Three-D Issue 18: MeCCSA 2012: Bedfordshire Experience

Janey Gordon
University of Bedfordshire

The University of Bedfordshire was delighted to welcome the MeCSSA 2012 conference.We were particularly pleased to be able to host it in and around our new campus centre, and make good use of our neighbours such as the UK Centre for Carnival Arts and even one of Luton’s listed buildings, Pizza Express!

When we started the planning, we were firmly told, “We don’t have conference themes, it makes it restrictive. Themes will emerge”, and indeed they did.

One of the most exciting aspects of MeCCSA 2012 was how topical and bang up to date it was in its interests, subject matter, the technologies represented and indeed the themes that emerged. Delegates were able to follow strands concerning Pedagogy and Young People, Politics and Policy, Journalism, Modes of Production, Identity and Media and Culture, each one representing some of the most up-to-date research and thinking in the subject area.

Keynote speaker John Downing

Recent news stories and events proved compelling starting points for a number of delegates and speakers, including our plenary speakers, Professor John Downing, Professor Steven Barnett and Professor Ivor Gaber who all reflected on events of the past twelve months.

We were also pleased to welcome Professor Janet Murray from the United States, Clio Barnard whose prize-winning film, The Arbor, was screened during the conference, and Professor Christine Geraghty, a past chair of MeCCSA, who reflected on her engagement with “Adaptation Studies”.  Convergence was a theme that arose in a number of panels, as well as various diverse subjects such as Celebrity, Pornography, Media History and Climate Change.

Mary Traynor (Glamorgan) talks to student helpers in the radio station

As always, there was plenty of discussion at the conference, in particular over a convivial drink at the reception to mark the late Professor Manuel Alvarado’s contribution to the University library and the lively discussion continued at the MeCCSA quiz night and at the conference dinner.

MeCCSA held its Annual General Meeting at the conference and was addressed by Professor Stuart Laing, who discussed some of the recent changes in media higher education and gave us some provocative questions to consider.

Conference dinner: Guy Starkey (Sunderland), Marcus Leaning (Winchester) & Hugh Chignall (Bournmouth)
Conference dinner: Helen Thornham (Leeds) and Sue Thornham (Sussex)

In addition to the panels and plenary sessions, there was a poster session, where the MeCCSA prize was awarded to Charlotte Crofts for the best poster. The other prize winners were Dr Marcus Leaning who won the ADM-HEA prize for the best paper addressing pedagogy and Lily Canter who was awarded the Convergence prize for a post graduate paper.

MeCCSA 2012 was a truly vibrant conference. We have received very positive feedback from speakers and delegates and look forward to seeing everyone again in Derry in 2013.


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