice instructor. Learning about group dynamics, the different learning styles and how to get the best out of a group have all helped her teach bushcraft in an appropriate way. Ffion would give the following advice to those hoping to break into their chosen industry: “If you want it enough you will get it.” WORDS SAMANTHA RIDLEY




Geoff Price Outdoor STUDIES /

graduate embarks on masters in three different countries For someone who found his passion for the field of outdoor studies by accident, Geoff Price has done pretty well for himself being one of just a handful of individuals picked from across the globe to take part in the Transcultural European Outdoor Studies master’s programme. Geoff’s interest in outdoor studies was first sparked when he took up a course in outdoor education at sixth form college. “For me this was a last ditch attempt at completing some form of further education, the course ended up being a great success for me.” From this Geoff went on to complete a degree in outdoor studies at the University of Cumbria, graduating in 2011. After taking 18 months out to work in outdoor education Geoff felt inspired to return to studying and was drawn to the Transcultural European Outdoor Studies programme (TEOS) which is run jointly by the Philipps-Universität in Marburg , Germany, the University of Cumbria in Ambleside and Norges Idrettshogskole in Oslo, Norway with students spending a semester in each country. The aim of the course is for students to study the roots and emphasis of outdoor learning held in each country. The course is still in its infancy with Geoff being accepted into the courses’ second ever group of students who were all picked for having the right mix of study and practical experience. The group began the programme in September 2012 at Ambleside campus. There are 17 students on the course from 16 different countries from across the world with Geoff being the only UK student. “I think the opportunity to spend two years studying with such a diverse group of people is an honour. Of course, trying to blend such diversity in one lecture room can be a challenge. People see things through very different filters but this is one of the main points of the programme and has led to some really good discussions.” “I am very passionate about the field of outdoor studies and education as it provides an opportunity to understand and give meaning to the world in different 4

cross country skiing in Norway with fellow students Below new hobby: ice climbing

Snug: inside a snow cave geoff made in Norway Photos by geoff price

ways. I have a background in working with young people and enjoy providing an alternative or additional way to learn. On a personal note I much prefer being and working outside.” The programme has a good balance between theoretical study and practical outdoor learning that means Geoff has had plenty of opportunities to feed his love of being outside. “I think having the chance to learn how to cross country ski in Norway is still up there as one of the best things from the programme for me.”

‘I am very passionate about the field of outdoor studies. It gives meaning to the world in different ways’ Geoff is currently in the second year of the programme, studying in his third country, Germany, at the Philipps-Universität in Marburg, the largest campus of the three. “It’s a fairy tale landscape of castles and rivers. It’s a very friendly place and the town has a great student and alternative vibe. We have a few more months here and I’m happy to be here.”

Having the time to explore Norway and Germany has also been one of the most enjoyable parts of the programme for Geoff: “Being a full time masters student does leave you with a surprising amount of spare time so whilst in Norway I managed a couple of my own trips to different parts of the country and spent a lot of time exploring Oslo. As for here in Germany, it feels as though I’m just getting my bearings but soon enough I will start heading out and about in Germany. “The opportunity to learn Norwegian and German has been good too. For me this has been a great challenge and feels like another chance to have a crack at learning a language after school.” The next challenge for Geoff is writing his thesis next semester, which will complete the course. “I am interested in researching where knowledge comes from for outdoor practitioners. So where do outdoor educators attribute their learning to? And how does this influence their practice and is there a gap to be filled in terms of training for the outdoor education field?” When it comes to Geoff’s plans for after the course this is something he is uncertain about but he feels positive about the skills the course has given him to take into the future: “It will be interesting to see where me and my fellow students might slot into things in the future. I’m very optimistic and think that the programme has certainly developed my skills and understanding as an academic and a practitioner.” WORDS SAMANTHA RIDLEY 5


adam norfolk

GRAPHIC DESIGN / Publication success for comic book Brothers Graphic design student Adam Norfolk is passionate about comics and with the help of lecturer Nick Dodds is getting his work published in an in house university comic magazine. “I do comics in my spare time. I was originally on Illustration but in my second year I transferred to the Graphic Design course. Our tutor Nick helps us and does Bagatelle with the uni. It’s a comic magazine he does every year with whoever the current students are. We took it to the Kendal festival this year and we sold it there.” Adam, from Appleby, collaborates with his brother James Norfolk, a graduate from the university, to create all sorts of comic strips. “My brother writes the comics and I illustrate them, he graduated last year from the film and TV course. We do it for fun.” The excerpt in CAMPUS is from a new project Adam and James are doing called ‘The Special’. Adam hopes his work will catch global attention but at the


moment it’s much more private: “At the moment I’d say it’s for myself. I would like people to read them all but they’re quite personal. I want to express and develop my own style.” “A lot of my stuff goes on the internet.” Adam added, “It’s mostly on Tumblr and a comic community website. It’s a good way to get noticed. I like to discover a lot of self-published work too. It’s what I want to do. Nick really helps with the Bagatelle thing, it gives you a lot of confidence and going to Kendal was really cool.” Carlisle may not be a hotspot for new and upcoming comics but local illustration talent is being recognised nationally. Adam said: “My room is packed with comics. There’s a comic store called the Carlisle Comic Centre, they stock a lot of stuff, they stock local stuff too, I really want my comics in there. Producing your own comics is quite an investment though, that’s why it’s great to get stuff published in the university comic.” For inspiration Adam reads a lot of sci-fi novels: “I’m a big fan of Philip

K. Dick, there’s so many films based on his books, he was insane, he thought aliens were talking to him.” Adam added. “The first comics I got into were SinCity, then I realised there was a lot of better stuff out there. It was mostly cartoons that got me into comics and I’ve always been encouraged to draw, I also do a lot of doodles. Although comics remain a hobby for Adam he continuously receives support from the University and it has even had an effect on his degree work: “The course encourages me to get out my comfort zone and try different stuff. I find my design influences my illustration and my illustration influences my design. The course has made me a lot more confident in my designs. I get a lot of support; I’m skilled at design problem solving. I experiment with my work, I have a lot of freedom.” WORDS JACK STRIDE

‘My brother writes the comics and I illustrate them, we do it for fun’

