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ECAF roles offer opportunities to develop career in academia

Academics are seizing opportunities to develop at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) thanks to a new programme to support those at the beginning of their careers.
De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) launched its Early Career Academic Fellowship programme to support and develop exceptional staff to reach their potential. So far 28 people have been appointed as ECAFs, many of whom have already begun teaching and researching at the university.

INSET film crew ECAF
Monia (centre) with colleagues from DMU's CATH research centre and Professor Nigel Wright

Each ECAF position offered is tenure track, meaning that they are guaranteed a permanent academic VC2020 post subject to sufficient progress being made in their first year. 
Dr Monia Acciari, an ECAF in Film Studies, said the role had given her the chance to develop her work on film festivals, South Asian cinema along with other interests.

Already she has organised community screenings and launched along with external partners the first Leicester Asian Film Festival which brought new audiences to Leicester’s Phoenix Cinema, and enhanced her research on building audiences.
With films as diverse as Wrong Side Raju and Lipstick Under My Burkha, the festival, held earlier this month, celebrated new wave Indian cinema with Q&As from directors and insights into the films from speakers.
She is also module leader for Film and New Media, which has allowed her to develop teaching practice and use her research interests to lectures.

Recent lectures have included an examination of the rise of crowdfunding in cinema, which included a Skype interview and Q&A with a film director in India, and a look at how digital restoration brought new audiences to series such as Star Wars.
Dr Acciari, who worked at Swansea University and was visiting scholar at universities in the UK and US, became an ECAF after spending time with DMU’s award-winning Cinema and Television History (CATH) research centre as honorary fellow.
She said: “My colleagues encouraged me to apply. I have not heard of other jobs which offer this support to academics who are just starting out. My department is very supportive and I am encouraged to develop new teaching and research ideas.”
Dr Acciari, who is writing a monograph on film festivals and Indian cinema, remains very proud of the inaugural Indian film festival earlier this month.

She said: “We brought communities together and we are building a profile for Indian New Wave cinema in Leicester. The feedback we had from the festival were all very, very positive.”     
Professor Andy Collop, DMU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “The ECAF scheme aims to attract outstanding individuals who would like to develop a career in academia. It is an opportunity to build an academic profile, develop their research or practice.”
All ECAFs hold a doctoral degree or have exceptional practice-based experience with the potential to become a future academic leader. They receive mentoring and professional development.
Posted on Friday 31st March 2017

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