Joint Statement from the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) and the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA)

HEFCE recently announced their initial decisions on REF2021. This included naming Film and Screen Studies explicitly in sub-panel 33 (Music, Dance, Drama, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies). Whilst both subject associations are pleased to see Film and Screen Studies named for the first time (something each association called for in their submissions to the REF2021 consultation), it is possible that explicitly separating Film and Screen Studies from UoA34 (Media, Communication, Cultural Studies, Library and Information Management) will create confusion amongst both panels and submitting units. The position regarding audio-visual practice based research also requires greater clarity, since institutions return this to UoA32 (Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory), UoA33 and UoA34. We wish to avoid any harmful division of research across these fields.

Both associations recognise the difference in histories and traditions across our subject areas and agree it is vitally important that these should be addressed by both sub-panels 33 and 34 ensuring that they are subject to the same criteria of assessment. We fully expect that UoA34 will continue to welcome submissions from all parts of the field including Film and Screen Studies and that both UoA33 and UoA34 will be as inclusive as possible to reflect the rich diversity of the field. We want to ensure that Universities have the confidence to submit to whichever panel they feel best fits the range of research they do in a highly interdisciplinary field.

We will be writing to HEFCE about these concerns and request that both the sub-panel chairs and sub-panel members seek to address them.

Natalie Fenton (Chair, MeCCSA)

Andrew Moor (Chair, BAFTSS)


Joint Statement Regarding Applications to Chair REF2021 UOA Sub-Panels 

Scholarly Associations such as ours are pleased to consider requests to endorse applications to chair UOA sub-panels for REF2021. We expect that applicants will approach the associations they most closely identify with for letters of recommendation, but HEFCE encourages applicants to gather expressions of support from across the full breadth of disciplines covered by the UOA they are interested in. Each of us will therefore gladly consider requests from individuals applying to serve on any UOAs that fall within our broad purview. HEFCE asks Associations to affirm the applicant’s good standing in the community and the ability to carry the confidence of key stakeholders. Applicants should therefore present evidence that demonstrates this.

We ask those intending to apply to send their application and CV to Association Chairs by 5:00 pm on 22nd September. Each of our Associations will then considered requests among themselves (no information about applications or decisions will be shared between our Associations). Letters will be sent to applicants by 28th September.

In the event that an Association decides (by a simple majority of its Executive Committee) that an applicant does not have appropriate standing in the community and the ability to carry the confidence of key stakeholders, applicants will be informed by 28th September.


BAFTSS response to REF2021 Consultation (March 2017).