Ash dieback
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Video created by students helps Somerset Wildlife Trust raise awareness of fatal fungal disease

Monday, 30 November, 2020


Four BA (Hons) Creative Media students from Bath Spa University have collaborated with Somerset Wildlife Trust to create a powerful video raising awareness of ash dieback; a fatal fungal disease ravaging woodlands across the UK and Europe.

From filming, to sound and editing, students Caitlin Bancroft, Elizaveta Stoliarova, Rebecca Lomas and Kiana West all worked on the live brief set by Somerset Wildlife Trust as part of their involvement in Artswork Media; the University’s final year BA (Hons) Creative Media student-led media production company and digital agency based at Paintworks in Bristol.

The brief came to students via Stephen Moss, the University’s Senior Lecturer and Course Leader in MA Travel and Nature Writing, and President of the Somerset Wildlife Trust. Through this partnership the students successfully created an impactful video highlighting the issue of the swathes of dead and dying ash trees in woodlands, parks, gardens and nature reserves that are fast becoming a risk to the public.

Talking about her involvement in the project, student Caitlin Bancroft said: “Filming in different environments and working through the challenging elements was really interesting. It was very eye-opening to learn about the ash dieback disease, and I am proud to have been able to create something that will inform the public and hopefully have an impact on how people treat the environment.”

Kirby Everett, Head of Corporate Relations and Communications at Somerset Wildlife Trust added: “When Dutch Elm disease was at its peak in the 70s, we all knew about it. The same cannot be said for Ash dieback. This disease has been in stealth mode for the last few years, and it is only now that we are starting to see the true impact of it across Somerset, across the Mendips in particular.

"Making the film with the students about the disease to educate people and to raise awareness of the urgency of the issue was a key piece of communications for us. We were incredibly pleased with the professionalism of the whole team and their ability to produce a piece of creative film work that absolutely nailed the key messages”.

Every year Bath Spa University BA (Hons) Creative Media students get the opportunity to enrich their portfolios by working on real industry briefs. Previous clients have included the Bristol Old Vic and Glastonbury Festival.

Stephen Moss said: “I was delighted to be able to work with an incredibly professional team of Bath Spa University students to get this crucial message about ash dieback out there. I do hope that in the future Somerset Wildlife Trust and Bath Spa can work together again.”

Dr Ruth Farrar, Director of Artswork Media and Film and Social Context Leader at Bath Spa University added: “In our unique Artswork Media enterprising learning environment, we encourage our students to create socially conscious and meaningful media. Many of our students are passionate about environmentalism and Somerset Wildlife Trust's client brief provided them with a brilliant opportunity to apply their skills to a real industry film shoot.”

The video titled ‘Ash Dieback: A Silent Killer in Somerset’ can be viewed on the Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Ash Dieback Fund webpage.

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