University of Salford Arrives at MediaCityUKSeptember 6, 2011
After three and a half years of involvement with the University of Salford’s MediaCityUK project I’ve finally arrived. For the last few years I’ve gradually set aside teaching commitments and eventually ended up pretty much full time on preparing us for this move, mainly as MediaCityUK Coordinator for the College of Science and Technology at the University, but also helping to set up partnerships with external organisations ready for our move here.
First impressions: the building is fabulous!
Being here during various stages of building and fitting out in no way prepares for it. Students are going to love this! Staff offices are large, bright and airy open plan areas across the scenic end of both second and third floors overlooking the Manchester Ship Canal, the Lowry Theatre and the Imperial War Museum North. I got lucky with my desk on the third floor with a window seat but the desks are arranged so that every other desk is a hot desk. Great for collaborative working, just pull up a chair with colleagues and off you go.
There are hot rooms around this area too for confidential meetings with students or colleagues, and lots of comfy informal seating areas for other meetings and socialising. There are large plasma screens all over the place with details of events, class changes etc, lots of connectivity everywhere with power sockets built into furniture and into lockers – handy for phone charging etc – and wifi is already available throughout the building although we’re still waiting for the hard wired network to be switched on. I’ve arrived a week early so I can help in snagging and help out the rest of my colleagues as they arrive next week so it’s not fully operational yet. I’m right next to the Research Hotel as well so close contact with visiting researchers. The policy of mixing up academics from different schools I think is going to mean a lot more cross disciplinary work in both teaching and research – we’re already plotting how we can improve both media and engineering courses by collaborative teaching while we are in training sessions learning about the studios.
The stairs to each of our four floors go as a single run with each floor colour coded, red for first, green second and blue up on the third and the colour theme covers furniture and also the glass all round the stairs. The impression is a world away from the tired old building I’ve come from on the main campus, it’s easy to see how this place could be a real motivator for students striving to live up to what it promises. Certainly it is working for staff and there’s a real buzz around the place, even with only a handful of staff in permanent residence (until next week) there are many more coming in for training on the facilities. After unpacking on Monday I went straight to the first of five days of training in our new TV studios – not my area of expertise except for the audio aspects but it ties closely in with some of my research activity and I’m happy to find any excuse to learn how it all works. We’re getting trained up by Ash, from our creative technician demonstrators team and although the studios were only commissioned a few days ago he’s doing a fine job of sharing what he is learning from TSL the systems integrators on the project.
Other facilities look just as good, the journalism/newsroom area is laid out much like others I have seen at the BBC but shiny new and untouched – this area is sponsored by Avid and makes use of much of their latest industry standard newsroom software. You may have seen we have internships with Avid now as part of a partnership associated with our move to MediaCityUK, other interesting projects to come up with Avid too I hope, they’re great people to work with. Just another of the opportunities coming our way as a result of our move here.
I’ll update this later this week with pictures from some of our other facilities when I can get a decent camera in, meanwhile it’s on with the adventure. I’m really looking forward to welcoming our new students here on October 4th. It’s going to be a very good year.