Welcome to MeCCSA

Welcome to MeCCSA, the subject association that represents all who teach or research in Higher Education in media, communications and cultural studies, whether in arts, humanities or social sciences departments.

More about MeCCSA…

Three-D Issue 35

Three-D, issue 35 (PDF, 1.3 Mb) – Latest

In this issue:
1 ‘Slashing taxpayer subsidy’ (Einar Thorsen)

Review of Higher Education
Augar and after (John Downey)
The banker and the basket weaver (Janet Jones)
No more medals: the latest on the TEF (Abigail Gardner)
Free speech on campus (Alison Scott-Baumann & Simon Perfect)

A wake-up call, but who’s listening? (Simon Cottle)
Libertarians under lockdown (Julian Petley)

Black Lives Matter
Listening to legacies of coloniality (Kulraj Phullar)

Media Reform
11 Musical chairs: the phoney war over BBC governance (Tom Chivers)
12 “Distinctly Different”: GB News (Steven Barnett & Julian Petley)
14 It’s only a “conflict” between Facebook and regulators if it’s about the data (Declan McDowell-Naylor)
15 BBC and Beyond: Reimagining Public Media (Deborah Grayson)

16 Jay G. Blumler (1924-2021) (Stephen Coleman)

Reports and Initiatives
17 Chair’s report (Einar Thorsen)
18 MeCCSA responses (MeCCSA response to OfS Consultation on regulating quality and standards in higher education and MeCCSA response to Review of the UK Social Science PhD)
21 Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Network (Mita Lad)
21 Policy Network (Paul Reilly & Phil Ramsey)
22 Local and Community Media Network (Rachel Matthews)
23 Radio Studies Network (Emma Heywood)
23 Social Movements Network (Ruth Sanz Sabido)
24 Postgraduate Network (Sharon Zheng)

New Deal for Higher Education

MeCCSA one of 49 professional academic associations to join in call for “new deal for higher education.”

As UK higher education institutions reportedly fall in the global rankings, forty-nine professional associations representing diverse academic research fields and thousands of UK-based academics wrote on 16 June 2020 to Education Ministers in the UK and devolved governments calling for “a new deal for higher education.” Their letter, published below, points out that the sharp drop in universities’ income, as a result of a fall in student numbers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, will endanger the ability of the UK Higher Education sector to maintain excellence in education and research, with grave consequences for the economy and society.


The Secretary of State for Education, RT Hon Gavin Williamson CBE

Minister of State for Universities, Hon Michelle Donelan

Minister for Education in Wales, Kirsty Williams MS

Minister for Higher Education and Science in Scotland, Richard Lochhead MSP

Minister for the Department of Education of Northern Ireland, Peter Weir MLA

Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, Amanda Solloway

June 16, 2020

Dear Mr. Williamson, Ms. Donelan, Ms. Williams, Mr. Lochhead, Mr. Weir and Ms. Solloway:

We are writing to you as officers of 49 professional associations representing diverse research fields to express our profound concern about the future of higher education in the UK. COVID-19 has simultaneously highlighted the huge importance of university research to tackling the virus and its social and economic implications as well as the unsustainability of the current funding model for tertiary education.

Higher education makes a fundamentally significant contribution to society. It expands our knowledge and understanding of the world through an array of research discoveries, improves the life chances of individuals by enhancing social mobility and opportunities, advances the economy by carrying out innovative research, and provides each new generation with cultural knowledge as well as cutting edge skills and expertise. Yet, currently, UK public spending on tertiary education amounts to only a quarter of university budgets, which is not only the lowest among OECD countries, but comprises considerably less than half of the average spending among the OECD’s other 34 countries. It is therefore not surprising that nearly 25 percent of all UK universities were in deficit even before the pandemic and that now, due to a dramatic drop in projected income, almost all higher education institutions in the country will face huge obstacles to carry out their mission and remain internationally competitive without government support.

A vibrant and robust higher education system is absolutely vital for the UK’s future. We believe that the current government funding model for higher education is inadequate for this task and we therefore call upon you to use the current crisis as an opportunity to create a new deal for higher education. Rather than providing a one-time bailout, it is paramount that the UK and devolved governments substantially increases public spending on tertiary education in line with the OECD average in order to ensure that our tertiary institutions remain at the forefront of global research, education and innovation.


African Studies Association of the United Kingdom – Professor Ambreena Manji

Architectural Humanities Research Association — Professor Jonathan Hale

Arts and Humanities Alliance — Professor Susan Bruce

Association for Art History — Professor Frances Fowle

Association for German Studies — Professor Margaret Littler

Association for Welsh Writing in English — Professors Kirsti Bohata and Matthew Jarvis

Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, UK and Ireland — Doctor John Miller

Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland — Professor Claire Taylor

Association of Programmes in Translation and Interpreting Studies — Doctors JC Penet and Olga Castro

Association for Publishing Education — Professor Claire Squires

Association of University Professors and Heads of French — Professor Marion Schmid

British Association for American Studies — Doctor Cara Rodway

British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience — Professor Jamie Ward

British Association for Slavonic & East European Studies — Doctor Matthias Neumann

British Association for South Asian Studies — Professor Patricia Jeffery

British Association for Study of Religions – Professor Bettina Schmidt

British Association for Victorian Studies — Professor Dinah Birch CBE

British Association of Academic Phoneticians – Professor Jane Stuart-Smith

British Association of Critical Legal Scholars — Professor Adam Gearey

British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies — Doctor James Leggott

