QAA Benchmark in Area Studies: Subject Consultation Meeting

Date: 12 February, 2001
Location: CILT, London
Event type: Meeting

Past Event Details

This consultation meeting organised by the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies and supported by QAA took place on Monday 12th February at the Centre for Information on Language Teaching, Learning and Research (CILT) in London. The purpose of the meeting was to give Area Studies practitioners the opportunity to comment upon and suggest modifications to the draft statement for Area Studies. The next meeting of the benchmarking group is due to be held on February 28th. A draft benchmark will be published by QAA in the summer for public consultation.

The meeting proved to be very productive and well-attended with some 30 participants from disciplines such as European Studies, American Studies, Middle-Eastern Studies, African Studies, Latin American Studies and Russian and Slavonic Studies. Also present was Fiona Crozier from the QAA. Representing the benchmarking panel were Professor Chris Flood (European Studies, University of Surrey) and Dr Margaret Walsh (American & Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham). The meeting was chaired by Professor Richard Ellis (American Studies, Nottingham Trent University). Professor Ellis is also Chair of the Subject Centre's Specialist Group for Area Studies. The programme for the day was a simple one, namely to go through the draft in sections and what resulted was a discussion not only of the the detail of the document but of the possible implications of the benchmarking statement for the profile of the field as a whole. The fact that Area Studies been recognised as a discrete element of the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies and is to be benchmarked in its own right does not disguise the fact that this is a complex field of study and this was reflected in the discussion concerning the content and depth of the benchmarking statement.

Some of the key themes for feedback to the benchmark group that emerged from the day were:

  • the nature and extent to which this benchmarking statement should make reference to other discipline-specific statements
  • how other disciplines with their own benchmark groups (eg Languages and Related Studies) might refer to the Area Studies statement
  • the extent to which the statement could be prescriptive in terms of content
  • whether to include an annex of programmes specifications as examples or Area Studies type programmes
  • the use to which this document should/might be put during QAA visits

Extensive notes were taken during the meeting and the Chair invited participants and others to submit further comments and suggests via email (see below).

It was generally agreed that the event was worthwhile and interesting and will contribute greatly to the drafting of the final statement.


The current draft of the statement is available from the link at the top of this document and any comments should be sent to Philip Davies (Chair of the Benchmarking Group) or to Sue Currell who is collating the responses to the document.

The Subject Centre

To join the Subject Centre mailing list and receive more details of our activities and forthcoming events for Area and related studies please fill in the mailing list form on this website.

Benchmarking Linguistics and Languages

For anyone interested in the benchmarking statements from our other subject areas can find the draft Linguistics statement at