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Online Transcript: RTP 2019-20: Core Series: Media Training - 18th Mar

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This session will now take place online. The session will now be led by Andrew McMillan and Kim Moore, both of whom have extensive experience working with a range of different media outlets. The session will take place as a text conversation using AdobeConnect. The session runs from 10-12.

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Online Transcript: RTP 2019-20: Core Series: Media Training - 18th Mar

  1. 1. You Hi All! Welcome to this virtual session, my name is andrew McMillan, and I'm a senior lecturer in Creative writing in the manchester writing school, You we'll just give everyone a couple of minutes in case, as for me, the technology is a little slow! You is this the first time most of you have used this online Adobe space? Charlotte McLean Yes Leone Betts Yes - first for me. Virginia Astley Yes, I've not used it before Andrea First time Charlotte McLean First time Nourhene DZIRI Mine as well James McCrea Indeed You excellent! It's quite easy to use, and brilliantly it saves a transcript after each session so that if (like me) your forget things that might have been said in a session, you can just look back at the transcript Feth-Ellah Mahi First time as well You I know the interface is quite basic but that's so people with older or slower computers don't have a lag time You So, I'm first of all sorry that we can't meet in person, i was really looking forward to that, but I'm really happy that our session can go ahead anyway, I want to move down our of people in the chat, and just wonder if you could say a couple of lines about yourself and your own research area, just so I get a sense of who we have here. I'm just going to work down my list,, so Andrea can we start with you? Andrea Sure
  2. 2. Andrea Realise I haven't typed my surname in, I'm Andrea Buccino, Practice-based PhD in Film/ Creative writing You Excellent thanks Andrea! Welcome You Charlotte next Charlotte McLean Hi, I'm doing a PhD looking at the archive a recently deceased landscape architect and my research will involve interviews with ex work colleagues, friends etc. You excellent thanks Charlotte. Corey can we come to you next Corey Estensen Hello, I'm an historian, I work at three different museums in cheshire, including Tatton Park, and my PhD thesis is on the WW1 career of Maurice, 4th Baorn Egerton of Tatton You fantastic! these are all such interesting projects. Feth-Ellah can we come to you now? Feth-Ellah Mahi Hi! I am doing a PhD in diasporan Literature across different contexts You fab, thanks! Hayley, can we come to you next? Hayley Charlesworth Hi, I had technical difficulties so have only just arrived! I'm Hayley, I'm a second year part- time PhD in English (Gothic Studies), researching bisexuality, biphobia and bi-erasure in post-millennial gothic television. You welcome, it's great to have you here Hayley! James can we come to you now? James McCrea Hello all, I'm in the Gothic Studies department working on a cultural history of the animated skeleton You Brilliant! Leone? Leone Betts Morning, I'm practice-led, creative writing, in my second year... and I'm looking at the representation of single-parent, nurturing fathers in children's and young adult literature. You fab thanks Leone, Nourhene? Nourhene DZIRI
  3. 3. Hi! I'm a second year PhD research student of literature working on ageism in contemporary young adult fiction. You Excellent! And finally, Virginia! Virginia Astley Hello everyone, I'm a musician and poet doing a practice-led creative writing PhD looking at places of significant resonance on the River Thames and involving working on the river and talking with lock keepers etc. You Brilliant! Now let's go back around in another order! You Kidding kim Hi! You I think Kim moore might have joined us as well, so welcome Kim! Kim just recently finished her PhD and handed in yesterday so big congrats to her kim Thank you! You Basically what we're here to talk about is media and wider dissemination of our research beyond the academy, has anyone had any experience of this so far? Corey Estensen Yes, I have written a chapter of a book You Excellent, tell us a bit about that Corey Corey Estensen It was part of WW1 remembrance at Tatton Park, written for Education groups but can be downloaded form the webpage You Ah brilliant Corey, and how did you find writing that, in contrast to the more formal academic side of the PhD? You Or I should say, how was the voice different? Corey Estensen It was a freer form in that I had more control- but I still worried at pitching it correctly for the audience! You
