An article written by Humanities Masters student Wesley Rolston.

When Newman closed due to Covid-19 from the 23rd March to all students, gaps began to open created regarding engagement, learning, connecting to others and physical and mental health. This was my motivation for applying for FUEL funding from Beatfreeks, an organisation in Birmingham aiming to give voice to young people and help them shape their world. I am very grateful that they liked my idea and gave me the funding to deliver it. My project was two series of YouTube videos called ‘Inside the Gap’ covering drama topics and health topics for current and prospective university students across the Midlands. The drama series was called DREWS (Drama News) and the health series was called HEWS (Health News) which were shared across social media platforms and to a blog called ‘Inside the Gap’

As a Humanities Masters student and BA Drama graduate at Newman this fitted with my work in drama as I got to share ideas in the DREWS videos about my work and other topics I have learnt. With the HEWS videos I could offer tips and guidance for how I was trying to keep healthy and how we can be together in this extreme time. However, the 14 videos in each series had the overarching intention of being honest. As in this extreme we are each in our own ‘gap’. We are trying to make sense of our life and trying to learn and study when there is so much pain, fear, restriction and sadly death around imposing on our sense of identity and safety. As a result, I wanted to write this blog about these videos because the videos still remain on my YouTube channel and social media pages as it is important we never forget this ‘gap’ in our lives when we have been confronted with so many ideas, thoughts and possibilities. For inside this gap we can find ourselves and who we really choose to be. It has been humbling to witness this as the videos progressed through the comments and reach the videos have had. So, I give these videos to you to say you are not alone in extremes. An awareness to your potential is still hiding away under the extreme and it is there for you to find.

It is hoped that these videos can extend further and contain a longevity: either being used in the future or with a series 2 (I would be impressed if you binged watched these though). And I would like to say a massive thank you to Beatfreeks for funding and advertising the work, showing your belief. To the marketing team at Newman for sharing the work. To Leoarna Mathias of Newman for continually showing kindness to share and encourage me. The enterprise team of Ben Osborne and Ian Fellows as they kickstarted my belief that I can create ideas. Then importantly to friends and family for having trust in my abilities. Lastly, but importantly, my girlfriend who proves to me there is a light in me that I can shine.

(I realise I have thanked so many people above, but this extreme has proved how I would be nothing without my interconnections with others. Which is the key reason why I wanted to connect with university students across the Midlands and with you at Newman).

Keep safe and keep hopeful.