Manchester Metropolitan University

Tuesday, 11th July 2017

Animation students bring radio recordings to life

Creative workshops held with BBC Radio 5 live's digital team

A still from one of the radio-inspired animations

Students from Manchester School of Art's BA (Hons) Animation course developed innovative visualisations of BBC radio recordings for the broadcaster.

The students created everything from puppets to 2D environments to accompany a range of sound files from the BBC Radio 5 live archive. 

They visited the radio studios at MediaCityUK to present their animations to representatives of the station, which is listened to by more than six million people per week.

“When the BBC came to see us at Manchester School of Art, they were looking for new ideas to help them visualise their audio content,” explained Damien Markey, Acting Programme Leader on the BA (Hons) Animation programme. 

Free rein

“The students were given free rein to create new concepts that could work across social media platforms and could promote the variety of stories that BBC Radio 5 Live cover. 

“The brief was provided on the Monday with the students having three days in our workshops to get their ideas ready to be presented on Friday. Between the two teams of first and second year students we had ideas involving a mix of puppets and digital compositioning, digital ‘live’ animation and 2D environment creation.” 

The students presented their animated responses to the brief to a panel of four representatives from the radio station, including Controller Jonathan Wall. 

“I was expecting to be blown away,” commented Jonathan, “but this has surpassed all my expectations in terms of creativity.” 

'Innovative and creative' 

Heidi Dawson, Managing Editor of BBC Radio 5 Live, added: “The work delivered by this group of students was innovative and creative. 

“They took into account many of the challenges we face as a fast-moving news and sport station, clearly listening to our business brief. 

“I was particularly excited by the way the animations celebrated and emphasised the BBC Radio 5 live audio, finding new ways for clever, high quality digital visuals to promote and innovate in radio.” 

Damien also said: “The feedback from BBC Radio 5 live was overwhelmingly positive and they have already asked some of the teams to come in and work alongside their in-house production teams on creating content for their social media outputs.

Industry experience

“They were impressed not just by the work, but the fact the students had understood the quick workflow of a 24-hour news and sport station, such as BBC Radio 5 live, and had designed their animations to be reusable and adaptable to a range of content. 

“The students enjoyed the hard work over the three days as well as the excellent feedback on it from one of the largest digital production units in the UK.” 

You can find out more about our BA (Hons) Animation programme on the course page

Manchester Metropolitan University is one of the most extensive higher education centres in Europe with 37,000 students and more than 1,000 undergraduate, postgraduate and professional courses. The University educates and trains large numbers of legal and business professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, health workers and creative professionals.

The University is in the top three nationally for environmental sustainability and has an 85% research impact rated world-leading and internationally excellent.

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