Name Change Discussion
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8/5/2019 at 8:35:00 PM GMT
Posts: 8
Name Change Discussion

At the 73rd Conference the UFVA board proposed a new name for the association:

University Cinematic and Media Arts Association

This forum was created to facilitate the member name change discussion prior to the voting process. Feel free to share your thoughts here by replying to this post.

K. Kontaxis

Last edited Monday, August 5, 2019
8/5/2019 at 9:40:55 PM GMT
Posts: 1
I fully understand the reasons the UFVA wants to update its name. Media departments all over the country (perhaps the world) are wrestling with this issue. That said, it is very hard to find a new name that does the job. Although I have spent my whole career in pursuit of "the cinematic," I can't say that I love the c-word in this context. I don't think "cinematic" has much meaning to the average person—even the average educated person. Also, surely "Cinema" is a subset of "Media Arts." Therefore, I tend to favor UMAO—University Media Arts Organization (UMAA is already taken). For what it's worth... Very Best-- Charles Merzbacher

8/5/2019 at 9:44:35 PM GMT
Posts: 1
Please give explanation to the UFVA members who were not present at the Conference. They deserve detailed information about this proposal. My questions: 1. What were the other name suggestions, options? 2. Was there an elected committee to prepare this proposal. Members? 3. What is the deadline? 4. Who has the authority making the final decision? 5. What were the contra-arguments? 6. Cinematic? Please explain. -- Regards, Prof. Santha, NYU

8/5/2019 at 10:49:25 PM GMT
Posts: 1
I share a lot of Prof. Santha's questions, and a lot of Prof. Merzbacher's concerns. I am not categorically opposed to a new name for UFVA, but the name being proposed (UCMAA) is a mouthful and seems overly broad.

"Film and Video" describes, both broadly and specifically, the basic subject that the majority of our members are overwhelmingly engaged with, even if we rarely use the literal, physical materials of film and video (if "video" = videotape) today. "Film and video" also helps to distinguish UFVA from other organizations (e.g., CAA and SCMS).

8/5/2019 at 10:59:57 PM GMT
Posts: 1
I too agree with some of my fellow professors about changing the name, why not just go with University Film and Media Association; UFMA.

8/5/2019 at 11:02:33 PM GMT
Posts: 5
It is true that the proposed name change is broad--intentionally so. We want to be welcoming to as many creators in our field as possible.
Several things are true: We are all a part of a rapidly changing field whose technology is altering regularly. Many members said that they did not see themselves reflected in the name UFVA. They also said that a name that relies on technology is always at risk of becoming outdated. Searching for a more inclusive term that included film (cinema) and all other media: AR, VR, podcasts, etc. we needed an all-encompassing term. So media was the choice. Members also spoke at the meeting that the terms (film and video) are not relevant to our students who are the future creators of this work.
We have not changed the name since 1982 but a good deal has changed since then. The change is up to the members and a ballot will be sent out with a 60 day voting window.
The committee was the board and all the members they consulted with. We hope we have reflected the future wisely.

8/6/2019 at 2:01:44 AM GMT
Posts: 1
I can only imagine the hours of discussion that were logged by our elected board on this topic. That said, I don't need to imagine too hard. I have been through a couple department renamings. They were difficult and ended up as compromises–but altogether necessary ones (goodbye Telecommunications). I don't really have issues with the words "film" and "video" but I do agree that they are technological means to our ends, and those ends are what we'd rather be presenting to the world as a group.
I think it is important to acknowledge our history as an organization and the connections to filmmaking, but we can be a much bigger tent in this day and age with a more inclusive name for our new members who may not be coming from film backgrounds.
The F and V in our name do set our group apart, but I don't think that is always a good thing. As an example, I have a colleague going up for tenure in the fall and at my behest she has the UFVA guidelines in her dossier to help non-media faculty gauge the academic merit of her work. However, we are treading a fine line because what she does is more often classified as "digital storytelling" (whatever that means) not film or video.
I disagree with my colleague who suggested that cinema/cinematic doesn't have much meaning to the average person (let's give people some credit), it is not a particularly esoteric concept.
In the end, UCMA or UCMAA is a flawed, compromise of a name but I trust that this was thoroughly discussed by our board and the thought of the entire membership chiming in on this and offering alternative suggestions is enervating. I realize that to some this seems sudden but this re-brand has been kicked around for the 10 years I have been a member and probably long before that as well.
I appreciate this board finally putting something in motion. Let's vote.

Last edited Monday, August 5, 2019
8/6/2019 at 5:50:59 AM GMT
Posts: 1
Originally posted by C. Merzbacher:
I fully understand the reasons the UFVA wants to update its name. Media departments all over the country (perhaps the world) are wrestling with this issue. That said, it is very hard to find a new name that does the job....

Exactly.  Why are we messing with a monicker that is an established entity and has existed just fine for the past 70+ years.

Russell Harnden III

UFVF Board Member

8/6/2019 at 12:42:38 PM GMT
Posts: 5
Here is the actual history of organizational name changes--all fraught I suspect:
We have had 4 name changes since 1947.





We have not changed our name since 1982 yet we recognize that there have been many changes in this field. Many of us teach production in non-film schools and cannot afford to shoot on film. How does AR and VR fit or any type if new media? The board has been debating a name change for 10 years now. It is perhaps time to do it or let it go.

8/6/2019 at 2:46:38 PM GMT
Posts: 1
FYI - I was at the conference for the first time this year and I think the name change is good. It seems that the board, who is entrusted by members to make these sort of decisions, went through a thoughtful deliberation process. It's also a good time to make any sort of change instead of endlessly deliberating semantics, which I know have bogged down other organization name changes, like my own department, which spent years trying to change our outdated Radio, TV, Film Dept name... and then didn't. So, I'm all for the name change, even if it isn't perfect. Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good, please. And I think it's good precedent to trust your board to make these sort of decisions.

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