BBC presenter Jeff Brown launches University’s new £1.4 million facilities

Jeff Brown, presenter of BBC Look North, is paying a visit to the University of Sunderland today (Wednesday, November 17th) to officially launch its new state of the art photography and media facilities.

Jeff will also take a tour of the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s, which is home to the new photography centre, a new virtual production studio and community radio station Spark’s new studio.

It comes just over a month after multi-platinum, award-winning singer songwriter Emeli Sandé, who is also Chancellor of the University, returned to Sunderland to check out the new facilities.

Lee Hall, Head of the School of Media and Communication at the University of Sunderland, recently shortlisted as University of the Year, in this year’s THE – Times Higher Education – annual awards, said: “This is a special time to be studying media and photography at Sunderland as we continue to invest in our facilities to support our talented students on their creative journeys.

“We are delighted that Jeff Brown, one of the North East’s most established and respected broadcasters, can see first-hand the facilities we have put in place to help our students develop the skills they need to succeed in the creative industries.”

The £1.1 million Northern Centre of Photography at David Goldman Technology Centre is kitted out with architect-designed breakout spaces with access to the new Digital Incubator, which supports students interested in exploring freelance work.

It is also a stone’s throw away from the University’s mediaHUB and the National Glass Centre, giving students the opportunity to become part of a vibrant creative hub with those studying other creative degrees.

In August this year, work was completed on the 4K-UHD virtual production studio at the David Puttnam Media Centre.

The £300,000 system includes a wireless-linked handheld StarTracker Viewfinder, high-grade green-screen walls and flooring, and a Mo-Sys StarTracker Studio with a camera tracking unit – the same tech used for the BBC’s Tokyo Olympics studio coverage.

Spark’s new £80,000 custom-designed studio, also at the Media Centre, includes new wall art designed by Sunderland graduates, a new camera system, which allows students to film or stream interviews, and a new height adjustable desk.

Studio 5 was officially opened in September by BBC Radio 1 presenter and Sunderland graduate Jordan North.

And it doesn’t stop there, as there are even more exciting plans in the pipeline.

Professor Arabella Plouviez, Academic Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries at the University of Sunderland, said: “The fabulous investment we have seen in our TV, radio and photography areas, is already enabling our students to access a range of resources at the forefront of their subjects, giving them valuable hands-on experience with new technologies. But there is more to come on our journey of re-imagining our Media Centre.

“We are looking forward to delivering a fully integrated mediaHUB, reflecting the disappearing boundaries and the integrated platforms that operate across contemporary media practice. There are also plans for a new, intimate screening room that will partner our large capacity cinema supporting not just the making of media but also the experience of the viewer.

“Our aim is to continue to develop our professional media environment whether you are interested in film, TV, podcasting, photography, animation, journalism or games, and to support our graduates into the creative industries of today and tomorrow.”

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