MediaWork Graduate Program

Today, on the faculty retreat of IU's Department of Telecommunications, we took the first steps towards individually customizable graduate programs, based on certain themes put forward by faculty.

I put in a proposal for a graduate program of study centered on the notion of 'MediaWork', focusing on theories, research methods, applied study and projects that describe and explain how media industries work, what it is like to work in the media (from game development to journalism, from film to music), how the structure and culture of media work pervades (and is an example of) other sectors of the cultural economy.

It is exciting to think about a program of study like that. There will be a lot of politics involved, sure, but let me think out aloud of the possibilities on IU's Bloomington campus... We could combine courses in Telecommunications on (New) Media, Work & Society (and a new course I'm developing, tentatively called Research Methods in Production Analysis); Business Strategies of Communications Firms; New Media Production; Art, Entertainment & Information; and Interactivity & New Media.

In Anthropology, you could study Globalization and Consumer Culture, of which trends media industries are the main accelerators.

In Communication and Culture, you should take a course on Media Institutions and the Production of Culture, focusing on for example the way things get done at movie studios, television networks, advertising agencies, publishing houses, and software design firms.

In the School of Journalism graduate program, you could take an advanced Media & Society seminar on "the internal structures and procedures of media organizations (especially news media) and the effects of those structures and procedures upon performance.", and a course on Influences on the Construction of News.

In Sociology, it might be a good idea to sign up for a course in Social Organization, as well as a Sociology of the Life class, which allows you to focus your course project on (media) work, especially now that today life has come to be defined by work, and the lived experiences of having a job and having a life are converging.

Additionally, coursework in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) might entail something on Management Foundations and Approaches, whereas Gender Dimensions of Cultural Production & Criticism in Gender Studies would add considerable insight in the nature of mediawork.

And all of this is still just scratching the surface... I gues what I am trying to say is: working in the media has become a key site of understanding the contemporary condition in work, in the culturalization of everyday life, the struggle for meaning, and the foundations of todays' global cultural economy. Numerous departments are engaged in the field one way or another, and I hope to effectively harness all this creativity.

If you are an interested IU colleague, a graduate student, or a prospective student on any level, I invite you to get in touch with me, and work collaboratively on making this happen. It would be cool.

UPDATE [25.07.06]: found another great course at IU, this time on the production and management of the game industry, which is a course titled Managing IT Production over at IU's School of Education.