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28 Jun 2012 – 15:15 – 16:15
Education & Industry: Developing the Partnership

3.15-4.15, Screen Academy Scotland, 2a Merchiston Ave, Edinburgh, EH10 4NU

A panel of practitioners from education and industry will discuss the current drama landscape in Scotland and how training and education can help support a growing indigenous drama industry. What are the training gaps and needs from an industry perspective? Are these being addressed by current industry training and education courses in Scotland? What is the drama industry looking for in Scottish film and media graduates? What is needed to sustain those already working in the industry to develop and enhance their skills and careers? What type of training is currently being delivered-is it relevant, practical and the right level? Is current drama training keeping pace with the changing needs of this industry? What more can be done? How can the partnership between education and training and industry develop to ensure that skills and experience are growing and strengthening the drama industry in Scotland?

The panel will wrestle with these questions and welcome contributions from you too so come along and have your say!

Panelists include: Gaynor Holmes, Executive Producer, BBC Scotland Drama, Stuart Hepburn, actor, screenwriter and Senior Lecturer in Screen Acting at University of the West of Scotland (UWS), Paul McManus, Scottish Official, BECTU and Karen O’Hare, Screen NETS, Professional Practice & Short Course Training (CPD) Project Manager at Screen Academy Scotland. Chaired by Maggie Kinloch, Chair of the Scottish Drama Training Network & Vice Principal of the Royal Conservatoire.

Followed by Networking Drinks at 4.15pm

WCA! Diary Dates & info for June plus an exciting new initiative at the end of email for filmmakers – lo-fi movies!A buzy month ahead!

Thursday 7th June, CAFE FLICKER – at GMAC 103 Trongate – see your short films showcased and get audience feedback, winner of the night goes onto The Big Flick later in the year! ‘Your Number’s Up’ starring Andrew McIntosh & Kelly Love, is screening tonight so get along, enjoy, and VOTE!

Monday 11th June, SCOTTISH SCREENWRITERS – at CCA, join John and Jerry for feedback on scripts and hear from invited Guests as detailed on website, plus networking afterwards!

Monday 18th June, WRITE CAMERA ACTION! – at CCA CINEMA – entry fee includes free raffle for 2 Cineworld Tickets. One writer space available. There is no substitute for seeing your work brought alive by our talented Actors and Directors, and receiving invaluable feedback from our Guest Host. It also gives prospective Producers and Directors the chance to see new writing talent = yours! Register & network from 6pm, casting at 7pm, performances at 9pm, networking afterwards!

Write Camera Action! is a voluntary run, not-for-profit organisation in support of independent filmmaking.

Write Camera Action! is happy to assist with Cast and Crew calls, as outlined in our mission statement. It should be noted however that WCA! does not have the resources to monitor out-of-house project’s production values, whether adequate insurance and health and safety procedures are in place or any other production considerations which may be an issue – these remain the individual’s responsibility to assess for themselves. If in doubt, ask. We wish you the very best with all your productions!


Write Camera Action! is a voluntary run, not-for-profit organisation in support of independent filmmaking.


University of The West of Scotland (UWS) is taking part in an innovative UK- wide project as part of the London 2012 Festival celebrating the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

‘A Hansel of Film – Shetland to Southampton and Back’ is a relay of screenings of short films made by the public in each of the nations and many of the regions of the UK.

The Project was  launched in Shetland on Sunday 10 June with the arrival of the Olympic Torch in the isles as it reached its UK most northerly point.

Hansel Of Film. From Shetland To Ayr

and will reach the University’s Ayr Campus on Saturday 16 June at 1.00 pm where local filmmakers will get the chance to see their works screened. There will be a drink and nibbles and the chance to talk to the film makers.  All in all a great networking opportunity.

Have a look here on the website to see local Film Maker Sandy Jack’s The  Christmas Card.  You can also see the work of  UWS film makers Martin Jelaneck and Rachel McCreath.

The films will be relayed between participating venues by ‘runners’; that is, creative and energetic individuals who will employ whatever means of transport they can devise to get the right films to the right venue on time.

