MA Students host their own symposiums

10 May, 2021

Studying for a Masters at BIMM is the next step if you want to further develop yourself academically, creatively, and professionally after your degree. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to connect and collaborate with your peers interested in similar career paths.

Bristol, Dublin, and London students studying our innovative MA Popular Music Practice have been busy organising their own symposiums with some fantastic results. The online events have provided something for everyone, showcased creative practices, and featured talks, performances, and workshops.

We spoke to our lectures, course leaders, and students to find out more:


BIMM Bristol’s MA cohort had to think on their feet after Covid meant their usual symposium locations were no longer in use. The Bristol team streamed the event on Twitch. It featured live performances from a wealth of speakers and performers, including current students, PhD academics, and local musicians such as Will Wood, Cash Green, Lady Nade, and many more. The event also featured talks from:

  • Keeley Judd (Time, Space and Gender Inequality)
  • Inglefest (a local grassroots music festival run by artists for artists)
  • Woodbox Productions (an independent music production hub for local artists)

Elin Allan from the BIMMPOSIUM marketing team dealt with branding, social media, and ads and had this to say:

“On the actual day, I was lucky enough to be a part of the live panel alongside some fantastic performers, events managers, and academics. I was there to give my view as a student, live performer, and singer.

“We spoke about the effects of COVID on our respective areas in the industry, where we aim to move on from here and what we could do to help the music community! It was a great day, and all the talks/performances were stellar.”


Dublin’s symposium showcased creative practices across the Irish and global music scenes. There was something for industry professionals and music lovers alike. The event featured talks, performances, and workshops from a plethora of industry professionals and students, such as:

  • A vocal care workshop
  • Production of game soundtrack workshop
  • Discussions on diversifying income streams
  • Outstanding performances from Apollo Monroe, Anna B Savage

The symposium promotes experiential learning, something that MA students focus on during their course. This course module introduces students to fundamental principles in negotiation, teamwork, collaboration, leadership, and other industry-specific topics such as budgeting, marketing, event management, inclusivity, and more.

Gregory Jackson, BIMM Dublin’s Course Leader told us a bit more about the project:

“As Course Leader, my role in this module involved listening to students who were being challenged by the task at hand, offering advice and support, and enjoying the privilege of witnessing the academic and personal development occurring within students, evident from the superb event they put on despite all the current impediments created by the pandemic.

“I also worked closely with the module leaders to ensure we maintained the correct balance between providing support and advice but not taking over for the event. The event needs to remain student-led after all, and their ownership of and responsibility for the event is a crucial aspect of this task.”

Clodagh McMeel was the team’s Content Creator. Working across the finance and marketing teams allowed her to gain experience in multiple roles and explore where she felt most comfortable. On top of this, she also ran the vocal care workshop, highlighting warm-up techniques and breathing exercises.

She added:

“I really enjoyed working with my peers. We all had a common goal, and that was to put our best foot forward for this event. This made things so much easier regarding communication and collaboration because we all just wanted this to be a success no matter what.

“It also helped that we’ve built many friendships as a class, and with such a diverse, talented group, it really was enjoyable. It allowed me to showcase my knowledge and really put my own spin on my contribution to the Siompóisiam. Without a doubt, the event made me a better team member and collaborator.”

Interview – Dale Malone

We also got to speak to Dale Malone, who played a vital role in the team:

What was your role?

I was a member of the marketing team; I performed one of my original songs; I contributed a sound to the sample flip and led the Queer the Future Panel.

What did you do?

As part of the marketing team, it was my job to set up the social media pages and email as many relevant publications as possible regarding the event. I performed an original track of mine under my moniker, Apollo Monroe. I contributed a sample from my single for the sample flip – and for the producers to sample it however they wish. Finally, I lead a roundtable-esque discussion with fellow queer musicians on the queer experience of the Irish music scene!

How does the Siompóisiam feed back into your course?

For our collaborative practice module, we got the opportunity to work as a team. It helped in highlighting everyone’s strong suits and areas of passion.

How was it working alongside other students from your course?

It was great fun. It would have been more enjoyable if the event was possible to do on-site in a pandemic-free world, but we had a blast for what we pulled together!

London – Ignite Festival

London’s symposium was run in conjunction with Music Venues Trust. This registered charity acts to protect, secure and improve grassroots music venues to benefit venues, communities and upcoming artists.

The event included a series of live workshops and conference panels as well as pre-recorded performances. All proceeds from ticket and merchandise sales went to MVT, which ended up being over £400!

Interview – Emilija Milinic

We spoke to Emilija Milinic about her role in the event:

What was your role in the team?

I was the initial website creator. I also worked on the theme, design and structure, as well as merch design and webstore integration. I also performed alongside Salah Zhouri and we played a song that we had written together.

I’m proud that I could participate in the event, both on the performance and the creation. It was my first professionally recorded performance, and I’m pleased that we raised some money for the Music Venue Trust charity. Not only that, but we also provided entertaining content for the general public.

What was your favourite part of the day?

My favourite part was performing with Salah, and I loved Aruna’s performance as well.

How was it working alongside other students from your course?

Great! We bonded and got to know each other a bit better, there was great energy, and we continued to learn from each other throughout the process. The functional skills that we learned are transferable for future collaborations.

Thinking of studying an MA?

The MA Popular Music Practice provides fantastic opportunities, allowing students to explore their own specialism within popular music in line with their personal career aspirations. Our students will lead the discussion in contemporary music.

During your MA, we’ll help you to turn your ideas into reality. We’ll introduce you to cutting-edge research and assist you with broadening your network within the industry.

Through four modules across Autumn and Spring Semesters, you will apply a theoretical lens to your own and others’ professional practice. Drawing on contemporary research, you will be encouraged to actively investigate areas such as popular musicology, performance and composition, the music industry and entrepreneurship, and the application of technologies to practice.

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