The special: A new comic by student adam norfolk and recent graduate james norfolk photo by katie johnston




student’s winning design wows bbc antiques expert When the BBC’s antique expert Paul Laidlaw asked the University of Cumbria’s Graphic Design department to create the branding for his new antiques business, he was presented with many interesting design options but it was Luvena Petty’s photographic themed design which caught his eye. “I was surprised, I completely didn’t expect it at all.” said Luvena, “so when I was chosen to do it I was quite excited because I had never done a job for an outside client before and because he is a little bit famous, it’s quite different so it was exciting.” The competition to find the winning design was held in October and all the third year students entered to get the chance to do all the design work and branding for Paul Laidlaw’s new antiques business, which he will soon be opening in Carlisle. Each student had to pitch their design to the Bargain Hunt expert explaining why their design would work well for his business and it was 20-yearold Luvena’s photography inspired design which Paul chose. Luvena said: “I’m interested in photography so I wanted to 8

incorporate that in the design, I did not want to just do a business card with text and colour on, I wanted to try and incorporate my style and type of feel into it so I went down the route of photographing objects

‘I was excited to win because I had never done a job for a client before’ and figurines and incorporated these images into my design.” “I don’t really know why he chose mine but it was probably the photography element that did grab him. I thought the other designs were quite flat really, there wasn’t as much character but because of the photography in my design I think that’s what made it eye catching to him.” Since winning the competition Luvena has been busy working

on designing the business cards, letterheads, leaflets, magazines, signage for the shop, polo shirts that the staff will be wearing and even the number paddles for the auction house. Luvena has also had a lot more meetings with Paul with the design work, changing and developing throughout the process. One of the things Paul wanted to bring into the design tartan element. As a proud Scotsman Paul has his own tartan which he wanted to bring into his business branding. “He is a nice guy and is really friendly and easy to talk to so working with him is really good.” Luvena has always felt passionate about being creative but despite this she almost went to study law rather than a creative subject: “Originally I didn’t want to do Graphic Design, I wanted to do law as a degree, I’m not sure what swayed me to do this course but now I am doing it I’m extremely glad I am, I could not see myself doing another course.” She went on to say: “I have always been quite creative, in a way I always want to make something. If I’m bored I can’t just sit still and read a book I have to get up and make or do something.” This desire to always be doing

something creative works quite well for Luvena as a graphic design student as there is always some kind of design project to work on. The tutors encourage students to allow their creativity to shine through. “I like how different all the projects are and how we can try a bit of everything. Even though I may not like one project I know I can just wait until the next one and I will probably enjoy that, it’s quite

diverse.” “This is a good course because whatever you’re interested in you can apply it to your work, the tutors don’t just want you to design to a brief, they want you to put your own creative flare and spark into it as it is going to go in your portfolio at the end of the day, so it has to express what you are like as a designer.” After university Luvena intends to take a bit of time out rather than

jumping straight into a career in graphic design: “I would like to travel, I don’t want to go straight into work unless a really good opportunity comes up. I want to go and work in India with animals and in schools. Before I get into a job and I’m working all my life, I want to explore the world.” If you would like to see more of Luvena’s design work you can log onto her website: WORDS SAMANTHA RIDLEY

winning work: luvena’s designs were chosen for new antiques business by bbc’s paul laidlaw photo by Katie johnston




journo boys graeme, paul and matt, right, alongside their barcelona counterparts

students take opportunity to study in spain Three lucky journalism students from the University of Cumbria have spent the first semester of their final year studying in the vibrant city of Barcelona, where learning Spanish and soaking up the culture have been just a couple of the highlights. Graeme Finch, Matt Gibbs and Paul Warner, who all study at the Brampton Road campus, got the chance to study at the Universitat Abat Oliba because of an EU exchange scheme known as the Erasmus programme. All three jumped at the chance to travel to one of the world’s most vibrant cities, Paul confirmed this by saying: “How many times are you going to be able to go and live somewhere like Barcelona for so long?” Since touching down on September the 4th they have had the pleasure of exploring Spain’s second largest city which, as Matthew asserted: “Is a lot prettier than Carlisle!” Graeme added: “It’s got a great feel, the people are friendly and there’s a lot of diversity with food and culture.” The trip has allowed the three journalists in training to not only gain knowledge from studying but also a wealth of experiences from being dropped into a whole new culture for three months. Being able to submerse themselves in such


an amazing place was definitely a really exciting prospect for Graeme and the others, something which Graeme asserted by saying: “you don’t get bored out here.” They have been hard at work though as Graeme is quick to remind us: “First and foremost, however, we’re out here to study.” Going on to say: “We’ve got four really great subjects; journalistic genres, multimedia, public opinion and information enterprise.” Matthew told me how: “It’s very interesting seeing how differently people think in different countries.” The experience of this trip has definitely given the trio a fresh outlook as journalists and as an added bonus they are learning Spanish. Graeme said: “We’re hoping to leave here with a much better understanding of the theoretical side of journalism, as well as the confidence to apply it in practice.” and as it stands the trip has helped with exactly that, “we’re really confident that we’ve been taught enough to do that.” Barcelona has also given Graeme and the others a new drive and passion for their subject: “We’ve all enjoyed being taught some modern aspects of journalism and have put it into practice in our own personals ways; my blog for example.” The three month long trip has been full of a lot of fantastic experiences so

much so that Paul, Graeme and Matt wouldn’t hesitate to go back; “I’d never considered working abroad or living abroad but now it’s definitely something I’d consider.” Admitted Paul. Everyone has been hugely enthusiastic about their time in Spain, Matthew recollected one of his personal highlights of the trip so far: “I would say when we first got our flat, and then went to the

‘we’re hoping to leave barcelona with a better understanding of international journalism’ beach, it was like 30 odd degrees, we had good few days.” Paul said: “Beach days in October, going to see the Camp Nou was amazing.” Graeme’s favourite experience was: “Meeting the other Erasmus students and getting to know the people in our class, we’ve been to barbecues and on nights out with them and we’re all having an amazing time because of it!” WORDS ALAN JAMES


hard at work: steven works as press officer for cumbria police following his degree

on the beat as a cumbria police press officer Since graduating from the University of Cumbria in 2011 with a degree in journalism complete with National Council for the Training of Journalists qualifications, Steven Ramshay has gone from strength to strength landing a job as a Cumbria Constabulary Press Officer. “I’m kind of the point between the media and the police force.” Said Steven, 22, “When any incident happens I get a press release out as quickly as I can. A lot of what I do is public safety. “The best thing about the job is that you just don’t know what’s going to happen that day. Some days you can have the usual enquiries but then, like what happened the other week, you get a report of an armed robbery. You’ve got to deal with that, you’ve got to put your public service messages out, that’s the interesting side of it.” As press officer Steven looks after the south of Cumbria and does a lot of proactive work there. He said: “I work with the dogs unit and promote the work they’re doing, I also sit in with the Criminal Investigation Department and the drug squad. I’ve even been given the opportunity to take the media on a drugs raid before.” Steven, who’s from Carlisle, completed three years of training as a journalist and spent almost

a year freelancing for local media and various online outlets. He said: “I thought when I graduated my natural progression would be to become a reporter but once I finished university I realised it wasn’t that easy. Doing freelance gave me some time and money but it was nothing permanent.” Whilst job-searching Steven worked in a newsagents part time. After a few months he found some

‘best thing about the job? you don’t know what is going to happen’ luck in the local newspaper: “This job came up for the Police Press Office, it said: ‘Senior Press Officer wanted’ so I thought ‘There is no chance that I would get it’ but I applied anyway. I got an interview and I still thought ‘This will never happen,’ but because I thought like that I went in a lot more relaxed. I never actually got that job, but they did say that if they ever had a trainee role they’d consider me for the job. Then in the middle of March I got a phone call from who is now my boss saying they had a job for me, a trainee role at the police press office. I was chuffed.”