This journey will culminate in a marathon screening of over 100 short films at Shetland’s annual film festival, Screenplay 2012, between Tuesday 4 and Sunday 9 September.

Acclaimed film critic Mark Kermode and film historian Linda Ruth Williams, who are the curators of Screenplay, will be very active in promoting the project across the country

The University’s BA (Hons) Contemporary Screen Acting Programme Leader, Stuart Hepburn, said: “The Hansel of Film project comes at a very exciting time for UWS , as it marks the first year of the official launch of our new £81 million campus in Ayr. We are encouraging all our acting and filmmaking students to create five minute films and enter them for the project.”


The London 2012 Festival is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.

Full details of the Hansel Of Film Project , and for tickets and details  to attend the event in Ayr , go to  the Hansel Of Film Website

1.00 Pm on Sat. 16th June . UWS Ayr

I have taught Screenwriting and Performance at the University Of The West of Scotland since 2006.  Dr Sarah Neely, who at that time was teaching Screenwriting  here,  originally asked me to visit   to deliver a one hour talk on my work in the Creative Industries. At that time the institution was called “The University Of Paisley” .  I thought I was agreeing to go and talk in Paisley, Renfrewshire,  until the day before the visit  I  looked at a map armed with the Post Code and realised that I was booked to speak in Ayr. Ayr???  What….Ayr, Ayrshire? Robert Burns? Ice Cream? Butlins? I remember phoning Sarah up the night before and asking her once again…”

“It is Ayr you want me to go to, is it? “

She assured me that it was indeed the toon of honest men and bonnie lasses,  and off I went with my bike on the train, to Ayr the next day. I got out at the end of the line, and outside the station, asked the ticket inspector  if he could tell me the way to the University. “Oh aye, ” he said, ” Ayr College….doon there, mate…”

“No..not Ayr College…..the University….” I said.

He drew himself up to his full 5’5″ , cupped his fag against the wind, and said ” There’s nae University in Ayr, son….”

Noting my puzzlement, one of his colleagues paused from rolling a cigarette and shouted over…” It’s Craigie he’s wantin’, Wullie”

With that, a light came on in Wullie’s eye…” Oh..CRAIGIE, is it?….how did you no say?” And with that he gave me pinpoint directions to the  Craigie Campus of the University Of Paisley.

6 years later and I am still here.

The New Campus

The New University Campus In Ayr

Now renamed University Of The West Of Scotland after its merger with Bell College Hamilton, and newly relocated in our new £80 million state of the art campus on the banks of the River Ayr, the place I work in  now is very different from the leaky, drafty, run down ex-teacher training college I walked into that day in March 2006. Thankfully, there is sign outside the town which says “Ayr..A University Town” , so that even Wullie from the station will now realise that there is a University in Ayr…and a damn fine one at that!

But there is something else that hasn’t changed at all. The students. Oh they aren’t exactly the same student’s of course. Six cohorts of graduates have moved on and made a life for themselves in the time I have been there. But they are exactly the same type of students.A large percentage of them tend to come from the same housing schemes, the same small towns, the same Islands  and urban conurbations as  they did then.

There is a specific “look”  and “sound” to a group of  UWS students.  I can’t define it, but I can instantly recognise it. I have lectured to MA students in  ancient oak and leather furnished rooms at St Andrews: to groups of  Film Students in  a modern Lecture Theatre at the University of Stirling: to  Theatre Studies Graduates in a beautifully dramatic arts “Church”  at Glasgow Uni. Every one of those groups   was instantly differentiated from my students at UWS.  Let’s cut to the chase here. We are talking class. The statisticians don’t talk about class. They talk about “areas of high deprivation” or “lower socioeconomic sectors”. Whatever way you dress it up as, the “look” and “sound” of a group of UWS students is closely linked to the fact that a large percentage of them come from the sort of places that most of the middle class worthies who run Scottish Education  only see through  smoke-tinted windscreens. Many of my students are the first person in their family to take up Higher Education. Many of them are single parents. Many of them have full time jobs in very low paid areas. Many of them subsist on bursaries, grants,handouts  and overdrafts.  Over 35% of our Performance Students have special educational needs which are fully supported by our fantastic team at UWS Ayr. I wonder what the equivalent  figure is in St. Andrews? I don’t have that figure to hand, but today, thanks to the NUS Scotland, I DO have a figure which has made me proud to work at UWS, and proud to teach my students. More of that later.

