We offer each of our trainees a summer bursary of up to £1,000 every summer of their degree to spend on journalism work experience or a journalism project, giving them the unique opportunity to travel and explore the areas of journalism they are passionate about.

Here, School of Journalism trainee Mia Williams shares how she spent her summer bursary making a documentary exploring period poverty in the UK.

I decided to use my bursary from The School of Journalism to create my own documentary – a project I have always dreamed about doing. I have always looked up to the likes of presenter Stacey Dooley and documentarian Louis Theroux, and I have always wanted to follow in their footsteps.

Period poverty in the UK is a topic that is hardly ever covered in the media due to the stigma surrounding periods. I started to do some research which was when I discovered that nearly one in eight women in the UK cannot afford to buy the menstrual products they need for themselves or for someone they care for. This statistic urged me to find people who had experienced this and who were willing to talk about it. 

I got in touch with a few charities in the UK who I thought might be able to help me with research and who would also be valued contributors to my documentary. 

I firstly got in touch with Tina Leslie MBE, founder of Freedom4Girls. Her charity delivers menstrual health management education and also delivers period products around Leeds and Sheffield.

A screen grab of Tina from Mia's documentary.

Tina Leslie MBE talking to Mia about her reusable sanitary pads

I then got in touch with Molly Fenton, who runs a period poverty organisation in Cardiff called Love Your Period

Molly runs the charity with her younger sister Tilly, and their aim is to break down the stigma surrounding female taboos. 

I felt I needed a case study, someone who had experienced period poverty and could convey first hand how much it affected their day-to-day life. 

This is when I found Lucy Dormand Bean. She lives in west London and agreed to come on camera and discuss her experience with period poverty whilst she was at university. 

A photo of trainee Mia interviewing Lucy for her documentary.

Behind-the-scenes: Mia interviewing Lucy

It was difficult at first to find someone who was comfortable talking so vulnerably and openly on camera so it was important that I made all my contributors feel safe and that I knew their boundaries before conducting any interviews. 

This project was very hands-on and I learnt a lot. I scripted the voiceovers, planned the filming days, gathered interview questions, researched extensively and edited the documentary together.

It was such a huge learning experience for me and the end product was really rewarding. 

I can’t thank the School of Journalism enough for enabling me to create this documentary with the bursary. It’s a project I am extremely proud of and I will be able to show off my skills to future employers. 

The documentary is called Code Red: Exploring Period Poverty in the UK, and you can watch it here:

You can read more summer bursary blogs here.

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