When Steven started as press officer, he found it quite an adjustment from the type of work he had done before. “Coming from a media background I wanted to give quite a lot to the media but it’s about biting your tongue and holding your nerve, what you say might impede an investigation.” He added: “I use all the skills I learnt to be a reporter, media law is a massive part of my job, and my shorthand, I still use all of that, but I’m the one disseminating the information rather than trying to claw it in. You learn a lot with the police, you know a lot, you get to find out a lot, I can’t imagine a roll quite like it.” In his final year at the university Steven was appointed editor of the student newspaper, The Informer. “It was challenging but it was so rewarding. The experience built me as a person and helped me work more professionally. I never would have gotten my job if I didn’t have a journalism degree. I gained a lot of experience; I did stuff for BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, I worked with Scott Mills when he came to the university and was encouraged to get out and get placements. “I can’t thank the lecturers enough.” Steven added, “At first I wasn’t that interested but by the end I ate, slept and breathed journalism, the course was brilliant.” WORDS JACK STRIDE 11


Blissfields festival, winchester, in full swing inset manager paul dennis


Event management graduate Paul Dennis has found his bliss through his business Shakey Ape Events which he set up with fellow student Anna Lyttle while studying for his degree at the University of Cumbria. The enterprising pair set up their business in 2011 while studying for a foundation degree in event management. Shakey Ape Events quickly became a success having an

‘It’s the beauty of having an empty field which we transform so something amazing can happen’ impressive national event portfolio with the jewel in Paul and Anna’s events management crown being Blissfields festival in Hampshire, which is nominated for five awards at this year’s UK Festival Awards. “I think this will be my eighth or ninth year at Blissfields.” 34-yearold Paul explains, “It was the first festival I ever helped out at, I just turned up to steward and that was the beginning of it really, from there I have been doing different jobs 12

Bliss for graduate as his business becomes a success each year until I started managing the event with Anna in 2012.” Paul and Anna are now responsible for overseeing all the aspects of managing Blissfields festival from planning through to delivery, which includes supervising everything from health and safety, security, the budgets, booking stages and stewarding, to making sure the grass is cut. Blissfields has now been going for thirteen years having grown into a very popular small festival from humble beginnings as Paul explains: “Blissfields basically started off as a party to promote local music, it was never seen as a festival in a financial sense, then in 2007 it won the Best Small Festival award. We have slowly grown it over the years rather than trying to make it bigger overnight, it started off with seventy people and next year there will be five thousand.“ The family friendly festival is known for its good line-ups with a lot of up and coming artists playing at the festival just before they become famous. Paul also feels the success of any festival now lies in providing more than just good music: “I think at the moment people are choosing festivals not just for their line-ups but for the overall experience.” Making sure the festival runs smoothly and everyone has a good time requires a lot of effort with the planning and organising of Blissfields taking ten months, with on site work taking just five weeks.

The most challenging parts of running the event for Paul are: “Dealing with the security issues, people don’t realise the amount of hours you are up and about dealing with situations, you have to stay calm at all times and it can be a very stressful job.” Surprisingly one of the highlights of all this hard work for Paul is: “When it’s over,” he laughs: “I do enjoy it when it’s over, it’s one of the best parts knowing that everyone has had a good time and it was safe, knowing people have left the site and it went well and it was a really good event. “I love everything to do with it and I have made some great friends through it. I love the way it brings everyone together to work, we basically build a small village over the course of five weeks, it’s just the beauty of having an empty field which we transform so something amazing can happen.” Paul would offer the following advice to current students hoping to break into their chosen industry: “Basically you have to start at the bottom, just find whatever way possible to get in with a company and just work as hard as you can and be sensible, take on as much as you can and start improving yourself to enhance your CV.” If anyone is interested in stewarding or gaining work experience at next year’s Blissfields festival then you can contact Paul at WORDS SAMANTHA RIDLEY

showing some skin: performers david robinson, faith tilley and gary chapman below director thomas devine photos by katie johnston


Students bare PERFORMANCE / all in new production

Thomas Devine, a third year Joint Honours Dance and Musical Theatre student, originally from Glasgow, is pushing the limits of contemporary dance with a new show where the performers are completely in the buff: “I always wanted to do a piece shocking enough people would remember. “It’s about how society dictates how we should be and how we’re so eager to change how we look to fit in with a certain genre or group. What is the norm? Do we need sexuality? Do we need gender?” The original dance piece, titled Skin, is written, choreographed and directed by 20-year-old Thomas and will make up his final year project. Although it contains graphic scenes, Thomas says it is not as X-rated as it sounds: “It’s very theoretical art, it’s very contemporary. It’s probably something you would see in a gallery rather than a dance studio. “I believe it is very literal; the

movements are in your face. It was important for the performers to be nude because it gives that sense of having nothing to hide behind, by baring all their skin they have a sense of freedom but also a sense of entrapment as people can pick on their flaws easier.

‘I wanted a piece shocking enough people would remember it’ “We’re doing a lot of practices naked, getting comfortable with our bodies. We get lecturers to come in and watch, we’ve got nothing to hide.” The show, which will be shown at the universities’ Stanwix Studio theatre at Brampton Road, will be open to university staff and students but tickets won’t be made available to the general public. “I didn’t want your average Joe walking in off the street to see young naked adults.”

