Industry recognition for UCLan Publishing with prestigious award win

Only student-led publishing house in the world named Best Newcomer at IPG Independent Publishing Awards

The University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) publishing house has received national recognition by winning a top industry award.

UCLan Publishing, the only student-led publishing house in the world, was handed the Nick Robinson Newcomer Award at the 2019 IPG Independent Publishing Awards, which celebrate the achievements of independent publishers during the previous year. It is the most prestigious award an independent publisher can win.

The award comes on the back of two successful projects with New York Times best-selling author AJ Hartley where students first edited, designed, project-managed and produced Preston-based thriller Cold Bath Street, which was subsequently nominated for prestigious children’s literature award the Carnegie Medal, and then worked on his latest children’s book, Monsters in the Mirror.

“This award means everything to us and we are absolutely delighted to receive it. UCLan Publishing has only been running in its current capacity for less than a year and in that time we’ve achieved so much.”

Associate Professor of Publishing and Head of UCLan Publishing Debbie Williams

“UCLan Publishing has quickly established itself with an innovative approach to publishing, drawing on resources of the University of Central Lancashire while publishing with great independence across children’s, fiction and non-fiction. Its experienced team has already published some big names and worked hard on diversity of output. There’s a distinctive difference to UCLan’s approach – a disruptive spirit and an infectious enthusiasm.”

IPG Judges

The win comes on the back of recognition at two other recent award ceremonies, which saw UCLan Publishing named runner-up in the Employability and Entrepreneurship category at the Guardian University Awards and shortlisted for the Innovation Award at the Education North Awards.

Students on the undergraduate and postgraduate publishing courses work in a way that mirrors the publishing industry; by commissioning, editing, publishing and promoting UCLan Publishing’s entire portfolio. This means students come into contact with well-respected authors and industry professionals.

“The set-up at UCLan is really special and offers our students a unique training experience that prepares them to hit the ground running in a very competitive industry. We’ve had an amazing year, by first winning the Excellence and Innovation in the Arts prize at the Times Higher Education (THE) awards in November last year and now being recognised at the IPG Independent Publishing Awards. Our award wins and nominations are testament to all we have achieved in a relatively short space of time.”

Associate Professor of Publishing and Head of UCLan Publishing Debbie Williams, who herself won Bookseller of the Year 17 years ago

More exciting projects are already in motion for UCLan Publishing, with 12 new books set to be published in the coming months and an audiobook studio.

A sequel to Cold Bath Street, Written Stone Lane, will be published in October and a factual children’s book, entitled Blast off to the Moon!, will launch in June. This is particularly special as it includes exclusive, never seen before documents and images from the NASA archive as well as quotes from astronaut Tim Peak and an introduction from Helen Sharman who was Britain’s first ever astronaut.

Words by Lyndsey Boardman.

cJAM runner-up for Regional Award

A unique event run by the Faculty of Culture and the Creative Industries at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has become a runner-up in the Educate North Awards.

The annual Careers Jamming Session (cJAM) is an event where students learn from the best in the business and pitch to senior editors to win work placements. After an extremely successful multi-year run as a single event, 2018 saw the expansion of the programme with four cJAM events running throughout November.

The cJAM events were nominated for the Student Experience Award – University Sector, an award sponsored by Commicorp UK.

The 2019 awards were presented during an evening ceremony event on 25 April at the Hilton Deansgate in Manchester.

Media experts and students alike gathered at the latest cJAM event

Submissions now open for The Great Northern Creative Expo Audio+Visual Competition 2019

The Great Northern Creative Expo Audio+Visual Competition opens for entries on Monday February 11th 2019.

The Great Northern Creative Expo in association with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has announced it is now open for submissions for its sixth edition, taking place in the City of Preston, from 18th to 23rd November 2019. 

The Great Northern Creative Expo has evolved from a commitment to promote and showcase the creative talent that has been developed at the University of Central Lancashire and to introduce to the world, the fantastic students and professionals working here. The Expo will now open its doors to the wider creative community with a range of competitions to showcase material from both the student and professional levels.

It is the continuing commitment of The Great Northern Creative Expo to connect young and emerging creative talents within the industry and support their development. Since its inception in 2015, The Great Northern Creative Expo has continued to exhibit over one hundred short films, photography exhibitions and music performances.

