Staff and students in the Department of Film, Theatre and Television at Reading University have launched a website and online petition to oppose compulsory redundancies in their department.
Please help the campaign by signing the petition
and visit the website http://savefttjobs.webs.com/
You can also join the Facebook group 'Save FTT Jobs'
Moreover, by singling out film and television specialists, the University is effectively undermining the interdisciplinarity of the department, which is one of its renowned features. For example, the BA in Film and Theatre is a single-honours degree. The disciplines are substantially integrated through the department’s teaching, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, as well as through the department’s research. Moreover, the recently advertised post of reader/professor in theatre would be the replacement of a retired member of staff whose job title was ‘professor in film and drama’.
We note that the department has been unable to appoint at reader level or above in theatre on two separate occasions (the post was last advertised in August 2010 and the University was unable to draw up a shortlist of a sufficient calibre). In effect, this means that the University will fire two (almost certainly junior) academics in order to have the ‘research leadership’ of a person who they cannot find. This is not only morally indefensible but is also severely misguided. The department is a very young one (in terms of the age of its lecturers), the University having repeatedly invested in the long-term potential of junior staff. Neither the University nor the department has ever suggested junior staff are not fulfilling this potential, so they should have the patience to realise the long-term vision their previous appointments demonstrated and reward the excellence in teaching and research displayed by this vibrant department. The University has also invested in an £11 million building for the department (opening Easter this year), which will contain state of the art facilities for theatre, film and television, and we, the undersigned, suggest the University should better value the staff who will work in its new buildings.
In the current climate, many will feel that financial savings must be made at Reading and at other universities. However, here as elsewhere, savings can be made by voluntary redundancy and the non-replacement of staff. We do not accept the University pursuing a misguided and short-termist agenda that will destroy careers, staff morale, will weaken the diversity of research and teaching in the department and is part of a ‘strategy’ that is ill-conceived and lacks an objective grounding in fact.