The End of an Era

SNV31889We all have a particular place that we hold dear to our hearts, whether it be a school, university, town or workplace. For a time we build roots and form friendships, some of which can trancend the passage of time. These places become ingrained into our very being, the daily commute, the banter, the highs and lows. As with everything else in life we move on but we still remember the places and people we’ve known.

The cameraderie and willingness to help each other collectively was our greatest asset.

For the past 3 months I’ve been working for the MMU as an IT Contractor, which is particularly strange as I had worked there previously for some 11 years. What is even more strange is the fact that as I write this I am sitting virtually next door to where I first began back in 1989 in what is left of my old department.

The reason why I feel this week is particularly poigniant is that while I and the other contractors are nearing the end of our time here at MMU, the events of this week mark the end of what was the Media Services department. I feel sad to watch the last remnants of my old department finally torn apart and consigned to the annals of history.

I originally worked at the precursor to Media Services which was then known as Educational Services. At that time in the late 80’s it was a thriving Audio Visual department which encompassed graphic design and video production. We were geared towards providing support to the staff and students of Manchester Polytechnic (before it became known as the MMU) in the use of audio-visual media as a means of supporting the learning experience. As we marched into the 90’s PC’s became more prevalent and we began getting involved in the maintenance and upkeep of PC hardware. By the time we reached the noughties the audio visual part of the department began to wane against the rise of the machines.

It was about this time that I left for the greener pastures of the private sector, but it was still sad to watch them tear the heart and soul out of the department and consign it to a slow lingering death. By some strange quirk of circumstance I find myself back here once more and believe me it feels like I’d never left. While most of the same people are still here, they’ve all moved on in the merry dance of internal restructuring, some have embraced the change while others are just resigned to the fact that things will never be the same again. I understand their pain all to well.

A decade later and I wonder what was it all about? I think that as a department we did a fantastic job of supporting the staff and the students of the University, we were destined for greatness but somehow never quite got the recognition for the contribution we made. The cameraderie and willingness to help each other collectively was our greatest asset. When I look back on all the places I’ve worked in my career I think that my time at Manchester Polytechnic/MMU was the best.

Goodbye Media Services… It was nice knowing you…