When I started my professional career in 1979 as a broadcast journalist, we never asked each other “What did you study at university?”, we asked “What did you quit studying at university?” Practical application was the real world. Theory, in contrast, belonged to the ivory tower full of eunuchs unable to do what they knew about. We joined George Bernard Shaw in claiming that those, who can, do, and those, who can’t, teach.

Later, when I then entered the domain of research myself I recognized that many people there thought exactly the reverse. Now, theory was the real world … whereas practice was a wasteland of blind activism and a desert of ignorance.

Thus … knowing both fields from personal experience, some colleagues and I finally opted for a third way and set up the Institute of Applied Media Studies as a joint enterprise of researchers, experts, and professionals. This was twenty years ago.

Today, the Institute of Applied Media Studies, IAM, is where 500 students learn that practice and theory always interact, where 94% of all alumni are working in their preferred positions, where external funding for research amounts to about half a million euros per year, and where graduate courses, mid-career programs, research, and consulting all focus on reflecting in practice and practical theory. And it is only one of three vibrant institutes at the ZHAW School of Applied Linguistics.

What an exciting playground! >>


Photography © Manuel Bauer Winterthur