Notts TV … a first …

Last Friday Notts TV had a ‘first’. They had four people on the sofa for the 6.30pm show!


I was one of them. The 6.30 show is the Nottingham equivalent of the ‘One Show’. Topical, fast-moving and relatively light-hearted. I really enjoyed the experience. Becky Shearan was the presenter. We had a dad and son who collected Panini stickers – if only I could find my 1970 Mexico set – they are probably worth £5,000! Then there was a Michelle Obama lookalike – she really was a doppelgänger!

The time flew by – 30 minutes isn’t long!

I was fascinated by the whole process. I have done lots of radio in the past and have had my teeny bit of fame on the Six O’Clock news when the Mayoral debate was going on. But this was different – this was live TV in a new studio – based at Nottingham Trent University. The tech-toys are amazing!

I came away with a number of observations..

1. You need quite a bit of kit – the studio is filled with cameras. auto-cues, wiring and technology…
2. There are lots of people involved in a single show!
3. Presenting is not easy – I always found it hard when someone is talking in your ear! But there are visual cues too…Becky was cool under a lot of pressure!

I thought that the production really was professional and this is a great thing for Nottingham.

I don’t know the viewing figures – most of my friends remind me that I have a face for Radio – and that the figures would have dropped through the floor when I was on. They are just jealous…

Notts TV is on Channel 8 or Virgin 159 – in this neck of the woods.

NTU – more talent on show

You may be having a sense of deja-vu if you drop by here often. I have blogged a couple of times lately when I have been at Nottingham Trent University.


Last night it was the Annual Friends of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment dinner in the amazing Newton Building. I am a friend of the University apparently. I’m certainly an Alumni – although that seems like a very long time ago!

The dinner was great fun – meeting lots of new people. There was even some ‘KT’ (knowledge transfer!) going on. One of the lecturers was really keen to understand how we are appraising properties in a rising market.

Part of the evening gives the guests a chance to look around the end of the year student shows. And this is where you get to admire the work done by final year students. It’s corny – but there are some very talented people. I love looking at the architectural drawings and designs – even if some are fanciful. Perhaps some of the ‘fashion’ is not really what I’d wear in the office (we have only just started to lose the ties!).

But the part I really enjoyed this year was the furniture design. There are some really beautiful pieces. In some cases it is art rather than furniture.

My favourite piece was done by Charlie Adams and is shown in the picture. It is a simple desk – the workmanship was ‘Audi’ standard and the lines and proportions just perfect. It was designed for the House range of John Lewis. I thought it was the star of the show!

The dawn of a new era in broadcasting – Notts TV is born…

I can remember being in a meeting at Antenna some time ago when Confetti Media Group were thinking about bidding for a Nottinghamshire based TV franchise. It all seemed really exciting.


Notts TV was then won, not once but twice, by Confetti in conjunction with NTU and the Nottingham Post. In the last 198 months a lot of hard work has gone into the planning of the new station. And today it launches on Channel 8.

This is brilliant opportunity for Nottingham. It gives us a local TV station which will be driven purely by local stories. Being independent it doesn’t have the shackles of the BBC. It also gives many young people the opportunity to work in TV – something that has traditionally been hard to achieve unless you can get into the mainstream broadcasters – and those opportunities are few and far between.

This TV franchise sits cleverly with the Nottingham Post (who gather news) and with the broadcasting course of NTU. In addition is is seated firmly in the heart of the Creative Quarter where Confetti’s headquarters are. Many young people will get an opportunity to work in a real life TV station.

I think this is brilliant and fits so many local agenda’s. Local stories and local talent will make this a success.

I’m off tonight to the launch party and can’t wait to see what the new station has in store for us…

Collaboration in the Industry

Yesterday I was part of a panel speaking at Nottingham Trent University (The Poly to me). It was a session looking at how collaboration works (or doesn’t) in our industry. Actually I was a bit of a lone voice as the audience and some of my fellow panel members were quite ‘building’ focussed.


There was an interesting question put to us; “Do we need Universities any more – can we teach people via Apprenticeships and on-the-job training“. At first sight this is a fair point. Particularly in my profession. Some of the work I do could be taught in an office. Some of what we do can best be described as a process. So yes part could be learned.

But a profession is more than just a process. The joy of my work is that I am sometimes challenged to think. To come up with solutions. Solve problems.

I was asked in the week on another occasion whether any of what I learned at the Poly was ever used by me? Well it is. The core skills I learned about technique I use most days. The the legal framework in which we operate hasn’t changed much (other than the odd bit of case law) and I use that a lot. My knowledge of building construction still is critical to my day job.

