I’ve always thought it bizarre that the media groups in the Guild of Students have an insurmountable rivalry that, for the most part, prevents them from working on larger projects together. It seems already that this academic year is different thanks to a combined effort from all sides – Burn has already been working with the other groups in a way we haven’t in the time since I’ve been at UoB: a column in every Redbrick edition (now proudly displayed on the corkboard in the Burn FM Studio for anyone who missed them!) and teaming up with Guild TV on some incredible coverage of xpLosION 2017, which can be found here. It was particularly ambitious to aim for a full-scale Christmas Ball however.
Will Baxter, Editor-in-Chief of Redbrick, and I began tentatively discussing the idea of a joint ball around early October, looking for venues before being bolder and taking the idea to the media groups’ miniforum, where Photosoc, Linguist Magazine, Guild TV and SATNAV all became involved in organising the ball. We looked around for the best venues in the Birmingham area before settling on Fazeley Studios in Digbeth – a venue Burn members will be familiar with as where we held the Burn Awards in March this year.
Before you knew it the day was upon us and we were headed to the ball. The venue was set up brilliantly – on walking in you were greeted by two great Christmas trees, decorated in gold ornaments in the impressive Fazeley reception room. A table with 150 glasses of prosecco lined the side wall with banners and magazines from each of our respective groups covering the tables, giving the Christmassy ball a distinctly media groups twist. The canapés were delicious, with a couple of personal favourites being the goats cheese and red onion tart, and the dessert canapé – mini brownies and cream.
With over 160 tickets sold for the event, and some incredible canapés selected, we needed a strong line up of speakers and performers to conclude our evening. We decided on needing a couple of speakers and then DJs to follow. Our first speaker was to be Shannon Farmer, the Guild’s Activities and Development Officer, who has been working closely with our groups this term to help things run as smoothly as possible despite any hurdles that have come our way, and so she seemed a natural choice to speak at the first ever media ball. Ian Myatt is ex-Burn FM and ex-Guild TV, and went on to work for 15 years at the BBC working on large projects such as the creation of iPlayer, as well as Bitesize and iWonder. Having spoken at Burn Awards in March, Ian sprung to mind as a great candidate to be our final speaker of Media Ball, talking about how his experiences in Guild media groups influenced his later career. Something that especially stuck with me was when Ian talked about embracing the creative freedom that we’re offered by the opportunities while a part of our groups – be it devising your own radio show in your unique style every week, producing live broadcasts of sports fixtures, or editing a magazine or newspaper on something you’re passionate about, these were opportunities that we were unlikely to be afforded again in the same way, and so we should make the most of them in the short time we’re at university.
Our musical entertainment was a perfect way to conclude our evening. George Alderson, co-Head of Music at Burn and DJ PRME was our first act on – playing huge tunes that the crowd all knew and loved, Fazeley was dancing the night away from track one. Ro-Motion was our final performer, playing DnB to send us to our Societies Night after party, it was a great way to finish a greatly enjoyable evening.
A lot of people were involved in organising last night’s ball, and making it such a success. But primarily, from Burn FM it was myself and Will Weightman (who’s interview with Fazeley about organising this ball there can be found here), from Redbrick Will Baxter and Laura Burgess, from Guild TV Sam Sharrocks, from Photosoc Elli Roberts, from SATNAV Daniel Thomas and from Linguist Mary McGowan.