The Media and Cultural Policy Laboratory is a student-led start-up research space focusing on student-centred and creative approaches to researching media and cultural policy. It hosts workshops and events designed and organized by students who co-design content and learning activities for wider dissemination. By addressing the intersections of policy and business in an interdisciplinary framework, and evaluating how these factors impact practitioners and consumers, the lab provides a flexible, informal and intellectual space for students to develop their academic management skills.
The Media and Cultural Policy Laboratory is premised on four key values.
- Leadership training
Media leadership across media, policy and markets is about developing an attitude as much as it is knowledge and skills for competent professionals. It is about understanding contexts, deciding what your values are, and figuring out how you are going to play a role in shaping the development of the media, both within the industry and as part of applied contexts. We embrace the current and upcoming generations’ media literacy, progressive politics, and digital tech savvy as part of navigating the challenges and opportunities of disruptive media. Our students are stakeholders in an interactive digital media world and need to be encouraged to critically engage with its governance. Leadership training is urgently required to develop this next generation of professionals, yet these sorts of incentives require much more investment in the University for both media and communications students as well as in applied contexts using advances from the field.
- Practical and dynamic learning opportunities
Media policy is often perceived as a somewhat dry topic, focusing on regulatory and technical forms of media governance. While this plays an essential role in ensuring functioning media ecosystems, media policy, for us, is a network that shapes our experiential lives. A key part of the project focuses on exploring the potential of the open-space learning environment. To allow us to unpack some of the ways everyday life is mediated, the Lab is tasked with developing means to take policy out of the classroom by exploring, for example, the cityscape as a means of experiencing policy, or by highlighting the practicalities of developing and realising environmental sustainability policy for media companies.
- To test and develop case studies for global professionals
Students are collaborative creators of material for the lab, from the case studies we employ to the methods we use to deliver these. Yet, the art of selecting case studies can be easily overlooked. As we are operating in the UK context, ‘Western’ cases are often considered the most appropriate, yet these do not always connect with international students efficiently or too much time is spent on contextual explanations that do not prioritize the learning objectives for domestic students. The student body at CMPS is inherently international and thus all case studies are not relevant for their need, requiring that we find a balance between practical and contextual info that is thoroughly transferable.
- To learn from dialogue between expert evaluation and student needs
To ensure that we are at the forefront of contemporary media studies, we must seek advice from a range of experts in academia and in the industry. The funding is necessary to provide a means to test out our plans but also allow students a say in what they want to – and perhaps most importantly – need to learn for their engagement with the industry. The emphasis will be on adaptability that reflects the disruptive pace and directions of a constantly transforming industry and the roles that professionals have to carve out in it. Furthermore, we emphasise an intersectoral approach to dialogue, an approach that is necessitated by both our diverse student body and the evolving sociocultural dynamics of the media industry as the development of media policy has to increasingly correspond, for example, to gender or racial dynamics in the industry.