Lights… Camera… Scholarship!

Jordan Fraser was awarded an Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students for producing three short movies in 2013. He has just completed his first year studying on our BA (Hons) Film and Television Production degree.

I caught up with Jordan the other day to discover how receiving a scholarship has made a difference to his film making and to hear about what he’s been up to since being presented with his award. So, without too much further ado… Action!

“Looking back, I’m really proud of the three short movies that were recognised by being offered the Entrance Scholarship. Within my short movies, I particularly enjoy creating layered stories which, although not always apparent on the first watch, cleverly incorporate visual clues.

Obviously, without a Spielberg budget I couldn’t buy Pinewood but the scholarship cash was a very welcome gift that allowed me to purchase some very important pieces of kit including SLR lenses, a shoulder mount, computer upgrades and editing software to help me on my way for the first year.

And what a year it’s been. I’ve had to successfully make the transition from being my own boss, so to speak, to applying my knowledge and collaborating with my peers, making the most of the great facilities the campus has to offer, and quickly learning how other factors such as people with their individual ideas and personalities affected me directly. This was quite a culture shock and I had to adapt quickly.

The first brief I received on the course was to create a short film based loosely on a series of ‘shorts’ called Coffee and Cigarettes whereby we needed to prop the scene with one of the two items. So coffee it was, accompanied by Valentine’s cards. The synopsis here was a minimal café scene, where two friends meet after a long time apart. In the short time they have together, it becomes apparent that they have differing views on everything (including coffee and Valentine’s Day!).

Take 2 and our second movie is more of a dark espionage affair. This film taught me a lot, both in the art of filmmaking but also about working with actors. I couldn’t have asked for more from my leading man, learning his lines and pulling off a brilliant performance in just three days. As his director, I instilled how angry, emotional and petrified he should feel and it worked.

Now, it’s summer. I’m thinking of ideas for some ‘off campus’ movies and the second year is looming. I can’t wait for the next episode to begin!”

Ain’t no mountain high enough for Connor

Connor Richmond was awarded an Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students in 2012 for demonstrating excellence in Performing Arts. He will begin the final year of his BA (Hons) Film and Television Production degree in September. He recently sent us an update of what he’s been up to since receiving his scholarship.

It’s always great to hear what our scholars have continued to achieve and Connor has certainly been making the most of his time at University, transferring his attention from the stage to become involved in the production of films, taking to the airwaves and even successfully competing in the Students’ Union’s annual elections! Connor acknowledges that receiving a scholarship has helped give him the confidence to pursue further success.

Although I have been involved with Drama in the past, including a professional youth production of Sweeney Todd for which I was awarded the Excellence Scholarship, my heart has always been beating for the creation of on-screen narratives a little more than on-stage stories. As a Film and Television Production student, witnessing both sides of production is an outstanding learning experience and one that continues to benefit my own work when producing films.

This year I have been involved in several productions of short films, projects and competitions. I was elected as Director of Photography on a collaborative project with five other students in which we created a short film entitled ‘The Cuckoo’ which also involved five other students in its creation. I composed the soundtrack for the film and recorded the score to a live screening of the edit. The film has been screened in Northern Ireland and we hope to submit it to various film festivals around the UK.

I also co-directed and produced a short documentary about the life, labour and legacy of Irish migrant and Liverpool legend, Kitty Wilkinson. Working with four other students, we met with Michael Kelly (author of ‘The Life of Kitty Wilkinson’), Revered Elizabeth Storey (Kitty’s great-grandniece) and Liverpool historian Greg Quiery. To our surprise, the documentary has been selected to feature in the 2014 Liverpool Irish Festival. I am very excited to watch it on the ‘big screen’ this October.

Being a scholar has been a great experience because it’s given me the confidence to tackle projects that I maybe wouldn’t have tackled in the past. There “ain’t no mountain high enough” as Marvin Gaye or Tammi Terrell might say!

Last summer, I was approached by a Tesco store in Northern Ireland and used the scholarship award money to fly home to direct, shoot and edit a campaign video for them. It was submitted by the store to an internal staff competition to coincide with the ‘Love Every Mouthful’ TV campaign. The video gained over 10,000 views online and was ranked in the top five of the competition.”

