Becoming the Inclusions officer at Coventry University’s Creative Writing Society.

In resent elections, I was elected as the Inclusions officer for the Creative writing society. As a inclusion officer my core role, is to have contact with students and be a more of contact for students who might find it more difficult to sign up and get stuck in to a society. Basically making sure everyone in and outside of the society feels welcome and feels like they can discuss any issues they have.

Some of the tasks that lay with the Inclusions officer are, promotion, working with other committee members to ensure that their area has taken inclusion issues into consideration. Event organization, with the help of other committee members in order to  promote the society and also get the members of the society involved in events.  I also have the job to deal confidentially with issues that students might have.

One plan that I have for developing the society is to create a shared publishing site, so that those members who wished to submit their writing online can do that in a safe space. I need to work on the development of such a site but hopefully there should be something in the making by the start of next year. I can use my website skills and design expertise in order to create a user friendly site, which everyone in the society can use. In a way once the site is being used my role on that front would change to moderator, making sure that the online environment remains a safe and supportive one.

 

Within These Walls 4

The Coventry Photo club have an exhibition annually based upon the PicBod photo course. I took part in the exhibition this year and last year.

This year I wanted to show photographs that showed the anxiety some people face and the negative impact this can have upon a person.

The words written on the models faces are representative to some of the anxieties people feel, putting them on their faces shows how vulnerable they are to external words and internal thoughts. The bound hands is used to represent the crippling effect that these fears and anxiety on people, as it stops them from reaching their goals.

Graphic Beauty, Interview and potential collaboration.

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At the start of the easter holidays I had an informal interview/ meeting with a group of students looking to form a group of artistic collaborators. They wanted to make a group made up of make up artists, models, photographers and set designers in order to be able to create images and photos together. The creation of such as group would allow people to have a ready pool of people to work with on projects, whether for a personal or professional project.

I wanted to join the group as a photographer. The questions asked where mainly to do with my experience, at which point I told them about my portfolio and my participation in the photo club society.

I thought the interview went well, I have heard back about a potential meeting in order to meet the other people who also joined the group. But as of yet, there is still designations to be made as to when and where.

I was a little stressed about the interview, not because of what it was for but mainly the fact that I had been in hospital over night and had not be discharged until two hours before the interview. Needless to say there was a little bit of a rush to get there on time, that being said I gain arrived early.

Going for an Interview

Screenshot 2017-05-03 01.12.34Recently I was invited for an interview at OmAwake in Birmingham, for a social media internship. They company is an online based company, working to connect holistic practitioners with potential clients. The platform gives the partitioner tools in order to successfully run their business, such as calendars and scheduling. They had a social media presence already on Facebook and Twitter, but said that they wanted to expand their influence more in Instagram and other visual social media outlets.

First off finding the location was quite easy, I walked from the train station. But I did find a bus route that was located quite close to the building. I arrived very early, which is good on the one hand but I think it through the people giving the interview off a little, they thought I was someone else at first. But once we got past that part the interview went very well.

Some of the questions they asked were along the lines of, what my experience was and why I had chosen to do an internship with their company. I mentioned my marketing module which I took part in at the beginning of this year and told them my experience of working in groups and designing the graphics used in that module. I attempted to put a lot of enthuses on my visual skills, with using photoshop and other design tools, along with my photography.

The reason as to why I wanted to work with their company was relatively simple. I wanted to be able to connect people together on a social level, but also I had an interest in their company on a holistic level too. This is because of my Marfan Syndrome and the fact that holistic therapy was and still is a part of dealing with the pain that creates. So on a personal level I understood the importance of being able to connect to a holistic partitioner.

Overall I was happy with how the interview went, but I feel like I might of talked too much or too quickly due to being a little nervous. There was some reservations about me being at Coventry university  as they had worked with an intern from the university in the past and had some difficulty with communication and commuting to the office. I then mentioned that I was relatively free apart from the one day at university in the coming term and the fact that I lived relatively close to the train station. Making the hours I could work very flexible. They mentioned the fact that there could be communication over Skype and such. However they did also suggest that they might be looking for someone who lived in Birmingham.

The company is based within the Innovation Birmingham Campus ICentrum building. The building is host to a number of online start up companies. And the open layout of the building is meant to promote collaboration and productivity within the companies. It did seem like a very enjoyable environment to work in and it reminded me a little of the layout of my college.

There was one little worry I had when I arrived for the interview, due to the fact that it was raining outside I had not had chance to take my trainers off and switch to my black pumps. It was a silly thing to be worried about considering that I had dressed appropriately in business attire. But never the less it was one thing that I would of liked to have changed given the opportunity.

I hope to hear back from them during the week. At which point I will post about further developments and any feedback they might have from the interview.

