The University of Westminster has launched a new Centre for Social Media Research (CSMR) and a new Masters degree in Social Media. The CSMR will conduct and coordinate research into social, cultural, and political-economic aspects of social media, and will also explore how social media might transform the practice of research itself.
The centre will be led by Professor David Gauntlett, and the MA programme by Professor Christian Fuchs and Professor Graham Meikle, who both joined the School of Media, Arts and Design in February 2013 to teach and research in the area of social media. They add to the existing strengths of Westminster’s media research community, which was top-rated in the last UK Research Assessment Exercise, joining other key social media researchers including Dr Anastasia Kavada and Dr Daniel Trottier.
Westminster’s MA in Social Media will welcome its first students in September 2013. "We’ll be using social media to explore theories and concepts,” said Professor Meikle. "Students will be blogging about course readings, posting online videos about ideas from their modules, sharing photo essays. It’s a rigorous theoretical degree and also an exciting and creative course.”
"Social media is a new frontier in theory and research,” said Professor Fuchs. "The Centre for Social Media Research is a leading environment for analysing the implications of social media for society. The new MA in Social Media will be based on research-inspired teaching conducted by leading scholars in this exciting interdisciplinary field of inquiry”.
Commenting on the new MA in Social Media, Geoffrey Davies, Head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, said: "I’m very excited that we are adding this course to our excellent portfolio and have attracted such stellar names to teach on it. We already have postgraduates taking senior positions in social media and we can now equip them with an even greater knowledge.”
Asked whether ‘social media’ is a fashionable phrase with little longevity, Professor Gauntlett replied: "No, it’s actually a very good term for the kinds of media which are today transforming our social, cultural and economic worlds: media which rely on networks of human self-expression, where millions of people are creators rather than just consumers. As a phenomenon it’s quite new and it’s highly significant”.
The new Centre for Social Media Research will launch itself with a major international conference, Social Media, in London on 2-3 September 2013. The conference will be the fourth in the University of Westminster’s Transforming Audiences series, held every two years since 2007, attracting key scholars and researchers from around the world.
For more information about the MA in Social Media: http://www.westminster.ac.uk/courses/subjects/journalism-and-mass-communication/postgraduate-courses/full-time/p09fpsom-social-media-ma