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09:00-10:30 Session 12A: Community Media and Imagined Collectives
Location: W009
Digital storytelling and grassroots communities: building hope for the future

ABSTRACT. In collaboration with the national human rights education charity Journey to Justice (JtoJ), this paper explores the power of storytelling to support communities to take action to address economic injustice and build hope for the future. It is based on interviews conducted during workshops with community organisers and volunteers in the East and West Midlands. Participants engaged with digital resources created by JtoJ and the author that showcases stories of collective action, non-violent tactics and expert analysis of the root causes of economic inequality. The resources seek to support communities to take action to address poverty and inequality and consolidate understanding of what a more economically just world could look like.

The research asks: what role does storytelling play in galvanising ‘ordinary people’ to take action for economic justice? It aims to better understand the contribution that storytelling can make in grassroots communities to identify and find solutions to important local issues. Analysis of the results reveals the effectiveness of stories to foster a sense of hope that galvanises action to create change for economic equality. This leads to the further development of insights into storytelling as political communication for action.

Digital connections: Australian ethnic community broadcasting in the post-terrestrial and post-pandemic mediascape

ABSTRACT. Ethnic community broadcasting is the largest media sector delivering content to Australia’s ethnically diverse and multicultural communities – which constitute almost 30 percent of the population (ABS 2019-2020). There are six full-time ethnic community radio stations and 91 additional community radio stations, in Australia, that include ethnic programming (NEMBC 2020), yet we know very little about how this sector operates in the digital age. Digital disruption presents both challenges and opportunities for community radio more broadly (Anderson et al., 2019) and raises distinct concerns for ethnic broadcasters who now operate in an increasingly complex and technologically driven digital environment; this has only intensified since the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, when many community radio stations shifted to remote, pre-recorded programming in response to mandated public health restrictions.

Little national research has been conducted about the ethnic community radio sector since the early 2000s (see Meadows et al. 2007; Forde et al. 2010) despite massive shifts in the media environment since then. “Digital connections: Ethnic community broadcasting in the post-terrestrial and post-pandemic mediascape” was a national research project, funded in-part by the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council, that addresses this gap. It incorporated a national survey and eight case studies of metropolitan and regional community radio (including audience and broadcaster perspectives), conducted in 2022/23. This paper outlines key findings from the project relating to the impact of new digital technologies and pandemic broadcasting practices on the sector.

(References available on request to meet word count)

Public political communication in Oman, The Role of online Forums

ABSTRACT. Political communication refers to any interaction between political characters on political issues in a communication space. DeLisle, Goldstein and Yang (2016) affirm that digital media have become regular spaces for policy debates and public discourse. Thus, technology has become an active player in political deliberation central to political systems. This is especially important in light of the in absence of legislation that protect individual’s rights of political participation. In this paper, I explore how Omanis utilize Sablat Oman to demonstrate their interests in making contributions to their society and how technology impacts public political communication. The research seeks to a. investigate the extant to which Omanis utilize technology to restructure state-society power relations, b. to explore the impact does technology have on public communication as discursive practice, and consequently in the construction of the Omani political discourse and c. to capture the deliberative practices which Omanis practice in online platforms and shape the general character of political deliberation. The project adopts a critical discourse analysis (CDA) to reveal the role of communication as discursive practice in the construction of the Omani political discourse. In addition, I utilize Ethnographic Content Analysis (ECA) to investigate the role of Sablat Oman as digital communication tool in the construction of the Omani digital public sphere.

09:00-10:30 Session 12B: Digital Equalities
Location: W005
Exploring digital access and inclusion for adults with lived experience of modern slavery

ABSTRACT. The increased expectation to participate in society via technology is a double-edged sword for those with lived experience of modern slavery. On one hand, digital technologies can provide survivors with access to much-needed facilities and services such as legal aid, asylum and Universal Credit applications, and healthcare. Digital technologies can be vital for survivors to communicate with family, and benefit from support groups, education and training. On the other hand, the ubiquity of digital technologies can exacerbate inequalities for those without access to broadband/WiFi, devices, or the skills to use them. Provision and use of digital devices can contribute to exposure to online harms such as re-exploitation.