Jumping into photography online

Okay so lets first establish that although I love photography, at the start of this year I was and still am as far away from a professional as you could get. Most of the photographs I have taken have usually been the ones taken at the write place at the write time. I wanted to try and move away from that, and instead move more towards being able to take a planed photo.

I had a photo blog and a flicker account that I had used in previous months, but it had been a while since I posted anything to it. After going to the photography show I started using the blog more adding new photos nearly on a weekly basis. But I also used my Instagram page and added my photos there too. I followed a number of different photographers on Instagram, who I am constantly inspired by. I then found a site called ViewBug which I had made an account on it a few years ago but had not posted any photos to it. ViewBug is more of a contest website, where there are a number of challenges and contests posted by other photographers.

I liked using the ViewBug site because it encourages people to pick out their best photographs and sometimes if I don’t have a photo for a particular contest I will go out and take it instead, this has lead me to plan out some of my photos. There a number of badges and a point system to encourage people to use the site and build up contacts. People can vote on your photos and like/ award your photos, they get points for this, these then encourage people to build up a supportive community.

I have attempted to build up more contacts throughout these websites, using Twitter to collaborate and direct people to view them. In the past I have shared the posts and photos to my Facebook profile, but I have found that due to the simple fact that I have a larger following on Twitter more people are likely to see the posts and follow them through to the sites. While for the most part this promotes these particular sites to potential customers it does also allow me to show off my work. Over the past couple of weeks I have noticed an increase in the number of impressions and engagement in my Twitter posts.

March 1,170 Impressions

April 3,927 Impressions

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I also took part in this years annual Photo Club exhibition ‘Within these walls’ in which I wanted to take photos that explored the inner and external anxieties that people feel, and how this can sometime prevent people from achieving their potential.

So far I have improved my photography, I have been using Adobe Lightroom more to edited my photos, which has become easier due to shooting primarily in RAW.

Photo Blog

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Instagram

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Flicker

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ViewBug

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Going to the Photography Show 2017

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There are moments when you meet people who just inspire you. This year I went to the photography show feeling a little lacking in ideas and inspiration. But after listening to some world renowned photographers and their experiences and seeing some of their work it makes you want to get up and go.

I didn’t come with a plan, I hadn’t looked into who was going to be there and like last year I thought that I would end up going from stall to stall looking at all the beautiful equipment that frankly I couldn’t dream of affording. But I instead I ended up going to some of the free talks being put on around the venue. One that I found interesting was a talk given by Lara Jade, who talked about fashion photography and her experience of getting into photography. She has fast become one of my favorite photographers. One thing that I found interesting is her experimentations with light and placing objects in front of the camera lens, often using the things around her to create her photography.

Lara Jade was one of many different speaker I saw that day. After, it left me wanting to hear more. I was a little sad when it came to leave. But I left with a spark of ideas and lots of inspiration.

Guest Speaker, Jonny Fewings

The third speaker was Jonny Fewings working in Media Consultancy. While the basis of the talk was more to do with final information and making films, I did find it informative and interesting. I can not see myself making films anytime soon but never the less there was useful advise for planning and budgeting, which could be useful in a number of media profession. One thing that I hadn’t realized before was that films can be brought at both ends of the spectrum, from already being filmed and edited to a simple script. The different films along this spectrum carry different risks. For example a company could buy a film in the early stages (script) it would cost less to buy, but a lot more money is needed for the production. However on the other hand you could buy a already made film, which is more expensive and then the film isn’t successful in the cinema. There are a number of thinks that he mentioned to consider, such as budget control, Effects, Location, Music, Technology and Funding. While much of this is to do with producing films I think I could use it in conjunction with Photography and social media management. For example, in order to produce a cost effective social media campaign I have to take into consideration how am I going to create this content. Which might lead into budgeting for a photo shoot, or using specific software to create images and posts.

Jonny Fewings also went into potential funding, and how to gain access to that funding in order to make a film. Although it would take a lot of planning it made me understand that even I could potentially make a very low budget film to a high quality. It makes these massive Hollywood successes feel a little less out of reach to achieve.

Guest Speaker, Natalie Cheary

Natalie Cheary was the second guest speaker we had talk to us, she explained to us her background in the PR industry and her career progression. As she stated in her talk she ‘started off by annoying the spice girls’ but then she started to work with them on their merchandise deals. Once she moved into freelance work it gave her access to a wide range of projects. This idea of freelance work dose sound more and more appealing, it would allow me to work across a wide range of companies and platforms. However as suggested with freelance, half the battle is building up contacts and being able to use those contacts successfully. Other wise no one will know about you and so they wont want to work with you. One of the main bits of advice I took away from this talk was the idea of making yourself indispensible, by learning a wide verity of skills. Also if you have skills such as photo editing and film production/ direction then this makes you invaluable to the company, as they don’t need to out source for that and instead have an in house production staff. PR itself is based on relationships and connections as a PM manager you have to be the connection between the media and your client. That being said while building up a rapport with your client, you also need to build up contacts and a rapport with the press. This way you can have better access to the stories that might run. Telling a Journalist ‘No comment’ or ‘you can’t run that’ is ill advised, as it hurts the relationship you might have with that journalist and also they will run the story anyway. Having an honest relationship with the press will allow you to be able to talk off the record when needed. There is a high turn over in the PR industry. In the PR industry you need to market yourself through networking and building up contacts, as being able to get your client to the right paper or on the right program can be made easier if you build up more contacts.

