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

TV Students bring Arts and Sports to the Nation

Undergraduates and postgraduates create two series for a Sky TV channel

The creative skills of a group of University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) students are being seen on a national scale.

Undergraduate and postgraduate TV production students are producing two series focussing on the arts and sports which are now airing on two Sky TV channels.

Beyond: Arts, currently on air at 8.00pm on Thursdays, and Beyond: Sports, which is transmitted at 10.00pm on Sundays, have been planned, shot and edited by the small team.

The TV production students out on film shoots.

Series producer Samuel Liles, an MA television production student, said: “We have created 20 programmes, which are 30-minutes long, to showcase a range of stories and features relating to sports and arts.

“We have been working non-stop since September on this project with a tiny crew but a lot of passion for the shows. Some of the students on the MA had never even used a TV camera before and are now producing professional quality content that is being broadcast on Showcase TV and FrontRunner TV.”

The shows have been created as part of their University studies and they are being produced from the facilities on the Preston Campus.

Samuel, who last year was part of a team which created a TV series on Mixed Martial Arts, commented: “Last year’s project was a steep learning curve but it was a fantastic opportunity and one which I learned a lot from. To be able to draw on that experience to deliver two series covering different subject matters is something I’m really excited about.

“Most students can only dream of getting one opportunity to have their work broadcast to a national audience but to have another chance is amazing.”

Adam Robson, TV production course leader, added: “We are the only University in the UK that is making real regular content for the Sky platform. The value to students is phenomenal: gaining broadcast credits as they learn, being part of a legitimate production crew, travelling the UK meeting contributors and dealing with TV stations directly. We truly are one-of-a-kind and the feedback from viewers has been mind-blowing.”

The shows are running until the end of March. Showcase TV is available to access on Sky channel 192 while FrontRunner TV is available to access on Sky channel 431 and Freesat 250.

Words by Rachel Atkinson

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.

Adrian Mills of BBC North wows at TGNCE18

BBC North General Manager Adrian Mills joined audiences at UCLan for a guest lecture as part of The Great Northern Creative Expo 2018.

Adrian Mills – General Manager of BBC North

Adrian discussed the responsibilities his job holds at the BBC and answered questions from the audience, giving students and attendees guidance on how the industry works and the best routes to get yourselves noticed!

About Adrian Mills

Adrian is responsible for the day-to-day management of BBC North at MediaCityUK –the BBC’s largest creative digital hub outside of London, with over 3,000 staff working in television, radio, online and mobile. BBC North is home to some of the BBC’s biggest brands, including Sport, Children’s, Learning, Radio 5 live, BBC Breakfast, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and the BBC iPlayer. Adrian is a member of the senior leadership team which ensures that the audience, creative, financial and operational benefits of BBC North are delivered. Adrian began his career at the BBC, directing and producing children’s and schools programming, including The Really Wild Show, Record Breakers and Play School.

In 1991 he relocated to Toronto, Canada as Head of Children’s & Education for TVOntario. He subsequently became Head of Children’s, Youth and Daytime for CBC Television, Managing Director of CBC’s online service and Executive Director of Programming for CBC Radio. Adrian returned to London in 2004 and became Chief Executive of LGT, a new media production company contracted by the UK Department for Education to create interactive teaching and learning resources for gifted children. Adrian returned to the BBC in 2009 as Chief Adviser, BBC Children’s & Learning, responsible for strategy, education policy and governance.

He moved to the North West in 2011 and became DeputyChief Operating Officer and Chief Adviser to the founding Director of BBC North. He became General Manager, BBC North in 2014.Adrian has led and participated in a wide range of large scale change projects in Canada and the UK. He likes to keep in touch with his creative roots, and is Executive Producer of the new series of Teletubbiesfor CBeebies. Adrian has Bachelor’s and Master’s degreesin education and child psychology. He is a voting member of BAFTA, an International Emmy Award winner, Chair of the World Summit on Media for Children Foundation, and a governor of The Manchester College.He holds dual British and Canadian citizenship

cJAM Journalism: Country’s top journalists bring expertise to UCLan

Students pitch to professionals from BBC, Sky and others

Some of the country’s most respected journalists have been sharing their expertise with the next generation of media professionals at a special event organised by University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

UCLan’s annual Careers Jamming Session (cJAM) event, where students learn from the best in the business and pitch to senior editors to win work placements, brought in more than 35 journalists from the likes of the BBC, ITV, Sky, Manchester Evening News and the Big Issue.

