Who We Are
Founded in 2018, the Center for Entertainment & Media Industries (CEMI) was created to bridge industry and university, theory and practice. CEMI actively fosters strong connections between the University, the Austin community, the UT student body, and the industry leaders in media and technology. Through CEMI, students meet with and learn from industry leaders via speaker series; expand their on-the-job training via internships with distinguished corporate partners; liaise with innovative entertainment and media companies; and hear from top researchers on the latest developments in the global media industries.
CEMI bridges college-to-career by placing students at the forefront of ever-evolving industries and offering the connections, experiences, and literacies that will further elevate their job preparedness and diversify their skill sets. We serve the Austin and UT Austin communities through year-round professionalization, education, and research initiatives.
Each year, CEMI works to introduce UT Austin students to new media researchers, professionals, and industries, and vice versa.
In conjunction with the Department of Radio-Television-Film, our Global Media Industries Speaker Series (GMISS) welcomes both researchers and professionals from the media, entertainment, and technology industries. Visiting speakers are invited to participate in our initiatives, give talks, answer attendees’ questions, and meet with students. Since fall 2017, GMISS has celebrated the work of 30+ world-class researchers. We are looking toward expanding our reach through developing a researcher-in-residence program.
Since fall 2015 and in conjunction with the Department of Radio-Television-Film, the Media Industry Conversations (MIC) speaker series has hosted 75+ speaker sessions with over 80 professionals from LA, NYC, Austin, and everywhere in between. These speakers have shared their knowledge, insights, and experiences with countless students, enhancing their knowledge of a broad range of career paths and companies. Through these two speaker series, students have also made pivotal industry connections that have led to mentorship, internship, and job opportunities.
These series not only feature heavily in UT Austin courses—teaching students the process and the importance of conducting thoughtful, professional informational interviews—but provide resources for UT students and beyond in the form of podcast episodes and textbook supplements.
In addition to our ongoing speaker series, we expand students’ understanding of how the media and technology industries operate through our popular Media and Entertainment Industries minor. The fastest growing minor in the Moody College of Communication—serving 150+ students and counting—offers deep-dive courses on specific industries and technologies as well as survey courses that showcase the breadth and diversity of work and workers in the media industries.
After developing a comprehensive and current foundation through these courses, students can put their knowledge into practice through our for-credit internship program. The first of its kind in the Austin area, this program is designed to help our students develop hands-on skills, apply industry knowledge, and strengthen professional networks while also introducing them to the breadth and wealth of media and tech companies in Austin. Currently serving 50+ students each year, CEMI's oversight of this internship program further professionalizes our students, creates beneficial ties with local Austin professionals, and strengthens the media pipeline here in Texas.
As a research center, we are focused on investigating issues of access, convergence, and location in the media and tech industries. Currently, CEMI is embarking on a large-scale research project into the state of media internships: what courses and experiences most benefit students as they move into the industry; what literacies and skills are most needed within those industries and sectors; what outcomes students and companies routinely experience as a result of ethical and mutually beneficial internship programs, etc.
Through this project and others, we are engaging in partnerships with faculty members and graduate students across the university as well as around the world. We also regularly appoint CEMI research assistants and fellows to assist with the development and expansion of these research projects.
Through our speaker series, CEMI has been able to connect UT Austin students with 100+ renowned media professionals and scholars from around the world.
What We’re Fundraising For
Student Support: Whether undergraduates or graduates, students are always in need of financial support. With donor contributions, we would like to create scholarships to offset the costs of unpaid internships, fellowships to help students travel to Los Angeles for research and meetings, grants to support industry site visits/exchange programs with partners in locations such as Berlin and Shanghai; and funding opportunities for graduate research assistants with our ongoing research projects.
Speaker Series: Each year, we bring in speakers from across the world to speak to our students as part of courses like The Business of Hollywood and The Video Game Industry. With funding to support these programs, we would be able to bring in more speakers from a variety of media and tech industries across the globe; we would also be able to use those funds to produce publicly available podcasts and transcripts. Furthermore, we would be able to support industrial practitioners and scholars-in-residence.
Staffing Needs: Our growth is directly tied to the personnel hired to help manage and develop initiatives like speaker series, internship programs, and research projects. With more funding for staffing, we can focus on applying for grants and developing revenue generating programs like workshops, camps, and master classes. In addition to allowing CEMI to be more self-sustaining in the future, these efforts would expand the resources and opportunities available to students and partners around the world.
Public Events: With our official launch scheduled for fall 2022, we are working to promote CEMI by presenting at festivals like SXSW, ATX, and AFF this year and by organizing a full-day symposium to highlight the best our center, student body, industry partners, and community have to offer.
Serving 150+ students and counting, CEMI's Media & Entertainment Industries minor is the fastest growing minor in the Moody College of Communication.
Our goal is to become the premier site for media and technology industry research, teaching, and professional development in the United States, not just in Austin. To do so, we aim to prepare our students to confidently enter and succeed in the media and tech industries, especially those who have been historically excluded. External support, in the form of your generous contributions, would allow us to meet that goal, to expand our current services, develop new types of partnerships, and forge global initiatives.
Donations would allow us to better serve our students and prepare them for the workforce with speaker series, research projects, and internship opportunities, both improving access to and diversifying the historically restricted labor markets of the media and tech industries. Investing in students aiming to work in these industries—undergraduates and graduates alike—will improve their quality of life and their career preparation, as well as the long-term stability of the industries themselves.
Investing in CEMI is investing in the future, theirs and ours.