A Director who helped set up our MediaCity campus is leaving The University Salford for new pastures after 15 years.
Beth Hewitt, Director of Creative Technology, Journalism and Politics & Contemporary History and the MediaCity campus, has expressed her thanks to all the colleagues and industry people and organisations who she has worked closely with since joining the University in 2008 as Programme Leader for MA TV Documentary Production.
In Beth’s 15 years at Salford, she has worked with many staff teams, hundreds of students and alumni and a wealth of industry organisations, companies and individuals. Her insight, industry knowledge and sector understanding has proved invaluable, and none more so than during the period when the University turned its attention to investing in and establishing our unique MediaCity campus, around a year after she had joined.
On her departure, Beth reflects that, “It has been an amazing and wonderfully creative journey at The University of Salford. I’ve learnt so much here, and have been able to use my skills, knowledge and expertise to do the best I could for the University’s campus at MediaCity.
“Salford makes the most of the opportunities it gets. It’s what it does best, and it ensures that it lets ideas and individuals flourish. The School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology’s staff teams in MediaCity are second to none and world-class. You would be hard pushed to find this calibre of media expertise within any other HE institution and I will miss working with each and every one of them.”
With an esteemed background as a director and producer at Granada TV, ITV, and BBC North, Beth first joined the University as Programme Leader for MA TV Documentary Production, working from Adelphi House. Beth had also previously worked as a primary school teacher, in the learning team at the National Media Museum in Bradford and later at the then newly established Urbis Exhibition Centre in Manchester.
Upon joining, Beth said: “The MA TV Documentary Production was my dream course to lead, with an industry-experienced teaching team and many students who went on to have successful roles within the media industry and with whom I’m still in contact. It was such a fantastic opportunity for me to be given!
“I began at a time when the University was embarking on a unique path, which would raise their industry profile, and this was an extremely exciting time! It was a very engaging, forward-looking, and supportive environment for both staff and students.”
As conversations developed around the University establishing a campus building at the emerging MediaCity village (then in the beginnings of being built), Beth says that Salford was looking at the long-term implications and opportunities that such a location and high-spec space could offer for the students, the staff and the University’s reputation.
Beth said: “The University of Salford has always been inextricably linked to industry, particularly across the media, journalism and the creative technologies, and our strengths have always been in vocational, practice-based courses, both in creative and scientific fields, so it was always going to be in the University’s ambitions to have a base at MediaCity as it developed and grew.”
“I remember thinking that we had embarked on an incredibly exciting journey to establish our campus at MediaCity, and over the next decade, staff and students worked hard to gain the trust of the stakeholders, and to becoming one of the main players in MediaCity. Twelve years on, I believe that we are fully established as one of its key stakeholders, immersed, and going from strength to strength and now, the next phase of this unfolding narrative and journey is well and truly underway.”
In 2013, Beth became the School’s Director of Recruitment and Admissions, a role she says ‘she absolutely relished and made her own,’ before becoming Director for Broadcast Media in 2018 and being based at Media City. In 2020, Beth became the School’s Creative Director for Media City, before moving on to become Director of Creative Technology, Journalism, Politics and Contemporary History.
During her time at the University, Beth has successfully nominated five Honorary Doctorates for poet and performer, Tony Walsh, Former Director of BBC North, Alice Webb, Television Executive and CEO of Nine Lives Media, Cat Lewis, The Simpsons writer and showrunner, Josh Weinstein, and finally, ITV Granada presenter, journalist, and our current University of Salford Chancellor, Lucy Meacock.
Beth has created, supported and developed undergraduate and post-graduate degree programmes for Post Production and VFX, Production Management, Digital Video and Production, Film, Stage and TV Set Design, and Costume Design. Beth also developed and lead the MA for Children’s Digital Media Production with input and support from the BBC, ahead of BBC Children’s move to Salford in 2011.
She also lead and developed the Higher National Diplomas (HND) for our suite of programmes being launched this September; HND Social Media Content Creation, HND Digital Communication & Graphic Design for Business and HND Creative and Digital Media, as well as supporting the development of HND Esports.
Beth has been Director for Nations and Regions: Media Futures for a number of years. It is a festival that has worked closely with BBC Digital Cities and MediaCity events, producing industry-focused events on a range of issues and employability initiatives. Her work in this space is also supported by the partnerships she has established with Edinburgh TV Festival, the Royal Television Society, Creative Skillset, Manchester International Festival (now Factory International), Sheffield Documentary Festival, The Children’s Media Conference, and this year – the Da Vinci Resolve/Black Magic Design and Aardman partnerships within the school.
On the importance of industry partnerships, Beth noted: “I’ve always championed and nurtured our high profile industry partnerships, knowing how much they will engage with our students, the next generation, building confidence, widening participation, inclusion and diversity, and pro-actively developing the skills needed, the opportunities offered across the creative industries sector and how the media industry operates.
“These relationships and collaborations are significant and hugely important, and they offer so many opportunities for the School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology, showcasing its talent, encouraging employability and placements to allow them to flourish. Such talent pipelines into industry are critical for the next generation and I know that our future students will continue to benefit, engage, and develop their future careers, partly through these valuable and meaningful partnerships.”
This June saw the inaugural We Invented the Weekend festival, produced by Wayne Hemmingway, Peel and the key stakeholders of Media City. Beth played a critical role in making sure the University of Salford was a part of it as the campus was open for a series of intellectual talks, workshops and family-focused activities.
Beth added: “It was a spectacular two day event, inclusive and diverse, and free! We Invented The Weekend was a huge achievement, which involved thousands of people from across the region. I know that MediaCity is set to continue going from strength to strength, and if you didn’t get involved in the festival this year, make sure you get involved next year! It was a truly fantastic event”.
Ahead of her departure later this month, Beth said: “I’m very proud to have played a small part in this University in terms of its place and reputation within the HE Sector, and its role and significance within the creative industries. I will miss it so much, especially my esteemed colleagues, our amazingly talented staff teams, and our wonderful students. Salford gets under your skin!”
Dr Richard Jones, a Senior Lecturer in Journalism and the subject leader for Media, Journalism, Film and Drama at the University of Huddersfield will be joining the University as the new Director of Journalism, Politics and Contemporary History this forthcoming academic year.