Said Thomas, “I want it to serve an educational purpose; I want students to take something from it. “I don’t want to have the stigma that ‘Oh this is the naked dance piece’ I want people to come and see this is real stuff that is happening right now. Thomas recruited three other Cumbria students to perform in the piece: Faith Tilley, 20, David Robinson, 19 and Gary Chapman, 21. Faith, a performing arts student from Worcester, say’s she’s apprehensive but excited about the show: “I’m a lot less body conscious than many people but I’m still really nervous about getting it all out on stage,” she said. “When I go on stage I don’t see myself as being me, I’m playing the character. It’s not my naked body the audience is seeing, it’s the characters. “I’m not sure my dad actually knows about the show yet.” She added. ”When I told my mom she didn’t understand why I had to be naked. I explained it’s a classy performance, the arts, but I think she’s quite uncomfortable about it.” WORDS JACK STRIDE



DAVE ROBSO WOODland conservation / 14

ENTERPRISING STUDENT starts HIS OWN TRADITIONAL WOODCRAFT BUSINESS When Dave Robson decided to do an extra course in woodcraft at college, little did he know it would spark a long lasting passion which would lead him into the world of forestry and to create his own woodcraft business just a couple of years later. Currently studying Woodland Conservation at the University of Cumbria, 22-year-old Dave’s first career path in countryside management changed when he was given the opportunity to do an NVQ in woodcraft while still at college. He took to the skills of woodcraft straight away and was soon whittling spoons in his lunch hour. “It started out as just a hobby really, where I had an encyclopedia of woodcraft which I would just flick through and pick something to make that day.” Dave’s skill for woodcraft was soon getting noticed by his friends and family who began asking him to make items for them too: “My first commission was a kitchen spoon for a friend who had seen me whittling one at college, I get all kinds of requests for items people want me to try and make and if it is made out of green wood I am generally happy to have a go at it.” However, keeping up with buying the tools needed for Dave’s woodcraft was expensive so he decided to try and turn his hobby into a small business. “That is how the business started out, it was so it could pay for itself and people seemed to rather like what I made so I charged them for my time and now it is becoming viable which is amazing, I never thought it would be.” So this is how Rowan Woodcraft, a traditional green woodcraft business developed in a small shed at the back of Dave’s home in Northumberland. He has already acquired the skills to make a wide range of

ON crafty: Dave’s stall at a cumbria forestry show left beam hewing at damson day country fair

items including gypsy roses, willow pegs, Scandinavian bowls and a whole variety of spoons. “I am known in certain circles as ‘Spooney Dave’ as that is pretty much what I do most of the time, make spoons. A friend of mine says she has never actually seen me without a knife or a spoon.” Alongside getting commissions, Dave also sells some of his items in a local antique shop in his village; so far they have proved very popular with the shop selling out of his most popular item, gypsy roses, in just a week. Working with wood inspired Dave to do a degree in woodland conservation with the intention of getting a job in the forestry industry but the growing success of his woodcraft business has changed his plans. Now he sees his degree as an asset to strengthen his business such as learning about management plans to help in the woodland management side of his business. “It’s all part of building the skills I require to run my business, initially running this business was just something I was doing in the background but increasingly I feel like I could do this for real, before now I was always going to go into the forestry industry and just do this at the weekend but now it’s becoming more of the focus so I am shifting everything that I do towards gaining the experience and skills that will enable me to do it.” This year Dave started to introduce his woodcraft skills to a wider audience by doing four shows in the summer including the Cumbria Woodlands Forestry Festival, Damson Day Country Fair, HSI Heritage skillsfest in Tynemouth and the Lindisfarne Viking re-enactment. Dave has come on quite a journey with his woodcraft business but what it all comes back to is the enjoyment he gets from the process of making something from scratch.

‘I LOVE SEEING THE WHOLE PROCESS FROM HAVING A STANDING TREE TO THE FINISHED PRODUCT’ “I do love seeing the whole process from start to finish, from having a standing tree which becomes a log in your pile of wood, to then start axing it down and thinking what it could be. You almost start a sort of discussion with the timber and sometimes it agrees with you and you make a very nice spoon or sometimes it disagrees with you and you have to make something else. Then finally you look at that finished product and think ‘Yeah that is good’.” For more information about Dave’s business visit the Rowan Woodcraft page: WORDS SAMANTHA RIDLEY




CAPTURING THE ESSENCE OF THE LONDON UNDERGROUND THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY Second year photography student Beth Green is working on a fascinating project about the London Underground. Beth is hoping to capture the many different faces of people who travel on the underground. Taking inspiration from the photographer Walker Evans, who did a similar project in the 1930’s but used a hidden camera instead: “I didn’t do that, I had two cameras at the time so I wasn’t hiding it at all but no-one complained. They knew I was taking images because of the sound. It was quite surprising.” “I found it really interesting because there are so many different types of people that go on the underground but really when you think about it we’re all going somewhere so we’re travelling as one.” The photography enthusiast also managed to go at a quiet time, which is quite rare for a mode of transportation which is known for being busy: “It was really unusual when I went because it was quite empty, when people say underground you imagine it being packed.” Beth, pictured below, spoke about the process she goes through to plan her projects: “I basically think of things I’m interested in or if there’s an issue going on I would research into it and from that I would narrow it down to one aspect so it has a clear message.” As part of her course, Beth and the rest of her year will be setting up an exhibition which will be separate from the previously student run Carlisle Photography Festival. Although they have not yet decided what it is going to feature Beth already has a project she is thinking about doing for it. “I’d like to do a project based on how we view ourselves, using a Polaroid camera so I’d get the person who I’m taking the portrait of to write down one word that describes them on the bottom of the image so there wouldn’t be any names, it would just be what they think of themselves.” Beth spoke about how she is finding the course so far: “It’s really interesting, I enjoy having guest speakers in, last year we had three different photographers. It was quite interesting to hear about where they started from and what they’re doing now. It really inspires you to do more.” She also explained what she is currently learning about in her module practical photography: “We’re learning how to gain better business skills which will be useful for the future.” Going on to explain how she is required to organise and go on a work placement this year: “I’ve been researching where 16

going underground: beth’s photography for her new project about the london underground

I’d like to go. I prefer being outdoors and exploring different surroundings. I find it can get quite boring in the studio. I’m interested in fashion photography but not based in the studio, I prefer on location shoots. So I’ve looked at a photographer who does stuff like that, as well as studio based photography.” Despite only being a second year, Beth has already been thinking about what she plans on doing after her degree: “I’m not fully decided yet but I know I would like to carry on with photography. I hope to be traveling with it because I would really like to see the world.”