Applying for too many things at once. One bad experience.

While on the one hand, applying for everything and anything will indeed get you a response from some companies, it will also make your time available to companies that aren’t quite what your looking for.

This is one experience I had recently, where I applied for a dozen or so companies and got responses from three in particular, all being marketing positions and all of them using the method of ‘direct marketing’. At first I was very excited, I rushed at the opportunity to go for an interview and quickly arranged an one with each of the three companies. I went online to further research each of these companies, and their managers. This was in order to prep myself for the usual questions ‘What do you know about our company so far?’ ‘What made you choose this company?’ ‘Why are you interested in marketing?’, those are the questions I would of expected to be asked.

But as I went online I found that two out of the three companies had been located in the same building, I thought maybe it was an office building, shared by a number of different companies, it didn’t seem odd at first. Then I went a little deeper and discovered that one of those companies had recently moved to the new location and had in fact shared the same office space as the third company. In all they all new each other, this might not be uncommon, but when doing my research all this started to ring alarm bells. I soon discovered a site that allowed you to look at a companies declared finical statues and information about the company. All three were on this site, with one having a declared net worth of £2 and thousands of pounds lost from the previous years. Leading to the suggestion that it was a company on the decline, perhaps the very reason for the relocation.

This dose not include the number of employee reviews I found of each of the companies, going into detail how three step interview process was made in order to entice people into the role with the promise of managerial positions after a short period of four to eight months of team work and training. But in reality very few people make it to that managerial role at all. There were many people who felt that they had been cheated out of their time, as the position was not as advertised in the description and often people would be asked back for an ‘observation day’ in which they would do a full day of work with out being paid, only to find that they were expected to go door to door attempting to sell to home owners. This is what the term ‘direct marketing’ is usually associated with, researching potential customers and where they live so that people can go to their homes, their places of work and in their retail environments (shopping centre’s) in order to gain sales. It goes without saying that potentially vulnerable could be taken advantage of with this type of campaign, which in itself is morally questionable.

There was one more thing that I found while doing my research about the companies, press articles had been released by each of the companies had been released on the same site. This in itself is not odd and completely normal especially for a publication to do with marketing and business. However it was the similarity in syntax that looked oddly familiar in all three articles.

Company 1 ‘long-lasting business relationships between brand and consumer which often leads to increased customer acquisition, brand awareness and brand loyalty for their clients.’

Company 2 ‘long-lasting and personal relationships between brand and consumer which often leads to increased lead generation, brand awareness and quality sales for their clients.’

Company 3 ‘This drives long-lasting and personal business relationships between brand and consumer which, in turn, often leads to increased customer acquisition, brand awareness and brand loyalty for their clients’

Finally after all of that and a little part of me saying it’s a waist of my time, I went to the first two interviews I had organized them on the same day, because they were in the same building. I went into a small waiting room with a desk and lots of couches with people sitting on them. I was told to fill out the information sheets to both companies and then wait my turn. While waiting the two receptionists phone numerous people telling them they had been selected for an interview, all the while people where flowing into the waiting room and asked to fill in a sheet for what I gathered to be four separate companies.

The interviews where very brief, lasting what only felt like ten minutes and mostly going into work the company did and the progression path to a managerially role, as I have said before these are to entice people into thinking they can earn lots of money. But what is not made clear is that the employees are classed as contractors and therefore self employed, meaning there is no safety net in place, if you get sick and can’t work its not the company’s responsibility to give you sick pay. This leads to the final observation when going to these interviews, it is purely commission, meaning there is no minimum wage in these positions.

After all that I had released that these companies where not the type of place I wanted to work for or with. And so I had decided not to go to the third interview.

This might be a long winded post but the main point of it was to show the importance of doing research before you go to a interview. You might not like what you find out.

Website design for a restaurant.

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I offered my services to the restaurant that I work at to create a website for them to use temporarily. I used Jimdo an online template website and re designed the layout to better fit the restaurant. The main purpose of the website was to put information such as menus online making it more easily available and accessible to customers.

I used a mixture of photos taken by my manager of some of the food along with some photos I took of the interior of the restaurant in order to reflect the atmosphere of the restaurant and the quality of its food.

The website can be found at the link below.

The Windmill Inn