Students support iconic grassroots music venues

By Kerri Stevenson

Students discussed ways to save iconic grassroots music venues around the country from closure at an event organised by DMU today.

Students gathered at the university’s Clephan building for a public forum organised by the Music Venue Trust as part of the Cultural Exchanges festival.

The free hour-long event included a talk from members of the charity, which was set up in 2014 in a bid to secure the long-term future of iconic grassroots live music venues across the UK and to protect them from closure.

imageStrategic director Beverley Whitrick said: “The most rewarding aspect of working with the trust is getting the chance to talk to people in different areas of the country, rather than just London.

“These include cities such as Manchester, Leicester, Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow.”

She added: “Our yearly venues day is set up in a conference style and combines a range of events such as workshops, panels and a marketplace for different venues to interact with one another.

“Our campaigns have made a positive impact because the owners of music venues realise that they are not alone and that if their venues have problems and are struggling, they can contact the trust.”

Over the past two years, the Venue Music Trust has organised a range of campaigns and events such as the annual Venues Day, which will be held this year at London’s Roundhouse on October 18th, the Music Cities Convention and The Great Escape.

Today’s event was organised because in recent years, small grassroots music venues around the UK have been closing down rapidly due to a lack of funding and representation.

Since the laws on licensing these venues changed, the trust has been trying to get investment back into these failing venues.

If you have any questions about today’s event or would like further information, please contact Beverley Whitrick on 07809 155 388, visit the website here or send an email to


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Students record their own BBC radio drama

Journalism students got to record their own radio drama during a tour of the BBC studios in Birmingham.


DMU meets a dalek

The De Montfort University students also saw The Archers recording studio during their visit on Tuesday.

The tour was offered to up to 15 students as a field trip on Tuesday 1 March during Enhancement Week, and started at 10.30am.

Members of the tour were shown around the foyer, where there was a life size dalek, a lift resembling the tardis and three dresses from Strictly Come Dancing on display.

Some people recorded a horror genre radio play, with a pre-written script. Some were in charge of sound effects while others were the voice actors.

The story was about a group of friends staying at a haunted house, and will be made available to the people involved in a few weeks’ time.


Just a few Archers props

The Archers recording studio contained a wide variety of props for creating both indoor and outdoor sound effects, including different sinks, a door for opening and closing, a coat for putting on or taking off and stairs with three different types of flooring.

According to the tour guide, intimate scenes are recorded by the actors involved kissing their own hands – although those who know each other have no qualms about kissing properly!

Depending on the sound effects used, some scenes are recorded separately. Sounds that cannot be manually created, such as cows, birds, weather noises, etc are recorded in a room connected to the main studio by a large window.

When the sound quality is particularly important, with no echoes or background noise, the actors are recorded in a soundproof room.

The tour also included the BBC 1 West Midlands studio. The people behind the scenes have a few techniques to make the studio appear much larger than it actually is, such as using particular camera angles and having the scene filmed on a low platform, rather than at floor level.

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Here’s a slideshow of the visit, including a door prop, kitchen sinks and an oven for creating sound effects.

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Making Leicester accessible

By Iain TaitIMG_0934

A journalism degree student has begun a campaign to make Leicester more accessible to the disabled.

Glenfield resident Simon Sansome started the Facebook page Ability Access, which currently has over 10,000 hits and nearly 400 likes, two weeks ago.

Mr Sansome became disabled 18 months ago after suffering spinal damage and now relies on a wheelchair and a walking stick to get around.

He believes Leicester is not at all disabled friendly.

The idea for the page came when Mr Sansome saw that there was no service available in the UK for disabled people to report or to find disabled friendly or unfriendly businesses.

The Facebook page is meant to serve as a source of information for the disabled regarding businesses that are disabled friendly and accessible, as well as news or developments in all things related to disability.

The page will not be limited to those who are confined to wheelchairs or crutches. Rather it will aim to cater to people with all kinds of disability.

The page has also attracted the interest of entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den investor Sarah Willingham, who now follows the page on Twitter.

Mr Sansome is arranging for various sponsors to give the organisation more ability and funding.

He said: “The long term goal is to give the information people need to live a more independent life.”

The page already has information about a few disabled friendly restaurants and attractions in Leicester, including the Curve Theatre.

Although the Curve is not perfect, Mr Sansome said he was able to move around the theatre with little difficulty, although he had to sit near the corner during the performance.

More information is available on Facebook or at #abilityaccess1 on Twitter.