The New NSS Survey is out?  Oh……great.  :..(

Creative Hack Day in The Control Room

When you work at UWS, the release of National Statistics is rarely a pleasant experience. With teeth-grinding regularity, I see the National Student Survey  ”Performance Charts” which put Oxford , St Andrews and Cambridge at the top, and UWS somewhere…well…. let’s say a wee bit further down than Edinburgh.

Never mind that my students are taught in the most modern Creative Industries University in Britain.Never mind that all the hard work, toil, time, effort and downright passion that  my colleagues and I put in to our students learning experience  comes to nothing. My UWS students aren’t even included in the National Student Survey. Astonishingly, unbelievably,  incredibly, as direct entry third year “top up” students, they don’t even get ASKED what they think of their education. Why? Because  the entire NSS system is geared to assessing the thoughts of  18 year olds with A Levels  who are  studying   three year degrees. None of my students, not a single ONE of them, adheres to that biased,  Southern, middle class model. Many of my students don’t even have Highers. They left school at 16, maybe took a year out to work , or signed on. Some of them have been Fire Officers, Estate Agents,full time mothers, even a magician! Whatever their past, at some point,at some time,  they  took an access course, went to a local FE college, and achieved an HNC or an HND in Performance and Acting. They did this  in circumstances which were a million miles away from the creme de la creme of the education world who are  recruited by the “elites” .   This large group of Articulation students is completely ignored by the NSS.  Institutions like UWS  takes  large numbers of  these  students .  We   cajole them,  teache them, argue with them,  are frustrated and infuriated by them, but  finally we arm them with an honours degree , self respect,  and a practical tool kit to go out into the world and make a career for themselves. And yet my colleagues, students and I  have to watch as their progress is completely marginalised as the NSS  statistics  ”prove” how wonderful the “elite” universities are, and how low down we are .

League Table Shmeague Table.

As we all know, the  true situation at the chalk face is far more  complex than any crass league tables can ever reflect. For example,  I am bursting with pride at my two Honours students who achieved First Class degrees this year. They could walk into post-graduate studies of any elite institution in the country if they so wished. However I am just as proud of  my other students who have emerged  from challenging circumstances and learned advanced criticality, reflection and transferrable soft and hard skills which will help them gain employment or create their own jobs and careers. They want  to ensure that their children don’t get the same free meals that they did, and I am proud to be part of that process. Indeed I  am literally  part of that process, because I too was  the possessor of a dreaded free  ”white dinner ticket” while at school. But none of this is reflected in the cursed tables I see published in the papers every year. And do you know what? I’m past caring…..well…until today……because…..we made it to the top of a table today, and suddenly , I think they are a GREAT idea….so….

Our HD Television Studio at UWS Ayr.


Hallelujah! Let joy be unconfined!  Let the church bells ring and let laughter and mirth spread through the land! At last, some statistics are published which finally reflect the pride I feel in my institution, and which justify the passion and energy which my colleagues and I  put into our work here. UWS has come out ON TOP in a statistical survey! I will repeat that.  University Of The West Of Scotland  has come out ON TOP! We are the  top recruiter of students scoring highest using  the criteria of  the Scottish Index Of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD)

According to a recent study commissioned by NUS Scotland,  UWS recruits a greater percentage of students from “deprived areas” than any other university in Scotland. Of course needless to say, this was not presented as a positive story. Did I pick up my Herald yesterday and luxuriate in the headline  trumpeting “UWS Triumphs In Campaign For Open Access” ? Errr….No. Instead these figures were described as  “Elite Universities Fail To Recruit Poorer Pupils.” ’Twas ever thus.

