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ArchaeologyPart of Humanities

Nick  Powell BSc Oceanography with Chemistry, MA Archaeological Method and Theory, 1993

Television producer

Nick  Powell's Photo

I enjoyed my time at Southampton. The Oceanography and Archaeology courses are up there in the top tier and are a brilliant springboard into either profession. I must add that they are also an excellent basis for making specialist factual documentaries too!

Please give a description of your professional life post-university, including any achievements or stand-out moments.

After finishing my MA, I worked in South Asia as a field archaeologist and in Oxford with the Oxford Archaeological Unit. Upon returning from India my housemate in Oxford (a member of an extremely successful Oxford band then and now) tipped me off on a London band in need of a bass player. After a couple of years touring and recording I left music to work in the nascent web industry. Growing weary of computers I was watching an episode of Time Team when the penny dropped - I could continue to enjoy archaeology but this time around from behind a camera.

Did you know what you wanted to do with your degree after leaving university, and have your aspirations developed or changed since then?

 Not exactly. I knew that I wanted to enjoy my job, so my work had to be interesting. Working in archaeology, music and new media was fantastic but I had always been intrigued by TV. I had long presumed it was a difficult world to enter so it wasn't until my mid-twenties before I began thinking that it was a possible career option. In the end, my archaeological background secured my first job as an assistant producer on a programme looking at Asian archaeology and my design experience helped me begin direction so everything I did prior to television helped me on my way.

 What initially interested you in your subject?

Oceanography with chemistry appealed as it was applied science. My switch to archaeology as a post-graduate was driven by a long standing interest in the subject. As a rule, childhood summer holidays always included a visit to Roman and medieval ruins across Europe. I became fascinated by history and specifically the way archaeolgogy allowed the minutiae of daily life to be detected over hundreds if not thousands of years. Indiana Jones also hit me at an impressionable age.

What skills did you acquire whilst studying your subject and through what means? (i.e. essays/group tasks)

My BSc and MA gave me a solid grounding in both science and the humanities. They gave me a great basis for a career making specialist factual documentaries.

Do you believe these skills have assisted you in your career and if so, how?

Yes. The key skill I developed at university that proved most useful in my professional life was learning how to sift through large amounts of information quickly. Looking for patterns and narratives amidst large piles of information is a key skill for the television producer.

Would you recommend a degree at Southampton to others and what advice could you offer to students and recent graduates of your degree subject about moving forward and choosing a career path?

I enjoyed mt time at Southampton. The Oceanography and Archaeology courses are up there in the top tier and are a brilliant springboard into either profession. I must add that they are also an excellent basis for making specialist factual documentaries too! My advice for those pursuing a career in television is to specialise in what excites you as so much work in television today is tough. Stick to your guns and get research jobs with the companies that make the shows that you are interested in.

 

 

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