PUMA (Plymouth University Media Arts) is the media commercial enterprise hub in the School of Art and Media.

PUMA produces high quality creative audiovisual and other media works by students, alumni, graduate start-ups and staff. The video opposite was commissioned by the University for the city's recent City of Culture bid. It was made by current Media Arts students, an exchange student, a PhD student and Media Arts graduate company 'Another Robot and produced by Directors of PUMA Phil Ellis and Phaedra Stancer and Associate Lecturer Tod Grimwade. For more information or quotes, contact puma@plymouth.ac.uk

Introduction


PUMA was set-up in 2013 as a pilot ‘Enterprise Hub’ within the School of Art and Media, operating outside of the taught curriculum and engaging with both undergraduate students and recent graduates on live projects which would enable them to hone their skills whilst gaining valuable experience of professional practice. PUMA generates a profit from its work, which is intended to cover the cost of its human and physical resources, with surplus profits being re-invested both in equipment and to enhance the Media Arts programmes.

Strategic Alignment:


PUMA significantly enhances the University’s research, development and teaching activities, contributing to the achievement of the ambitions and aims set out in the ‘Plymouth University Strategy 2020 ’ as follows:

• Excellent learning in partnership with students: PUMA enables students to develop both personally and professionally, enhancing their employability skills and developing their professional practice by offering opportunities to take part in live projects.

• Achieving resilience, sustainability and effectiveness: PUMA contributes to the financial sustainability of the University by reducing our costs and reliance on external agencies to undertake media production work, as well as diversifying our income streams through the generation of commercial income.

Vision:


Our vision is to build on a successful pilot phase and establish PUMA as a sustainable, in-house media production company which utilises the skills of the University’s students and recent graduates to produce high quality advertisements, short films and documentaries for a wide range of both internal and external clients. Key to the philosophy of PUMA is that the participants are paid appropriately and feedback has been extremely positive in that students especially feel that it is rewarding to be able to support themselves through work that is more appropriate to their interests. Our other key philosophy is that we have a tiered mentoring system so that the participants benefit from others experience as they develop their commercial practice appropriate to increased responsibility within that framework.

Aims:


PUMA’s key strategic aims are to:

• Develop student and graduate talent through extra-curricular experience
• Support graduate start-ups e.g. Aletalk (see case study section), Another Robot in gaining credibility and establishing track-record
• Retain graduate talent within the South West
• Enrich the Media Arts programmes (Media Arts, Media Arts: TV, TV Arts and MA Contemporary Film Practice) through that retention but also through marketing opportunities (PUMA has met with favourable response at Open and Applicant Days
• Develop a network of local talent and connections to support and promote opportunities
• Realise significant cost savings for the University and reduce reliance on external agencies
• Minimise any impacts on local media businesses / avoid distorting local competition
• Establish PUMA TV – an online TV channel in TV Arts, streaming lectures, workshops, conferences etc.
• Establish PUMA-R – a Media Arts focused research cluster, engaging with NESTA, NHS etc.
• Support the development of other Enterprise Hubs across the Faculty e.g. Photography,
Graphic Communications, Digital and Creative / Professional Writing

Case study: Graduate start-up: Aletalk Productions:

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Ben Hancock and Will Jenkins graduated from BA Media Arts in September 2013. They worked on PUMA projects as students, graduates and now with their start-up company Aletalk Productions. This case-study demonstrates how PUMA has enabled recent graduates to stay in the region and develop culturally impactive initiatives such as the Plymouth Film Festival which was partially sponsored by PUMA profits. Will and Ben are now members of the PUMAr research cluster and active in current funding bids. PUMAr has grown out of the connections that PUMA has forged with the local business and cultural communities

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Here is a small sample of some projects completed with us by graduate start-up Aletalk Productions. First is a video for a multi million euro research project called Cognovo where we shot interviews with potential PhD students at their interview. The second is one from a series of match reports and highlights from our partnership with Plymouth Raiders basketball team which was shown on the national basketball website. The third clip is a short informational drama on vulnerability awareness, commissioned by Devon and Cornwall Police and the last is a clip from Plymouth’s Respect Festival.

Our work and our clients:

Clients have ranged from the University’s External Relations and multiple Faculties, Devon & Cornwall Police, Plymouth City Council, International Book Fair, Cognovo research project and many more – over 40 projects in the first year

Videos have ranged from recording lectures, sports, promotional videos and interviews to informational drama