This paper presents some key findings of a project funded by the Modern Slavery Policy and Evidence Centre, supported by partner organisations the International Organisation for Migration, and Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance. The project explored the experiences of civil society organisations supporting survivors, as well as the views and experiences of survivors themselves, with a focus on their use of digital technologies. The project was based on interviews with key organisations, as well as a survey asking for feedback on findings, followed by interviews with survivors receiving support from these organisations. The project’s aim was to gather evidence to support policy and practice to better support survivors in their use of digital technologies in the future.

How Only Some Citizens Are Socialised into Filter bubbles and Echo Chambers, and the Implications for Democracy

ABSTRACT. Particularly since the shock popularity and victories of Brexit and Donald Trump, there has been concern that citizens, en masse, exist in democratically dysfunctional ideological bubbles, where they only hear likeminded perspectives, especially online. Researchers now contest that narrative. Therefore, this study explores specific causes and effects of ‘embubblement’ in one marginal but perhaps high-risk group, young people. They are considered more impressionable, and more get their news online. This mixed-methods digital ethnography contains a 10-wave cohort study, diary study hybrid. One day a month for 10 months, participants aged 16-18 (n=21) captured any political communication they encountered or did, across all mediums online and in-person. Findings strengthen the literature’s emerging consensus, overturning the filter bubble narrative. Throughout, all participants placed only around midway on a scale from minimum to maximum embubblement. No participants’ levels of embubblement or partisanship increased over the ten months, as if they were becoming polarised, falling down rabbit holes of hyperpartisan content. Only a couple of participants frequented hyperpartisan communities like feminist TikTok. Others relied on relatively neutral mainstream sources. Different participants saw different stories, but these did not offer partisan, contradictory representations of reality. Hence, opposing partisans seemed healthily anchored to the one reality. Embubblement seems to have one benefit for democracy: correlating with increased political mobilisation. Implications are discussed regarding how to encourage young people’s political mobilisation, but without them falling into ideological bubbles. Ethnography's thick description explores participants’ practices in depth qualitatively. This will inform political literacy/engagement NGOs, tech companies and policymakers.

Towards a Minimum Digital Living Standard

ABSTRACT. Our research into a Minimum Digital Living Standard (MDLS) aimed to capture the minimum basket of digital goods, skills and services households need to have an adequate quality of life and participate in society. The project developed a framework encapsulating digital needs and exploring the implications of not having access to such a minimum. This paper reports on the development of the definition and our assessments of households meeting or falling below this minimum. The MDLS seeks to move digital inclusion policy and research debates beyond simple measures of access and skills.

Developed through iterative deliberative focus groups with a representative selection of UK household members, the agreed definition of a Minimum Digital Living Standard is:

A minimum digital standard of living includes, but is more than having accessible internet, adequate equipment, and the skills, knowledge, and support people need. It is about being able to communicate, connect and engage with opportunities safely and with confidence

Using this definition further iterative deliberative groups agreed on the set of goods, skills and services needed to meet this minimum. Additional work was also conducted to explore young people’s definition of a Minimum Digital Living Standard, and to develop an MDLS specifically for Wales. This was followed by a UK-wide survey measuring the extent to which households with children in the UK meet this standard. This paper presents key findings from the MDLS project with a focus on this can be supported via policy and practice.

The Digital Privacy Gap as an Urban Media Policy Challenge

ABSTRACT. This paper focuses on the under-researched matter of citizen privacy in rapidly digitising urban environments. The paper commences by providing a critique of the literature on digital or so-called ‘smart’ cities and privacy and follows this with empirical evidence and analysis from a study of Greater Manchester. Use of digital technology and applications has been posited as a key development in tackling many of the core challenges of urbanization and adding value to public services. Underpinning it is use of devices and sensing to collect data about the physical world in real time; transmit it through communication networks; and process and use the results of data analysis to plan and provide applications to users to improve their living standards. The presentation highlights evidence of: the desire of policy-makers to incorporate privacy concerns in their digital city planning; their perspectives on the challenges of ensuring engagement with citizens on matters of privacy; and, by contrast, the experiences and views of citizens on data gathering activity in smart cities, using Greater Manchester as a case. Methodologically, the presentation draws on a combination of secondary source literature review, primary source documentary analysis, survey data, and evidence from a series of citizen privacy workshops and policy maker semi-structured interviews. The presentation identifies and characterises conceptually a privacy gap between the architects of digital city policies and citizens and, from this, puts forward a ‘prototype’ media policy agenda on which further research to address its challenges can draw.

