A couple of months ago BBC Research and Development’s North Lab moved into its new home at MediaCity UK in Salford. The old base at Oxford Road in Manchester had been home for a good few years for some so, while excited about our shiny new facilities, it was with fondness and some sadness that we bid the Outside Broadcast building, ‘round the back, in the carpark, goodbye. Above is a short film about the last days of Oxford Road and the start of our new working lives in Salford.
There’s no doubt, its great being in Media City. Specially when the sun is shining.
There are some downsides like the lack of a BBC Club but on the upside there’s a massive sense of anything can and will happen if we want it to. And to be fair the work I’m on, reflects that (more on this in the near future).
For example, BarCampMediaCityUK. After 5 years of trying to do a BBC hosted barcamp by multiple people, we finally got the ecstatic yes from BBC Workplace, who to be fair has been nothing but great with there lovely floor walkers and generally useful security guards. We hit them with the concept of the stay over they took it all in there stride. I swear if we said we want to run a barcamp for 7 days they would have considered it. The barcamp is just getting off the ground but there will be more details coming along soon enough…
Back to MediaCity, the downside of having no BBC Club has meant we’ve had to entertain ourselves. Its still early days but we regularly have Tuesday evening drinks in the canteen/cafe/restaurant, which is a great chance to meet new faces. Not quite sure how it will scale but we’ll iterate I guess.
I’ve started a circus skills event outside on the grassy areas when its sunshine and there’s also the Salford cinema club. Others events and things are a foot including curry nights, yoga, the last friday club, etc… And thats just the start…
More shops are coming and Salford University is going to open right next door so its going to be quite a hotspot.
Getting to MediaCityUK has been pretty easy for me to date. I walk down to Picadilly Station and jump on a tram directly to mediacityuk if I’m in no rush or maybe a tram to Bury if in a rush. It takes about 35mins door to door and should get slightly quicker when the SportsCity/Ashton tram extension opens. I’ll be able to jump on a tram at New Islington and change at Picadilly. Its maybe quicker to walk down but with a yearly travel card and not in rush, I might as well make use of it. The line is believed to open in time for the new football season, but thats just hear-say, although its worth noting there running tests every night right now.
New ways of working isn’t just a saying, we’re really trying out new ways of working. I personally work from the Northern Quarter quite a bit. Not only that there’s a whole bunch of changes happening with regards to our machines. We already upgraded to Windows 7 a while back but dear I say it, Ubuntu and other gnu/linux operating systems are being somewhat tolerated. Of course in R&D, it has been for quite sometime.
My only complaints right now are, the lack of a cash machine in mediacity as the restaurant only accept cash (although they are going to put in place a credit system soon) and when it does rain, the run across the Piazza can be very cold and wet. Right now its amazing in the sunshine…
The move to Media City was a good move and I’m very glad I made the jump when I did. Now I look forward to do some amazing things in our new home and break all the rules with collaborations all over the world.