Derby Media and Performing Arts: The ones to watch…
Image courtesy of the University of Derby

“Being at Derby started my whole career. Before I came to the University of Derby I felt like a girl with a guitar and now I’ve left I feel like a musician.” – Charlotte Carpenter, BA Popular Music with Music Technology

The Performing Arts and Media encompass some of the most visionary creative outlets the cultural world has ever known. From drama, music, dance and theatre production, to film, TV, photography and digital design, it is one of the most engaging, technology-rich, and ultimately fruitful field of study in modern higher education.

These areas of the discipline are rooted in the very core of the human civilization; they move in synchrony with other developments through the ages, whether in religious thought or scientific knowledge, or in any other advancement that has led us to the world of today.

Can you imagine life without music or dance? Without festivals? Without movies and film? A drab, colourless and cultureless world of black and white that doesn’t believe in nurturing creative freedom?

Still, the Performing Arts and Media remain a field often misunderstood, with many too quick to condemn any subject that is inherently creative in nature. It is quite frequently deemed irrelevant, elementary, and unreasonably unnecessary.

But really, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Derby Media and Performing Arts

“…Imagine society without the civilising influence of the arts and you’ll strip out what is most pleasurable in life – and much that is educationally vital,” Peter Bazalgette, former Chief of the UK Arts Council, told The Guardian. “Take the collective memory from our museums; remove the bands from our schools and choirs from our communities; lose the empathetic plays and dance from our theatres…expunge our festivals, literature and painting, and you’re left with a society bereft of a national conversation…about its identity or anything else.”

Bazalgette goes on to point out that while these sectors shouldn’t be considered a frontline health service, we are all too quick to undermine the colossal benefits Media and the Arts bring to society – at both the local and global level.

“Look at the work of orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic, which runs workshops for people with dementia, or the collaboration between the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the NHS Mersey Trust,” he adds, “which puts musicians in residence to work with adults with a complex range of mental health issues…

“The inherent value of culture, its contribution to society, its symbiotic relationship with education and yes, its economic power (but in that order) …that is what we call the holistic case for public support of arts and culture.”

But as one of the most competitive industries in the diverse professional sphere, it is wholly necessary for higher education courses surrounding these specialised disciplines to adopt a practical, interdisciplinary approach to learning in order to immerse students in cutting-edge innovation. This way, graduates leave readily-prepared to succeed in a business that’s constantly evolving.

The University of Derby, set just 90 minutes from London – a city that’s world-renowned as a global hub for arts and culture – is an institution that does just this, encouraging graduates to unleash their full potential with its ambition, innovative teaching, and revolutionary, modern thinking.

Derby boasts a sterling reputation for providing programmes that are both unique and industry-relevant, offering 34,000 students from all walks of life the chance to pursue unparalleled professional opportunities alongside their studies.

With more than £100 million being poured into the university’s state-of-the-art facilities in the past five years alone, it’s hardly surprising that students around the world continue to champion Derby for their Arts-based education.

And with far-reaching stories of professional graduate success, the Derby College of Arts’ return on investment is one that truly speaks for itself.

Take Simon Stephens, for example, former student of the BA (Hons) Theatre Studies and Literature programme at Derby University.

Simon revelled in the flexible learning options offered by throughout the course, taking the chance to specialise and hone his particular passions. Whilst studying under lecturer Yvonne Hurt, Simon developed his performance, writing skills and in-depth subject knowledge – things he continues to draw upon in his role as Theatre Arts programme leader at The BRIT School of Performing Arts and Technology in Croydon; one of the most prestigious Arts Schools in the heart of the UK capital.

Derby Media and Performing Arts shakespeares

“The teaching on offer at Derby is second to none, innovative and other universities should be looking to model their theatre studies in the same way,” he said.

“With the Theatre Studies course being based at the heart of a major, live theatre venue in the city of Derby, students have the invaluable opportunity to learn, perform and develop in a professional environment.”

Thanks to Derby’s unique and inspiring ethos, Simon was truly able to master his craft, going on to forge a career at one of the most respected drama schools not only in the nation, but also in the world, boasting reams of world-famous alumni like Adele, Amy Winehouse, Kate Nash, Katie Melua and Leona Lewis.

But as testament to just how much he values his Derby learning experience, to this very day, Simon urges his students to consider Derby for further study upon completion of their time at The BRIT School.

And the best thing is that Simon is just one shining example; Charlotte Carpenter graduated with a BA (Hons) in Popular Music with Music Technology, and has since been hotly tipped by some of the most influential industry leaders in the nation; Vanessa Tarrier studied Music Technology and Production before landing a role as studio engineer and co-manager at The Studio for RGS Music Group; Ben Kouijzer left Derby with a BSc (Hons) in Music Technology and Audio Systems Design, and currently works as a music agent for United Talent Agency; Katrina Matthews now runs her own Photography Studio; Drew Davis is a Director for Future Proof Films; and the list goes on…

So if you’re passionate about the arts and are keen to carve your way to the top, Derby’s College of Arts is the way to ensure your name becomes one the industry has to watch.

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All images courtesy of the University of Derby

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