sex lore how o exp t t wan ety, I soci


in le ro


ISHAS have a b ‘GE ig

exploring the culture and symbolism of japanese geishas


ff ec ts

Second year photography student Katie Johnston is currently working on her project which stands out from the norm. Entitled Red Lips, Black Heart, Katie will be photographing models dressed as geishas in the traditional costume and make-up. “My project is about sex. Everything in it relates to sex. The symbolism of what a geisha does, of what she wears, of how she acts; even though she may not know it herself because it’s a tradition that’s been passed down generations. They have got quite a big role in society and I want to explore how sex affects that.” Katie, from Workington became inspired after watching the film Memoirs of a Geisha and became fascinated by geishas and what they represent in Japanese culture. She also looked at other photographers who have taken pictures of geishas: “There’s a Japanese guy called Araki Nobuyoshi who has done some amazing work of nude geishas and it’s just really beautiful. As they are foreseen as prostitutes from the 1940’s onwards I thought that was quite interesting and it would be cool to do it in my own way.” Her project is going to stand out by not just having geishas dressed in a traditional kimono, she will also be capturing nude images, like her inspiration: “I’m going to be doing nudes but venues are not always keen so trying to find somewhere that will let you do it is a bit difficult.” She also explained how she goes about planning for projects such as this one: “It’s kind of hit and miss for me. Sometimes I get an idea and I’ll look it up right away or

Geisha girl: one of katies stand out photos Above katie johnston herself

I’ll write the idea down and forget about it for months then come back to it and then decide which one I want to do,” “But for this I knew I was doing it anyway so I read research journals about geisha’s lives and things like that.” Katie has been working on her project since the beginning of September and her deadline for Red Lips, Black Heart is in December: “Just because we’ve got a deadline doesn’t mean it stops there, if we want to continue it we can, but I don’t think I will because I think I’ll have about 30 photos when I’m finished so it’ll be quite an extensive body of work.” The photography student was

th at’

originally thinking of studying Graphic Design, but when she visited the university’s campus it was the photography department that stood out to her: “It’s the right kind of course for me because I like having time to do what I want but I also like having a deadline so it’s given me the push in the right direction which is nice.” The course itself is very open as the students can create a project on anything they like: “Our brief this year was to produce a body of work so it’s pretty broad; we have a lot of freedom.” One of the main parts of her course is what is known as the ‘crit’, which is where the students show their work to the rest of the class. “I can spend almost £40 on printing so it’s quite expensive.” Katie explained how they are given the option to use image editing software such as Photoshop. “Some people like it and some don’t but I like it. I see it as the same as a darkroom where you can manipulate images by changing the light settings, you can do that on Photoshop. Some people think that’s cheating and not the same but I think it’s just the equivalent and it’s more modern.” The budding photographer explained what she plans on doing after she completes her degree: “I just want to make a living out of photography.” To see more of Katie’s work, visit her website at: WORDS HELEN PARTON 17


SigrUN APPLIED ARTS / As part of her final year project, contemporary applied arts student Sigrún Jóna Norðdahl, from Reykjavik in Iceland, has started experimenting with the familiar material clay to create modern designs. “I come home everyday covered in clay.” Sigrun said, “It can be really therapeutic though, kneading the dough releases a lot of tension. I’m currently developing different forms with the clay, my starting point was to make a functional object.” Even though Sigrun has been using clay for years it’s still a tricky art. “There are so many aspects with ceramics you have to consider, you really have to experiment. You have to think about the type of clay you are using, your methods, and then there’s the glazing. Clay can be really versatile; you can make pots and mugs, really modern conceptual work or something really traditional. I find it really interesting to work with and it really suits me.” Sigrún arrived in Cumbria last September with four other Icelandic students as part of a scheme which allowed her to study her final year abroad. “Cumbria reminds me of home. You can see the sky and how the light changes, I love all the 18


Getting creative with clay in cumbria colours of the trees. I think Cumbria will come into my work at some point.” At 32 Sigrún didn’t come to the UK inexperienced, she has worked on a farm, been a sales representative, a postwoman, a secretary and even worked in France for a year. “Before coming here I was at a school in Iceland where I did a lot of conceptual design work. We had this collaboration with a German company that produces dinner wear.

‘I find it interesting to work with clay, It really suits me’ The name of the project was ‘Flow’ so I came up with this idea of how things will flow when you’re making food in the kitchen. From this I created a kind of measuring jug that only measured things when you

picked it up and tilted it over, then if you put it on the table it became a vessel so you had to interact with the object for it to work.” Although Sigrún would describe her ceramic work as contemporary she still sees her art as practical, like her latest ‘vessel’ piece. “I would like my work in galleries but at this point I don’t see it going there, I would see it going into shops instead.” She added: “In 5 or 10 years time I see myself back home with my own studio, producing my work with the help of others.” For the next few months Sigrún will concentrate her efforts on getting the best grades possible. In spring the university will host Sigrún’s work, amongst others, at an exhibition on campus. As well as this the chance to get her work on display in London is something which could make Sigrún’s trip to Carlisle that little bit sweeter: “Hopefully some of us will go to New Designers in London in the summer. It’s a big exhibition where people display their work. The university gives us the opportunity to go but you still have to be chosen. If I get chosen it will be the icing on the cake.” WORDS JACK STRIDE


MARI WITH the FINISHEd KIMONO she created for a new project PHOTOS BY KATIE JOHNSTON

student Sewing her way to success Third year costume design student Mari Murray’s fantastic work has been getting her noticed around the University of Cumbria with her design skills being in high demand for shows put on by the performing arts students. It’s not just performing arts students knocking on her door, the Students’ Union have asked Mari to design costumes for their new Student Union representative teddy bear. “I’m making a few costumes for him.” Mari, from Ireland said. “I’m very involved with the Students’ Union so when they got this new bear they asked me if there was any chance I could make some costumes. I’m currently making a little suit for the U-Decide meeting.” Stuffed bears aside, Mari has just finished a kimono project she was working on with fellow UOC student Katie Johnston. “Katie is a photography student, she was interested in doing a project on maikos; trainee geishas, and she wanted a modern form kimono.” Mari added: “We went for a western style pattern drafting which meant it was a lot more fitted and modern.” “I did a lot of research into

traditional Japanese dying techniques that are thousands of years old. I screen-printed a design at university using the great facilities we have there. A theme that runs through Mari’s