The Great Northern Creative Expo celebrates the diversity of the creative industries and its Audio+Visual Competition aims to showcase the talents of student and professional creatives with seven categories being held as part of this year’s event. 

The Great Northern Creative Expo Audio+Visual Competition invites creatives to submit to one of its seven categories; Animation, Documentary/Non-Fiction, Fiction – Comedy, Fiction – Drama/Other, Music Video, Photography and Songwriting. The Photography and Songwriting categories are presented as ‘Student Only’ competitions with only creative entrants under the age of eighteen from the United Kingdom being eligible. The Animation, Documentary/Non-Fiction, Fiction – Comedy, Fiction – Drama and Music Video categories accept submissions from professional creatives as well as presenting their own ‘Student Only’ competitions. There is an upper run-time limit of 30 minutes in all categories.

We are proud to partner exclusively with FilmFreeway for submissions to The Great Northern Creative Expo Audio+Visual Competition 2019. For full Submission Guidelines and to Enter, visit,

For additional support and to review the Competition FAQ’s and Submission Guidelines, visit,

For more information on The Great Northern Creative Expo, visit, or email:

The Great Northern Creative Expo Announces 2019 Dates

The Sixth Edition of TGNCE 18th – 23rd November 2019!

The Great Northern Creative Expo in association with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) today confirms the dates for the Expo’s sixth edition which will take place at venues across the university’s Preston campus, including the state-of-the-art Media Factory facility, from 18th-23rd November 2019.

Alan Keegan, Director of Business Development – UK Partnerships for the Faculty of Culture and the Creative Industries at UCLan, and the founder of The Great Northern Creative Expo will return as Festival Director for this sixth edition.

“I’m very excited that once again we are offering both the general public and the student base the opportunity to engage and be part of a unique event that has got bigger and better each year.” says Alan Keegan, “Over the years we have keynote guests such as author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, James Bond director John Glen, internationally acclaimed artist and photographer Ian Beesley, actor George Costigan, along with the General Manager of BBC North Adrian Mills and Stanley Kubrick’s producer Jan Harlan. The Expo will continue on in the spirit of its original founding principal of delivering the best events across the creative industries.”

Last November, The Great Northern Creative Expo presented over ten short and feature film premieres from both established and emerging talents. A new programme of almost 15 workshops and industry masterclasses proved popular across both UCLan’s student base and from attendees from farther afield. Highlights included a working masterclass from Stanley Kubrick’s producer, Jan Harlan; a feature screening of the independent motion picture Bliss! with director Rita Osei; and a guest lecture from the General Manager of BBC North, Adrian Mills.

Risa Jaroslow at The Great Northern Creative Expo 2018 (#TGNCE18)

In addition, the 2018 edition of the Expo also welcomed the local, national and international talents of Afrodeutsche, Jamie Badminton, Andrew David Barker, Steve Barker, Matthew Bennett, Paul Birchall, Abbie Bradshaw, David Bunting, Andy Chapman, Salma Chaudhry, Kezia Davis, Stuart Felton, Kieran Fletcher, FMA+12 Gage, Jing Fu, Flora Gillet, the Global Sound Movement, Candy Guard, Dominic Hodge, David Hothersall, Tristan Hunt, Risa Jaroslow, Johnny Jay, Chris Leslie, Gerry Linford, Karen Livesey, Lorna McCoid, Iakovos Pangopoulos, Patrick Pulsinger, Dr Theresa Saxon, Greg Saxton, Fiona Shields, Hannah Spikings and Mark Strange.

Fiona Shields, Head of Photography at The Guardian, at the Fieldwork Conference at #TGNCE18

Attendances at the Preston Campus for the Expo in 2018 reached above 1500 for the first time in the Expo’s six year history. 

For the first time in 2018, The Great Northern Creative Expo launched Expo Extra, creating satellite events running outside of the Expo’s traditional one-week format. The first Expo Extra events included a filmmaking masterclass from Lancaster-based production company, Intense Productions, who released horror-thriller RedCon-1 into British cinemas in September; and an Audience with broadcaster Chris Packham. Both events, held on the university’s Preston campus, were sold out and were warmly received by audiences.