So my view is that we do need Universities to train our future surveyors to think. To grasp the core skills of building construction, measurement, value and the law. Understand how property works as an asset class. We can collaborate with the learning institutions to make sure these skills are delivered to make surveyors employable.

What I don’t think Universities can do is teach ‘commerciality’ and I guess that only 1 in 10 graduates enter our office with it. We can probably teach it to another 4 and the rest will probably never get it. That may be tough – but I suggest is true.

Nottingham in pictures…

Last night I was at Nottingham Trent University again (I seem to have been there more in the last few months than I was in the final year of my Degree!) – this was another exhibition.


As part of the 170th year celebration (which I blogged about before here) last night was a photography exhibition – by Martine Hamilton-Knight and the RIBA. The focus was on Sir Michael Hopkins work.

Marine has been photographing the architecture of this particular practice for the last 20 years. And there was a romp through the last two decades. The Inland Revenue, The University Jubilee Campus and latterly the Nottingham Trent University Newton / Arkwright extension all feature. There are some magical photographs and iconic views.

You probably know I have keen interest in photography – I aspire to this level though! Martine spoke at the event and mentioned the importance of light and good architecture on her work. Some of this architecture is fantastic – and looking at the body of work on show you realise that we do have some truly inspirational buildings in the City. They have been portrayed well.

There’s always that question you get asked- if you could do anything other than your current job what would you do? And I would always answer – I’d be a photographer. I have always been interested in the medium and I get to takes lots of pictures for my work. But thats not the level of art Martine and others achieve. That takes work – not just snapping!

It was an inspiring exhibition. I am inspired. I will get the camera out more.

Grimsey hits the (Nottingham) town – again

Last Thursday night Bill Grimsey gave a talk at the Nottingham Business School. It was the second time I had been back the ‘The Poly’ in a week. The impressions from the Art Show were still fresh in my mind as I got to the amazing Newton Building.


Bill is hugely supportive of the suggestion that we could collectively write this business plan. And I met some people afterwards who are keen to be involved – it looks like this might actually have legs! If we can draft something collectively it will have so much more impetus and credibility. Ownership would be by us all – making delivery so much more likely.

But hearing Bill speak again reminded me of some things – and allowed me to re-focus a little. I had missed a number of key points – so before I forget (!) I should get them down here.

The first is that we need to change. Bill quoted Eric Shinseki the 7th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, who said,

If you dislike change, you’re going to dislike irrelevance even more

We have to guard against becoming irrelevant in our Cities. They need to reflect what society wants – we can’t tell people what they want – that doesn’t work!

The second is that we must take a long term view to re-align our Cities. But we must start to act now. This is because the pace of technological change is growing exponentially. He referenced ‘Moores Law‘ which claimed that technology doubled in speed and size every two years.If you apply that we might see that on-line shopping overtakes bricks and mortar shops in the next few years!

We must wire our Cities up. We have to make sure they are wi-fi enabled. That is going to be critical. We have to grasp technology.

And finally – we need to know what we stand for as a place. That’s not an easy question to answer – but if we can identify it, rationalise it and stand by it – we may just be onto something?

Key – making a place we will be happy to work, live and play in….

Update – todays’ Nottingham Post report on the event is here.

Truly Inspiring. The NTU celebration show.

I was at an event last night at Nottingham Trent University. Putting to one side that I met Damon Albarn (who has consistently made awesome music!) this was a showcase event.


There are a number events through the year to celebrate 170 years of ‘continuous creative teaching’ at NTU. This was the first – and Damon and Paul Kaye (aka Dennis Pennis) spoke alongside the Vice Chancellor.

Then there was a cake to help the celebrations. I didn’t get to eat any – but it had been ‘baked’ by the winner of The Great British Bake Off – Frances Quinn. It turns out that Frances is an Alumni from NTU in 2006. bet you didn’t know that.

We had some great live music – in the form of Georgie Rose. She has been tipped for stardom – with Billy Bragg and K T Tunstall declaring themselves fans. Georgie is part of the fast-rising music scene in Nottingham. Read what Nottingham Contemporary said here. Jake Bugg step aside (although a million record sales is a high bar to set).

There was an exhibition of some of the work done by students – current and past. This was in the form of textiles, photography and sculpture. Some of the work was truly inspiring and really good. It seems that Nottingham has more artists per capita than any other European City. and a lot of them have passed through NTU.

NTU should be congratulated on putting together this show. It was a great event and timely reminder of an eco-system of talented folks we have here.

So it turns out that our suggestion that this is a Talented City is pretty much on the money. That is a key message our forthcoming trip to MIPIM.

But I also think it can create one of the key planks for our business plan.

Talented Nottingham. Check.

The Nottingham Story – part three – The story

After my rant of yesterday I though we had better get back on track! I have suggested before that we tap into our history of being somewhat rebellious. I think the rebellion thing could provide a much needed theme.