  4. 4. Yes I think that's always a worry, but great that you've already done that, and we might come to chat about that more in a bit, I thought I might run through a couple of brief points first, and then we can open out into some questions or more general discussion. You Firstly, just to emphasise that, particularly for those of you thinking about academic careers after phD, which not all of you will be, and that's fine, this notion of 'impact' is something which is really important. You In humanities its very hard I think to quantify impact, in science its slightly easier: You I discovered this cell, it cured this disease impact is: more people are alive You in terms of impact in humanities its harder, though not impossible, to think about these notions of impact, --- impact is often broken down into two different things, 'reach' and 'significance' so what's the reach (outside of the academy) of your work, and what's its significance, what has it changed- not all impactful work does both things, but its worth bearing those two different things in mind. You Our aim, always , should be to throw our research as wide as possible, and where possible, co-create community interventions, so that we don't just 'deliver' our research to the community, but they have an impact on it as well, they help to shape it , with their own expertise about the subject, the more we can shift our centre outside of the academy, I think its really important. You One way, obviously , to get more eyes on our research and our work is through the media, which is something both me and Kim have enjoyed doing over the last few years, so I wanted to lay out a few key points as to how I think its best to approach that You firstly, we're thinking about newspapers, radio, television, screen etc, so any form of media which has a more generalised audience than an academic journal or a conference. How can you reach people who might not ordinarily have heard about your research You Academic conferences for example are quite a closed system of people already interested in your subject, how can we broaden that. You One question to ask yourself about your research is: What's the hook You what's the thing that I can get some attention for in the media. You so for example my work is often around masculinity, but that's very broad, but I did a 30 minute documentary for radio four around the gym, because it was January and we were able to sell it as "everyone starts a new exercise regime in January" so that was the 'hook',
  5. 5. the thing for a generalised audience which then allowed me through the door to disseminate some of my research to a more generalised audience You Anniversaries are always a thing to look out for , particularly if pitching to radio or magazines with your research You google lists of upcoming anniversaries or commerations You are there any which might fit into your research,, could you hang a piece on one of them You so for example, we've seen lots of historians able to disseminate their work more widely over the last few years because of the anniversaries of the first world war You THere are also straightforward news stories about research, which could be sent as press releases to newspapers etc, but mostly, the human interest of your work is the key thing, is there a personal story, something you can hang it on, is there a story that hasn't been told that you could tell, You try to unpick the broadest themes of your research, so as I said mine and masculinity, which then means you can write around the subject, whilst not necessarily writing about your specific content for your PhD. You I think its important to imagine all this as a kind of meeting any audience half way, so we're not here to tell them we have knowledge about something, because they will have their own knowledge, their own experience, their own expertise, its how we bridge between the two, how can we invite people in to what we're doing, in a way that allows them to share what we're doing too You Kim, did you have anything to add about your own experience, you had that recent program about scaffolding for example? You Hopefully Kim will be able to jump in shortly, You Did anyone have any questions or thoughts about that initial splurge of text from me? kim On my way lol kim Just sorting the baby out Leone Betts
