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University a key player in new BBC-city partnership

Underwater scene from BBC 'Life' series

Underwater scene from BBC 'Life' series courtesy of BBC

9 October 2009

The University is to play a part in the first-ever BBC-city partnership announced yesterday by BBC Director-General Mark Thompson as part of a new drive to work with local agencies to boost the regional creative economies across the UK.

The BBC has signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding with a number of key Bristol agencies and organisations to help ensure that Bristol and the South West remains at the forefront of digital media production. The partnership includes Bristol City Council, South West England Regional Development Agency, South West Screen and an alliance of creative industries, community organisations and academic institutions in the city including Bristol Media, the University of Bristol, the University of the West of England and Futurelab.

The agreement commits the BBC to partner and work with local agencies in areas such as boosting local TV production and film-making, tackling the digital divide, digital skills and media literacy and collaborating on digital and connectivity projects. 

Mark Thompson said the agreement is the first of what could be many partnerships with cities across the UK. He also pledged that the South West could be a world leader in natural history programming for decades to come. The forthcoming ‘Life’ series, which starts on BBC One next week, showed that the ‘creative brilliance of programme makers in the region goes from strength to strength’.

Initiatives include:

  • A new drive in local schools and colleges to boost media and digital production skills and find the Sir David Attenboroughs of the future.
  • A ‘school for DJs’ with the BBC to open up its studios and local presenters to act as mentors for local young people with a flair for presenting or producing programmes.
  • A project specifically focused on harder to reach communities offering media and digital training to 18 to 25-year-olds keen to pursue a career in media.
  • A new micro budget feature film initiative, ‘iFeatures’, to boost local film-making.

The partners intend that working together more closely and sharing expertise, resources and ambitions will bring cultural and economic benefits to the people of Bristol, the city and the South West.

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