09:00-10:30 Session 12C: War Reporting and Representation
Location: W004
Disappearing into the map: The hiding of tragedy through war cartography

ABSTRACT. Maps have long been used to plan, implement, and explain war. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, media organisations began producing hundreds of maps in an attempt to tell the story of what was happening on the eastern borders of Europe : maps of occupation, of territory gained or desired, of refugee migrations, and the changing names of places. These maps join a long history of using cartography to try and explain the complexities of war to an audience that is positioned well away from the front lines. These maps, often distributed through the media are important to help us comprehend the changing global landscape, but they are all an abstraction. None of them are a complete truth of what is happening, and often they mask the nuances of the situation. This paper will explore how we map such complex situations using nothing more than the potentially limiting tool kit of lines, colour, and symbology. Importantly this paper will explore what disappears when we turn complex geopolitical tragedies into maps.

Television in Conflict – Analysing the Media Coverage of the War in Ukraine

ABSTRACT. This article aims to take a closer look at several ways in which the current military conflict on the Ukrainian soil has been addressed and reflected by its media coverage. By choosing to focus on a series of case studies, both public (TV and newspaper press) and personal (TikTok threads) – ranging from the Bucha massacre aftermath, which was transmitted globally, to the daily life under siege in Kyiv as experienced by the individual civilian on various social networks –, the paper underlines the need for a more thoroughly conceptualized analysis of the visual production that this war has generated so far. Taking into account various theoretical propositions – from philosopher Jacques Rancière’s concept of the “information flow” to filmmaker and artist Harun Farocki’s notion of the “operatory image” –, this contribution will also allow for an exploration of a rich tradition of reflection directed towards the televised medium’s great potential and possible threat, as well as an examination of its relevance in the contemporary world. As the conflict in Ukraine is pursued on the front without any indication of an ending in sight, I contend in my paper that, from the privileged, essentially uninvolved, perspective of a media analyst, it is of utmost importance to look carefully at these images of war and try to decipher within them the present mechanisms of information and their most employed regimes of representation. This article attempts to take a preliminary step in that pedagogically driven direction.

Why ethnographic research by participant observation into the work of war reporters is a good idea, and some strategies for doing more of it

ABSTRACT. The war in Ukraine has upended the European security order, threatened global famine and even put nuclear war on the agenda. So understanding how events there are reported is crucial. International conflict journalists working in Ukraine have published accounts of how they gather news (Mair 2022) but for researchers, the war also highlights the longstanding lack of authentic fieldwork studies of foreign news production in the field which use participant observation. The classic newsroom ethnographies in the social sciences (Sigal 1986; Tuchman, 1972; Gans 1979) were conducted in newsrooms in big American cities long before social media. Zelizer says this is why their findings have been over-generalised (2004: 69). Studies of foreign news settings remain rare (Pedelty 1995), and not just because of a lack of access for scholars to areas of conflict (Rodgers 2012: 3, Maltby 2006: 452). The author, a former conflict journalist who has conducted fieldwork in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine (Pendry 2011, 2015, 2017), will discuss methodological and theoretical strategies which could be employed to write a news ethnography of the current war in Ukraine, including the use of ‘thin description’ as a method (Jackson 2013); the ways in which the social construction of news in the field still depends on the human relationships between newsgatherers (Morrison 1994; Morrison and Tumber 1988); and how to study important new members of the journalistic ‘tribe’ in the digital era, such as Bellingcat (2016).