After all it was here where King Charles I raised his standard here to start the English Civil War in 1642. So we’ve been causing trouble for over 350 years!

But part of that story is that we are also seen a fair people, the connection to Robin Hood is all-important here. He robbed from the rich to give to the poor. The beginning of the Social Service?

These can be fun things for us to latch on to. The do give us something of history. But it’s not quite enough?

I didn’t do History at School (actually I didn’t do much, but that’s another story!). I’m more of a ‘now’ person. And I think our story today is much more interesting.

Our connection with Science goes back to Jesse Boot – and we are a Science City. Stewart Adams invented Ibuprofen & Sir Peter Mansfield invented the MRI Scanner here in Nottingham. Our two Universities are brilliant and recognised the world over. But the City seems to have a disconnect with them. We need to embrace them and all that they do. They provide a weather of research and talent – which we need to keep inn the City. Lets make this place a Univercity.

In recent years we have also made great strides in the creative industries. We have the brilliant Nottingham Contemporary. We have a fantastic hot-bed of talent at Antenna and some creatives being trained next door at Confetti. Lets tap into that seam of people. Musicians, film makers and artists. Lets give them space to thrive and grow. Lets make this an Creaticity.

In a funny way the creatives and investors are rebels too – they are the new who dare to make a difference. Remember the Apple Poem?

Tomorrow – the business sector….

I didn’t mention the Emu

I was back last night at Nottingham Trent University – I think for my 4th visit since the new Arkwright & Newton buildings were opened three months ago. This time the occasion was the Alumni Midsummer celebration.

Hosted by the Chancellor Sir Michael Parkinson it was yet another trip down memory lane. I met up with David Richmond – one of my original lecturers back in ’83 – he is now in his 70′s. Worryingly he recognised me! I still have his book.

My badge had ‘class of 88′ on it. But looking round the giant class – I was just a baby! I was the only surveying student from ’88 – but there were plenty of old(er) boys. It made me feel much better.

And then I saw Paul Hacking, who now works at the University as Head of Careers – I haven’t seen him for many years. He was a lodger with my parents (he was studying at ‘The Poly’) when I was 9, that was quite some time ago…

Michael Parkinson ambled over and chatted with us for 10 minutes of so. He was very relaxed and clearly enjoying his role as Chancellor. He also gave a small speech as part of the formal proceedings – without notes. He is a very natural orator.

Earlier in my day I had given a talk to WREN (Women’s Real Estate Network) at Geldards offices in Nottingham. I had to rely on my trusty MacBook Pro and Keynote. As I listened to “Parky” talk, I realised what a consummate professional he still is. He captivated the audience with an easy style – relevant, topical and witty. He made it look all too easy! I guess that’s why he was a very successful TV presenter!

He was also very complimentary about the University and, in particular, the new buildings – which he suggested had given Nottingham something to be proud of.

As I blogged about before, I agree with him wholeheartedly. It’s a great facility.

And I thought mentioning the Emu incident might not be very diplomatic…so I didn’t!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business, Nottingham Tagged David Richmond, Emu, Geldards, Keynote, MacBook Pro, Nottingham Trent University, , Paul Hacking, Rod Hull, Sir Michael Parkinson, Women Real Estate Network

Deja Vu part 2!

I blogged last year about my return to Nottingham Trent University to have a look around the Arkwright and Newton buildings – they were reaching the final stage of their refurbishment.

The newly created space at NTU

This week I went to one of the official opening evenings.

The £92m scheme is now complete – and it looks amazing. Hopkins Architects have done a great job in retaining the essence of two architecturally important buildings whilst connecting them with a modern piece of architecture. This really is the centrepiece of the University and the facilities are second to none. This is both in terms of teaching space, but also the newly created Nottingham Conference Centre.

It was interesting to hear some of the historical context of the buildings – D H Lawrence studied at the University College Nottingham (as Arkwright was then known). My old lecturer Paul Collins went dewey eyed when he remembered the old urinals – and the fact that David Herbert had once peed in the very same place. I wasn’t sure where it was headed, but he held it together I think – just. I think the Collins facial hair may have permeated his brain. Or he was being sponsored by Flomax

I was also amused about some of the opposition when the scheme was put before the statutory consultees. One organisation were concerned about the loss of the rows of lockers in Newton building. I miss them too – I used to lean up against them …

But the real story (apart from the quality of the space) was the green roof – 30,000 sq ft of it. This has helped the University achieve the no.1 spot in the Green League of Universities in England and Wales.

It is a great regeneration project – which deserves all the accolades it will surely get. It’s a great advert for Nottingham – on the world stage.