Dance and drama students compete for £5,000 Channel 4 commission

A £5,000 commission by a cutting-edge Channel 4 arts strand is up for grabs in a series of hothouse sessions for creative students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Masterclass sessions in the digital arts led by TV insiders are a feature of the week-long Creative Lab programme, which aims to nurture fresh talent in the digital arts.


Three groups of Drama Studies and Dance students are honing their filming and editing skills in the sessions and sharpening their ability to make a pitch, with help, advice and critical feedback from guests including Jonnie Turpie, the founder and director of Maverick TV; executive producer Amanda White; Anand Bhatt, producer at the Aakash Odedra Company; Catherine Bray, producer and editor for Channel 4’s Random Acts; Grant Black, creative director of Rural Media; and Laura McGregor, head of subject for Photography and Video at DMU.

They have already heard from DMU dance graduate Danni Spooner, whose work explores gender expression and identity, and who has appeared in a video by electronic duo Goldfrapp.

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Her work led to a commission from Random Acts, Channel 4’s short-film strand dedicated to the arts – and that’s the prize for one group of students on the Creative Lab programme, who will pitch their honed and refined ideas to a judging panel on Friday.

“The week is a collaborative event for teams that have an interest in creating art in a digital media form,” said Liza Mortimer, the assistant project coordinator at Creative Lab.

“It’s definitely a first step to what could be a flourishing career in the digital arts.”


Creative Lab is the brainchild of DMU dance lecturer Jo Breslin. It’s hoped this week’s pilot sessions will be the first in an annual event.

Random Acts was founded in 2011 to push back the boundaries of arts broadcasting in the UK.

The strand has featured Riz Ahmed, Zawe Ashton, Shia LaBeouf, Ai Weiwei, Tinie Tempah, Kate Tempest, Gillian Wearing and more.

Posted on Thursday 6th July 2017

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