‘it’s great seeing my costumes in shows’ work is historical accuracy which is an area of design she would like to turn into a career. “I’d really like to go into historical costume. I love really historically accurate clothing and pieces for films and shows, but I’m also looking into curating and conservation of fabrics.” Over the summer Mari worked at a museum in Ireland called Muckross House, here they have a very precious pair of Victorian curtains that were installed to accommodate Queen Victoria in 1861. Whilst at the house Mari was given the

chance to preserve the curtains whilst a new carpet was put down. “They got a conservationist to come down who was really nice and let me help to preserve these curtains, it really got me interested in conservation. I love the thought of how long ago these sorts of things were made and bringing them back to life.” Mari, from Tralee in Ireland, had an usual path to studying at Cumbria. She started costume design whilst a schoolgirl and has always followed her passion for sowing. “My part time job when I was at school was costume designer at a stage school for kids. I wanted to continue sewing so I did fashion design for a year at the Grafton Academy in Dublin. I loved it but every time I made something it would have a costume feel. I put a portfolio together and decided to study here as Cumbria was the only place where you make costumes that you actually get to see in shows, which is great.” Since joining UOC Mari has designed costumes for 25 shows and says she has never not been working on a show. She said “One of my favorite pieces I did was an original dance piece I did last year based on a Neoplasticism, a form of art which involves just primary colours and straight lines. It was really interesting. The show had a cast of just four and they each had different feels to their characters. It was very expressive and fun.” WORDS JACK STRIDE 19



Recent graduate Rebekah Powell left the University of Cumbria last summer after receiving her degree in English, a few months later however she has returned, but this time not as a student. Rebekah is employed by the university as a Library and Student Services (LiSS) Graduate Intern at the Lancaster campus, a position she applied for whilst in her final year. “My role is within Widening Participation and Retention at LiSS.” Said Rebekah.“It involves getting potential students to come to university and keep students on track from admission to graduation.” Since starting the role in September Rebekah has worked in different areas of LiSS at various campuses. “We had a few events recently called ‘Help Is At Hand’ and I was responsible for a lot of the recourses.” “That was fun because I was able to use a range of skills, it was very creative. I also work with mentoring schemes at the university, PASS in particular; it stands for Peer Assisted Study Sessions. It’s where higher year students help lower year students with work.” Rebekah said there are areas of

LiSS she never even knew existed whilst she was a student:“It’s only since starting working at the department that I realise how many people are there to support you and your academic writing, referencing and research. When I was a student it never occurred to me to ask for that help which could have got me a better result. I wish I had called on their help and expertise more.” Whilst working at LiSS Rebekah is continually learning on the job and says it will give her a big step up for future employment: “In this position I am given the opportunity to look at my professional development. They’ve given me an allotted amount of development days where we can go away and do other stuff in relation to my degree. I’ve got a place to study for a masters degree in October at Lancaster University and everything here that I’ve done in this position will help so much towards that. Not only am I getting professional development but also personal development, I already feel more mature and confident.” The twelve-month full time paid internship was advertised on the University of Cumbria Jobshop website before it was snapped up by Rebekah. “The interview process was quite daunting but I must have

‘It’s odd being back as a staff member, it’s a real benefit to the team to have a student perspective’ 20

sold myself well and, I hope, shone through as a person.” Rebekah added: “My tutors were pleased, I’m still in contact with them and will be involved with my old course at careers day. There I’ll be advertising placements so hopefully I can give something back.” After nearly four months in the position Rebekah still has to adjust to not being a student anymore: “It’s odd being on the other side, when I was a student I was treated like a student, now I’m treated like a staff member. The people I work with are really nice and think it’s a real benefit to the team to have a student perspective.” WORDS JACK STRIDE



Students bring relaxation to carlisle day centre


Three occupational therapy students at the University of Cumbria have completed a role emerging placement within a learning disabilities day centre in Carlisle. Phillipa Bjorn, from Devon, Sarah Ronson, from Preston and Jenny Hutcheson, from Dumfries, who are all in their third year spent time at the Heartlands Project promoting health and wellbeing through everyday activities for people with learning disabilities. Sarah, 21 Said: “By using different techniques, changing environments and providing equipment an occupational therapist can help to improve quality of life. After a week of volunteering within the day centre we compiled our ideas and decided on a relaxation project.” The initial stage of the relaxation project was to set up a relaxing environment for the people at the day centre, Sarah explained: “We considered all aspects of relaxation; quiet space, music, lights and the option for it to be light or dark depending on their mood at the time.” “We used occupational therapy techniques to rearrange furniture in order to make the environment

‘It has enhanced the beliefs in our professional abilities’ accessible and comfortable to everyone. We painted the room a calming green colour and added fairy lights and curtains to make the room as calming as possible.” The girls next step was to plan a relaxation session. Phillipa, 34, said: “We created a relaxation script, ensuring it was short and used basic language so that it was appropriate to use with people who have learning disabilities.” “We also researched relaxing music and finally created a step by step session plan and a risk assessment in order to make the sessions run as smoothly as possible.” “The project was a success with 95% of service users reporting

they felt calmer. These results showed the benefit of the relaxation sessions and highlighted the potential for the relaxation space to be used in the future.” Traditionally occupational therapists work in hospitals and community care settings, however, on role emerging placements students work in an area of practice where there is no established occupational therapy role such as charities or schools. 20-year-old Jenny said: “Individuals with learning disabilities often find it difficult to understand new information and learn new skills. Occupational therapists assess the impact of the individual’s learning disability on their occupational performance and use creative methods to promote engagement and independence.” Jenny went on to add: “We feel the opportunity to go on a role emerging placement enhanced personal beliefs in our professional abilities. Getting the positive results and seeing the impact that we had within the settings has improved our self-confidence and has reinforced our understanding for the potential for occupational therapy within new environments.” EDITED BY JACK STRIDE 21



BRINGING CANNES TO CUMBRIA It’s a cold Monday afternoon and I am sat on a sofa at the front window of Foxes Café, located in Carlisle’s historic quarter, waiting for my interviewee to enter the door. I look around the small but cosy lounge, which is surprisingly busy by 1pm. It has bicycles hanging on the walls, art works scattered about the place and mic stands and amps situated in the corner. A tall, ginger bearded man sits in front of me. “We had onehundred and twenty people in here last month.” He said, with a big grin on his face, “We put on an amazing night.” The man I’m speaking to is 30-year-old adventure media student Ross Monaghan. Last August he set up a film night called The Cinema Lounge, hosted at Foxes Café, with huge success. “The first night was an adventure film night, we ran it with a company called ThreeSixFive who are an adventure content hosting website.” ”They supplied us with the best films in that genre of 2013 and we played them. On the second night we had something called new talent. We collaborated with ten new filmmakers, four of them were from Cumbria University.” The Cinema Lounge was set up to promote filmmaking, especially in the Cumbria area and provide a new platform for short films. “There are not a lot of outlets for films in Cumbria. We wanted to establish a community of filmmakers around Carlisle.” Ross said: “A lot of our work gets put on the internet but gets lost. The idea was to give us somewhere to show our films and start becoming established filmmakers. “Our wildlife night, run by Jess Owen who’s a university student, featured 90% Cumbrian filmmakers. It created a network and got so many people involved. We premiered a film from Devon, made by a guy who lives in Cumbria, he went home and made a film about the place he used to live. We also showed a few second and third year films from the University of Cumbria.” At this point, the upper level of Foxes was packed. “That’s my next meeting.” Said Ross, pointing at the tables of artsy looking people. “We’ve invited eight filmmakers to talk about a collaborative project. “Our next event is Wintermas, it’s stepping a little bit away from just being a film night. It’s an alternative night where there’ll be films, we’ve got two spoken 22

