Many colleagues have written of their personal memories of working with Stuart Hall, and of the academic importance of his work in their lives, or of his many personal kindnesses. We wanted to record our gratitude here also for the role Stuart played in the early development of our subject association. Its first manifestation, as the Standing Conference on Cultural, Communication and Media Studies in Higher Education, was an uncertain step towards providing the voice and representation our diverse activities required in order to ensure their proper presence in debates at government, funding, research council, and policy levels. Stuart’s personal presence and authority on its executive gave the organisation much needed credibility and force. However, as in so much that he did, one should never understate the sheer diligence and commitment he poured into such work. I well remember, as chair of SCCCMS, travelling the land with Stuart as we knocked on the doors of the funding councils (not only in London but in the other nations of the union) to argue for the separate presence of the field within the then Research Assessment Exercise. We had previously been a rather misunderstood appendage to Library and Information Sciences, and felt, strongly, that this insufficiently recognised the distinctiveness and scale of research in both media and cultural studies. The formation of a separate ‘unit of assessment’ owed much to Stuart’s patient and persuasive arguments and forceful presentation of the case. Subsequently Stuart was a member of the now separate assessment sub-panel for the field, and his colleagues on that group will recall with enormous admiration his professionalism, extraordinary breadth of knowledge and understanding, and deep sense of fairness, in undertaking the always troubling exercise of research assessment.
While we could all, no doubt, recall the place Stuart Hall occupied in our own personal or
academic development, we thought it important to record the debt we all owe him for the development of the field’s organisation and public presence. There will be an opportunity to acknowledge some of this at our conference at Northumbria in January.