28 January 2022

It’s been a busy start to the year for all involved in Arts Partnerships at Abingdon. January has seen the Oxfordshire Academy of Broadcast Journalism, created by professional broadcasters Olly Hogben and Blythe Lawrence, running nine online workshops for students at Abingdon, Fitzharrys, Larkmead and John Mason Schools in three different forms of broadcasting – presenting, podcasting and blogging. Three of the sessions were aimed at students who took part in the first round of OABJ sessions last summer, with a view to helping them take their next steps in their chosen area, whether by creating a full episode of a podcast, a presenting showreel or a series of blog posts. Six further workshops were “taster sessions” aimed at introducing new students in Years 8, 9 and 10 to these three disciplines and guiding them through the production of their first short pieces of work. Now, all students have until the start of the half-term break to produce a piece of work ahead of what we very much hope will be the first “in person” meeting of the OABJ for a showcase event hosted by Fitzharrys School. This will take place on Friday 4 March and involve the sharing of students’ work, followed by feedback and suggestions for next steps from the professionals. There will also be some career insight talks to give students a sense of what a typical day as a broadcaster looks like, and how students can launch careers in these forms of the media.

Not to be outdone, Abingdon’s Film Academy has also been active, enjoying the chance to run its first in-person workshop with students at Larkmead School since September 2019. Two of the Abingdon Film Unit’s tutors, Duncan Pickstock and Bronwen Parker-Rhodes, worked with eight Larkmead students in an after-school workshop to introduce students to the basics of shooting with film cameras and editing with Final Cut Pro software. Further sessions will aim to help those students develop their ideas and then create their own short films. And together with BAFTA-winning AFU tutor Colin O’Toole, Duncan and Bronwen will run two workshops at Larkmead on Friday 18 February as part of a day-long focus on careers in the creative digital industries. All in all, there are plenty of exciting opportunities for students across all these schools to gain practical skills and experience in the various forms of media communication.

The photos show Olly Hogben and Blythe Lawrence leading some of the OABJ online workshops.

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