Media Studies Responsible for ‘Profound Impact’

Media subjects, historically derided as ‘low-value’, are now considered vital to UK’s £108bn creative industries, says new research by the British Academy

A new report by the British Academy outlines the impact and the appeal of Media courses within Higher Education, confirming that, “Media, Screen, Journalism and Communication Studies equips graduates with the critical and creative skills needed for the UK economy.”

The latest research found that:

  • There is a growing appetite for postgraduate taught courses in Media, Screen, Journalism and Communication Studies
  • Geographic and institutional trends in student recruitment differ between undergraduate and postgraduate courses, indicating unequal growth across the field
  • With a high proportion of international students, Media, Screen, Journalism and Communication Studies courses would be particularly at risk if international student numbers fell
  • The social, cultural and economic impact of Media, Screen, Journalism and Communication Studies research is far reaching and relevant to global challenges

Here at Sparks, the findings of this research, conducted by the British Academy’s SHAPE Observatory, are wholly unsurprising.

We know first hand and fundamentally believe in the value media literacy brings at both an individual and personal level, and on a macro level to the UK economy and to the rest of the world. For us, it’s paramount that students have the opportunity to develop their media skills, their media literacy and their licence to use media creatively and purposefully.

As our society heads deeper and deeper into a media content driven world, media literacy is fast becoming an essential and sought-after skillset, in the workplace and in life.

Sharing details of the new report, the Guardian featured the importance of a fitting media education in the current industrial landscape. University degrees and studies that were previously ridiculed as “Mickey Mouse” courses are now increasingly valuable, relevant and important in today’s world.

As the report highlights, the creative industries – worth £108b annually to the UK economy – have grown at 1.5x the rate of the wide economy over the past decade. This is a huge growth area in terms of output and opportunity. Skills in media are in high demand and lead on to opportunities within many career pathways, however, at the same time, creativity and the opportunities to develop these skills are being systematically stripped from within mainstream education.

Media Education at Sparks Film School

Sparks Film School has been championing media education for young people for over 10 years, we have encouraged thousands of young people not just to consume media, or to engage with it, but to actively create and produce.

In response to the report, Mark Piper, Head of Sparks Film School Dorking & Leatherhead, and a Media Educator for over 20 years, commented:

I am delighted that The British Academy’s report has highlighted the value of media courses in further and higher education.

The notion of them being a ‘soft option’ is clearly outdated, however one which is unfortunately, perpetuated by a lingering culture that belongs in the past.

The importance of media literacy will continue to grow in an age of disinformation and media consumption. It is heartening to see employers acknowledging their importance.

The UK film and television industries are booming and through the much needed development of the creative and technical skills provided by media and film courses, we will ensure the continual growth of these industries.

Overall, an education in media is fast becoming incredibly useful and attractive to employers within a growing industry.’

Fellow Sparks Film School Head Matt Toogood, from Sparks Film School Guildford, adds:

Media literacy is more important than ever. In the National Curriculum, you tend to see it embedded mostly as part of PSHE programmes and English GCSE, however, these skills are just scratching the surface.

It’s reassuring to see [Media as a subject] gain in popularity. Newspapers have been in existence for 250 years, cinema for over 100, media is a sustaining presence in all our lives, it’s only right that we question, study, recognise and understand their existence.’’

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