Change Agents Conference

Written by Diana Stone – Music Technology student

As a Digital Champion, I had the exciting opportunity to attend the Jisc Change Agents conference in Exeter with my course leader, John Crossley, to present the work we’ve done so far on the ADR Records website and talk more about the project.

I had never been to Exeter before, so to me it seemed interesting to visit a new city, and I really enjoyed it. In the past, I’ve always been afraid of presentations as I am a pretty terrible public speaker, so I saw this conference as a way of challenging myself.

We attended both days of the conference, so as we were presenting on the second day, we decided to attend some of the talks throughout day one. It was great to see how other universities collaborate with their students and the results of their work together. I particularly enjoyed a presentation on students working with Unicef and the volunteering opportunities they provide. I spoke to several people from other universities throughout the day, which was a great way to network and explore other perspectives. Sadly, there weren’t any other music students there.

Day two was presentation time, and the nerves were definitely kicking in! In the morning, I made sure to go over everything I wanted to say about my involvement with ADR Records, so that everything goes as smoothly as it possibly could. Our presentation was in the afternoon, and quite a few people attended. We presented a few slides of the proposed web design, talked about the purpose of this website, which is to provide a platform for musicians at the university to promote themselves, and also talked about some of the challenges of getting it off the ground. Despite being nervous, I think it went as well as it possibly could and the audience thoroughly enjoyed it – we even had a few questions from them.

Following our presentation, there was a student from the University of Exeter presenting his work on MOOCs designed to educate people on climate change, which was completely free of charge. This was by far my favourite presentation, both because it’s an issue that I feel very passionately about and it’s fantastic to see projects that are changing peoples’ perspectives. The guy also had great presentation skills, that I could learn a lot from.

To conclude the two-day conference, there was a well-needed barbecue organised, which, again, provided a chance to talk to the participants. I received a couple of compliments on the design of the ADR Records site, which, of course felt great and encouraging to persevere with our project.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the Jisc conference and witnessing the impact of student-university work relationships can have on projects of any kind. I think Digital Champions is definitely a fantastic idea and I hope it can benefit the learning and working experience of as many students as possible in the future.