Hands up for inspiration

Budding journalists raise their hands to ask The Script a question Budding journalists wait for their opportunity to interview The Script

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Around 40,000 festival goers will be packing their wellies ahead of Radio 1's Big Weekend in Derry-Londonderry, which starts on Friday.

But we at BBC Learning hope that the Radio 1 Academy, which took place in the city last week, has provided a bit of inspiration for thousands more.

BBC Learning and Radio 1 came together to put on the event in the run-up to the Big Weekend which included nearly 90 different workshops, Q&As, tutorials and BBC Introducing sessions.

There were more than 5500 places available over seven packed days. It was an incredibly hectic but rewarding collaboration which built on last year's Academy in Hackney.

That was a three week event leading up to the Hackney Weekend. More than 7000 people attended and it was such a success that we had to do it again.

Start Quote

We're working with a brand - Radio 1- that really resonates with young people. It captures their attention and engages with them in ways that traditional education might not.”

End Quote Helen Foulkes

One of the main reasons why these events are so successful is that we're working with a brand - Radio 1 - that really resonates with young people. It captures their attention and engages with them in ways that traditional education might not.

We worked extremely closely with our colleagues in Radio 1 to ensure that we put together a full and exciting programme of sessions - all on subjects that young people are passionate about and interested in.

We wanted to maximise the learning potential of the Academy, while at the same time ensuring that everything felt very Radio 1.

DJ workshops

The format of the event is really important. It was a combination of interesting subjects, BBC talent, industry experts and young people being able to get hands-on with activities.

They had the opportunity to ask Gabrielle Aplin questions on how to make music, produce features and music mixes for Radio 1 shows, design a 16ft backdrop for the Live Lounge and pitch event ideas that could become reality at the Derry Culturetech festival.

In the evening we also put on a series of BBC Introducing gigs with a great mix of local talent, including young DJs who had shone in our DJ workshops.

Nick Grimshaw and his breakfast team at an Academy Q&A Nick Grimshaw and his breakfast team at a Q&A

There were so many amazing moments throughout the week but the journalism workshops stood out for me.

Not only were the youngsters taught by industry professionals, but they had the chance to interview The Script.

Working with idols

At the Academy young people did not only meet their idols, they worked with them as well.

Importantly, it wasn't just about using the Radio 1 banner to get young people through the doors. Talent from Radio 1 and the wider BBC were incredibly important in providing 'money can't buy' experiences in the workshops.

One workshop on tv production was about how to write drama scripts. It was already a good session before several members of the EastEnders cast turned up to act out the short scripts that had been written by the Academy attendees.

It was a fantastic moment for some of the young people of Derry-Londonderry and hopefully one that will inspire them to take those skills forward.

Start Quote

It was already a good session before several members of the EastEnders cast turned up to act out the short scripts that had been written by the Academy attendees.”

End Quote Helen Foulkes

Radio 1 were also incredibly supportive through their broadcast output and this helped to amplify the learning experiences that we were trying to create on the ground.

Answer the call

All week, the network talked about the activities available at the Academy and their presenters played an integral role. Young people would turn up at the doors for events having heard the Radio 1 call to action just moments before.

This shows the power that a co-ordinated approach between broadcast, online and face-to-face can have in inspiring our audiences to learn, and how the impact of the BBC working collaboratively across platforms can be far greater.

Both the Big Weekend and the BBC Learning Radio 1 Academy are intended to create a lasting legacy in Derry-Londonderry.

We believe that the thousands of young people who attended our Academy sessions will have had a fantastic learning experience and will be inspired to learn more - and hopefully do some of this learning with the BBC.

For me and my team in BBC Learning, the week was the culmination of months of hard work and planning. Each day of the Academy was packed from first thing in the morning to late at night; it was exhausting. However, it was completely worth it to see the fantastic impact that we can have on our audiences.

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