Date published: May 04, 2016

Alumni overwhelmed by new Salford facilities give arts and media students advice

Salford alumni from the 90s and the Millennials told our current students during Create at Salford festival how the university has improved their career prospects.

Eight panellists visited Media City, which didn’t exist when they were students, and said they were overwhelmed at the new facilities.

The alumni praised University of Salford’s brilliant reputation for its arts and media courses, and shared their tips on how to make the most out of your Salford degree.

They said passion is needed over anything else to succeed in creative industries, and rather than have a desire to be famous people should strive to be recognised for their work.

Most of the former students tried out different industries before settling in their chosen area, and they advised to be experimental and keep your options open.

They also emphasised that you should go on placements now that you can afford it as a student, as it will help you to find out what you enjoy in your chosen field.

James McDonald studied Media Production in 2006 and now is co-founder and creative director at Tunafish Media with two friends who are also Salford graduates.

He said: “I’ve always wanted to start my own production company and meeting like-minded people at university helped me to achieve that.

“The different modules in my degree helped me to work out what my strengths were and what I enjoyed doing.

“Coming back to Salford University, I’m getting a bit jealous about the new facilities! Perhaps current students don’t realise how good they are compared to when I was there.”

Debbie Sharp considers herself lucky to be a self-sufficient freelance artist, and she has her 1997 degree in Visual Arts and Culture to thank for it.

She said: “It took me ten years to get where I am, juggling part-time jobs and my art. The course gave me a strong foundation to find my way and focus on what I liked.

“I found it quite challenging – in a good way – but my grades weren’t really good because I was doing more experimental stuff outside of university.

“We had a strong art scene at the time and many art students were in bands which inspired my work. Salford University created many opportunities for art students.

“The university has now got an international profile thanks to Media City and I am considering doing a PhD here just to use the brilliant new facilities.”

Freelance actor and film-maker Zafar Iqbal studied Media Performance back in 2000 and has made four films since then, with a documentary coming out soon.

He said: “I had plans and dreams before university but going to Salford really taught me how to act and film from a technical point of view.

“Back then, the standard of teaching was industry level and the facilities were great, although it’s a shame I wasn’t here in Media City; my course had a great reputation.

“Salford University is one of the best places to be if you want a career in the media industry.”

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