Sarah Ford-Hutchinson has hit the ground running with a Production Trainee Scheme at the BBC and the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability.
MA Social Anthropology
|Year of Graduation||
Your time at the University
I came for the Fringe aged 17 and fell in love with the city. I started an undergrad degree in philosophy and took social anthropology on the side, and then in second year switched to that as my main degree.
My time at the Uni was very formative – never before had I come into contact with such a diverse range of people with different beliefs, opinions, personalities etc. Until then I’d been rather quiet, but hearing so many people speak their mind encouraged me to come out of my shell, form opinions, and share them.
Edinburgh was a treasure chest of a city – just when you think you know it, another layer reveals itself. I spent a lot of time visiting different parts of the city with friends and places such as the Botanics, Crammond, Portobello and Stockbridge became firm favourites. It was such a green city – you never felt disconnected from nature.
One of my favourite memories is camping on Crammond for my friend’s birthday. A group of us took everything but the kitchen sink over the jetty while the tide was out – including Roger the inflatable doll. As the tide came back in and the tourists left, we were the only ones on the island. In true Lord of the Flies style we stripped off and skinny dipped in the Firth of Forth, then warmed up with a barbeque… only we’d left all of the meat in the fridge. Cheese baps didn’t cut it for dinner so as the tide went back out at first light the next morning, we went back to my friend’s flat and had burgers for breakfast!
In true Lord of the Flies style we stripped off and skinny dipped in the Firth of Forth, then warmed up with a barbeque… only we’d left all of the meat in the fridge.
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
After graduating I was very lucky to get a place on the BBC’s prestigious Production Trainee Scheme, the BBC’s fast track traineeship. I moved to London to start training, and over the next 18 months I moved all over the UK working in various parts of the BBC, including BBC Religion & Ethics in the new Media City UK in Salford, Manchester, and BBC Northern Ireland in Belfast. It was a dream first job as a graduate – I was given second-to-none training in camera skills, editing, radio and documentary work, and then specialised as a self-shooter for factual documentaries. I stayed in the BBC for just over 3 years, continuing to work in documentaries and filming content on everything from personal struggles with drug and alcohol addiction to Game of Thrones.
The cultural variety I encountered as an undergrad definitely contributed to the open-mindedness I needed to be an effective storyteller in documentaries.
In Autumn 2014 I began thinking about a lateral career move into creative educational institutions – unis, museums etc. I’d recently read about the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability in Edit magazine, and wondered if they were hiring. Low and behold they were, and were looking for someone to work in their communications team who was experienced in film-making. I got the job, and now work as a communications facilitator within the department – some of the short films I’ve made in recent weeks are available on our department’s YouTube page.
Find a mentor, or better yet mentors, who are willing and able to support and challenge you personally and professionally. Regardless of your field of study or future career, the relationships you build will be key to your success and continued development.