Three-D Issue 25: Chair’s report

27Natalie Fenton
Goldsmiths, University of London

Since the last newsletter we’ve had a Conservative government elected, Corbyn-mania has taken hold, a new academic year has begun and with the new term comes another three government/parliamentary consultations! Why do the deadlines for consultations always seem to coincide with the busiest times in the academic calendar?

This time it’s the BBC that is back in the spotlight with its Green Paper on the BBC Charter Review that signals the most serious challenge to the purposes and funding of the BBC in a generation. MeCCSA wrote a letter (see following page) that was published in the Independent signed initially by 46 academics in the field objecting to the narrow framing of the Consultation that prioritizes the requirements of the commercial media market over those of a public service provider. Many more of you added your names to this letter that reached an impressive 376 signatories. This letter has now been submitted along with our full response to the consultation published in this newsletter. Huge thanks go to John Downey and Jeanette Steemers for drafting the response on behalf of the MeCCSA Executive and to everyone for taking the time to click, link and sign the letter.

Other submissions, based on our consultation response, have also been made to the Lords Select Committee inquiry and the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee inquiry. The MeCCSA Policy Network co-organized a seminar with the BBC Trust and the University of Westminster to discuss how the future of the BBC should be governed and regulated. The BBC Trust is also holding other seminars around the country. Now is the moment to make your views known – don’t miss your chance!

MeCCSA members also spent much of the summer in meetings with the DFE and the exam boards over the future of Media and Film Studies at GCSE and A’Level. Initially under threat from being axed altogether MeCCSA worked closely with Media Education Association (MEA – the body that represents pre-graduate teaching in the field) to ensure these subjects remain on the curriculum. The DFE has now put the subject content out to consultation (closing date, 5 November) and MeCCSA will be submitting a response in due course. Do read the MEA webpage and consider adding your own. This is crucial work to keep the subject alive at this level.

MeCCSA has also commissioned research being led by John Downey at Loughborough University into levels of Research Council funding to research projects in media, communications and cultural studies. Ever conscious that the funding pot is shrinking, knowing where the money goes is vital to our argument of the necessity of sustaining research in our field. The results of this research will be presented at the AGM at the annual conference to be held at the University of Kent in Canterbury. If you’ve never been to Canterbury – now is your chance! Make sure you register for the conference and come and join us for what promises to be a great conference – see you there!

Posted by Einar Thorsen