British Comparative Literature Association – Professor Susan Bassnett

British International Studies Association — Professor Mark Webber

British Philosophical Association — Professor Fiona Macpherson, FRSE, MAE

British Society for Middle Eastern Studies — Professor Haleh Afshar

British Society for the History of Science — Doctor Tim Boon

British Sociological Association — Professor Susan Halford

British Universities Industrial Relations Association —  Professor Tony Dobbins

Council of University Classical Departments — Professor Helen Lovatt

Economic History Society – Professor Catherine Schenk

English Association — Doctor Rebecca Fisher

Feminist Studies Association — Doctors Laura Clancy and Sara De Benedictis,

History UK — Doctors Lucinda Matthews-Jones, Yolana Pringle and Jamie Wood

Learned Society of Wales — Professor Helen Fulton

Linguistics Association of Great Britain — Professor Caroline Heycock

Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association — Professor Anita Biressi

Modern Humanities Research Association – Doctor Barbara Burns

Newcomen Society – Doctor Jonathan Aylen

Oral History Society – Professor John Gabriel

Royal Musical Association – Professor Simon McVeigh

Royal Society of Literature — Professor Marina Warner, DBE, CBE, FBA

Socio-Legal Studies Association — Professor Rosie Harding

Society for French Studies — Professor Judith Still

Society for Latin American Studies — Professor Patience Schell

Society for Old Testament Study — Doctor Walter Houston

Society for Renaissance Studies — Professor Richard Wistreich

Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry – Professor Frank James

Standing Conference of University Drama Departments – Professor Kate Newey

Theatre & Performance Research Association – Professor Roberta Mock

University Council of Modern Languages — Professor Claire Gorrara

Women in German Studies — Professor Ingrid Sharp

COVID-19 and MeCCSA Annual Conferences in 2021 and 2022

Dear Colleagues, 

It is with great regret to announce that we will not be holding MECCSA 2021 in Aberdeen on the premises of Robert Gordon University in January 2021, as was planned. We have made this difficult decision because of the likely longer term uncertainties and impacts of Covid-19, and the social distancing measures that will probably stay with us in some form for some time to come. Given that our conferences typically attract 200-300 people from all over the UK and beyond, we feel that postponing the conference is the safe and sensible thing to do at this point. 

We will however organise online activities around the time of the conference in January, so there will be opportunities for our networks and members to come together in some way. There will be further announcements about these in due course.

We are also keen not to miss out on the wonders of Aberdeen, thus have decided to hold MeCCSA 2022 at Robert Gordon University in January 2022. This also means that our conference in Falmouth is postponed from January 2022 to January 2023.

We are all very disappointed about not physically meeting up with you in January (and miss out, among other things, on the all-important pub quiz), but hope you understand that the health and safety of our members and community is our highest priority. 

In the meantime, I encourage you to follow our MeCCSA discussion list where you find some exciting opportunities to engage with the work and activities of our networks and members.

Best wishes and Keep safe 

Agnes Gulyas

Chair of MECCSA Association Activities Committee

Joint statement from BAFTSS and MeCCSA on REF2021 [Updated: response from HEFCE and Panel D Chair]


Recently BAFTSS and MeCCSA agreed the below joint statement in response to concern about the initial decisions by HECFCE regarding REF 2021 that included naming Film and Screen Studies explicitly in sub-panel 33 (Music, Dance, Drama, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies). This joint statement was sent to Kim Hackett at HEFCE and to Dinah Birch, Chair REF2021 Panel D. They have sent the following response that provides some helpful clarification. We will continue to ensure that these issues are understood and addressed by the relevant sub-panel Chairs and panel members:

We understand the concern raised about a potential effect on submissions caused by including ‘Film and Screen Studies’ in the name of UOA33. The funding bodies’ decision to include this field of research in a UOA name sought to respond to concerns raised about visibility, and the decision of where to locate it was informed by both responses to our consultation and further engagement with the relevant subject bodies. However, the decision to include it in a UOA name is not intended to preclude the submission of film and screen research in another UOA, where this is the most appropriate place for its submission. We will ensure that the published guidance provides clarity on this point, and encourages the submission of film and screen research into the most appropriate UOA. As with the previous panel criteria, this may include explicit reference to film and screen studies in the relevant UOA descriptors. We will work in particular with the sub-panels for UOAs 33 and 34, to ensure clarity is provided on submissions into each of these UOAs, and on the sub-panels’ working methods to ensure a consistent assessment approach.

Kim Hackett, HEFCE
Dinah Birch, Chair, Panel D


Statement of Research Ethics Guidelines

In view of the wide diversity of disciplinary orientation, methodological approach, and conceptual foundation of research in our field, MeCCSA does not publish a detailed code of research practice. Instead MeCCSA has published a statement that outlines a broad set of principles and links to a range of research practice guidelines from various associations, which we believe may be of value in the conduct of members’ research.

You can read more about the background to this initiative in Peter Golding’s article in Three-D Issue 15 [PDF], and also in Martin Barker’s article in Three-D Issue 10 [PDF].

MeCCSA supports Media Reform initiative

At the recent AGM at the University of Bedfordshire, 12th January 2012, the following resolution was passed:

This AGM supports the initiative of the Coordinating Committee for Media Reform in its submission to Leveson, and further public forums, as a proper and fruitful stimulus to well-informed debate.




MeCCSA on JISCmail

MeCCSA and its Networks operate discussion and information lists through the JISCmail system. Click the following links for information or to join:

The MeCCSA Radio Studies Network encourages interested colleagues to subscribe to the Radio Studies list, a forum for teachers, researchers and broadcasters active since 1998.

To post a message on the list if you are not a subscriber (subject to approval), please get in touch with Elizabeth Poole.

Website contacts

Website content admins are Einar Thorsen and . Each MeCCSA Network and the Annual Conference Chair is responsible for updating their respective pages.

For technical support, please email techsupport@meccsa.org.uk.

For any queries regarding MeCCSA membership, please email the membership secretary, Gillian Mason.

© MeCCSA 2002-2020

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