  6. 6. Yes - I was wondering how you actually ended up doing the documentary for radio four. Did you contact someone? How did they find you or you them? kim Yes I did a R3 programme based around my poems and the hook was poems I'd written about my dad being a scaffolder kim R4 You Excellent Kim if you carry on telling us about that and then we'll come to Leone's question kim I went on private passions again the hook was my poems around being a music teacher which is why they approached me in the first place. Then I was talking to the producer and randomly said I would like to be a poet in residence at a scaffold company l You excellent. so that notion of the 'hook' was important for getting in there? kim And the producer thought it was a great idea and ran with it kim So I would say a hook but also don't be afraid to enthuse to people in the media You excellent. So Leone, I first got in there by appearing on a different show, just reading a poem, and then emailed the producer to pitch her an idea (that didn't end up happening) but then we ended up developing this other thing. The best thing to do is to listen to the end credits of R4 docs, in the morning slot and the sunday afternoon slot, and they always say who produced it kim A random conversation They are looking for ideas it makes their job easier! So don't discount htthr power of You in the same way we'd target different publishers or conferences for our work, we can target specific producers and just first of all enquire if they're interested in a pitch kim discourandom conversation Leone Betts I see - thanks. You Do you have a sense of what you would like to do around your research Leone? Leone Betts
  7. 7. I'm not sure exactly, but I do hear a lot of discussion around fathers bringing up children these days. Less about how they are being represented in stories however. So I do think there's a gap. You Yes, that's really interesting, you could see how , if there was a news story or upcoming event around Fathers bringing up children , or a government report released, that you could also tie it into that somehow You there is definitely a gap you're right Leone Betts I shall keep an eye out! You Other questions or thoughts from the floor? Corey Estensen yes - did you get paid for your appearances? kim I got paid for the radio 4 thing I did. But just expenses for private passions on Radio 3 and expenses for R6 appearance You Yes, so generally if its the BBC we're not talking lots, but mostly there's a token appearance fee for reading a poem etc, but for longer docs you would get paid a presenting fee, and a fee to write the script as well (if that's something you're doing) and then I think for mine I also got licenced to read out poems I'd already written, so perhaps came in at around £800-£1000 altogether, token fee is normally £50-£80 for a brief appearance James McCrea follow up to Corey's question: do people with PhDs get paid to do ANYTHING? kim Works out about I be just been commissioned to write some poems responding to Wordsworth lyrical ballads and that Wworks out about 800 quid You haha that is the million dollar question I think James... it's about trying to be as diverse as possible with the knowledge you have I think,,, so we haven't mentioned newspapers much, or great online spaces like Tortoise, Wellcome Collection and Unbound which all want content and pay for it, around human interests, research etc Corey Estensen i think that you have to be quite careful with working with the media sometimes, because they will want to use your research, and not necessarily credit you with it, OR pay you for it. We have recently had the TV programme "Britain's Lost Masterpieces" working at Tatton - they asked for a lot of research to be done, even though the programme had a researcher - and then rejected a lot of it to not use. And no payment1 You
  8. 8. Yes i think that's a really valid point Corey You Protect your own knowledge and research as much as possible kim Sorry about mistakes in my relies I'm not drunk! Typing NG one handed with baby squarking You no worries Kim! You Any other questions from the floor or thoughts, or things you want us to chat about/ You Don't be shy! kim I didn't realise the producers have to pitch ideas before the get permission to do anything kim do anythingso the more info you can give them in your pitch the less work for them Hayley Charlesworth I suppose one of the things I'm struggling with is getting my foot in the door in the first place! I've not yet published anything, and aside from my own blog, conferences, and some vague discussions on an unrelated podcast, I've not really disseminated my research anywhere. I'm a bit lost on where to start. Corey Estensen Well - how far can you go, into publishing or talking about the content of your thesis, to media, without it impacting on the production of 'original research' element of your PhD? I am part-time and not due to publish PhD until 2023 - so it makes me wary to talk too much about it in public. So what are the guidelines? You Thanks for these two questions: Hayley we'll come to yours first.... do you have a sense of what it is within your research that you'd like to tell people about, or that you'd like to disseminate wider Hayley Charlesworth Honestly, that's the bit where I'm getting stuck, trying to answer the whole "why does this matter?" question to myself, never mind the wider public. The reason why I'm doing my PhD is that I feel like it's addressing a gap in the literature, but outside of academia I'm a little unsure of the impact it could and will have. (Perhaps I'm just second-guessing myself, imposter syndrome gets to us all!) You Yes you're definitely right about Imposter syndrome I think; and with something like bi erasure, that's clearly very important and a necessary subject to be talking about... I often think about: how could i get through the door to allow me talk about what i want to talk
