The Samosa Media project

Cross-school collaboration opens doors to professional experience in the creative sector.

Samosa Media team in classroom

Six students from The University of Manchester have pioneered the Samosa Media Community Production Internship, aimed at improving the employability of students from under-represented backgrounds by gaining professional experience in the creative sector.

Gaining first-hand experience in the media commissioning process, the students worked for Samosa Media, an arts and media charity led by BME people with a working-class background and delivering community and youth education programmes.

The internship is a collaboration between Samosa Media Charity, Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE Centre and Education Trust in partnership with the School of Social Sciences (SoSS) and the School of Arts, Language and Culture (SALC) at The University of Manchester.

Throughout the internship, the students reflected on diversity within the media, arts, and cultural sector; particularly whose voices and stories get told and how. They produced two short films drawing attention to and analysing issues relating to race, culture, youth, equality, and integration in the North-West.

The students were able to present their work at the end of their internship to academics from SoSS and SALC as well as members from the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Centre and Samosa Media Director, Anwar Akhtar who supervised them throughout the project.

‘As someone who grew up in Rusholme, this project working with such a talented hard-working group of Manchester University Students was a particularly enjoyable experience. The films they have made, are valuable contributions to the story of Manchester, its communities and its diversity.’
Anwar Akhtar, Director Samosa Media.

Following the screenings of the film, Claire Fox and Simon Parry, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and Social Responsibility (SR) Directors for SoSS and SALC respectively, shared their thoughts on the successful outcome of the project:

Samosa Media team outdoors

‘I was delighted to be a part of this initiative which saw different parties working together to support our students in producing two impactful films. Both of the films deal with some challenging issues in an exceptionally clear and nuanced way. It is testament to the ongoing commitment to and appreciation of issues relating to equality, diversity and inclusion in the School of Social Sciences.'
Claire Fox, Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in SoSS.

‘The films the students produced are very impressive. They show creativity and a real ability to deal with complex ideas in an engaging and accessible way.’
Dr Simon Parry, Director for Sustainability and Internationalisation in SALC.

The students received the support and guidance of members of the AIU RACE Centre and Education Trust throughout the project to inform them in their research. This is a specialist open-access library and archive focusing on the study of race, migration, anti-racist activism and the fight for social justice.

'It was a pleasure working with the students as part of their internship. The brief questions we set looked at important topics such as conversations around anti-racism/racism, community, and how young people feel about their city and its spaces.

Their lived experiences and insights brought rich discussions on how they could creatively respond to the questions which I really enjoyed listening to. The students worked really well together and created fantastic short films in such a short space of time.’
Laila Benhaida, Community Archivist at The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust.

Reflecting on her team’s film about urban spaces, Carla Nunes Neto, a second-year student in BA English Literature and American Studies, said: ‘As students, we don’t realise how lucky we are to have access to so much space on campus. Making the film made us pay more attention to the world around us, to what is visible but that we don’t always notice!’

‘Having one-on-one conversations with people around these issues and having the opportunity to share it with others was such an insightful experience. Putting the film together really helped paint a different picture in a way I hadn’t imagined it would.’
Zacchary, 3rd year BA Politics and Modern History student

The documentaries, as well as students’ reflections on the project, can be watched below.