Nevertheless, it IS a positive story for us at UWS! Last year we  recruited 1,117 students from the lowest SIMD sector. To give this a bit of context,  St Andrews, (which I believe is thought of as one of the elite ) , managed to  recruit……..wait for the drumroll……..a grand total of ….13.   Maybe we should call them the St. Andrews 13. Maybe they were all from the same Rugby League  team? Whoever they are, I really  do wish them well, because they must be 13 of the most outstanding students in the country. However  it  means that while 2.7% of St Andrews students might have got free school meals or had an unemployed parent, the UWS figure is 25.4%.

Not only that, but  the elite universities (what a wonderful term that is ) are actually recruiting less disadvantaged students  than they did 10 years ago. This means that these  august  educational institutions , whose senior common rooms no doubt glow with statisfaction at their domination of the NSS statistics, are getting  less and less  successful in helping the poorest attempt to break out of a cycle of deprivation and poverty than before.

The Blame Game? 

Let’s make one point crystal clear here. I don’t blame the elite unis for this. As Alistair Sim, director of Universities Scotland states in the Herald  of  June 4th 2012

“To deliver significant change in universities, you first need to tackle the root of the problem, which is the large gap in attainment according to deprivation in schools, as recent reports have confirmed,”

I’ll say!

Coupled with this, I also don’t blame the elite for wanting to recruit the best students. If I got the chance to recruit a fantastic actress who had gone to Swiss finishing school and had an International Baccalauréat ,  I would do it in a flash. But I live in the real world too. I am competing against other institutions which are deemed “elite” and superior to mine. I know that because I see it in the League Tables, so it must be true, musn’t it?

Prolier Than Thou?

Of course, The solution to these societal inequalities, as Alistair Sim points out,  lies  not in the University sector  at all. Universities are the symptom of the disease, not the cause.  It is  in the schools and pre-school system that this canker of inequality is nurtured.  The fact that elite schools dominate the intake  of elite universities  is clearly symptomatic of the effect of pouring massive subsidy and resources into the education of the 7% of British Children who attend  ”independent” schools. Thus inequality is structurally inevitable if we are to continue to give parents the “freedom” to buy their children’s superior school education. Even the proposed imposition of quotas, through  which the Government plans to force Universities  to take more disadvantaged students (and which the “elite”  will inevitably rail against) , are  naught but a  tiny sticking plaster  on what is  a far , far   deeper  inequality wound in contemporary Scottish society.

The Way Forward.

If we Scots decide that we want to build a fairer society (and the evidence of election after election in Scotland is that we do ) ,  then the  only way to redress our  massive societal inequalities is through investment in education and training at the pre-school, school, FE and HE level. At UWS, we  can only do what we can do, and  I am proud to be part of an HE institution which is clearly and  demonstrably doing more to enable open  access to HE than any other University in Scotland.

Graduation Day At UWS Ayr

So let’s hear it for UWS, our students, and especially for Wullie the ticket inspector from Ayr whose town has a University which is top of the performance charts in at least one crucial area.

If you want more information on the sort of work our Articulation students do in Ayr, please have a look at the Video below. It was created, written, acted and edited by  my third years last term. These students came  straight from an HND at FE College, and have  no current voice in the National Student Survey. Let their words speak for themselves.  Contemporary Screen Acting At University Of The West Of Scotland.

I’m pleased to reveal that I’ve just successfully negotiated the latest stage of my PhD. Accompanied by  my personal tutor, I had a meeting with the head of Post Graduate research and an external examiner from another school of the University.

They  went through the documentation which I had put on the table which consisted of

1. A statement of proposed academic milestones.

2. All  the work I have created so far.

3.  A  re focussing of my Research Project  aims and objectives.

In truth, the meeting was a very enjoyable affair. In common with all my work so far, it was a creative event where we discussed the ethical considerations of my work, and then went on to explore the theory and critical reflections of others working in the same field.

It depends what you mean by “mean”.

We talked, in no particular order , about Rachel Seiffert’s novel Afterwards (2007). I’m particularly interested in her use of a reflection on the process of writing the novel which she has appended to novel itself.

We then discussed “The Instant of My Death” by Maurice Blanchot  and the companion volume of Fiction and Testimony by Derrida.

