Insight into the unknown

What you’re about to read is my account of what it was like to be in the gallery whilst the production group ‘ReDefined’ prepared to record our show, ‘Listen Up Leeds’.

The show is about to start soon and you can feel the silent tension rising in the air. Everything is being set up from the cameras to the presenters getting in position. So having the final check before the big moment that will be upon us before we know it. Messages are being passed in slightly panicked voices from the gallery, where I am, to the studio. This is to make sure everything is perfect. The director, Holly, has just come backstage to make sure everyone knows exactly what they’re doing. As the time’s creeping closer everyone seems to be relaxing somewhat in to their role counting down to the first run through… 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1!   The presenters are sounding great despite a few nerves but are really getting into it. The first run-through is over and everyone is relieved! It went okay, only a few minor mistakes with the cameras and timing that are easily sorted.

On another note it’s becoming extremely stuffy in the gallery and it’s only going to get worse. The stuffiness I mean ha-ha.

The second run through is going smoothly. Everyone is listening to instructions and working in a team. Although tension is still there that’s fine because the team’s confidence overrides it.

Now it’s time for a break till the third and final time.

Now, now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for….  The final master piece. The only one viewers see, the only take that actually matters!

We are live!!!

Now the programme has finished.  All is calm and you can hear sighs of relief. The practice paid off. Well done to all!

Making the Arts accessible in Leeds

My name is Zahra Majid and I’m blind. I believe that making art and culture accessible for everyone is important. I mean, if everyone else can enjoy the experience why can’t I?

We all experience life through all our senses: taste, smell, hearing, site and touch. So I decided to investigate how a theatre makes their performances more accessible.

Last Friday I went to the West Yorkshire Playhouse.  I spoke to Maria Thelwell their Creative Engagement officer (Access) about access performances.


To experience a play in the theatre with audio description is incredible. At the Playhouse you first go to the desk to be handed a head set and once you are comfortable in your seat you are shown how to use them. One channel has the audio for the theatre where you’re sitting, another channel is the person who is audio describing and the third channel is a mix of the two. Something seemingly so simple as having someone first describing how the characters look, what they are wearing and what is happening on the stage is such a luxury for those who are blind or visually impaired.

The experience of being shown around the set prior to the performance is an amazing bonus also as it truly allows an individual to experience how the set feels quite literally, which leads to a deeper and much more meaningful understanding.

I believe this theatre is faultless in the way it uses all these extra elements to transform and enhance the experience at the West Yorkshire Playhouse for a blind or visually impaired person.

It seems there’s a lot of work to be done in making arts and culture accessible for a blind or visually impaired person, but the Playhouse shows it can be done well. I’d like to experience art exhibitions and music gigs too – but I’m not sure if this exists yet?

Post in the comments if you know about accessible performances and events of any sort in Leeds, and we’ll put together a future post.

Zahra Majid


LTU Media Fest


On May 4th, Leeds Trinity University held its first ever media festival where we got to hear exciting stories and interesting opinions from our media alumni. With the #LTUmediafest hashtag on Twitter definitely being kept busy for the day, here’s some highlights:

Remember to follow @YorkshireV on Twitter to be kept up with all of the media and culture events happening around the university and in Leeds.

Leeds Indie Food Festival for Coffee Lovers

Leeds Indie Food Festival for Coffee LoversLeeds Indie Food Festival

Where all the coffee lovers should be heading..

Saturday 21st May

Cafe 164 is the place to be with coffee related events on from 11am-6pm

11am- A better brew with Maude
An informative lesson with coffee roasters Maude on how to create the perfect brew at home. A bag of delicious beans are included to take away.

1pm-2.30pm- From seed to cup with North Star
Join North Star Coffee Roasters to explore coffee’s journey from the plantation to your brew through processing and ethical sourcing. There will be a Q&A session and a cupping to show the difference in flavour profiles between growing regions and processing methods.
Plus a bag of beans to takeaway.

3pm-3.30pm- What am I tasting?
Join Leeds roasters Pump n Grind for a fun blindfolded cupping session. Taste a variety of specialty coffee from around the world. There will be a chance to sample some baked, cooked and raw foods paired with the black stuff.

4pm-6pm- Dark Woods Coffee and Friends
Dark Woods Coffee are one of Yorkshire’s most interesting roasters, you will get the chance to participate in some eye opening, interactive tastings and experience the pairing of speciality coffee and craft beers. There’s a free bag of beans to takeaway too.

For more details about what’s happening throughout the festival, visit the Leeds Indie Food website.

Lauren Layfield at LTU Media Festival

Lauren Layfield at #LTUmediafestLauren Layfield, a former Leeds Trinity graduate, currently a presenter for CBBC joined us today for the Media Festival at Leeds Trinity University. After graduating from a degree in Drama, Lauren began to study Broadcast Journalism after asking herself what “dream job” she would do. This led her on to working for radio stations such as Heart and researching for Jeremy Kyle.


“The best presenters are people who are themselves.”

