Manchester’s digital revolution and the leaders of tomorrow
Manchester is once again in a state of revolution. At the turn of the 19th century, the city led the Industrial Revolution with a boom in textile manufacturing. Today, Manchester is ushering in the Digital Revolution as a leading media hub, by developing MediaCityUK with like the BBC Future Media & Technology, ITV and SIS and wider across the city with Code Computer Love, McCann, Magnetic North, Siemens. Just as the Industrial Revolution caused a fundamental sociological shift in the way people perceived the world around them, the shift from an analogue to a digital society is changing the communicative structures of the world because people are connected to each other in new and, importantly, more ways.
To help emerging leaders of the new media and communications landscape cope with this shift, Manchester has welcomed Hyper Island, the world leader in digital education, to the heart of the city’s creative quarter at 24 Lever Street. There, Hyper Island will offer its Master of Arts program “Interactive Media Management (MA) program,” which is designed for creative talent who want to kick-start their career in interactive media, communications, or advertising fields. The program will train talent to be unbound by disciplines, instinctively collaborative and able to thrive in this new economy.
One student, Jonathan Barnes, likens the Hyper Island experience to a sand box, where students are able to share ideas openly without constraints or fear of failure.
“School tells us to stop being children and stop being immature, forcing you to behave in a specific way,” said Barnes. “But people like Richard Branson, for example, are still acting like a kid. If education didn’t kick it out of us, we’d stay mentally flexible and agile, open-minded, and that’s when some of the best work would come.”
Like all Hyper Island programs, there are no teachers and no tests. No homework gets set, and no textbooks are needed. Instead, participants are immersed in 36 weeks of project-based work, delivered by industry professionals, responding to real briefs set by real clients, in an environment that mirrors the workplace. Coca-Cola and Oxfam were two of the learning partners who participated in the program this year.
The program culminates in a 12-week internship with one of Hyper Island’s industry friends, providing a rare opportunity for each student to gain first-hand experience of life in their workplace. Several of these partners include Sapient Nitro, Poke, McCann, BBH, Sidlee, Perfect Fools, Barnes is in the midst of his internship at London based digital agency Anomaly.
“The program and internship are completely integrated. The course prepares you for the working environment. The only problem is how good the course is–how you’re running these master projects and working with real clients, at one point even running an agency. So when you come to the work environment, you’re actually having far less input than you were when you were a student,” added Barnes.
That might be true for now, but the revolution is just beginning. Hyper Island is currently accepting students for its second year of the program starting on March 5, 2012. More information available by visiting the Hyper Island website.