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Studieren. Wissen. Machen.

Hochschule der Medien


Intensifying PhD-Programmes

Due to the partnership with The University of the West of Scotland, Stuttgart Media University has been visited by Prof Graham Jeffery, Dr Declan Bannon and Keith Bird last week. We talked to the latter two, to get to know them a little better, see, what they are doing at the UWS and find out, where we can strengthen the bonds of our PhD cooperation.

Keith Bird; Foto: Franziska Böhl

Keith Bird is the studio and technical operations manager for the School of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) at the UWS. He looks back on a long professional career as sound engineer and has already worked with lots of Scottish musicians, among them internationally successful Paolo Nutini.

Making things run

Describing his typical day at work, Keith goes "It will change, cause the job only began in September last year, so a lot that I've been doing so far is figuring out where the school is, where the facilities are in terms of standard, what the operational procedures are and so on. The basic is to make sure the studios are working. The students are coming in quite regularly and it doesn't have to be for course work. So what we do is that everything is working, is where it should be, things are tidy." Keith spends a lot of time in meetings discussing school strategy, although he doesn't do any teaching. "I have to know what goes on, on the academic side", he explains.

Joint projects for all study levels

He also tries to develop links for the university to the community, Scotland and beyond to European partners. Keith is trying to promote projects the students have done and bringing things in as well. He explains: "One model we look at right now is a limited form of commercialization. We are trying to develop projects that bring in money from business partners. But the key part for me is that we do not just bring in money, but something of value for the university and the students. For example, a highly respected musician the students can work with as part of the commercial deal. Or give the students the possibility to work for pilots for TV shows, not as "student crews", but give them the possibility to be assistants." He strongly believes that both students and business partners take profit out of such cooperation. When asked if he could think of projects where students from the University of the West of Scotland and from Stuttgart Media University can cooperate on all levels of studies, Keith said: "It looks like HdM-Students are becoming very technically adept, whereas UWS-students are quite known for their innovative and business ideas. I think it would be nice to take the best of both sides, and combine them in projects. We should hook up a network with European students, and take that back to Scotland. That would be nice to see. We do this already with the commercial music team. It would be nice to role that out to TV and film as well, and see, where it goes." It was Keith's first time in Germany. He said he likes the German beer and was especially excited to see the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart.

Strengthening the bonds

Dr Declan P Bannon; Foto: Franziska Böhl

Afterwards we talked to Dr Declan P Bannon. He teaches at the UWS and has been working there for 15 years now. He got his PhD at the UWS as well. Declan studied Chemistry and worked in the pharmaceutical industry for years, also for German companies like Boehringer Mannheim. That got him interested in the business side of things. He started doing professional marketing qualifications and has now ended up teaching professional marketing qualifications. He's not only teaching at the UWS, he is giving lectures, speeches and workshops all over the world. Preparing for lectures, answering E-mails and travelling the world takes up most of his time. Due to his travelling to universities all over the world Declan knows how important it is to strengthen the bonds between different institutions and the international relations. He thinks that education - besides oil and whisky - is Scotland third top-industry.

Make friends and business contacts

Declan has been to Stuttgart and the Stuttgart Media University several times. When asked, where he sees potential for connecting programmes between our institutions, he explained: "I see lots of potential. Students love visiting lecturers. My students love visiting lecturers. I regularly get asked to go to France and Germany and visit. And tell you what: Why don't you come and lecture for a week and I go to your university and lecture for a week. I have a friend teaching at a French university, he is Scottish actually, and he came and gave a three hour speech on the differences between French and British marketing. It's not actually the marketing and strategies that are different, it's the people. It's just getting a different nationality's perspective on business and marketing. Furthermore by attending visiting lecturers, you make friends, business connections and contacts. And from student exchanges I would encourage any student to go for an exchange programme." Declan pointed out, that one of the best things about universities for him is, that they are very collegial and cooperative. We share common ground, help each other and work in collaboration, and that is a joy for him. He stated: "You can walk into any university, hand over your business card, say who you are and then you get introduced to people like yourself. You get to meet people, go to lunch together, start to talk and discuss different topics. It's a good opportunity to learn from each other." Declan was very excited to see Stuttgart's inner city, the Mercedes Benz Museum and spend a nice time with his colleagues from abroad. We hope you guys had a good time here. Haste ye back!


Kristina Simic


21. Juni 2013




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