After a one year hiatus, the Working with Words conference returns this year to give students wanting to pursue a career in the creative industries an insight into the contemporary challenges and opportunities they may come across. It 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 to get a taster of a creative career you might be interested in going into.

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 the various skills 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-Keyes, former Deputy Editor of Concrete and now reporter at Archant; Clare Worden from BBC Radio 4 and Claire Hynes, a UEA lecturer in Literature and Creative Writing. Hynes is also an established journalist who has written for a range of national newspapers and continues to write opinion pieces for The Guardian. Additionally, she completed a Creative Writing MA and PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at UEA.

In a preliminary interview with Hynes, I asked her how she first got involved in journalism. She discussed how she was involved in The Voice, the only British national black weekly newspaper in the UK. During her time with the publication, Hynes got involved in representing news that was not reported on by the national press. She 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 practised when she was younger. She 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.’ Indeed, change within creative industries is extremely important to recognise, especially now that the internet is being used increasingly as a platform.

Alongside the panel, Hynes expressed an interest 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 conveyed ‘I like the emphasis on digital in the conference; there’s a session on Games, and then another on Creating Content and Branding.’

Undoubtedly, the panels featured in this year’s Working with Words conference will enlighten and inspire the many students who have signed up to hear a wide variety of professionals from all disciplines discuss how they engage with words differently.


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