Ishan Siddiqui

Ishan Siddiqui

Why did you choose to study your BA at the University of Leeds?

I chose to study BA Cinema and Photography (now BA Film, Photography and Media) because I wanted a course where I could explore both filmmaking and photography. It offers an overall understanding of the media industry and has a great balance between academic study and hands-on training. While it covers a broad range of subject areas in the first two years, it lets you specialise in your final year, which I found very useful. Most of all, I took pride in learning in Leeds, where cinema was born. Coming to the UK to study this course at University of Leeds was one of the best decisions of my life!

Tell us about the opportunities you took advantage of at Leeds.

In Leeds I took up both internal and external film and photography projects through the School of Media and Communication. I was also part of the photography society which held informative analogue and digital photography workshops as well as organised photo-walks and trips to some beautiful locations around UK. I used the careers centre in the university to help me with career choices and to shape my CV. I regularly took advantage of the Special Collections in Brotherton Library to do personal research on early photography. I always thought of Special Collections as a friendly museum.

How has your experience of studying this degree at the University of Leeds helped you in your studies?

I am pursuing a Masters in Directing from the Met Film School in London. Apart from my ongoing research on early-colour photography, I often take up filmmaking and photography projects which inspire me. I have directed two short documentaries and six short fiction films so far. The course at Leeds gave me the tools to explore any media related field with confidence. Throughout the course, we were taught how to conduct research, where to look for information and how to communicate effectively. The media industry runs on communication and collaboration, both of which are skills I take for granted now, thanks to those three memorable years I spent in Leeds.

What advice would you give to future students?

As an international student, I found the staff and students friendly and approachable. It helped me build my confidence as an artist and made me feel part of a community. It is also a very well-known academic institution which gives you practical training with industry standard equipment, which I think is rare. The course offers a great opportunity for overall development, making you into a critical media practitioner instead of just teaching a certain skill-set.