Thank You, Mr. Manchester

As much as I tried to push it to the back of my head the last few months, now that I’ve begun my second semester of third year I’m faced with starting my Final Year Project and in preparation for that I, of course, have been enrolled in an FYP preparation module. I think it’s safe to say that I was really dreading having to come up with a plan for my thesis so naturally, I blocked it out of my head until the last possible minute.

The last possible minute came when I arrived back from Manchester at the start of February and I suddenly discovered that most of the people that I know on my course had already planned their FYP’s and found a supervisor. Here I was, trying to adapt to being back at home after an incredible few months away, trying to catch up with the first few weeks of college work that I had missed and out of nowhere it felt like everyone might as well just have their entire thesis done already and not a single idea for my own had even crossed my mind in the last few months. Great. To add to it, I found out that a lecturer that I had before that I had so much in common with was only accepting proposals for the next three days.

Determined to not fall any more behind with my work, I spent my first weekend back in Ireland pulling an FYP proposal out of thin air in order to get the supervisor I wanted. When I was trying to think of what I would be interested in researching for the next year a few things came to mind – Manchester as a cultural city, the ‘Madchester’ movement and several bands from Manchester. Then I realised that one thing linked all of those together and that was Tony Wilson.

Whenever anyone asks me what I want to do once I graduate I tell them that I basically want to be a female Tony Wilson. Born in Salford, Wilson was a journalist for the BBC and Granada TV, the co-founders of Factory Records which signed bands such as New Order and Happy Mondays and the co-owner of the iconic Haçienda nightclub which was at the heart of the Madchester scene. All of this led to him receiving the nickname, Mr. Manchester and it was easy to see why after living in Manchester and seeing the impact that he made in and around the city. So, for the past few weeks, and this week especially, I’ve been researching the work of Tony Wilson and his impact on Manchester for my FYP after successfully getting the supervisor that I wanted with my very rushed proposal.

During a four-year degree, it is inevitable that you will end up having to study and research some topics you don’t like, and some that you just can’t stand. However, now I can say with a massive sigh of relief that I’m back to being genuinely interested in my college work.

So, thank you, Mr. Manchester. I hope I’m not sick of you by the end of this.

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English Without New Media

As of Tuesday, January 31st 2017 I could no longer have my ‘current city’ on Facebook as Manchester, United Kingdom. Well, I could, but it wouldn’t be very accurate.

I recently moved back to my hometown of Limerick after spending several months studying at the University of Salford as part of the Erasmus+ programme and let’s just say it hasn’t been easy being back. There are plenty of reasons why I want to go back but for now, I’m going to instead talk about the reasons why I wanted to go there in the first place.

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I have almost three years of a BA degree in New Media and English under my belt after deciding years ago that I wanted to be a journalist or simply work in the media industry in one way or another. This is the same reason why I decided to go to Salford for my semester abroad. With one of their university buildings planted right in between BBC and ITV studios in Media City, Salford provides some of the best hands-on experience for media students. I couldn’t go wrong with my choice, or so I thought.

I couldn’t go wrong with my choice of university, or so I thought.

Only a month before making the move to England I discovered that due to the agreements between the two universities, I was only permitted to study English at the University of Salford and not media. There’s all of my experience in Media City out the window.

Nonetheless, I still managed to have an amazing time in Salford, even with my English modules. In a way, it did also lessen the blow of coming back to Limerick as I was excited to get back into the New Media part of my course, including Writing for New Media.

Writing for media is what I love to do and since taking a break from writing for two magazines after two years, I’m excited to finally have an excuse to get back into writing in this way again, even if it isn’t in Media City.