As a result of a successful BU Fusion fund bid, 34 students drawn from across the Politics and Media Degree and other Media and Business School programmes are in Brussels this week for a five-day fact finding trip. The trip is part of a project around engaging the public in the 2014 European Parliamentary Elections. The students, who are accompanied by CMC’s Dr. David McQueen and Dr. Dan Jackson, are gathering data and producing a range of media reports (interviews, features, blogs, photographs, profiles and backgrounders) which will feed into Media School coverage of EU election night on 22nd May. The itinerary includes a meeting with MEPs Ashley Fox and Julie Girling organised by Douglas Tham (Politics Society President and Politics and Media second-year student), tours of the Council of the EU, the Parlamentarium, the European Commission and the Palais de Justice.
The Fusion project links to the research theme Communities, Cultures and Conflicts. In particular, it links into work within the Media School on governance and exploring ways of deepening democracy through developments in political communication and in the production and consumption of news. Research outputs will include qualitative data on young people’s attitudes to the EU elections in Britain, but also in other EU nations. Students will be reflecting on opportunities and barriers to engaging young people in EU political affairs and considering the particular challenges media professionals face in covering the election against a backdrop of political disengagement, the rise of UKIP and increasing euro-scepticism. As a recent Eurobarometer survey (2012) demonstrated only 27% of Britons were very or fairly attached to the EU, last by a significant margin out of all member states. The survey also revealed Britons to be amongst the most uninformed citizens of all member states about EU matters, thus raising democratic concerns about the public’s potential for manipulation, and the democratic legitimacy of elected representatives with turnout at the last EU Parliamentary Elections in the UK at just 34.7%.
This multidisciplinary project will embrace staff-student co-creation to produce research and media outputs that will inform and engage students and the local public in the 2014 EU Parliamentary Elections. Alongside the many benefits for participating BU students and staff, the project will strengthen links between Bournemouth University and local and regional political parties, media organisations, as well as EU political and educational institutions in Brussels and beyond.
The students attending represent programmes across the Media School including Politics and Media, TV Production, Journalism, Radio Production, Animation, Post Production Editing the Business School’s Law degree.
More details on the Brussels trip and the election night coverage will follow in future posts.
– David McQueen
(Programme Leader: BA Politics and Media)