A much-admired Cumbrian filmmaker is swapping the sweeping mountain top vistas for the virtual classroom.
Self-taught filmmaker Terry Abraham, best known for his cinematographic homage to the Lake District through his ‘Life of a Mountain’ TV trilogy, is joining the ranks of academia as a professor of practice at the University of Cumbria.
The new role recognises individuals eminent in their field and seeks to share their talent to enhance the curriculum, experience and environment for students. Terry’s invitation to become a professor was made before the Covid-19 crisis.
The new situation means his role will adapt to new and virtual ways of connecting with students. While the details are worked through, he is commissioned to develop a new video promoting the Ambleside campus.
The coronavirus crisis has put paid to the premiere of Terry’s ‘Life of a Mountain: Helvellyn’ which was due to air at Rheged and in London from next month. Instead, Terry has had to postpone the screenings for autumn but admitted that these changes may well be a blessing in disguise.
“Although Covid has turned my plans on their heads, it may well be to my advantage as the extra time is allowing me to perfect my swan song to the Lakes in the editing suite,” he said. “And when this is all over and my premiere can air, all I can say is that there will be one hell of a party!”
The composer for the film score, who lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, is currently unwell and so Terry is hoping a few extra months grace will see the project come together in all its glory.
Terry’s links with the university stretch back several years when he was first invited to speak to students studying wildlife media about his techniques. The visit had an unexpected consequence when, on a whim, Terry challenged three students to come out on a shoot with him.
That chance opportunity led to a working relationship with students Paul Bacon and Nathan Buckley who, over the course of two years, blossomed in confidence and ability and continue to work as Terry’s crew now.
Speaking about his new role Terry said: “I’m absolutely thrilled and touched to the core. I’ll admit I was both stunned and a little overwhelmed when Vice Chancellor Julie Mennell approached me about the honour.
“I honestly feel rather paternal about Paul and Nathan and I’m so proud of how they’ve developed their skills, knowledge and experience. It’s been such a fulfilling experience for me and I’m looking forward to inspiring more students in the future.”
Helen Manns, Director for the Institute of Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies at the University of Cumbria, said that Terry will be working with students across many different subject areas. She said: “We are delighted to have Terry join us in the special capacity which will see him share his expertise and industry insights with our students and enrich their experience.
“Terry’s skills and knowledge are relevant to much of our student body. We envisage him inspiring our conservationists, geographers and outdoors students as well as those studying film and photography.
“This honorary title recognises Terry’s extraordinary talent, knowledge and contribution to on-location filmmaking and the local region.”