In addition to his flair for drama and film and television production, Connor has also enjoyed an active role with Edge Hill Students’ Union.

“I volunteered during Freshers Week and was consequently appointed Student Trustee. This inspired me to run for the position of Student Governor in the Annual Elections. I was overwhelmed and ecstatic when I received the most votes and was elected.

I also host my own radio show every week on ‘Vibe Radio’, part of the Students Union’s Media Platform, and this year took up the position of Senior Radio Presenter. This was a scary but fantastic challenge and I enjoyed every second of it. I have been selected to take up the job of Head Coordinator and Managing Director of the Radio for the next academic year. This is something I am extremely excited about and I cannot wait to grab the reins.”

From the Megabus to mega success

With many of our previous scholars completing their degrees and preparing to graduate this July, it seemed like a great opportunity to find out how and why receiving a scholarship had made a difference to their time at Edge Hill University.

We asked one of our graduating scholars Stephanie Marsh, who has just completed her PGCE in Secondary English with QTS (11-16) to reflect on being awarded an Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students in 2013. This is what Stephanie had to say!

“After applying to do my PGCE in Secondary English at Edge Hill University and accepting an offer of a place, I was over the moon. However, I knew that the demands of such a course may interfere with my commitments to voluntary work. This wasn’t something I wanted to happen, since both before and throughout my time at The University of York studying for an undergraduate degree, I had dedicated a large portion of my time to volunteering with children and vulnerable people. Some of my volunteering involved me helping at a residential camp for children in the social services system, as a youth worker with vulnerable teenage girls and as a teaching assistant at HMP Askham Grange. During my undergraduate degree, I was also Vice Chair for the Volunteering Society. Volunteering this much was fine – when I had the time! I quickly realised that juggling a part-time job to fund myself, a PGCE and continuing my volunteering work may not be a viable option! That’s why I was so glad when I stumbled upon the Excellence Scholarships page on the Edge Hill website, although I must admit I didn’t really expect my application would be considered worthy of an award.

Fast forward a few months to a hot day, sat on a Megabus to London and my phone rang. It was Zoe (the Scholarships Administrator at Edge Hill) and to my surprise she was congratulating me on being awarded the Excellence Scholarship. I was pretty amazed and obviously my weekend in London for a friend’s wedding involved a little extra celebration.

In every day terms, the scholarship has meant that financially I could afford to only work one shift a week in my part-time job whilst completing my PGCE studies, something that wouldn’t have been possible without the funding.  The knock on effect this had was simple; the extra time I was gaining meant I was able to pursue voluntary opportunities in my area, albeit on a more ad-hoc basis but I could still get involved all the same.

Now I’m at the end of my course and finally a qualified English teacher with a job lined up for September I can see clearly how the scholarship has benefited me. I am currently still involved with West Lancashire Young People’s Service and liaise with them often to volunteer at events. I’m also currently in the process of becoming an Independent Visitor to children in care through the charity NYAS. A year ago I was wondering how I could continue my voluntary work without the time or money, yet now I am pursuing it further than ever before and planning it into a new chapter of my life as I begin work as a teacher.”

We wish Stephanie the best of luck with her teaching career!

Daniel bowls over our Scholarship Selection Panel

A recent winner of one of our Excellence Scholarships for Prospective Students, Daniel Hamm dropped into the office the other day to update us on his progress and, wow, what a great year he has had!

Daniel plays cricket for Tranmere Victoria CC, Cheshire County CC and England PD team and was awarded a Sports Scholarship in September 2013. He has now just completed Year 1 of our BA (Hons) Physical Education and School Sport degree.

England Squad

This is what Daniel had to say about cricket and his first year as an Edge Hill University scholar.

“Over the past 12 months I have been fortunate enough to remain within the England PD Squad, with one of my highlights being selected to travel to Dubai to play Pakistan. The tour lasted two weeks and consisted of seven games (a warm up match, 3 T20’s and 3 ODI’s), I played in the warm up match and 2 T20 matches.

My role in the squad is a bowler and I am one of the few young spin bowlers with the team.  Although we did not come home victorious, I personally had a great time – not only did I get to play but we got to see a lot of the sights in Dubai and watch Lancashire CCC play – what an experience! I also learnt a lot about cultural differences, myself and my team mates. The experiences I went through can only help me become a better player and person as I go into my second year at Edge Hill in September.

