Meet Alicia Edwards, Curriculum Director for Creative & Digital Media

We caught up with Alicia Edwards, newly appointed Curriculum Director for Creative & Digital Media at UTC Sheffield City Centre, to hear all about her new role.

So how did you get into teaching?

It’s one of those very rewarding careers that involves my interests and hobbies within the creative industries. I enjoy helping and supporting others and have always mentored others from a young age. Whilst studying in sixth form, I did a couple of placements in a school and really enjoyed them. I completed my Media degree, gaining industry experience with ITV on the set of Emmerdale, but I knew I wanted to teach so did a PGCE.

Why Creative & Digital Media (CDM)?

Unlike other subjects, CDM is constantly changing and evolving. The students learn how to put theoretical concepts into practice whilst gaining industry experience and knowledge. We’re making things the students naturally use anyway, but they’re getting an insight into how they’re created and targeted at a certain audience. They all use social media, they all use websites and apps, they all watch films. Now they’re learning how to create those.

Why at the UTC?

We’re located in the creative quarter of Sheffield so there are so many opportunities for employer links. At UTC, CDM is celebrated and recognised for what we do, what the students do, and what they go on to achieve. We’ve got state-of-the-art and industry-standard facilities, software and equipment that the students can utilise for their modules.

Prior to UTC, what did you do?

Before working at UTC Sheffield, I taught GCSE, A Level and BTEC at Thomas Rotherham College on their Media Studies and Creative Media Production courses.

What are the strengths of the UTC?

The UTC is a community and it works well for the students and staff. The dedication of the learners is incredible. The students have chosen to specialise in either CDM or Engineering, some of whom made that decision as early as Year 9. They have a route or a path they’re considering taking and we’re able to facilitate that.

What are your strengths as a CDM team?

As a collective, we all love to teach. We have industry knowledge, whether it be in TV, Advertising, Moving Image or Art, as well as a range of both theoretical and practical skills that I think really comes out in what we deliver to the students.

What are your ambitions for your department?

I’d like to see more opportunities outside of the classroom on trips and utilising exterior resources to widen students’ knowledge. With their chosen career paths there is far more opportunity outside the classroom, and this will help them reach and exceed their own expectations.

What kind of projects do the students work on in CDM?

Across both KS4 and KS5 the students incorporate graphic design, web, audio visual and audio. Two of our Year 12 students are currently working on a cross-media campaign for the NHS Cancer Alliance as part of their advertising unit. It’s a regional campaign with the initiative to raise awareness of cancer, cancer treatments and care regionally. Those two students are having regular meetings and receiving feedback on designs for the marketing and advertising in the regional area.

What has been your highlight of working at the UTC?

We had a walkthrough with Mark Herbert, CEO of Sheffield-based Warp Films, where we looked in detail at one of the scenes from Four Lions. He told us how he did it and it was great for the students to hear about the importance of pre-production and what goes into a scene to make it look the way the audience sees it. To be there with him was just mind blowing.

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