More than 90 work placement opportunities were offered on the day, including with BBC Breakfast, BBC Sport News, Good Morning Britain, This Morning and Sky News.

Jayne McCubbin from BBC Breakfast, Ana Bates from Sky News and Managing Director of ITV Studios Daytime Emma Gormley were just some of the speakers who shared their career journeys and offered advice to the students.

As Managing Director, UCLan graduate Emma is responsible for Good Morning Britain, Lorraine, This Morning and Loose Women. Advising the students she said:

“When I came to UCLan in 1993 my dream was to work as a researcher for This Morning, so I knew early on what I wanted to do. We’re in a very competitive business where the currency is ideas. To be successful you need to have passion, know your audience and create compelling content that will make you stand out.”

“Finding a human interest angle is just as important in sports news, especially in the era of instant, 24-hour coverage. My advice to those just starting out is to not take no for an answer, know your target audience and always do your research on the organisation you want to work for. Also, don’t be afraid to say what you think – you need to make yourselves memorable.”

Fellow key speaker BBC Sport news editor Gary Keown

One of the editors on hand to speak to students was Kevin Gopal from Big Issue in the North. He is also one of 42 newly appointed Leaders in Residence who will work with the University to contribute to teaching, provide mentoring, host masterclasses and act as a role models for young people from diverse backgrounds.

“We’ve had a variety of UCLan students come to the Big Issue in the North on work placement so I already have a good relationship with the University. It’s a big honour to become a Leader in Residence. UCLan has one of the most prominent journalism schools in the country and if I can help students kick-start their careers with placements or through workshops I am more than happy to do so.”

Kevin Gopal

It’s the fifth time UCLan has hosted cJAM, which this year will spread across four separate events covering journalism, media, performance and law. In total, 137 people attended the journalism gathering.

“All of the speakers were very inspirational, particularly Jayne McCubbin from the BBC. Her advice on finding the voice of the public through my work is something I will take with me when I pitch to editors.”

Second year sports journalism student Adam Salisbury

To view highlights of the event at UCLan’s Media Factory, follow #UCLancJAM on Twitter. Photos are available on the UCLan Flick gallery.

Springwatch’s Chris Packham attracts crowds at UCLan

One of the country’s leading wildlife broadcasters has shared his life story with students, staff and visitors at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Chris Packham, who has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, discussed his lengthy television career during a question and answer session with students and staff while he told an audience of invited business people how people with autism are huge assets to companies.

During the two sessions, held on UCLan’s Preston Campus, the presenter of The Really Wild Show and Springwatch, talked about his favourite animals, his vocation to inform the public about the world’s wildlife and how to tell interesting and different stories.

“When I started out I was very lucky that I had help and the support of a good group of people and that was invaluable.”

Chris, who is also a writer, photographer, conservationist, campaigner and filmmaker, showed clips from his documentary, Asperger’s and Me, and spoke with brutal honesty about how he struggles in social situations and has difficulty with human relationships. He talked about his wish for people to better understand his condition and that of others with neuro differences and most importantly how those differences can be an asset in life.

Speaking after the student session, he said: “When I started out I was very lucky that I had help and the support of a good group of people and that was invaluable. I now feel very strongly that I should give something back and come and speak to the next generation of TV producers, writers and filmmakers because they are the future of the industry – they are the ones with endless ideas, plenty of energy and they don’t follow the rules.”

Jack Dinsley, second year BA (Hons) Journalism student from Kirkham, was among the listening crowd. The 19-year-old said: “I really enjoyed hearing about what he’s achieved during his long career and the hurdles he’s faced to deal with his Asperger’s.”

The 2018 Programme

The Great Northern Creative Expo returns for it’s 2018 edition with a progressive and inclusive celebration of Northern creativity. We are once again proud to present a wide variety of talents from The University of Central Lancashire and beyond from every corner of the Creative Industries including Film, Photography, Performance, Music, Media and Journalism. The Expo’s wide array of events, conferences and screenings will take place over the six days at venues across Preston, including UCLan’s state of the art Media Factory.


The Great Northern Creative Expo continues to attract some of the country’s leading creative talents and continues in it’s founding commitment to offer student, staff and guests this unique opportunity to share in their common passion to present their work to an audience and gain invaluable insight into their chosen careers from industry professionals at the pinnacle of their careers. 

This fifth edition of the Expo promises to be it’s most diverse in its breadth of programmed events and is again able to offer this fantastic opportunity through the generosity of The University of Central Lancashire and our other Expo Partners.