Monthly Archives: December 2013

MECS’ Most Memorable Moments for 2013

As I write this, there are only two days before the final exam results are released. Some already know their fate, some are still hoping they’ve made it through, while others have already managed to beat the stress and found themselves their first grown-up job before even graduating. For the latter, just know that the rest of us hate you and wish you all the best simultaneously.
But as with all famous news sites (we’re getting there), the close of each year brings with it a time to recap one’s favourite, saddest, most poignant and down right weird events that have highlighted the year that has been, so we’ve decided to do the same. So let’s get this list rolling and start counting down the five most memorable moments of 2013 (in no particular order).

Five – The Honours Strike of 2013:

This could also be labelled as ‘how the chickens waddled away in 2013’. The walls are thin in the department and word got out that the Honours class were unhappy about writing an exam (every undergrad is rolling their eyes, and every grown-up postgrad is wishing their life was so simple). Anyway, the feelings trickled down and we knew that they had decided to march into the co-ordinator’s office and demand (Ag shame! Such dreamers) that they not write their final exam. We heard them coming: loud, exuberant, revving each other up.

The knock came. They entered. And then…. Silence.

“Hi”, we said, “What can we do for you today?”

“Um… well… we were wondering…”

*Leader pushes another student in front*

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Honours students with SO MUCH work.

“Well… You see… We just have so much work…”

*Another student is pushed forward*

*Whispers* “Do you think we could… maybe… perhaps… do you think you could let us write a shorter exam? Like not at all?”

We roar with laughter.

“No.”

“Ok, well thank you for your time”, they mumble, shuffling back into the corridor.

So sweet, so naïve, but they learnt, you don’t skimp in Honours.  They wrote their exam and are now all about to graduate. Was the work really that bad, really?! I think your results speak for themselves. Well done, guys. You did it. Even if you are a bunch of chickens sometimes.

4 – What Really Happens in Staff Meetings

As any student in the department will tell you, lecturers can be somewhat elusive creatures. Some would compare them to Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster, but the reality is, that when they’re not in lectures, they’re usually in some meeting or other deciding on the fate of the world (or so they like to think – terribly arrogant creatures those academics). What goes on in those meetings is, to the general student, a mystery. So we’ve decided to let you in on one of our most explosive meetings and show you, thanks to our film guru, what really happens behind the scenes in those weekly meetings. Click on the image below to see how it all unfolds.

staff meeting

3 – The Assegais

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Anton thanking Mike

You knew it was coming. This is the most important event on our social calendar. This year’s however, is special for two very different reasons. One sad, one wonderful.  Sadly, this will most likely be our last award ceremony that will feature live-action student films as our film programme has been suspended temporarily while film guru Mike embarks on a new challenge teaching English in South Korea next year. Hopefully, we will be able to lure him back in the near future so that we don’t lose out on what has become an amazing film programme.

On the plus side, thanks to the work that was done by Mike, and the publicity that was gained at this year’s viewing, Honour’s student Mzwa Makhanya has been offered a scholarship to do a joint MA with UKZN’s Departments of Agriculture and Media and Cultural Studies based on his film on food security. Well done Mzwa!

2 – The Annual International Association of Media and Communications Research Conference

This has also been an immensely productive research year for MECS with two staff members and one postgraduate student presenting papers at the highly competitive, strictly peer-reviewed and prestigious International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) Conference in Dublin at the end of June 2013.

Attended by over 1500 academics from all over the world, Dr Nicola Jones and Ms Sandra Pitcher (better known as the exploited postgrad) presented a joint paper entitled: “Not dead yet! An examination of the effects of online technology on community newspapers in South Africa” in the category of Community Communication, while Ms Subeshini Moodley presented a paper entitled “Participating in the Visual: A crisis of creative representation” in  the category of Participatory Communication Research. The exploited postgrad also presented her own paper entitled “Deviant Doodling: Assessing South Africa’s Political Cartoons in a Socially Responsible Press” in the category of Ethics and Society.

We were privileged enough to have the conference opened by Irish president, Michael D Higgins, who reminded us of “the universal importance of [the media] given the relationship of an ever more rapidly developing technological sector to what is perceived by some as our ever more fragile public world”.

However, our experience was not just academic and we were lucky enough to take in many of Dublin’s cultural experiences as well: Trinity College and the Book of Kells, St Patrick’s Cathedral where Jonathan Swift once presided as dean, the Writer’s Museum, the Leprechaun Museum, Dublinia, and of course, The Jameson Distillery.

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1 – Prof van der Hoven’s Retirement

antonWhile 2013 has been fantastic and we’ve got some amazing memories to take away with us, we will look back at this year with some sadness as the Godfather of Media, Prof van der Hoven, leaves us for the relaxation of retirement. No more shall students be craning their necks to see what has him so transfixed on that back wall, no more shall we have to navigate a gazillion books and papers to grovel for an extension, and no more will be lucky enough to have somebody around who knows everything. He will be sorely missed, and it seems only apt that his retirement party happened to be on the same night that Mandela passed away. Two magnificent eras closing off on 5 December 2013. Thank you for all you have done Prof!

But don’t worry, we’ll try get him to write a few things for us while he’s trying to relax, so hopefully those of you who didn’t have the privilege of his tutelage will still gain some of the Godfather’s wisdom.

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Welcome to Media & Cultural Studies

Logo-Talk-welcome-3Welcome to the official Media & Cultural Studies department blog! As from 2014, the department will be sharing anything and everything that may interest our diverse student body. We hope that this will help to create an interesting subject experience by developing a community of scholars and friends. Our blog will also offer students an opportunity to showcase some of their own work, as well as feature various alumni from our department who have excelled since leaving UKZN, and find out how they got to where they are using the skills learnt during their time with our department. We hope you enjoy everything we have to offer. Don’t be shy to make suggestions via our comment section, and don’t forget to like us on Facebook. In the meantime, please enjoy our December features recapping our most memorable moments of 2013.

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