We held our third AMPA conference on 13th July at Nottingham Trent University, with thanks to Gail Mellors and the Centre for Broadcasting & Journalism for hosting us.It’s always a delight to take time out from the usual run of things (marking and attending boards at this time of year) to get together and discuss our work, careers and the context of HE for media practice academics.
We had representatives from unis in Lincoln, Nottingham, Birmingham, Leeds and York and after a welcome to NTU, I did a brief update on AMPA activities since last year. I referred to contributions made at symposia at Goldsmiths and Salford University which highlighted very different reactions to AMPA’s existence and aims. I also talked about the 1 year PhDs some institutions are making available to practice academics with considerable professional experience and a back catalogue to prove it. Both Salford and Dublin Institute of Technology offer this option to staff only (though that may change) as a legitimate equivalent of the ‘PhD by publication’.
This prompted some discussion about and reiteration of our aims (listed on this site) and served as a ‘warm up’ for the following session.
John Mateer from the University of York has been an AMPA member since our first conference. He skyped into NTU to deliver an excellent session on his research into the career developments of media practitioners in the HE sector. While the research is still to be published, two figures stood out as particularly interesting:
73% of practice academics were research active.
61% felt that their practice research was not valued as equal to to the theory model.
There was much discussion about his findings and very warm encouragement for him to publish the results.
We feel that when it is there will be many opportunities to start debates citing his research, as well as raise the profile of AMPA and its aims.
Dr Emma Hemmingway from NTU was next. She shared research she’s undertaking into the differences between simulated practice and professional work opportunities for students and their impact for students and staff.
The research is on this site if you want to see more about it and Emma will post updates, as well as requests for contributions, from time to time.
Particular thanks to Emma for her presentation, given that she was in pain with a broken leg.
Bob Calver from Birmingham City University then shared a presentation he’d given to a meeting of freelance journalists from the Nordic countries. Titled ‘Spreading optimism in the Snow’, he talked, amongst other things, about preparing students for the freelance life. Bob drew fascinating analogies with the his early days in print – putting copy on a bus to be delivered to a different newspaper office in another town – which hinged on the fact that journalists have always been good at being flexible and using whatever is the best method at the time.
We ended the session with discussions about our next steps.
That will be something to post on here in days to come.