It’s the headline event at this year’s festival and the memoir that has everyone talking and at the weekend students from the university along with local schools and colleges, had the opportunity to go backstage to meet and interview the former Prime Minister.
David Cameron was speaking at the event in conversation with the BBC’s Sophie Raworth about his memoir For the Record on the first day of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival. In one of just two interviews ahead of his appearance, students from the university’s Journalism BA course, and local schools and colleges were given the opportunity to hold the former Prime Minister to account with questions on the EU referendum, Brexit and climate change.
Students then joined the Festival audience for the main event to hear David Cameron’s perspective on his time in Downing Street, his personal life and with just weeks to go till October 31st deadline, his decision to call a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.
Ahead of the interview, students from schools and colleges across the South West and the West Midlands were invited to a special ‘Interview Skills’ workshop with Journalism staff, graduates and students from the university. The session included how to prepare to ask the right questions, how to get the best out of an interviewee and what to look out for in those all-important answers.
Joe Kennett, third year Journalism student, University of Gloucestershire said:
“It was such a great experience to see David Cameron up close and it felt like we got to see a more personal side to him. Everyone said they appreciated his honesty in answering our questions and it was interesting to see how those answers compared with the responses he gave on stage.”
Ali Bukhari, student at Cadbury College said:
“It was so surreal, when he shook my hand it just didn’t feel real, it was amazing though how often do you get to ask questions about Brexit and multiculturalism to David Cameron. I never thought something like this would happen to me, I really appreciate the experience.”
Bernadette Murphy, Head of Marketing and Development at Cheltenham Festivals said:
“We were delighted to work with University of Gloucestershire to offer this unique opportunity to young people from local schools and colleges. Cheltenham Festivals is proud to bring leading writers and influencers to Cheltenham and equally proud to help nurture the next generation of critical thinkers.”