Message from the President: On becoming 50!

50 yearsNow that the Cairo conference is behind us, the work begins to prepare
for the Paris conference and the celebration of IAMCR’s 50th year. I am
grateful to all those who made Cairo a great success (as demonstrated
by the survey of participants which you can find at our website). I am
also grateful to the Paris local organising team for taking up the
challenge of preparing for next year.

This article is from the November 2006 IAMCR newsletter. IAMCR members can use their username and password to log into the site and download the newsletter as a PDF.   

As anyone who has succeeded in becoming 50 knows, one is often asked questions like – what next? what would you like to continue with and what would you like to change?  These same questions can and should be asked about our association.  Over the past year or so there have been useful discussions about the areas in which national, regional and international organisations can best collaborate, most recently in September during the University of Westminster conference on internationalising media studies.  I strongly support the desire to collaborate and expect we will find new ways to do so on behalf of all of our members.  

However, as I found myself claiming that IAMCR is an international organisation (which is the claim we can and must make), I began to think about all the ways in which we could strengthen our membership base and become more inclusive than we are.  As we move towards becoming 50 years old, this is a priority for me and the International Council has emphasised this too.  As I told the International Council in Cairo, so far I have not found the time to try seriously to address the extent of our membership or the senses in which we could strengthen our claim to being international in terms of what we do.  With our new website, we are attracting a much larger number of queries about how to join from people all over the world.  We must build on this.

The theme of our 50th Anniversary Conference ‘Media, Communication, Information: 50 Years of Theories and Practices’ will prompt us to reflect on what it means to foster theory building and research and teaching practices in a truly international milieu.  I think this reflection is crucially important and that we can draw on the insights not only of our IAMCR members, but those who choose to belong to other associations as well.

My second big priority for this coming year is to see whether we can use our new website to provide an online site for building up a database of teaching programmes that are relevant to our field.  We are constantly being asked for information of this kind.  Normally, such an endeavour would be beyond our financial means, but efforts are underway to raise some funding.  When that is secured I will let you know. But we can also build on the advantages of collaborative publishing software to enable people to volunteer to provide information in a structured way.  I will be working with others to see if we can get this initiative off the ground in the period leading up to the Paris conference in July 2007.

Finally, I want to signal that the unexpected death of Professor Roger Silverstone in July 2006 who was the head of my department at the London School of Economics, means that I have taken on new responsibilities.  As a result, I may find it a little difficult to be as quick to respond or to deliver as I have tried to be over the past two years.  I ask for your understanding and will do my best to keep IAMCR’s needs very high on my list of priorities.

Robin Mansell

Professor Robin Mansell