Kate Ellison

Degree: BA Hons Media & Cultural Studies
Currently works: RED Production Company (Freelance) 

Why did you choose LICA?

I suppose I never directly chose LICA, it was more of a happy coincidence that the course I chose allowed me to take modules in a number of departments; including LICA, Arts & Social Sciences and even European Languages & Culture! Choosing my particular degree allowed me to keep my options open which was important to me as I really had no idea where I wanted to be in three years. I now have no regrets as it allowed me to explore a wide variety of topics while being able to intertwine what I had learned in one department with another.

What was the best part of your course?

Through the wide range of modules that I took within LICA including Documentary Cultures, Silent Cinema and Sci-Fi I was able to discover new areas of film, media and art that I previously hadn’t had the chance to study in much depth. The parts of my course that I took within LICA where definitely some of my most engaging and rewarding, with weekly film screenings, lectures and seminars where topics were expanded upon, broken down and discussed between small groups of students and lecturers in an open and enjoyable atmosphere.

How did your degree help with the work you do now?

I am currently a freelance Production Assistant/Floor Runner based in the North West of the UK. Since graduating in the summer of 2013 I have worked on productions for the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV, including ‘Jamaica Inn’, ‘Cucumber’, ‘The Voice’ and ‘One Born Every Minute’. I have no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be where I currently find myself without my degree from Lancaster. My degree has given me both academic and life skills that have enabled me to have the confidence and discipline to pursue a career in a notoriously difficult industry.

Can you tell us about your experience on the “Documentary Cultures” module? Has it been valuable to you in the work you’ve done since graduating?

The Documentary Cultures module at LICA was one of my favourite academic experiences at Lancaster. It was challenging, fun and I learned so much about the production process through a hands-on approach to the course; even if it was on a much smaller scale to what I work on now! My particular group decided to produce a documentary on a drag queen who has put on shows both locally in Lancaster and further afield. The practical filmmaking skills; including project organisation, planning and editing that we gained during the process have been very valuable to me since graduating as they gave me a basic knowledge of the industry I wanted to enter and have since been built upon and used in my day-to-day working life.

What’s ‘Lancaster Life’ like?

Lancaster will always be my second home, and I can’t wait until I get some time off to visit. Coming from a much larger city I was a little concerned at first that the transition would be difficult; despite my love of the Lake District which is on Lancaster’s doorstep! However I soon settled in to Lancaster life which is lively, varied, and very welcoming. The campus offers everything a student could ever need, with the city just a short bus ride away if you want a change of scenery from the campus “bubble”. During my time at Lancaster I really embraced both university life, by joining societies and writing for the university newspaper, and life in Lancaster itself by volunteering at Lancaster Children’s Film Festival; which then gave me the contacts to go on and work on two independent films before graduating. Lancaster life is truly what you make it, it’s a little city with a big personality and is highly student orientated so you can’t really go wrong!

Any advice for the next generation of LICA students?

My advice to the next generation of LICA students is study something you really love; three or four years is a long time to stay interested in something! LICA is the perfect place to pursue your passions, you’ll get all the academic, vocational and personal support that you need to succeed — just don’t be afraid to ask for help. Finally, try not to worry about what you’ll do after graduation, just get out there and enjoy your time at Lancaster and you’ll figure it out in the end- I know I did!