Case Study

Ryan Houston

BA (Hons) Media Production


A major factor in Ryan Houston's decision to study at the University was the visible support that's available for care experienced students. During his time here, Ryan also got involved in journalism projects which led to him writing for Huffington Post and getting involved in the IMO project which looks to give a voice to care experienced people. He's also looking to launch his own media business with the help of the Enterprise Place.

Sunderland has a really good reputation for the area that I wanted to study. Although I made applications to other institutions, Sunderland was the only University that I applied to for Media courses. Another one of the main reasons was the support that is available for care experienced students from the We Care team.

The We Care Team supported my application for additional funding from the Brian Roycroft fund, and I also received a We Care scholarship of £1,500 each year that has supported my studies.

During my time here, I got involved in journalism projects which led to me writing for Huffington Post. After a couple of years of writing at Huffington, some of my work was spotted by the Children's Commissioner who asked me to get involved in the IMO (In My Opinion) project, which aims to give a voice to care experienced people by sharing their stories online and creating a sense of community.

Doing work for IMO has been an amazing experience, and really felt like giving something back - despite working in journalism for almost ten years, there hasn’t been a lot of opportunities to talk about experiences of care, so it’s been really rewarding and I got the opportunity to attend the Queen's Garden Party this year.

My advice to prospective students would be try to take part in everything that the University has to offer. University isn’t college; at college, you’re pushed to take part in activities, at University, the opportunities are provided and it's up to you to make it into something.

In my third year, I got involved with the Enterprise Place who are helping me to launch my own media business, Up North Media.

I’d recommend the University based on the opportunities that it provides its students. The links that the University has with outside groups and organisations contribute to your future success, and on top of that, you’re being taught by industry professionals; who are teaching you based on their own experiences."

Published 13 June 2019

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