The Working With Words Conference returns this year and has a greater selection of panels than ever before. Ranging from Marketing to Games, and Political Writing to Advertising – there will be something there for you. The Games session will explore what it takes to make games and run your own independent studio. There is also an opportunity to gain an insight into Festivals, exploring the various skill involved in creating and running festivals as well as discussing the pitfalls involved. The finale of the conference will be poetry performances by Molly Naylor and Mark Grist.
One of the most anticipated panels of the event is the Journalism Alumni Panel. This panel will be hosted by Concrete’s Editor-in-Chief Sophie Bunce, with speakers Jess Frank-Heyes (Archant), Clare Worden (BBC Radio 4) and Claire Hynes (Guardian).
Hynes is an established journalist who has written for a range of national newspapers and continues to write Opinion pieces for The Guardian. Additionally, Hynes completed a Creative Writing MA and a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at UEA and is a lecturer in the school of LDC. In a preliminary interview with Hynes, I asked her how she first got involved in journalism. Hynes discussed how she was involved in The Voice, the only British national black weekly newspaper in the UK. During her time at The Voice, Hynes got involved in representing news that was not reported on by national press. Hynes was one of the few journalists to interview Stephen Lawrence’s family after his murder in 1993 and continues to write articles that challenge representation and discrimination.
Hynes talked of how being a journalist for The Voice was different to the journalism practiced when she was young. Hynes commented, ‘When working for The Voice I wasn’t desk bound, you had to go out and speak to people and have lots of contacts. It was about human contact. Now journalism is about googling, social media, blogs and tweeting.’ Change within Creative Industries is extremely important to recognise, especially now that the internet is being used increasingly a platform. The Working With Words conference will help to educate students wanting to pursue a career in the creative industries by discussing how they need to utilise new media within their chosen industry.
The Journalism Alumni Panel will no doubt enlighten and inspire the many students signed up to attend. Alongside the panel, Hynes expressed an interested in the PR & Communications session featuring Hugo Douglas Deane (a former UEA student) who worked alongside Hynes on a careers website called After English. Hynes commented ‘I like the emphasis on digital in the conference, there’s a session on Games, and then another on Creating Content and Branding.’ The panels featured in this year’s Working With Words conference will enable students from all disciplines to hear a wide variety of professionals discuss how their industry engages with words differently.