New approach to practice academics’ PhD at Salford.

Had a great time at Salford University on Thursday. Many thanks to Dr Michael Goddard for organising it and one of AMPA’s own, Geoff McQueen, for proposing me.

As the title of my talk suggested, I spoke about the strengths that media practice academics have, often unacknowledged by themselves to the detriment of their HE careers and colleagues’ appreciation of what they bring to the table. I referred to John Mateer’s useful research from the Uni of York (to be published later this year) reflecting how many media practice academics feel they are undervalued, as well as Carl Gombrich’s work at UCL, on interdisciplinarity, which helps clarify the kind of strengths media practitioners have.

I obviously talked about AMPA and why it was set up and ended up discussing the opportunities for practice research which most media academics are in a great position to exploit – all things being equal.

After some very positive Q&A there were 2 presentations from Dr Lloyd Peters and Dr Annabelle Waller from Salford.

These were fascinating as both of them, having had illustrious careers in the media, have completed their PhD via Salford’s thoughtful and enabling initiative: namely by published, practice work.

It means that if you have an archive to draw on – in these cases decades of radio script-writing/network TV programme making – you can useit as your research for whatever question you are seeking to answer. Practically it means a minimum of 8 artefacts and 15,000 words and one year are required for completion.

In both cases they exceeded the word count (25,000 approx) as well as the number of artefacts drawn on. But this approach by Salford University to supporting practice academics achieve a PhD through valuing their past expertise in this direct way is a very welcome addition.

At present it’s only open to their own academics, but I gather they’re thinking of extending it in the future. 

Does anyone know of similarly supportive approaches elsewhere? 

Some of the Salford University academics I met are planning to come to the next AMPA conference, so hopefully we’ll get them to tell us more then.

Salford University Keynote.

I’m very much looking forward to being at Salford University tomorrow. I’ve been invited by Dr Michael Goddard, Reader in Media and PGR Director at the School of Arts & Media, University of Salford to talk to media and journalism academics, some practitioners and postgrad researchers.

I’ve called the session ‘Interdisciplinarity, intellectual excitement and journalism: The untapped resource of media practice academics.’

I want to celebrate the strengths of media practice academics, discuss the setting up of AMPA and suggest how ‘interdisciplinarity’ might be key to unlocking research potential. I hope this will be quite a discursive session, so if you’re planning on going, please do chip in with comments and questions.

Really interesting how these things crop up. It’s a surprise – and a very pleasant one – when you get invited to talk. But also rather left-field for those of us not on any conference circuit. There’s a certain ‘putting your head above the parapet’ quality to it when you are more on the side of anecdotal reflections than quantitative research.  (Strikes me this might also be something we discuss at this year’s AMPA conference). 

Anyway, I’ll post something about it when I get back and I have to say am not only delighted but feel proud to have been asked. 

As is the way of media practice academics any prep time for the talk has been taken up by involvement in other projects. So last night I was facilitating a Birmingham Partners event, which is about local democracy and engagement in the city.  

Community activists from across south Birmingham gathered to share expertise and learn from each other. It was noisy, discursive and creative. We’ll be running more in other parts of the city as well as tackling bigger issues such as equality (as in, why isn’t Birmingham a more equal city?).

Could also be an excellent research project.

I think media practice academics, because of our skillsets and general curiosity, are involved in similar kinds of real world projects across the UK. Be great to see all that captured.

I might just mention this tomorrow.