Media scholars consider merger

January 13, 2006

The two major associations representing academics in media studies may join forces in the face of an "aggressive" move by a training body to impose a "narrow skills agenda" on degree courses.

Members of the Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) and the Association of Media Practice Educators (AMPE) will be asked to consider a merger at a joint conference at Leeds Metropolitan University this weekend.

The move has been proposed to strengthen the lobbying position of media studies academics and professionals on issues such as research funding and curriculum development.

Delegates will also be asked to consider how to respond to Skillset, the audiovisual industries' skills council. Skillset has begun to pilot a controversial programme of accrediting and quality marking of media-related courses such as screenwriting and animation.

MeCCSA and AMPE fell out with the council last year over its skills-based approach to accreditation. John Ellis, chairman of the AMPE, told The Times Higher : "Skillset is taking a training-based approach to setting curricula that is unhelpful and hostile to broader education."

But Kate O'Connor, Skillset deputy chief executive, said it had taken care to involve higher education and was having its pilot accreditation programme evaluated by a Higher Education Academy subject centre.

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