word poets coming in, a storyteller and two musicians from Cumbria. Film wise we’ll have bits and pieces of everything we’ve done so far, animation, wildlife, adventure, we’ll bring it all together.” For Ross The Cinema Lounge isn’t just a hobby, it’s the foundation of a future career in the media. He’s already set up a production company, Lost Panda, and has gained key contacts through networking at the event. “I originally thought ‘This will be fun and I could do this for the next six months whilst I was at uni’ but I’ve been approached by a couple of larger providers and a couple of actual venues to put on bigger events. I’ve also been asked to commission a couple of new films with new filmmakers. “It’s been quite an overwhelming response to be honest. I thought it would be 20 of my mates and a few others but there’s been members of the public, press, Cumbria Live have got on board, the feedback has been really good. “It’s about bringing people together to make films, to produce content, to have an outlet.” Ross adds: “This has given me the credibility for people to come up to me and ask me to make films for them. It’s about developing us as filmmakers, as artists.” Looking around the room I realise Foxes Café is quite a modest environment for such an extensive project with big

plans. I can see why the film night works so well here, it is relaxed, welcoming and friendly, but Ross hopes to expand. “We’re looking at a bigger event in February, a ‘Best of the Cinema Lounge’. I’m hoping to run a thing called the Seven-Day Film Challenge, which will be the first in Cumbria. We’re going to invite anyone from anywhere in the world to come to Carlisle and have seven days of filmmaking. What I want to do is close off Abbey Street, where Foxes is located, and have bands perform. Then everyone will pile into the café for a short film marathon. It will be like a Cumbrian Cannes.” Previously a free event, the film night now charges a small entrance fee. Some could argue this is a get rich quick marketing scheme. “It all goes back into the Cinema Lounge.” Replies Ross. “I won’t lie about it, we’re running at a loss at the moment, the first three events came out of my pocket. For every event we print flyers and posters. We started to charge an entrance fee to limit numbers and it also covers other costs. I’m now trying to generate money to pay for new film commissions.” As well as the successful film night, Ross is also working towards his degree.

Ross says if it wasn’t for Cumbria University he certainly wouldn’t be in the position he is in now: “It has opened a lot of doors for me. The access to equipment has been a massive bonus. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some really inspirational people at the university; I’ve gained a lot from the expertise there.” As I begin to rap up my conversation with Ross, I began to realise Ross isn’t your conventional student. When he was 21 he left the UK for Canada where he remained for several months working on a ski resort. When he returned he decided he still wasn’t satisfied and went to Japan to become a mountain guide, where he was offered a job in New Zealand to work with disabled ski teams. “Then I felt I wanted to come back and go somewhere further which brought me back to education.” Adds Ross. “I miss the travelling lifestyle but the advantages of being a student is you have a community of people around you, you make great friends and the location here has been key for me, being able to go to the Lake District on days off and weekends is a great thing.“ WORDS JACK STRIDE

‘It’s been quite an overwhelming response. It’s about bringing people together to enjoy watching and making films’ 23



5 4 3 2 1.... Action! That will undoubtedly be the first sound you will hear on the set of the University of Cumbria’s very own TV show. I was lucky enough to spend a few hours on the UOCTV’s set at the Brampton Road campus and during my brief time there I was astounded at the effort that went into a single episode. The heroes of this tale are Film and TV students Stephanie Kiewel, Max Evans, Ross Perry and Fil Cumberland. These guys are the brains behind the operation. The four show runners are expected to do everything. From day one they have to organise the film crews to go out and capture the footage as well as editing the show and writing the script and that’s only scratching the surface. There’s a huge amount of work to be done before each episode airs, and certainly not in the easiest conditions. The whole team has to come together as a single unit if there is any chance of success. The presenters for the episode, Beth Shakespeare and Stephanie Kiewel performed their lines under immense pressure. Time is ticking, they are constantly aware that any mistake they might make is another precious minute or two shaved off the crucial few hours they have to shoot. If they don’t get it right in those two hours then that’s it, no episode. They have to be ready to adapt

On set with university of cumbria’s television show as well, constant adjustments are made to the script on set mere moments before they have to recite it for the cameras. It’s not only the presenters who were kept busy on the day. Fil Cumberland who has been with the project since the beginning has become the self-described ‘jack of all trades’, able to help with camera work one moment and re-program the autocue the next. Max Evans all the while was busy taking charge

‘Working on set has always been enjoyable’ of the sound and cameras, keeping a constant vigilant eye on all the equipment making sure it worked perfectly, and if there was a fault it was fixed moments later. Perhaps one of the toughest jobs on the day was Ross Perry’s. His task was to give direction to the team trying to make sure everything was at its finest. This included making sure everyone involved from moment to moment knew what was expected of them, adjusting lines if something wasn’t clicking, and asking for retakes if he thought a segment could be done better. It all went brilliantly, on set there was a real air of professionalism as everybody comes together; using

the experience and knowledge they have gained from their course to produce the show. Production doesn’t stop in the studio either, hours are spent putting footage together in the editing suite, polishing it to perfection. The hardest part though admits Stephanie is: “Organising everyone, it’s difficult to make sure you have people in the right places at the right time especially film crews who are out getting the footage.” Despite all these stresses though it’s worth it Fil told me: “Working on set has always been enjoyable. I will not lie and say it’s stress free but that is only because of the amount of work it takes to get the show right. I always look back with fond memories.” Also from a career standpoint it wasn’t an opportunity to be missed said Fil: “I know that the skills I have learned would certainly help in attaining work in a future career, especially for work as a runner as UOCTV offers a variety of roles and tasks within a TV industry format.” All in all UOCTV is a fabulous way to show skill from the university’s students, with all the talents tying in with their Film and TV course: “Everything we do is something we learned on our course.” Stephanie added. If you want to check out the UOCTV head over to: uoctv. That’s a wrap. WORDS ALAN JAMES photo by Katrin Deer




