Inaugural Media@IU Conference

by Teresa Lynch

For months the Media@IU team – which consists of faculty and graduate students from Telecom, Communication and Culture, Journalism, Informatics, Gender Studies, Learning Sciences, and Art History – has been working to put together an inaugural conference to bring together people working with or interested in media from all over the campus.  After all of the preparation and work, on Saturday the event was held in the Georgian Room at the Indiana Memorial Union.  Refreshments were provided throughout the day for attendees who met, listened to talks, viewed creative works, and presented.

Conference attendees network during a break.Photograph by Shannon Schenck.

Though this event was the first of what will hopefully become a tradition at IU, it was not the first effort of the Media@IU team to bring together people with media related interests on our campus.  Last spring, Media@IU held a reception at the Wells House.  Also, the Media@IU team has been organizing bimonthly get-togethers on Monday evenings at the Atlas Ballroom bar.  But, for the inaugural conference, Mark Deuze, one of the event’s organizers, wanted to put together something with a bit more “gravitas.”

Photograph by Shannon Schenck.

As he described, “this time we really wanted to create a space where graduate students and faculty from all over campus that do something that is remotely related to media and communication could meet and talk about what it is they’re doing.  But, rather than having them present work, [they’ll] sort of be giving quick blurbs about the stuff they’re into and solicit either response or collaboration.”

Graduate students had the opportunity for garnering such response and sparking collaborative interest in the afternoon session.  During this session, students presented media research and creative works currently in progress and engaged in an open discussion with the conference participants. The faculty shared their thoughts in a panel discussion in the morning.  It was moderated by Ilana Gershon (Communication & Culture) and  Susan Lepselter (Communication & Culture and American Studies), Nathan Ensmenger (Informatics), and Josh Danish (Education) were the panelists.  Each panelist shared reflections on how their particular discipline fits in the larger landscape of media study and what it brought to the table in terms of methodologies and perspectives.  Lunch session was sandwiched (pun intended) between the sessions and featured a showcase of graduate and undergraduate student creative projects including documentaries, short films, and music videos.

Keynote speaker Adrienne Russell.  Photograph by Shannon Schenck.

The conference was capped on either end by two distinguished keynote speakers whose work was tied to the conference theme – “Media and Social Change.”  The opening keynote was provided by Adrienne Russell, an alumna of the School of Journalism here at IU, who is now Assistant Professor in Media, Film, & Journalism Studies at the University of Denver.  Her work largely centers on media activism and its influence on the nature and process of social change.  Her keynote addressed how media activists are affecting journalistic practices and content and the impact that is having on the media landscape.  The closing keynote was given by Nick Couldry,  Professor of Media and Communications and joint Chair of the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London.  He is also the Director of the Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy at Goldsmiths.  His keynote focused on how advertising entities are monetizing online versions of us, and how we might consider the structuring of collectivities (collective us) in mediated contexts.

The evening was topped off with a conference reception and party where participants and other interested individuals continued the conversation.  It is Mark’s hope that this event will stimulate fruitful collaboration across departments at all levels.  For more information on Media@IU events and happenings, visit the official website here.

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