  9. 9. about, so even a pithy piece like 5 top bi characters on tv etc, sounds like a throwaway piece but could then allow you to get in a couple of lines about bi erasure etc... if that makes sense? Hayley Charlesworth Yeah that makes sense! You Corey; I think you're right to be cautious , but also I think its about thinking wider than the specific PhD work itself... firstly academia thrives in the open, so we don't need to worry too much about people stealing our ideas etc, but secondly, if you want to hold your cards close to your chest for example, I think its about writing about the broader themes sometimes rather than your specific research, so I wrote a piece for Tortoise on hetrosexual gym culture, which isn't necessarily what i'm researching, but it intersects into my research about masculinity and class, and so is just like a different spoke perhaps? Corey Estensen Yes, i can understand that. I did think about doing a spin-off piece about airports, which could talk 'near' to my subject rather than actually 'on' my subject You Yes I think that's areally interesting way of phrasing it actually , something 'near' if not directly 'on' You Any other questions from the floor guys? kim I also think blogging is great for getting a foot in the door and connecting with other people writing or thinksG about your topic You Yes Kim, do you want to say a little bit on that? kim You have to work hard at it and engage with other blogs like yours but all the work I've put into my blog has always paid off kim offits important to have a regular slot and stick to it. So I blogged once a week for years on a sunday You yes that's really good advice kim kim Again it's good to have a hook! So I posted a poem up by someone else and talked about why I liked it. I also led I to that by talking about my work as a writer as there wasn't anyone being open about the process of working as a freelance writee Andrea Could you send us a link to your blog, Kim? You
  10. 10. https://kimmoorepoet.wordpress.com/ You here we are kim I haven't updated for ages because of baby but it's www.kimmoorepoet.wordpress.com Andrea And do you have just the blog or also expand to other social media platforms to increase reach? kim I post the blog on FB and twitter kim I also use both platforms in a mix of professional and personal Andrea Cheers. It's helpful to get a sense of what a good blog looks like kim personalfor example I runthree residential courses a year which are a huge part of my income and the only marketing I do is through the blog kim Ithe radio 4 producer looked at my blog to help her with putting the pitch together for the programme kim I've had commissions tto write new work through it You really interesting kim thanks You We can start to wrap up now if we want, I'll leave my email address here so people can get in touch with ideas or if they want more guidance on any of this- but we've still got time for more questions if people have them kim It's a lot of work and can be a drag but it has also brought me a lot of joy and friendships... And money😉 Leone Betts I guess everyone else knows this (sorry!) but this is the first time I've heard of "Tortoise" and when I Google it, I only get links to the reptile! Can you tell me what it is? Virginia Astley Was the Wordsworth commission through your blog Kim? You
  11. 11. Hi Leone, it's a new media website that was set up quite recently. https:// www.tortoisemedia.com You a kind of new media space, in the same vein has Huffpost etc Leone Betts Fantastic - thanks. kim No I think that came through work with Wordsworth Trust which came through building Virginia Astley thanks- its great that way of one thing leading to another kim Profile as a writer through blog. I guess what I'm saying is everything we do as writers and researchers is linked and often things pay off Nourhene DZIRI Many thanks for all the tips. Really appreciated! kim offyears down the line You Thanks so much everyone- and I'm really sorry that we couldn't meet in person today! I'll get Nikolai to circulate a transcript of our conversation, and again email me on a.mcmillan@mmu.ac.uk if you have any other questions or ideas! Andrea Thank you! Corey Estensen thanks Andrew and Kim - bye kim I would also say you have to prepare to be flexible when your work is used in the media buy have red lines that you won't compromise on Virginia Astley Thanks everyone- very helpful session kim Ah bye! Still wittering olol Leone Betts Thanks - really helpful. Andrea It's very helpful wittering, Kim Andrea Thanks again :)