Overall, I take great pride in how my first year at Edge Hill has gone and how well I have settled into things. I have thoroughly enjoyed the year, meeting new people, making new friends, attending seminars and lectures. I am happy with my results and how they are progressing as well as how well my cricket has been developing, I hope they both continue to go well during my next two years at Edge Hill.”

What being nominated for a scholarship meant to me

Did you know that while you can apply for a number of Edge Hill University’s scholarships yourself, if you are a current student you can also be nominated to receive a Chancellor’s Scholarship or an Adam Bell Scholarship? These awards recognise students who make an exceptional contribution to the University, help to raise the profile of Edge Hill in a positive way and/or demonstrate qualities such as dedication, compassion to others, and resilience.

Edward Teale, a second year DipHE Paramedic Practice student, was nominated for a Chancellor’s Scholarship by his tutor. The nomination was well-deserved recognition of his extensive volunteering work that led to him receiving the National Student of the Year award, as well as the high level of professionalism demonstrated on his placement. Recently we caught up with Thomas to find out what being chosen for a Chancellor’s Scholarship had meant to him.


“I was thrilled and delighted to simply be nominated for a Chancellor’s Scholarship but to be in receipt of it – what an accolade, what an honour! I feel very much obliged to all those who were involved in my selection for what I consider to be a very prestigious award. The ceremony was a very special evening for my family who travelled across the country to attend and see me receive my certificate from the University’s Chancellor, well-known Clinical Psychologist and TV Broadcaster Tanya Byron. My dad had been impressed with her life story and musical choices when she appeared on Desert Island Discs only a few days before the awards ceremony!

To be honest, I consider it a privilege simply to be a student on the Paramedic Practice course, training to qualify for the exciting, rewarding and totally absorbing world of the paramedic. In my case it was particularly gratifying to learn that my placement professional activities had been perceived as having special value for the family of one of my patients. Although the eventual outcome for the patient was extremely sad, it was very moving to receive a very generous letter of commendation for my actions. I am, inevitably, proud to be the subject of such fulsome praise but feel I merely acted in a supportive way that I would reasonably expect of others in similar circumstances.

I am still not entirely convinced that I am worthy of a Chancellor’s Scholarship and I’m sure that many others within my cohort are equally deserving. I do, however, reiterate my very great pleasure in being chosen and trust that my future progress and actions continue to justify the decision. It has certainly contributed to greater self confidence in my work and, on a more practical note, the monetary prize that accompanies the award will go a long way towards funding my driving lessons as I endeavour to obtain the ambulance driver’s licence to give me a head start when my career commences – hopefully at the end of the current academic year.”

You can be nominated for a Chancellor’s Scholarship by Edge Hill University staff. Nominations for an Adam Bell Scholarship can be made by Edge Hill University staff or your peers.

Why not speak to your tutor, another member of University staff or friends who are current Edge Hill University students to discuss your individual situation and your desire to be nominated for an award? Nomination forms can be downloaded from the Scholarships website. Good luck!

Mark’s success was always in the script

Having been out and about across the University promoting the scholarships, it’s been great to catch up with some of our current scholars, hearing about their latest achievements and how receiving a scholarship has helped support them.

At a recent drop-in session, Mark Syson, who was awarded an Excellence Scholarship for Current Students for his script writing and film making skills, had a chat to explain what he’s been up to since being awarded a scholarship and to share his plans for the future as he approaches the end of the final year of his BA (hons) Media, Film and Television degree.

“Receiving an On-Course Scholarship in Creative Arts has really enabled my production crew and I to push the boundaries in the current production that we are working on. For example, we are now using both live action and animation/special effects in our short which I am really excited about because it is something we haven’t used before.

Being in third year of university has added pressure. Completing a dissertation and assignments on top of managing my own production crew makes it extremely difficult to go out and film when you want to or where you want to. The scholarship money has helped take some of the pressure off and I am extremely thankful for that. For example, we have just filmed some scenes in a really nice house in Warrington Birchwood, and having that extra money has contributed to getting all the equipment there, paying for train costs, and petrol and travel costs for the actors, food and costumes.

