From a budding interest in lighting to diving into audio, video, and electronics, Alex Rainy Brown‘s academic voyage at the University of Derby broadened his technical spectrum. Initially drawn to Derby’s Sound, Light and Live Event Technology course for its technical depth, Alex found his calling diversifying over time. Now a Solutions Architect at Holovis, his everyday work reflects the myriad skills honed during his course, significantly contributing to notable theme park attractions like the Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge ride at Universal Studios Japan in 2021. The practical projects and the network he built at Derby paved the way for his current role, epitomizing the blend of technical acumen and industry connectivity fostered at the university.


Alex Rainy Brown grad spotlight photo.

Alex Rainy Brown, Class of 2019


Chesham, Buckinghamshire


Current location:

Sutton Coldfield


Current job + employer:

Holovis – Solutions Architect


What did you do/study prior to coming to Derby?

Before starting at Derby, I studied Physics, Electronics, and Geography A-Levels.


Why did you choose to go to the University of Derby?

I was impressed by the Sound, Light and Live Event Technology course at Derby when considering the options. The main aspects that made the course and Uni stand out were the technical depth of each subject as well as the breadth of technologies covered. It was very apparent that the University sites were well-equipped and regularly updated to offer the students relevant and competitive skills.


Did you start the course with a specific focus or were you undecided?

I was somewhat undecided but knew I would have an interest in lighting as it was the aspect I had the most exposure to prior to starting the course.


Did that focus change on the course? If so, how?

This certainly changed during the course. I quickly found many other subjects that I was passionate about and that I had had minimal exposure to before starting the course and I became much more open-minded to the variety of topics taught.


Has that focus changed on graduating? If so, how?

Since graduating my work is now mostly audio, video, and electronics focused, but I still consider myself a lighting person at heart!


What was the most useful thing you learned on the course?

Aside from the lighting, audio, and video backbone of the course, I use the electrical and electronics knowledge and skills that I gained from various modules every day for both design and troubleshooting processes.


What did you do on the course that you never thought you would enjoy?

I remember being unsure about the event planning assignments but found they were a great way to gain an appreciation of a different perspective than I was used to for live events.


What was your favourite establishment in Derby (pub, bar, club, restaurant, etc.)?

This has to be a tie between Bunk and The Friary.


What is your most memorable moment from Derby?

One of my most memorable moments at Derby has to be our final year show control project where we created and programmed a Jurrasic Park-inspired show. I really enjoyed working in the team and it was a lot of fun having so much creative freedom to use the technology however we wanted.


What would you say to a Derby first year student, knowing what you know now?

I would say embrace the passions of your coursemates around you and absorb all the information you can! The entertainment industry is powered by passionate creative and technical people who love what they do. If you can find what makes you passionate about the industry and surround yourself with equally passionate course-mates, then you will have the time of your life at Uni and beyond into the industry.


What have you done professionally since graduating?

I have been working for Holovis since graduating and through them I have been lucky enough to work on the audio-visual design and integration on a number of industry-leading theme park attractions around the world. Most notably I am thrilled to have played a part in the creation of the Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge ride, which opened at Universal Studios Japan in 2021.


Have any Derby alumni or staff opened any doors for you? If so, who?

I actually got my current job thanks to a course graduate who had gone on to work at Holovis. The company approached the University looking for like-minded people and the teaching staff knew about my interest in the themed entertainment industry and put me in touch.

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