This volume records a remarkable encounter in critical and philosophical thinking: a meeting of two of the great pioneers in contemporary thought, Maurice Blanchot and Jacques Derrida, who are also bound together by friendship and a complex relation to their own pasts. More than a literary text with critical commentary, it constitutes an event of central significance for contemporary philosophical, literary, and political concerns.

To quote the blurb on Amazon “The book consists of The Instant of My Death, a powerful short prose piece by Blanchot, and an extended essay by Derrida that reads it in the context of questions of literature and of bearing witness. Blanchot’s narrative concerns a moment when a young man is brought before a firing squad during World War II and then suddenly finds himself released from his near death. The incident, written in the third person, is suggestively autobiographical—from the title, several remarks in the text, and a letter Blanchot wrote about a similar incident in his own life—but only insofar as it raises questions for Blanchot about what such an experience might mean. The accident of near death becomes, in the instant the man is released, the accident of a life he no longer possesses. The text raises the question of what it means to write about a (non)experience one cannot claim as one’s own, and as such is a text of testimony or witness.

Derrida’s reading of Blanchot links the problem of testimony to the problem of the secret and to the notion of the instant. It thereby provides the elements of a more expansive reassessment of literature, testimony, and truth. In addressing the complex relation between writing and history, Derrida also implicitly reflects on questions concerning the relation between European intellectuals and World War II.and Fiction and Testimony Fragments”

If ever a peice of work were an attempt to interrogate the clouds of war and the indeterminacy of  personal war narratives, this is it.

We also honed the structure of the PhD itself. We are moving away from the notion of a critical analysis of the Short Story within the work, and nearer to an exploration of the process of creating the work itself.

Therefore, since an epistolary narrative is the part of the PhD….then the letters from sources and the process should be part of the PhD. Since the creation of a short story is part of the PhD, then a reflection of that process should sit within it ….and so on. In this it will be influenced methodologically more by Sieffert’s “Afterward” than Derrida’s “Fiction and Testimony” This is a major development in the process, and has moved me on from where I was last month.

We discused the possibility of the publication of this reflection in a Scottish Studies Journal, rather than a Screenwriting Journal . I am investigating the the first 100,000 by  Ian McDougall Hay to see if I can  find an “in” to the present literary debates in learned journals.

We discussed Scotland’s Bookshelf by  Rosemary Goring, the work of John Buchan, The New Dictionary Of National Biographies, and finally an application for Research Support as I am going to have to visit the Cameron Highlanders Archives in Fort George and also visit Inverness to discuss the ethics of the work with the families involved in my research.

Most importantly, the signatures of external examiner and the head of research allowed me to go to the next stage of the work and my second year of study.

I’ve now got 4 more letters to write, a short story and a feature film screenplay, plus the critical afterword, and plan to finish the whole thing in April 2014.

David Ward Maclean at the Beverly Folk Festival

Tickets only £5.00  From Smallprint Dunblane, or from [email protected] or phone 01786825419

Clydebank-born guitarist/songwriter David Ward Maclean has lived and  worked as a musician in York for the last 20 years. In the past he has supported  John Martyn, John James, Jack Bruce, Ralph McTell and Dougie Maclean,  and more recently guested for Martin Carthy, Edwina Hayes, Chris  Helme, Mostly Autumn, John Otway, Jethro Tull on 3 dates of their 40th  anniversary tour, John Gomm, Woody Mann, Michael Chapman and Benjamin Francis Leftwich.

“Great Stuff”. (Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull) “Simply wonderful!” (Noah Georgeson, producer for Bert Jansch, Joanna  Newsome etc.). “…combines rare technical craft and skill with moments of beauty and an  emotional depth which is simply beyond his junior contemporaries.”  (Sandman Magazine) “There are killer lines everywhere” (R2 Magazine) “Worth seeking him out” (Acoustic Magazine) .

Stuart On Twitter

  • RT @BBCWalesNews: Finding time and space in Wales - how the Doctor made his home in Cardiff #DoctorWho50th http://t.… 1 hour ago
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