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Friday 6 December 2019

The Media Technology Programme was thrilled to welcome alumni, former staff and current students to a celebration for the programme's 25th anniversary.

The event was attended by over a hundred people from across the sound, vision and acoustics industries. It kicked off with a networking lunch in The Spark's lower atrium with an amazing vibe as those present caught up with each other and met current students. One of the more amusing greetings was "What are you doing here?" as several graduates discovered people they'd worked with were also alumni of the programme. It was great for the course team to catch up with former staff and for current students to network with an amazing array of industry professionals.

Attendees catch up over a networking lunch

The formal part of the day comprised talks from the programme's founder Roger Lownsborough and current course leader Polly Hickling. Solent's chief marketing officer Leigh Rengger kicked off the proceedings and presented some impressive statistics around the number of graduates from the programme and the impact of Solent graduates in general. Roger's section on where the programme came from didn't disappoint with his signature blend of wit and sharp observation. The course team have just revalidated the programme so it was great to then hear about the latest courses on offer from Polly. It was both interesting and reassuring to see the ethos of the programme is very much the same albeit with different technologies and rather a lot more equipment.

Top Left: Chief Marketing Officer, Leigh; Top Right: Course Leader, Polly Hickling and Founder, Roger Lownsborough; Bottom: the graduate panel

Following the talks, Polly hosted a panel discussion amongst a range of graduates from across the years. She was joined by an impressive line-up:

  • Sabina Bunger: Network Operations manager at Global
  • Neville Hooper: Deputy Head of Sound at NEP Visions
  • Emily Bergun: Associate Broadcast Support Engineer
  • Tom Giles: Broadcast Technical Manager AELTC
  • Mark Dowie: Sound and Vibration Application Specialist B & K
  • Lia Smith: Design Technician at Ideaworks
  • Richard Welsh: CEO Sundog Media Toolkit Ltd

This was a good opportunity to take the pulse of the industry and for those present to understand the challenges faced and opportunities presented by the industry, universities and students. There was some lively discussion and the team were grateful to receive several offers of support from those present including guest lectures, visits, work experience, placements and equipment. Industry contact is the lifeblood of the programme and its warming to know there is still such an appetite to help develop our graduates.

Specialist facilities clockwise: Atmos Cinema, Hemi-anechoic chamber, electronics lab, broadcast lab, and the new truck

Proceedings closed with tours of our specialist facilities including our Dolby Atmos cinema, immersive audio lab, hemi-anechoic chamber, mixing studios, broadcast and electronics labs. The highlight for many was a look around our new outside broadcast truck, which is part way through being fitted in order to replace the original vehicle.

As has become a tradition with alumni events, several people stayed to socialise over a curry – we possibly broke a record here with a table for 45 – well done Coriander Lounge!

It was great to catch up with many familiar faces and to meet some new ones. Industry engagement has and remains at the core of the programme and we're grateful to receive such support from our graduate community and wider friends. Here's to the next 25 years of 'media-aware engineers'!