Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Communication and Space/Place - Call for Papers

Communication and Space/Place

2nd Postgraduate Conference
University of Leeds, Institute of Communications Studies
Leeds, United Kingdom
Friday, 6 June 2008

Following the great success of last year's first PhD conference, the Institute of Communications Studies (ICS) at the University of Leeds will be hosting a second post-graduate conference for research in communications and media. We invite students from all disciplines at the Master's or Doctoral level to present research that pertains to the conceptualisation and/or observation of space/place in relation to communication, media and culture.

Although Space and Place can be understood broadly, the theoretical and material implications of their relationship to media and communications are important to studies in this field. The two words, taken either together or separately, are crucial to all manner of media and communications structures/ networks/ economies/ policies, such as the discursive 'space' of contemporary politics, shifting conceptions of public and private 'places', the focus on flows between locales in a global capitalist economy, the importance of creative 'space' in the culture industries, the decentralised 'space' of online 'citizen media', and so on. While a look at various definitions of either word reveals at once their potential compatibilities and irreconcilabilities, the linguistic convergence marked by each word's functionality as both verb and noun presents us with myriad possibilities of thinking Space and Place.

Spaces and places may be 'real' or 'virtual' environments and locales; sites of expansion or contraction; material realisations or policies of freedom or restriction. Space/Place can also be understood in terms of culture and discursive relationships; they can be formations where the identities of groups and individuals are explored and/or constructed, and where notions of human agency encounter forces and ideologies that influence and are influenced by the ways that social actors and institutions communicate.

The following are some possible areas of inquiry:

- The problematic dichotomies of public-private, 'real'-virtual, spaces and places for the use/ consumption of media.

- Meaning/Representation: The spaces and places in which media and communication are produced and consumed have a profound relationship to how 'meaning' is derived from them. How are people from different cultures, ethnicities, etc. represented by and in media and communications?

- What are the policies that shape the relationship of communication, space/place, and 'stakeholders' (public, state, market, NGOs etc) how is space/place regulated? How do space/place relate to prohibition of communication, or the use of various media as propaganda?

- The spaces and places in which media and communication are produced and consumed have a profound relationship to how 'meaning' is derived from them. To what extent, and in which ways, are media and communications spaces/places contingent (or not) on aspects of each other and on media producers and consumers?

- Are there barriers to participation in certain media/communications spaces/places? How does power operate in these spaces/places? How are new formations of power relationships developed with relation to space/place? How are old formations changing or being reinforced in contemporary media?

- What happens at the edges and intersections of spaces/places, i.e. when traditional media meet the Internet, or when communications cross over between genres and media? Does a place necessarily constitute a space, and vice versa? Are they fluid; are they mutually exclusive?

Please submit an abstract by 28 January 2008 with a general description of your research paper, indicating your topic, theoretical framework, research questions or hypotheses, and methodological considerations. The abstract should not exceed 500 words and should be attached to your email in a common document format (MS Word compatible, Word Perfect). Should your proposal be accepted, we will ask you to provide a full paper before the conference.

All accepted full papers will be read, discussed and commented on by members of the academic staff from the Institute of Communications Studies who have expertise in your topic, method, or theoretical framework. This can be a golden opportunity for you to refine your thoughts, openly share your concerns, and receive constructive critique from professors and fellow postgraduate students working in your area. It is also a great chance to start building or expanding your professional and academic network. Following the conference your paper will be published in the forthcoming ICS Postgraduate Conference proceedings open access online journal.

Contact Information:

Email: ics-pg-conference@leeds.ac.uk
Conference Website: http://www.personal.leeds.ac.uk/~cspaa/ics-pg-conference/

Important Dates:

Abstracts: 28 January 2008
Acceptance Notification: 3 March 2008
Full papers: 30 April 2008

Please indicate the following in the body of your email:

Title of presentation as it appears on the abstract
Affiliaton (program and university)
Level and year of study (ex. Master's, 2nd year)
Phone number
E-mail address
Mailing address
A/V requirements (computer/projector, film projector, VCR/DVD, stereo, etc.)
Other requirements (table, easel, hooks, display materials).
Mobility and other special needs requirements (wheel chair access, etc.)

We look forward to receiving your abstracts, and thank you for your interest!

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