Bellingcat (2016). MH17: The Open Source Investigation Two Years Later. [Online]. Available at: Gans, H.J. (1979). Deciding What’s News: A Study of CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Newsweek, and Time. New York: Pantheon Books. Jackson, J.L. (2013). Thin Description. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Mair, J. ed. (2022). Reporting the War in Ukraine. Maltby, S. (2006). Negotiating the ‘front’ line: mediated war and impression management. PhD thesis [Online]. Available at: Morrison, D. and Tumber, H. (1988). Journalists at War: The Dynamics of News Reporting during the Falklands Conflict. Tumber, H. ed. London: Sage. Morrison, D.E. (1994). Journalists and the social construction of war. Contemporary British History [Contemporary Record] 8:305–320. Pedelty, M. (1995). War Stories: The Culture of Foreign Correspondents. New York ; London: Routledge. Pendry, R. (2017). Partiality, Patriotism and Propaganda: Aggregating Local News Sources in Ukraine. In: Sanz Sabido, R. ed. Representing Communities. London: Springer, pp. 199–216. Pendry, R. (2015). Reporter power: News organisations, duty of care and the use of locally-hired news gatherers in Syria. Ethical Space 12:4–13. Pendry, R. (2011). Sub-Contracting Newsgathering in Iraq. Ethical Space 8:14–20. Rodgers, J. (2012). Reporting Conflict. [Online]. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Available at: Sigal, L. v (1986). Sources Make the News. In: Manoff, R. K. and Schudson, M. eds. Reading the News. New York: Pantheon Books, pp. 9–37. Tuchman, G. (1972). Objectivity as Strategic Ritual: An Examination of Newsmen’s Notions of Objectivity. American Journal of Sociology 77:660–679. Zelizer, B. (2004). Taking Journalism Seriously: News and the Academy. Thousand Oaks; London; New Delhi: Sage.

09:00-10:30 Session 12D: Media in the COVID Pandemic
Location: W003
Imagined public engagement: a comparative analysis of governmental communication during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK and China

ABSTRACT. This paper draws on the concept of ‘imagined publics’ (Barnett et al., 2012), which suggests the designs of public engagement mechanisms related to technoscientific developments partly reflect imagined publics’ attributes. Using a comparative approach across Twitter and Weibo, this research examines (1) publics’ needs during public health crises are ‘imagined’ by the governmental actors, and (2) how communication tailored to this imaginary is shaped by social media affordances. As part of a doctoral project, this paper conducted a thematic analysis of a stratified sample of over 5000 tweets and Weibo posts related to the pandemic from government-related accounts in the UK and China (e.g., state ministry accounts, political figures’ accounts, hospital accounts), between January 2020 and March 2022.

Initial findings suggest that the Weibo audience was imagined to prefer information in textual, news-article formats, while Twitter’s audience was imagined to prefer websites allowing them to intuitively search for pandemic guidance. Chinese governmental accounts actively communicated in long-text formats as ‘digital broadcasting’, and its appliance of URLs indicates a complex media ecosystem between Weibo, WeChat, and other state-owned media. UK government accounts, however, mobilized communication into ‘interactive dashboards’ using infographics, visuals and external URLs predominantly to government websites (e.g., and NHS). Theoretically, this research contributes by examining the concept ‘imagined publics’ outside its scientific origins by comparing in Western (Twitter) and non-Western (Weibo) contexts.

Barnett, J., Burningham, K., Walker, G. and Cass, N., 2012. Imagined publics and engagement around renewable energy technologies in the UK. Public Understanding of Science, 21(1), pp.36-50.

‘Real Heroes Wear Masks’: An Exploratory Study of Telefantasy COVID-19 Videos

ABSTRACT. During the COVID-19 pandemic, health information had to be disseminated quickly. Since then, scholarly work has explored the effectiveness of various types of spokespeople, including celebrities, in conveying COIVD-19 information (i.e. Myrick and Willoughby 2021). Despite the growing field of research that examines the intersection of COVID-19, celebrities, and health messaging, little emphasis has been placed on the role of genre in health messaging, specifically, how an actor may incorporate the character they play, and the fictional world their character inhabits, into public health messaging, or otherwise use their genre-based star image to convey a health message.

Specifically, this research is interested in how actors working in the televisual science fiction and fantasy genres (hereafter ‘telefantasy’ (Johnson 2005)) created, participated in, or were featured in, online videos conveying health guidance and/or reassurance. The telefantasy genre provides a unique perspective on COVID-19 health messaging, as the genre has the ability to imagine alternative political and social realities (Johnson-Smith 2005; Cook and Wright 2006) and it is effective in garnering fan engagement (Hills 2002).

This paper presents the results of a systematic search for what I call ‘telefantasy COVID-19 videos’ across Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. 35 programmes and 305 actors’ social media accounts were searched, resulting in 458 videos found. In addition to discussing the trends found across these videos, this paper will suggest how telefantasy COVID-19 videos may inform effective health communication, in the spheres of telefantasy fandom and beyond, for this pandemic and the next.


