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MDX Film academic Professor Eddie McCaffrey wins Innovation Award from University Alliance

A Middlesex University academic has won the Innovation Award at the University Alliance's annual prizes after spearheading a project designed to help students and graduates gain experience in the film industry

Headshot of a middle-aged man with long hair, a faint bristly beard and glasses. He is wearing a navy shirt and tie and a PhD gown and hatProfessor in Film Production at MDX Dr Eddie McCaffrey has won the Innovation Award at the University Alliance's annual prizes. He prevailed over Oxford Brookes' Geo-thermal team and learning centres at the University of Greenwich and the University of South Wales to earn the award, which celebrates the impact of exceptional innovation in higher education.

The Creative Campus Network, a collaboration between more than 40 UK academic institutions and more than 50 screen industry employers was initiated by Eddie. He developed the Network to reduce silos, address industry skills shortages and empower Film and TV Production students and graduates to gain industry experience.

Eddie's pioneering work has led MDX to be a lynchpin of the Mayor of London’s Creative Skills Academy – a partnership between MDX, Film London, Capital City College Group and London Higher which helps underrepresented young Londoners into screen industries. So far, the Academy has helped 2153 young people gain training/education, offered 1153 work experience in the sector and helped another 169 get paid work or placements.

In curriculum development, Eddie led MDX's 2022/23 partnership with ScreenSkills to co-create Work Ready Skills and Experience graduate competencies guidance and resources. He previously devised, in collaboration with academics from Goldsmiths, Bournemouth, Ulster and Edinburgh Napier universities, the UK-wide Covid-19 Guidelines for Student Productions. The Covid-19 Supervision certified training he led with production safety and wellbeing body First Option enrolled over 3000 students across 10 universities.

This year, he brokered a unique partnership between an independent film production company and a university, to offer 15 students and graduates paid work on a professional film, Bermondsey Tales, in exchange for access to university facilities and equipment.

Award Ceremony Stage

"I’m delighted to win this award. Film, teaching and students are my passions so to be rewarded for doing this is fabulous." Dr Eddie McCaffrey, Middlesex University

Eddie became an Advance HE National Teaching Fellow in 2021. He has been teaching at MDX since 1998, and continues to work professionally in film alongside lecturing.

Eddie's submission for the award says that his work "exemplifies our 2031 Strategy themes of inclusivity, equity and sustainability. His vision and innovations embody MDX’s community principles and creative and collaborative approach".

Eddie McCaffrey said:

“I’m delighted to win this award. Film, teaching and students are my passions so to be rewarded for doing this is fabulous. The UK screen industry is a success story and they are absolutely desperate for staff but the problem is that so many people have to start at the bottom and work unpaid. But if you don’t have support to work for nothing you’re often excluded from this sector. The scheme I’m involved with Film London and the Mayoral Office is looking to change this and find dynamic and talented young people and give them a break. It’s a huge team effort and this award is for everyone involved.”

Commenting on Eddie's win, MDX Interim Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sean Wellington, said: "Congratulations to Eddie - he pushes boundaries in film and television. Either by developing guidelines for studying film during the pandemic or helping underrepresented Londoners get jobs in creative industries. The Award is very well deserved.”

MDX joined the University Alliance, the mission group representing leading technical and professional education institutions, in 2022. Also nominated for a University Alliance award this year from MDX were Simbo Ajayi and David Clover, who lead on MDX's Student Learning Assistants scheme.

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