The practice of cultural studies has been informative during my time at Leeds Beckett, and I have been consistently proud of its principles and ideas. The importance of cultural studies is often taken for granted.
Cultural studies has a strong British tradition, emerging in the mid-twentieth century as a revolutionary but often controversial field of study. Early work such as Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy was ground-breaking for their recognition of the social and cultural significance of the working classes. The legacy of the Marxist roots is apparent today in its focus on people, power, and the inequalities between them, which has had a powerful effect in re-framing how we understand society past and present.
One of the defining aspects of cultural studies is its interdisciplinary nature. Pioneers of cultural studies recognised and embraced the frequent intersection of ideas, methods and research between disciplines. By tearing down these disciplinary boundaries, cultural studies re-imagined the potential for academic studies. This philosophy of interaction and cooperation between the various disciplines in cultural studies and humanities is evident at Leeds Beckett. Events run by the school are interdisciplinary. Similarly, in everyday study, students are encouraged to look outside their course to bring depth to their research.
I firmly believe that this has been instrumental in creating socially aware graduates conscious of ever-present inequalities, an essential educational step towards institutional change and because of this, to me, cultural studies stands for equality and integrity and a persistent attempt to expose where these are undermined in society.