Friday, 7 April 2017

UNLEARN // REDEFINE - highlights from the BCU School of Media PR conference

Yesterday, second year PR students from our course organised, facilitated and participated in the UNLEARN // REDEFINE conference hosted here at Birmingham City University. The conference was an opportunity for students to showcase their research and understanding of PR in context and to network with practitioners, whilst there were three prominent guests on the bill. 

Jill Pearcy, Head of Corporate Communications for HS2, gave an insightful talk about the communication challenges ahead over the next twenty years. Following lunch, we then welcomed a panel consisting of Rachel Roberts, Founder of Spottydog Communications and CIPR Midlands committee chair, and Ollie Purdom, Co-founder of Pitch Consultants, discussing how to pursue a career in PR and bridging the gap between study and entering the profession.

It was a packed agenda and we had visitors from various different backgrounds join us to hear what the students and speakers had to say, with some lively debate and interesting points raised.

Here's the full report, as covered by the BCU press team (view the news article here)...

Jill Pearcy discussing HS2

Student presentations focused on a range of topics including the recent brand reputation crisis of Samsung mobile products catching fire and the engagement ideas behind  EDF Energy’s ‘I Am Pretty’ campaign, aimed at encouraging more young females to consider careers in science and engineering.
The keynote speech at the event was delivered by Jill Pearcy, Head of Corporate Communications at HS2, who shared insights into the importance of building trust with communities and consumers.

Philip Young, course leader for BA and MA Public Relations at Birmingham City University’s School of Media, said: “The event was a great success and provided students with a perfect opportunity to show PR practitioners - their potential employers - the range of exciting thinking and research that is central to our teaching here at the University.
"As well as showcasing their own talents, our students gained so much from hearing from three inspirational speakers who are all committed to promoting Birmingham as a thriving hub for business and creativity.”
Kelly O’Hanlon, senior lecturer in Public Relations at Birmingham City University, added: “The conference was a great learning opportunity for our students but also for practitioners who attended and engaged with us on the day, to see what our students are learning and applying – and how the professionals of the future are shaping up.
Jill Pearcy, Head of Corporate Communications for H2S: ‘With our headquarters set up in Birmingham, we are obviously keen to build links with the community and professionals alike, We’re building jobs for the future and to me, working with future PR professionals is key and events such as today interest me as the region has so much to offer. Also the chance to talk about such an exciting project with Birmingham City University and the School of Media PR specialists was something I wouldn’t want to pass up.’

Rachel Roberts, discussing how PR isn't just about being the next Patsy and Eddie

Rachel Roberts, Founder of Spottydog Communications and Chair of the CIPR Midlands Committee: ‘The BCU Student PR Conference always provides a great opportunity to bring together professionals and students.  Fostering close relations between industry and the University benefits all – the students get insights based on real-life practice and professionals also hugely benefit from the fresh perspectives students can bring.’

Ollie Purdom championing the region as a hub of creative talent

Ollie Purdom, Founder and Client Services Director at Pitch Consultants: ‘As a specialist recruiter we’re committed to supporting the PR and marketing sector and have worked closely with BCU since setting up our B-Hive scheme in 2009. We’re always impressed with the quality of talent coming through BCU and see these types of events as crucial in helping students transition from their studies to employment.’

Be sure to follow our conversations over on Twitter too, for more photos, videos and chats during the day, and below, current third year Heather Woodhouse has provided her highlights from another memorable PR conference:

Let's just wait and see what the next one has in store in 2018...


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