Working as a children’s television presenter can be fun and comes naturally, as she tells us, ‘Someone’s launching a pie at my face and I’ve just got paid for that.” Lauren acknowledges the work can require patience, hard work and sometimes waiting around; as we also learned that presenters can be at the mercy of the guests and it can be their responsibility to hype them up to appear happy and enthusiastic for the audience.

Lauren Interview

“If I don’t give it my best, I’d come away disappointed.”

On the matter of the changing media landscape and generations becoming more dependent on the internet rather than the television, Lauren advised that it doesn’t necessarily matter where the content is uploaded, just so long as it’s good.

If you would like to explore the opportunities that the BBC currently has, check out their Job Search website. 

Kimberley Metcalfe at LTU Media Festival

Kimberely MatcalfeSo our very own Kimberley Metcalfe came back to Leeds Trinity today after becoming a media graduate in 2006. During her time at Trinity she originally studied for a Psychology degree but dropped it after her first year. “I wanted to play around with telly and radio”, which is exactly what she went on to do. With so many great placement opportunities available Kim ended up staying an extra four weeks at her placement than planned. “Great opportunities on your door step” Yorkshire is a fantastic place to work, “you couldn’t be in a better place for media”.

Kimberely Metcalfe

Kimberley has previously worked at Galaxy FM, now known as Capital Yorkshire; BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 5 live. Currently a producer of BBC Radio Leeds Breakfast show but will be starting her new job next week BBC Look North Hull and Lincolnshire so we wish you all the best in your new job.

After a very inspirational talk about her career, we got a great insight into the best way to portray news and stories on the radio. “Whenever you’re doing a story, see if it affects the heart, the head or the wallet”. Kim talked a lot about community and how building relationships is key. It’s not always about being first to broadcast a story, spend time with the families, be human and when they are ready to talk, you will get your exclusive. You have to find a balance between humour and seriousness. Kimberley also went on to talk about how the media is developing, “You have to use a piece you can use on all platforms.” Pictures also need to be interesting, they tell a story of their own – one powerful image can create a whirl wind of emotions.

kim interview

Many questions were asked during the talk, the main question that kept popping up was whether Kim wanted to work in Radio forever or try working on television. She responded with how she enjoyed the speed of news on radio and how it can be broadcast straight away. However, she wants to work on bigger stories, with more time to create/produce them. It is going to be a big personal step for her in her career.

Don’t forget to support Kim’s Just Giving Page for Macmillan Cancer Support. Already raised a massive £2,250.66 for the Borneo Hiking Challenge which will take place between 19/11/2016 and 27/11/2016 – she will hike 4095m up Mt Kinabalu in South Asia.

You can listen to Kimberley’s current radio broadcast by tuning in to Liz Green at BBC Radio Leeds from 6am until 9am.

Twitter’s Overview of Leeds Digital Festival

Twitter's Overview of Leeds Digital Festival

#LeedsDigi16 was trending last week as people attended different types of events from social media boosters to bring your own beamer sessions the broad range of events is noted on their digital festival’s event page. By combining the digital themes of the festival with Live at Leeds, they attracted over 10,000 people. The events took place from Monday 25th to Friday 29th April 2016 if you missed it, I apologise.

There was lot of excitement loading up to the digital festival. Which produced talent such as this:

Exhibitions from artists received high praise from Twitter users.

Quirky inventions were pulled in. This website allows people to log in through their Twitter and turns the things you tweet into music. Check it out


Gareth Jones at LTU Media Festival

Gareth Jones at #LTUmediafest

Today we attended the first ever Leeds Trinity Media Festival. Exciting and enthusiastic speakers from the media industry came to educate and inform us about their story.


Here’s a quick overview of the speeches

Gareth Jones


(“Silence says more than words”)

We are proud to say we had one of our very own alumni come in to speak to us, giving us an exciting speech on being a BBC Sports commentator and editor for Leeds Local radio station. Graduating with a journalism degree in 2003 from Leeds Trinity University where he went on to gain 18 years of experience in the sport media journalism industry which eventually lead him to his current job for BBC Radio Leeds. His most prestigious acclaim to date was this year when he won a SJA award for his “Bradford City fire tribute documentary” in 2015.

He gave an awe inspiring talk of how the media and journalism world worked and how to utilize social media such as Facebook live to connect with a wider and younger demographic. It was fascinating to hear the way he described the art of commentating, painting a picture in the heads of the listeners without using visual images as an aid, using only his description and the imagination of the audience. He talked about his passion for his job and a thing he liked most about the commentating for local radio was the fact that the BBC is usually a non-bias organisation but for Local sport stations you’re able to show your support for the local team while also still giving the factual information.

It is easy to see why he won the Sports Journalism Award (SJA) because you could see his determination and passion for his work describing the “Bradford City fire tribute documentary”. While I have never seen this documentary I would like to take the time to watch it as Gareth brought up some interesting points on why stadiums are no longer made using wood and how this tragedy has helped in the development of care in how burn wounds are treated.

If you want to find out more information on Gareth I urge you to visit his website and Twitter.