The first week of university can be a mixture of anticipation, challenges and excitement all rolled into one. For this year’s September cohort, this was no exception! The very first day, when the lecturers said, “We’re throwing you in at the deep end”, they were not joking!

With three showcases to cover on social media we got to work with groups of new people from all over the world and it was truly unforgettable. Each showcase provided us with distinctly different projects covering a wide range of contemporary topics.

Being at the beginning of our MA journey, we were able to grasp the level of work we would be expected to achieve in our short twelve months. Seeing the remarkable achievements of our colleagues was intimidating, but it also provided us with some insight and drive to aim to be that good and better!

Media Showcase One was a different experience to the others. Students had created short films in styles that mimicked other existing international film genres: Hong Kong New Wave, Magic Realism and Japanese Horror. Many of us were unaware of these genres, so it was a chance to gain some basic knowledge into the elements of each genre, whilst also seeing the outcome of one modules work.

A Shadow Hangs Over Us’ referred to a literal metaphor surrounding taboo and almost ignored topics like war, racism, slave trade, feminism, human trafficking, pollution and several others. It shed light on the reality of the lives of many on a global scale. Using several different languages allowed it to diversify its scope of audience, whilst remaining engaging. Granted the topics covered could be seen as distressing, they highlighted something poignant: reality is reality and for some it can be very scary.

Media Showcase Two titled, #SomethingFamiliar, was all about projects students conducted whilst in Barcelona earlier this year. One project used over two thousand images to create mosaics of three famous landmarks, La Sagrada Família, Park Guell and Les Quatres Columnes. According to Sylvia, who worked on this project they aimed to to consider Foucault’s idea of heterotopia and how these locations represent Catalonian culture and space.
Another utilised Virtual Reality as if to transport you to the exact moment of the footage filmed. From the sandy beaches of the day to the nightlife and party culture.

Another project focused on storytelling and how the manner in which we tell these stories vary. It is difficult to convey a narrative through the use of images and colours around us. We often subconsciously relate them to something precise, red = anger, romance or passion. Speaking to Emmanuel one of the group members, he explained that the use of colour was the way they wanted to represent each different area of the city of Barcelona.

Media Showcase Three was presented by the September starters of 2016, those at the end of their MA journey. Every piece was different from the other, covering an array of topics from feminism to vegetarianism, sparking debates into relevant areas, with opinions on either side from staff and students.

You can listen to some interviews here:

All in all, induction week allowed us to gain the intensive insight we needed to kick start the beginning of our MA. All the students were supportive and full of helpful advice to prepare us for the next twelve months ahead!