In the twelfth year of the Hastings campus, there are now many different courses and programs that are available to prospective students. In 2003, the Hastings campus opened under the University of Brighton and now, many refer to it has UBH (The University of Brighton Hastings Campus).
The campus is now growing with almost one thousand students and more than thirty courses. The campus also offers many different programs and schemes that help fulfil student life. The difference is vast from twelve years ago, but what was the campus like when it first started? I interviewed Dr Sarah Atkinson, Principal Lecturer in Film and Media, and the Assistant Head of School for Digital Transformations at Grand Parade about her experiences of the Hastings campus opening.
Dr Atkinson told me that: “We started with just the Havelock Road building and all we had for media was 613, it’s a room with some computers in, I think we had 24 computer stations in there and we had a store cupboard that wasn’t the issuing facility that you have now.” I also asked Dr Atkinson about the facilities that the campus had at that point and she told me: “We had six cameras, no audio recorders, we had some microphones, some basic camcorders, all that still had the cassette tapes that you put in them, so it was very limited, but it supported the course at the time, which was just 19 students, that was the first cohort on Broadcast Media.”
One stand out issue that was presented to me in my research was the autonomy between Hastings and the central Brighton campuses. I asked Dr Atkinson whether there were any controversies surrounding the relationship between the two campuses. Dr Atkinson told me that: It’s a difficult development to run because of the geographic distance; it’s not an easy commutable place to pop over to, you have to commit to being there for a whole day, so that makes it difficult for staff. I think that might bring tensions where people at the beginning very much needed support and we needed the University behind us, but on a face-to-face level that can’t always feasibly happen, but I wouldn’t say controversy, I would say challenges and difficulties that we had to overcome”.
Since Dr Atkinson joined the campus as a Broadcast Media lecturer in 2006, she has now moved on to Grand Parade in Brighton where she is the Assistant Head of School for Digital Transformations. My final question to her was whether she has a connection with the Hastings campus today, and she told me that: “I will always have a connection, but you will never see me”.
Seemingly, the Hastings campus is going from strength to strength with many future improvements to come.