Below are the statements from the candidates in the current SCUDD elections. There are three candidates for two posts on the executive.
Mark Hunter (University of East London)
I have sat as an Ordinary Member of the SCUDD Executive for the past three years, in which time I have worked with both the executive and member unit colleagues to promote and develop the work of SCUDD and of Drama and Theatre in Higher Education in general. I worked with Mark Taylor-Batty in the redesign of the SCUDD website, and am engaged in ongoing work around how to best utilise the website to raise the recruitment profile of UK undergraduate Drama and Theatre Studies programmes, especially in the new HE paradigm.
Since first attending the SCUDD Conference on a Palatine Early Career Lecturer’s Bursary, I have worked closely with colleagues at the HEA, and formally Palatine, to develop and deliver training and CDP opportunities across both Dance and Drama.
I am Director of the Institute for Performing Arts Development at the University of East London, in which role I am charged with both the day-to-day running of the department, and broader policy and strategy design and decision making.
I would like to continue my work with the SCUDD Executive, helping to lead the discipline through what are both challenging and interesting times.
Dr Toni Sant (University of Hull – Scarborough Campus)
Vision Statement as nominee for SCUDD Executive
In 2011 I was invited to attend the SCUDD conference at the University of Glasgow and act as respondent to the panel discussion on The Futures of Publishing, where three publishers discussed the changing landscape of publishing and the implications and possibilities for Drama, Theatre and Performing Arts. Subsequent to this, I was asked to serve on the Advisory Board for The Routledge Performance Archive. All this has made me more aware of the necessary adjustments we need to continue making as academics to ensure that our disciplines keep in step with developments in the world outside our departments.
Ever since I moved to the United Kingdom to take up my post at the University of Hull’s Scarborough Campus, I have always seen SCUDD as a pivotal point of contact for our discipline in the UK. In the current fast-paced climate of change in higher education, I am interested in taking an active part in the processes of development that SCUDD is involved in shaping. In his confirmation statement as SCUDD’s treasurer last year, our colleague Dr. Victor M. Ramírez Ladrón identified “the series of complex and significant challenges that we face at the moment”. If I’m elected to the SCUDD executive, I will aim to support the organisation to handle these challenges in times of significant change.
Amy Skinner (University of Hull)
I am an early career lecturer in Drama and Theatre Practice in the Department of Drama and Music at the University of Hull, where I have been in post for a little over a year. As a practitioner of Community Theatre, how drama is perceived and how institutions and organizations work together are at the core of my thinking, and this is something which to me resonates closely with the aims of SCUDD and has prompted to me to stand for election as an executive officer. I became aware of SCUDD whilst still a post-graduate student, through the excellent Glynne Wickham Scholarship provision and, of course, the mail-base. During the past year, as I have seen the impact of SCUDD more closely at institutional level, I have been struck by the work that is being done in encouraging cross-institutional dialogue within Theatre and Drama in H.E., and how the organization strives to represent the interests of our discipline beyond our own academic community. My early career status means that I am not a long established representative of SCUDD. Rather than seeing this as a disadvantage, I hope I would be able to bring a new set of eyes to issues, whilst always being willing to listen and learn from more experienced members. I hope I would represent the perspective of early career academics, particularly as the discipline moves towards the REF, and would strive to encourage those seeking to enter the discipline. As discussions surrounding the role of theatre in society intensify, and H.E. moves into its new phase after the Brown Report, I can only see the role of SCUDD becoming an increasingly significant, and probably increasingly challenging, one. I very keen to be a part of this organization as it moves forward.
Stephen Lacey (University of Glamorgan) – ELECTED UNOPPOSED TO CHAIR OF SCUDD
I am currently Professor of Drama, Film and Television in the Division of Drama in the Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Glamorgan. I have worked in both pre- and post-1992 Universities (Queen Margaret, Reading, MMU), always in drama, but often hyphenated with other disciplines (film and television). My research interests are post-war British theatre (especially social realism) and TV drama. At Glamorgan, in addition to teaching and research, I have university-wide responsibilities for research students and chair the research programmes committee.
One of the main challenges of the last three years has been the REF and how to influence it, and I was a member of the working group formed to advise the membership on the emerging research assessment framework: we may not like the RAE and its successor, but SCUDD has ensured that the sector has been represented, listened to and consulted. It is not the REF, however, that will concern us most during the next three years. I have attended many SCUDD conferences over the last three decades, and it seems that each decade brings with it a new crisis. But it is probably true to say that we – the discipline and the HE sector as a whole – face the most difficult situation in our history. You will not need me to tell you of this, and although each University will respond in its own way to the specific threats posed by the rise in student fees and the brazenly ideological attempt to privatise the system, there will be a pattern: cut-backs, closures, mergers, restrictions on student numbers, attempts to re-define drama in all its forms in ‘cost-effective’ ways. SCUDD has a vital role to play in arguing for the discipline in dark times. In November 2010, the AGM agreed to a policy for meeting the challenge, which has three strands (I quote from the minutes):
- Marketing to applicants and their parents/carers to make an argument about the value in employability terms of what we do. This might be focused through the website in the first instance and linking profiles and case studies to other services advising potential applicants.
- [establishing a] Campaign group with press releases focused on alumni and case studies and the concrete consequences of the loss of what we provide.
- Survival group on how we get through hard times coming together to acquire collective knowledge and institutional tricks.
This seems to me to be a good framework still, and provides the basis not only for defending ourselves collectively against attack but also for making a positive appeal to our current and prospective students. It will only work with the involvement of the membership, and the co-ordinated action of the Executive. The annual Spring conference and the November AGM remain vital to maintaining SCUDD as an effective lobbying and campaigning organisation, but we will also need to work hard in between times, through the mail list, working groups, formal and informal networks, and liaising with our fellow subject associations.
There are recent signs of government retreat from the wilder excesses of its policy, but the general direction will stay the same. In this context, SCUDD will be more necessary than ever. I look forward to seeing you at Reading in March.
If you would like to contact me, my email is: [email protected].