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Moira Sweeney discusses Nemeton TVís Higher Diploma in Arts in Television and Media Production
13 Feb 2024 : Luke Shanahan
Nemeton TV
Moira Sweeney is a filmmaker and course leader of Nemeton TVís Higher Diploma in Arts in Television and Media Production. We spoke with her to discuss what this course has to offer prospective students.

Moira Sweeney, course leader of Nemeton TV’s Higher Diploma in Arts in Television and Media Production, has a background in filmmaking, broadcasting and photography. She has directed documentaries and studio programmes for RTÉ, BBC, Channel 4 and TG4, including Starboard Home (2019) and Women of the Pipes (2021).

The Higher Diploma in Arts in Television and Media Production, developed by SETU and Nemeton Television in partnership with Udarás na Gaeltachta, has been preparing new media talent since 2006. The eight-month course is designed to provide students with the essential practical skills in order to work as professionals in the television and digital video industry.

The course will offer each of the participants the opportunity to work in a live production environment and at the end of the course each student will have directed or edited his or her own television programme. These programmes will satisfy the broadcast criteria of both TG4 and RTE. The course will be taught through the Irish language and therefore will also develop the linguistic abilities of students.

We sat down with course leader Moira Sweeney to discuss what sets the Higher Diploma in Arts in Television and Media Production apart from other courses, the Irish language element of the course, and where graduates of the course have gone on to work.

IFTN: What distinguishes this eight-month course from other similar programs in the industry?

MOIRA: “The acclaimed Higher Diploma in Television and Media Production, based in Waterford’s Gaeltacht na Rinne will be commencing again in September 2024. What distinguishes the award-winning postgraduate course is that it is run by leading production company Nemeton TV, accredited by South East Technological University and is supported by Udarás na Gaeltachta.”

“Widely regarded as one of the most industry-focused courses in the media sector, it has gained a high profile in the industry with its excellent graduate employment record. The bilingual graduates from the course are coveted as directors, producers, cinematographers and editors and are enjoying successful careers in top film and television production companies, as well as broadcast stations and streaming platforms at home and abroad.”

IFTN: What level of competency in the Irish language is needed to apply for the course?

MOIRA: “Múinfear cuid den chúrsa trí mheán na Gaeilge, rud a chuirfidh le scileanna teanga na scoláirí. D'fhéadfaí a mholadh d'iarrthóirí áirithe cúrsa Gaeilge a ghlacadh chun a gcuid scileanna teanga a fheabhsú, ach na cáilíochtaí eile a bheith acu. Déanfar é seo trí iad a thumadh i dtimpeallacht oibre as Gaeilge.”

“Part of the course will be taught through the medium of Irish, which will enhance the language skills of the students. This will be done by immersing them in a working environment in Irish. It is recommended to candidates to take an Irish course to improve their language skills, if they have the other qualifications.”

IFTN: What modules are covered over the duration of the course?

MOIRA: “Industry changes indicate an ongoing demand for multi-skilled bilingual digital content producers who can edit, direct or use cameras. We have evolved into a blended block delivery course since the pandemic years, delivering most of our modules in person with some aspects of modules online. Run by top industry professionals, the course is uniquely tailored to the needs of students and those who wish to develop their skills while working and featured in the Irish Times Spotlight on Postgraduate Options.”

“In the first semester the students benefit greatly from hands-on tuition in editing, camera, sound recording and story development. The development of these digital storytelling skills runs parallel with an Irish language Module which helps develop linguistic abilities and a Marketing Module which prepares the students for pitching their ideas. The editing and storytelling tuition and hands-on experience continues into the second Semester, and is then complemented with workshops on outside broadcasting/multi-camera operations, production management and press and publicity.”

IFTN: What opportunities does this course offer students interested in gaining hands-on experience in a live production environment?

MOIRA: “The course will offer each of the participants the opportunity to work in a live production environment and at the end of the course each student will have directed or edited his or her own television programme. These programmes will satisfy the broadcast criteria of both TG4 and RTE. As there is a demand for bi-lingual producers, directors and editors, the course will be taught through both Irish and English, therefore enhancing the linguistic abilities of students.”

“The students value the hands-on practical mentoring approach of the course as they feel it prepares them for the industry on leaving. They value the advice and encouragement they were given about career choices and possible pathways for their career development. They particularly value TG4’s commitment to broadcasting a selection of the programmes, within a stand-alone strand titled ‘Céad Seans’.”

IFTN: Where have graduates from this course gone on to work?

MOIRA: “The students produce CVs as part of the Professional Practice component of the course and are encouraged to apply for jobs before completion. They are assisted with networking and given introductions to key players in the industry. Students are assisted in finding work experience opportunities. Integrating the work experience component with the classes provides the students with the skills to find employment. The majority of this year’s graduates found employment in the industry upon leaving, and are placed with or employed with companies and programmes such as: Red Shoe Productions (Fleadh TV), Tyrone Productions (Ros na Rún), Fibín Media (various Cúla 4 programmes), Nemeton TV (GAA BEO and RUGBAI BEO, Laochra Gael, Outside Broadcast GAA and Rugby Matches for TG4), and Tíonól Niocláis Tóibín.”

“Students acknowledge that they gain confidence in their skills through participating in film festivals from the local (Galway, Belfast, Waterford) to further afield (Los Angeles, Italy). For the eighth year in a row, three of the students won awards at the annual Student Media Awards including for Best Irish Language Programme, Best Documentary and Best Short Bilingual Film. Students also won awards at the Waterford Film Festival, the Fastnet Film Festival and Cine Image. This has a motivating effect on current and incoming students.”

The application deadline for Higher Diploma in Arts in Television and Media Production is August 30th each year for a late September start. For more information click here.





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