new film Campaigning against the UK’s otter cull Wildlife and media student, Siân Hill is creating a documentary to campaign against the alleged plans to cull otters in the UK. Even though they are a protected species, numerous people believe there are too many; fishermen in particular are saying they kill large numbers of fish so they are proposing ideas such as otter culling. “My film is basically a protest against it.” Explained Siân. “I’ve noticed that films which have been created through the media are very biased towards culling otters, so I’m going to create a very informative film showing both sides of the argument, but it would still be biased towards not doing it because the scientific information they’ve got behind it is not good quality research, and they can’t justify saying there needs to be an otter cull.” Siân was inspired to pursue this idea after seeing documentaries which were in favour of the cull, at first she was planning on doing it alongside her university projects but as the idea developed she decided to change this: “As it turned out I seemed to be more interested in working on creating this film than my actual final project so I decided to change it and do this instead.” The process of planning the documentary started with Siân getting in touch with people she thought would be interested in helping her make the film. “I know a scientist that’s currently

doing research on otter movement in Ullswater and he said he’d be interested in doing an interview. I’m also in touch with another guy that films fish in rivers and his work has been on BBC Springwatch; he’s very enthusiastic which will help engage the audience. I also happen to know a few fishermen that do want the otters to be culled and are willing to go on camera.” The next step for Siân was to begin developing the story for the

‘the otters being cute is not enough for people to say no to the cull’ film. She did this with the help of her tutor Michael Mitchell and has now moved onto the filming stage which Siân is doing with the help of fellow students. Alongside raising awareness, Siân also hopes the film will educate people about otters and their important role in the river environment. “Unfortunately otters being cute isn’t enough for people to say no to the otter cull.” She is hoping that the film will be finished in March and will be available online by May. Siân has channelled her passion of


environmental conservation into her role as the university’s Ethical and Environmental Officer, which she has been doing since last year. “The role kind of entails whatever I want it to, as a student representative you can put in as much or as little as you want because you’re a volunteer. But you are expected to do certain things such as attending executive meetings within the Students’ Union to make decisions so it’s quite an important thing.” The hardworking student does a lot of campaigns and projects in her role at the university. “Last year I did a nuclear waste debate, a Fairtrade fashion show, I campaigned to get land at Ambleside so they can grow their own food and I also did some workshops with the business students at Lancaster.” The busy 23-year-old is always on the go and is enjoying her time working for the university. “I love it, it’s nice to know that I’m doing my bit for the environment.” Siân has quite a few ideas on what she would like to do after her degree, including continuing her work at the university by becoming a Sabbatical Officer. She also has plans to have her own filming tuition business. “I love going to rainforests so I think I’d specialise in taking people out there and showing them how to film in that environment.” She also aspires to help out with conservation projects around the world. WORDS HELEN PARTON 25



Third year wildlife and media student, Dom Boulding will be travelling to Thailand in a few months time to document the work that goes on at the world’s first elephant hospital through photography. Dom, 22, will be spending four weeks in Lampang in Thailand early next year visiting the Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital which is run by Soraida Salwala and was set up in 1993. The hospital helps orphans of poaching, elephant land mine victims and elephants which have been mistreated in captivity by locals who use them for logging illegally. These problems are a serious


issue, especially in Burma as illegal logging is a big trade. There are still lots of land mines left from past conflicts, which is how some elephants end up with limbs blown off. Dom’s intention will be to document what the hospital does to help these injured animals through photography for his final year project. Dom was inspired to take on the project after his dad who lives in Thailand attended a conference where Soraida was talking about the hospital: “He thought this would be a fantastic project to do because the ivory trade is still legal in Thailand. They’re thinking about making it illegal but have not done so yet which makes it quite an interesting

topic and I thought it sounded pretty cool.” As an avid birder, Dom’s focus and passion for wildlife mainly lies with bird watching but felt like a change when it came to his final project: “I think it’s going to be good for me to go out and look at elephants for once.” He is hoping to get a lot out of his visit to Thailand. He has had to do plenty of research about the Asian elephant before he goes out there, giving him a better understanding of the elephants that have had a bad life: “It’s so I have a bit of an insight for when I get there.” The wildlife enthusiast is hoping he can capture why this woman has set up the hospital and what makes her

Documenting the world’s first elephant hospital in Thailand so passionate and try and express it through photography. “It’s actually quite a horrific story but trying to keep it as positive as possible is a key thing.” Dom was inspired to do a wildlife and media degree because it would allow him to continue to do something he has always enjoyed: “I’ve been a birder for at least ten years and I like to take photos as well, so why not combine them.” “It’s been pretty good I mean it’s quite science based but it’s nice. I don’t want it to be all media because then I’d have done a media course but this is a good combination of the two.” The wildlife and media student explained what his favourite part of the course has been for him: “I’d probably have to say biodiversity; we get to learn about so many different things ranging from tardigrades which are tiny little microscopic water bears as they’re called, all the way up to birds and wee beasties. It was a really good thing to do and we got to do dissections which have always been great fun.” Dom also had the chance to go on an expedition in his second year. “We went to the Cairngorms in Scotland for a week and stayed

in a lovely cottage to look for Ptarmigans, Capercaillies, Crested Tits, Deer and Red Squirrels.” One of the main considerations Dom needs to take into account when taking photos of wildlife is you can’t always plan what you’re going to be taking a photo of, simply because nature doesn’t work like that. His best source for finding wildlife to photograph comes from people he meets whilst walking in parks:

‘It’s actually quite a horrific story but trying to keep it as positive as possible is a key thing’ “I got told by a lovely couple who I met walking down the river Caldew that they regularly see otters down there. So it’s just the case of going back there and checking it out. I haven’t seen any there yet but I

have seen Kingfishers, Dippers, Sandpipers, Gulls, Sparrowhawks and Herons. You don’t really need to sit and wait. If you’re still they will come back to you, which is the key thing I’ve found has worked countless times.” Out of the many photos Dom has taken, there is one which really stands out for him: “A flying Ptarmigan. It’s this white bird with a few streaks of its grey summer plumage coming through which brings it out against the white background. I really like that photo and it’s actually gone through in a competition.” Dom has already been thinking about what he would like to do after his degree. One of his ideas is to work with another wildlife photographer Kurt J Bertel who runs photography safaris all around the world. Having contacts within the wildlife photography industry is an extremely useful tool to have. “I have also been teaching photography at Center Parcs so I wouldn’t mind doing something like that around the world or in England. But otherwise just take photos and enjoy it, that’s what my life plan really is.” WORDS HELEN PARTON

Ptarmigan in flight: stunning photo of the bird in the snow Top at cairngorms, scotland Left Dom shooting in Africa left center Trekking in Gambia right waiting patiently for the perfect image



T: @campuscumbria I: e: W: A SHOWCASE OF STUDENT TALENT AND SKILL at uoc



CAMPUS Issue 1  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you