I think gaining that recognition and appreciation for my efforts in script writing and making films has encourage me to keep going. At this very moment I am extremely proud of the script that I have written for this new production, because it hits a whole world of genres such as comedy, drama, psychological thriller. When I first wrote it, I was worried that it wouldn’t play out on screen but, after this week’s shoot, I am confident that it will.

It is such an amazing experience when your right there in the shoot and you realise your script is really coming off the page. This film will be going to film festivals around the UK and overseas as soon as it is finished and I have set some money aside to pay for festival fees. Hopefully this will promote the film in the manner it deserves, and also give me a good aspect to my CV that will help me find a career in the film and television industry when I graduate from Edge Hill University.”

Guy drums to success

At the most recent ‘get together’ arranged for the University’s scholars, one of the winners of our Excellence Scholarships for Current Students, Guy Shread, told us about how his enthusiasm and talent for ensemble drumming has recently taken him to Japan to perform with the highly acclaimed Kagemusha Taiko.

Guy is in his third year studying BA (Hons) Visual Theatre at Edge Hill University. He explains:

“My ambition is to enrich people’s lives through performance. I knew if I applied for the On-Course Scholarship I had a great chance of developing my performance ability. Amongst other performance skills, I am a Taiko player, which featured heavily in my scholarship application. Taiko is choreographed ensemble drumming which has its origins in Japan.

In October 2013 I had the opportunity to travel to Japan with Kagemusha Taiko as part of an international friendship exchange. As well as performing a theatre concert, we also played at schools and charity gigs for local residents. The trip was part of an ongoing programme to help raise morale for those who were affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Their warm welcome and response to our visit was overwhelming. The experience we had delved deep and revealed a depth to performance I had never felt before and I felt honoured to be a part of such profound events.

The assistance of the scholarship has surpassed what I thought it could bring and has made a significant contribution in enabling me to go on this trip and further improve my performance skills.”

You can see a clip of Guy’s impressive drumming with Kagemusha Taiko below. Prepare to be enthralled!

James gets the recognition he deserves for helping others

We have received a lovely update from one of the winners of our Excellence Scholarships for Current Students in our class of 2013. Below is a copy of his letter. Enjoy!

“Hello there! My name is James Hallworth, I am a third year BA (Hons) History student and I was awarded a scholarship last year from Edge Hill University as recognition of my previous voluntary work.

I have spent the last few years, my summers at least, teaching English to people of all ages and abilities across India and Thailand. Specifically during my time at Edge Hill University, I spent two years as a Student Coordinator for a wonderful little charity named VESL. My roles were to select interested candidates from the university and prepare them for a 6-week summer teaching programme in Northern Thailand. This involved everything from fundraising, language training, teacher training, cultural awareness training, team building etc.

Once in the country, my primary objective was to ensure the smooth running of the project. I did my best to keep the volunteers and students safe and happy whilst getting as much from the experience as possible. In both years, this was challenging. Sometimes volunteers would fall ill and have to spend time in hospital, and at other times you might find yourself in a room with 200 Thai teachers who were semi-fluent in English and expected you to spend six hours helping them to progress. This kind of thing was daunting but continuously rewarding. We try to make small but long-lasting and visible changes to communities. In South East Asia, the ability to speak English in order to gain employment is growing exponentially and that is essentially why VESL send volunteers to this area.

I have experience of working and travelling abroad in many countries, China, Slovakia, India etc. As well as immensely enjoying exploring the world, these kinds of ventures have given me a real sense of consciousness in terms of just how fortunate I am to have been born in England. Here, we have all kinds of luxuries which much of the world simply does not. I hope to travel this summer with a large and well respected charity named ICS to Uganda or Zimbabwe to get involved with some community projects there. These will vary from working in HIV/Aids clinics, to teaching English through sports, to helping petition local authorities for changes that will benefit the community. The money that Edge Hill generously gave me through this scholarship will make this possible and I am extremely grateful for that. The university has shown me nothing but support in the time I have been here, and that includes everyone from the head of the History department to the library staff.

Thanks for reading!”

Rachel helps the youth of today

Rachel Smith was awarded an Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students in 2012 in recognition of her volunteering.  She is now in her second year studying BA (Hons) Primary Mathematics Education with QTS at Edge Hill University.