(Left to right) Host Bill McCoid, with Iakovos Panagopoulos, Andy Chapman, Lorna McCoid and Matthew Bennett at the Three Northern Premieres event. 

TGNCE – 2018 Award Winners

The Great Northern Creative Expo attracts some of the countries leading talents and we invite you to enjoy the opportunity to share time and space with other Photographers, Filmmakers, Performers, Journalists, Writers and Creators. Various prizes are handed out on the evening including TGNCE Outstanding Award 2018 and TGNCE Lifetime Achievement Award 2018. All are welcome to attend the evening, which is a true celebration of the talents we have here in the Faculty of Culture and the Creative Industries at UCLan.

The Great Northern Creative Expo 2018 Award Winners

The Elizabeth Burns Prize for Scriptwriting
Presented to Richard Albiston by Bill McCoid & Steve Lawson

Special Achievement of Creative Excellence in Scriptwriting
Sue De Gruyther and Christine Tuson

Special Achievement of Creative Excellence in TV Production
Dean Flynn
Nominees: Ryan Mallows & Chloe Francom

Special Achievement of Creative Excellence in Animation
Mario Kkounnous
Nominees: Jaz Sperring & Michael Tharme

Special Achievement of Creative Excellence in Photography
Nicola Lewis-Dixon

Special Achievement of Creative Excellence in Games Design
Jakob MacDonald
Nominees: Peter Dimitrov and James Moorby

Special Achievement of Creative Excellence in Dance
Sophie Leigh Barrow
Nominees: Hazel Loftus and Carmen Robins

Special Achievement of Creative Excellence in Acting
Joshua Besso
Nominees: Tattiana Haslam and Amy Hurst

Outstanding Contribution to BA Screenwriting – Short Film
Hannah Arthur

Outstanding Contribution to MA Screenwriting – Short Film
Kezia Davis

Best Script BA Screenwriting – Short Film
Kelsey Cromwell

Confucius Institute Special Recognition Award
WINNER: The Global Sound Movement

The Arriva Rail Northern Creative Expo Outstanding Achievement Award 2018
Matt Steele

The Arriva Rail Northern Creative Expo Lifetime Achievement Award 2018
Alexander Callaghan

The Awards for; Special Achievement of Creative Excellence in Music, Special Achievement of Creative Excellence in Film Production, Special Achievement of Creative Excellence in Media Production and Special Achievement of Creative Excellence in Continuing Drama, were not awarded in 2018.

Student wins award for radio documentary exploring his own eye condition

Mohammed Salim Patel with his award from The Great Northern Creative Festival

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student has been recognised for his journalistic talents after winning an award for a radio documentary he made about a degenerative eye condition that he himself suffers from.

Mohammed Salim Patel, a 21-year-old final year journalism student from Blackburn, was handed the Excellence in Journalism Award at the first ever Great Northern Creative Festival which is hosted by UCLan and sponsored by Northern Rail.

Known as blogger TheBlindJournalist, Salim produced a 23 minute piece called An Insight into Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) for his final year project. The documentary explores how the condition, which causes a deterioration of the retina, affects sufferers as well as looking at what causes it, the research that’s being done to find a cure and the support available for people with RP.

The former Blackburn College student said: “This documentary has allowed me to raise awareness of an eye condition that affects 3.5 million people across the world and show what I’m capable of at the same time. I am ecstatic about winning this award and feel like all of my hard work has paid off.”

Senior broadcast journalism lecturer Deborah Robinson nominated Salim for the award. She said: “Salim is an exceptionally talented person. It is remarkable that he has managed to secure interviews with such powerful contributors to create a documentary that is both informative and moving.

“Salim has completed several industrial placements and I’m sure that in the future we will hear him broadcast professionally.”

Salim was one of 15 winners at the inaugural Great Northern Creative Festival awards ceremony which recognises the outstanding creative talents of UCLan students in media, film, photography and journalism. It is sponsored by Northern Rail, which has a longstanding reputation of promoting UCLan talent through an annual rail safety film script writing competition. More recently, Northern Rail commissioned an Instagram residency art project for UCLan student Riley Arthur to showcase her journeys through Northern Rail’s Northwestern routes for a month on the social network site.

For more information on Salim’s work follow TheBlindJournalist blog at or follow him on Twitter. To learn more about Riley’s project follow her on Instagram.