Media students starting their second year at Cambridge Regional College (@CRC_College) are celebrating the news that their Year One work has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

The Level 3 students are in the running for the Emma Kelty Award, one of three categories in the annual Birch Awards organised by the charity Crisis to celebrate children and young people passionate about ending homelessness. Winners will be announced in a virtual awards ceremony at the end of August.

The Emma Kelty Award is given to a group of young people who have inspired others to raise awareness of homelessness, through their own work. The CRC media students have been shortlisted for their viral lockdown water fight video, shot and edited for the Crisis Icebreaker Challenge.

The project began in October 2020 when Media Lecturer, Andy Darley, challenged them to use the internet to raise money for homelessness charities as part of the Interactive Media unit of their UAL Creative Media Production Technology course. With COVID restrictions in force, their task was to find a safe but fun fundraising activity and create digital materials such as web pages and online video to promote it.

Andy said: “I have learned that homelessness is a cause many young people care deeply about. They have a strong sense of social justice, and they are enthusiastic about utilising their skills to support this. Having collectively agreed to support Crisis, we have found that the charity to be equally as supportive of us, providing the students with data and information for research purposes, strengthening their project.”

The Icebreaker Challenge asks participants to get cold and wet over the winter, emulating the feeling of being outdoors in the elements with nowhere to go. Before COVID, that often meant a dip in the chilly sea – but the restrictions caused by the pandemic forced fundraisers to get more creative.

Initially, the plan was for the students to participate in the challenge together on campus, collating material to edit and produce a video. Unfortunately, lockdown prevented this – so the students took their digital skills a step further to complete and record their individual participation in the challenge from home.

Each student shot a clip for the final video, sharing their footage to create a virtual Icebreaker Challenge that was edited to appear as a water fight with each challenger throwing water at the next person in the sequence. The project proved to be an excellent way of demonstrating digital skills in action, while raising much needed funds for charity.

Andy added, “Finding out that we had been shortlisted in the Birch Awards came as a very pleasant surprise. This was a fun and engaging project that I will re-visit with my next cohort of Creative Media students, although this year we may look at taking on a different challenge.”

Andy and his students have been invited to attend the virtual Birch Awards ceremony on 31st August where they will find out if they are winners of the Emma Kelty Award.

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