It can feel daunting to pursue a creative degree if you feel family or societal pressure to follow a more traditional career path, or perhaps like I did, you might feel unsure whether you have the skills to succeed in the industry.

When I turned 18, I had loose aspirations of becoming a journalist. I always loved reading news articles, particularly ones focused on football so I thought I would find a career in journalism fulfilling. However, when I first arrived in Salford and saw MediaCity, I was determined that this was the right career path for me.

To see the bold ITV logo located on the same building as the university, to study amongst a thriving media and digital industry, to hear of the prospect of seasoned journalists or creative professionals lecturing you, it really does make you feel inspired. 

Whether you’re passionate about design, media, music or any of the arts, there are so many amazing experiences to have at Salford as a creative student. I’ve shared some of the key reasons below:

Exciting campuses

MediaCity is a wonderful place for all creatives. This campus is where our film, TV and media, creative digital media and gaming students are taught, but no matter what course you study at Salford, you can make use of all the facilities here if you want to. This campus is next to the BBC, ITV and 250 other media and digital companies as well as having state-of-the-art radio and TV studios, libraries and incredible study rooms. 

Students who want to study art, design, fashion, performance, dance or music will learn in a futuristic building on our Peel Park campus, the New Adelphi. The New Adelphi was opened in 2016, after costing £55m.

image: photograph of the new adelphi building at the university of salford
New Adelphi – University of Salford

But even if you don’t study one of the courses in the New Adelphi building, you can still easily enjoy the incredible facilities by attending plays and musicals at the venue. Multiple events are hosted each week, and the best part is that you can choose how much you pay ranging from £3 to £10, which helps students balance their money.

Salford: a diverse and welcoming community

The amazing campuses and proximity to creative organisations mean that the University of Salford boasts an incredible space for students to succeed, but this doesn’t mean much if the area you live in doesn’t reflect your individuality. Salford and Manchester are incredibly diverse cities and there are so many things for people of all backgrounds to enjoy and feel welcome.

Manchester International Festival is an international festival that began in 2007 which celebrates music from all around the world and has hosted its events in car parks and concert halls. From 2023 it moved to Factory International and has been hosted here every other year since.

Manchester International Festival sign

Salford also hosts Sounds from the Other City which is an annual festival which celebrates new music and art. It is extremely inclusive and very welcoming. It features independent music, so it is a great opportunity for all types of musicians.

The University of Salford also hosts cultural celebrations. Recent events include Navaratri carnival celebrations from the Indian society and Salford Celebrates World Africa Day from the International Office.

The area – Manchester

Although you will be studying in Salford, which is an amazing city in its own right, Manchester is just a quick 20-minute walk away, and an incredible place which can certainly reflect your creativity.

The Northern Quarter is a beautiful area, which has amazing places to explore art and culture, eat, drink and socialise. The red brick graffiti-laden backstreets also reflect the freedom and creativity the area encourages. 

Street art in Northern Quarter

The Northern Quarter is also the home of “hipsters”, and the bars and cafe’s certainly reflect that. A hipster can be described as someone who thinks freely and encourages people to be authentically themselves.

Also, be sure not to be misled and believe that at a UK university you must drink alcohol to fit in. There are many fun activities you can get up to without drinking alcohol. Big Hands in Manchester is a venue which often hosts jazz nights and can be a great place to attend for music events. The inside is decorated with vinyls and it’s certainly an aesthetically pleasing place. 

Eastern Bloc and Flok are also great café’s that serve food all day. They have a beautiful outdoor seating area that looks onto Stevenson Square, and is one of the best places to meet new people in the city and people watch.

Haus in Fallowfield is similarly welcoming to students. You can head in at any point throughout the day for some pizza and spend time at a bar which is run by and loved by students. If you want a later evening It also regularly hosts jazz and comedy nights. 

Jazz band @goodgoodgriefofficial in Matt and Phreds Northern Quarter

Experience Your Industry

Whilst at university, particularly if you are studying a creative course, it is important to relate the theories you are taught to industry practice. Although a lot of courses won’t make placements compulsory, some do, and it is important to utilise the University’s connections to industry as much as possible.

The majority of creative courses at Salford are taught by ex-practitioners, or professionals still involved in their respective industries. Therefore, a lot of them will have contacts that you can take advantage of to get placements.

As well as this, the university has a guide on how to acquire a placement on the main website. If this doesn’t give you enough help then there’s also the Careers and Enterprise Team, who you can meet with, and they can give you guidance on obtaining work experience.

Another element of the University of Salford that also makes it attractive to creative students is the practicality of teaching. The majority of creative courses offer many ways to equip you with the skills needed for working, including working on placements, live projects, and hearing from industry professionals.

Collaborating and meeting new people

As a creative at Salford, it isn’t about writing notes and attending lectures, it’s about discussion, collaboration and practical working.

As well as opportunities to collaborate with industry, students often get the chance to work with students on other courses too. For example, creative writing courses and journalism with PR often collaborate with the journalism courses, for specific modules that overlap, mainly in the first year of studying but also in the second year in some cases.

These interactive elements of the courses help you to refine your skills whilst working alongside the wider creative community at Salford.

Future plans in a hub of creativity

After studying a BA or an MA at Salford, you will have built the connections and skills you need to open yourself up to a world of great opportunities.

Manchester is recognised as one of Europe’s largest creative, digital and tech hubs and many major employers in e-commerce and media are located here. Plus, MediaCity, is Europe’s largest purpose-built media location with worldwide media companies located here, alongside other big players such as Brazen PR, Citypress and Manchester Evening News.

So it’s the perfect place for international students to attend and take advantage of the Graduate Visa. A graduate visa gives you permission to stay in the UK for at least two years after graduating to work or look for work, allowing you to gain even more UK work experience.

Also, if you’re struggling for employment after graduating, then our Careers and Enterprise team are there to help you for life. You will have access to their services for as long as you need them.

MediaCityUK at night

Hopefully, after reading this you will be as inspired as I was after my first visit to MediaCity. Salford and Manchester are diverse, vibrant cities that welcome students with open arms and it is definitely a place that will reflect your creativity.

International students can find out more about studying a creative course at Salford.