We had a chat with Rachel to find out more about what her volunteering consists of and how receiving the scholarship has help her to settle in at University.

My mum was looking through the Edge Hill website when she noticed the scholarships. When she first approached me with the idea of applying, I was hesitant as I did not believe that that my volunteering would get me a scholarship.

I had volunteered at a youth club in Hampshire for 5 years (once a week for 3 hours) where I lead small sessions with the young people such as craft and games – it is great to see them having fun in a safe environment.

I also trained as a young leader and became a qualified CAT Mark Assessor, allowing me to assess other youth services from the perspective of a young person. I completed a child protection course and participated on a residential where not only was I able to participate in the fun activities, I was also one of the responsible adults on the trip! Young people are always pleased to have young leaders who are able to relate to more.

I also spent a month in Kenya volunteering in various different areas, building schools (see the photo above) and helping to pump clean water for villages – this was truly an amazing experience! After reflecting on my volunteering, I realised I had done more than I had realised and had nothing to lose, so I decided to put in an application. After all, the worst they could do is say no and I had the opportunity to be awarded £2000 for something I enjoyed doing!

There are many benefits to me having been awarded the scholarship. Not only is it some extra money to help you along the way as a student but I have also been able to use some of the money to travel back to Hampshire to visit and help out at the youth club.

My passion in helping others particularly young people has lead me to study a degree in Primary Education with QTS, where the financial support from the scholarship has helped as I have been able to invest more hours in to helping after school hours on my placements instead of having to work!”

Meghan at the crease for success

As the men’s England Cricket team lose the Ashes to Australia, our own female cricket star is ready to show them how it’s done!

Meghan Montgomery was awarded a Sports Scholarship for Current Students in 2012 in recognition of her sporting achievements. She is now in her second year studying BA (Hons) Physical Education and School Sport at Edge Hill University.

We caught up with Meghan to find out more about her blossoming cricket career and to discover how receiving a scholarship has contributed to her success!

I have been playing cricket since primary school and have played at school, district, in male and female clubs, and at county level. I am an opening batter as well as a keen coach. My goal since I began playing cricket has been to achieve the highest individual innings for my county. In August, against Northumberland I achieved this for the 1st XI with 108 runs and in doing so became the first female centurion for Cumbria. Last season’s tour game also saw me achieving another personal best when I scored 94 runs against Warwickshire who are considered a 1st class county.

One of the highlights of my cricketing career came in 2011 when I became the first girl to play in the North Lancashire League first division when I played for Penrith 2nd XI. Another high point was when I was given the Cumbria Women’s 1st XI captaincy; similarly in 2012 I was presented the honour of captaining the Penrith Women’s team and made my maiden century in our first league game. My team were unbeaten throughout the season and went on to win the league. By the end of the season, I was not only named top run scorer of the club but of the league in its entirety. I finished the season with an average of 182.5, with two 100s, a 50 and the Northumberland League batting award.

Cricket has been a large part of my life since a young age. However, it has not been without difficulties. Cricket as a sport is dominated by men and this is something I have had to overcome. In Cumbria, the opportunities for female cricketers have in recent years been sparse but it has been a great source of pleasure and enjoyment that I have been able to offer opportunities to younger girls to take up cricket, particularly when helping to coach teams at my local cricket club. Since moving to Lancashire, I have been volunteering at several schools to provide support and opportunities for engagement within cricket; recently completing my level two coaching qualification has assisted me with this.

Without the help of the scholarship I wouldn’t have been able to afford to travel back on a regular basis or pay for the level 2 qualification which has enabled me to coach. The scholarship has also supported my participation in county training sessions, allowed me to go on tour during the summer, and enabled me to purchase necessary equipment.

My parents have been a great source of support in my achievements; they have driven me across the country for cricket matches and watched almost all of my games. My dad is now the manager of my county and club squads. My top two cricketing moments to date are when I got to open the batting with my dad for the Penrith 3rd team and in the same season scoring my first ever county century and celebrating with him as he carried the water on.

The opportunity I was given by Edge Hill University through the scholarship has been second to none and has supported me in fulfilling my sporting ambitions.