Cook, John R., and Peter Wright. “‘Futures Past’: An Introduction to and Brief Survey of British Science Fiction Television.” In British Science Fiction Television, eds. John R. Cook and Peter Wright, 2006, I.B. Tauris, pp. 1-20.

Hills, Matt. Fan Cultures. Routledge, 2002.

Johnson, Catherine. Telefantasy. British Film Institute, 2005.

Johnson-Smith, Jan. American Science Fiction TV: Star Trek, Stargate and Beyond. I.B Tauris, 2005.

Myrick, Jessica Gall, and Jessica Fitts Willoughby, ‘A Mixed Methods Inquiry into the Role of Tom Hanks’ COVID-19 Social Media Disclosure in Shaping Willingness to Engage in Prevention Behaviors,’ Health Communication, (2021), pp. 1-9 <>.

Panic about epidemic or control measures? Changes in using Weibo in public health event from 2020-2022

ABSTRACT. Timely access to quality outbreak information during an outbreak can effectively protect our population and curb the spread of disease and anxiety. At the same time, it is only when the public has access to outbreak information that public awareness of a public health event can be enhanced, leading to further action to combat the outbreak. In the face of a public health event, the public needs to take responsibility for building strong resilience in information dissemination and knowledge consumption. How the public accesses information about public health events at different stages and how it is disseminated is therefore crucial in responding to public health events. By using Python to collect Weibo post data, this study will discuss the changing practices of public use of social media regarding posting frequency, retweeting/originality, and information distribution patterns, using the Wuhan outbreak in 2020 and the Shanghai outbreak in 2022 as case studies for comparison. The results based on these aspects will be helpful for China's reaction to upcoming public health incidents and increase capacity to support strong resilience in the public sector and public response to incidents, particularly in terms of information generation and consumption. The study will build on existing research on the relationship between social media and public health events and draws on the disciplines of crisis informatics, media and cultural studies, sociology, and other concepts and theories.

A containment zone or a place of surveillance? Liminal spaces on Mumsnet during COVID-19

ABSTRACT. This paper investigates the ways in which women wrote about domestic liminal spaces during the first COVID-19 lockdown (March to May 2020) on the UK parenting discussion forum Mumsnet. It focuses on women’s use and reimagining of liminal spaces such as the front porch, entrance halls, front windows and doors of their homes. We argue that such spaces played a number of different roles for families during lockdown: as containment zones, protective barriers, places of performance and surveillance, and safe spaces. These spaces bridged public and private life during lockdown by providing a perspective of the world from within the boundaries of the lockdown home. Such spaces could be perceived as both safe and unsafe – places of relocation and dislocation within which movement between the two worlds occurred and containment and disinfection strategies were performed. They were also utilised as a place to demonstrate the household’s participation in community spirit-raising initiatives, and also its conformity to the social obligations of performing such participation. At the same time, virtual third spaces such as Mumsnet offered a place where women could safely and anonymously criticise these public performances and share their own distaste or anger at being observed and coerced. We therefore suggest that Mumsnet itself could be considered a virtual liminal space for its users, where they were able to safely access the public sphere from the comparative safety of their own homes and form a community with like-minded others.

09:00-10:30 Session 12E: Fashion, Beauty, and the Media
Location: W010A
Climate change, fashion media and influencers

ABSTRACT. Fashion is among the biggest polluters, yet the media still promote throwaway fast fashion. The growing fashion public relations industry encourages and enables this media coverage.

This study is based on the analysis of 1,000+ fashion media artefacts in the UK – from magazines to newspapers, gossip weeklies to Instagram influencers. Content analysis and critical discourse analysis have been applied in a novel manner, providing an innovative methodology to measure the rate of sustainability in fashion media coverage.

As a result, this analysis has identified that print and online professional media promote high consumption. Influencers on Instagram promote clothes and portray idealistic situations for wearing them – these include erotic imagery, romantic plots, and luxurious environments. The words ‘sustainable’, ‘ethical’, ‘investment piece’ are used by the media in often misleading ways. Sustainable advisers ignore lower earners - brands presented as ethical tend to have prohibitive pricing: e.g. from £100 per dress. Overall, the research has identified ten patterns of unsustainable coverage - these range from the language used, imagery chosen, situations and patterns, power dynamics and psychological triggers, to the use of affiliate links and choice of brands.

This study is the first of its kind in the realm of fashion media and climate change – it provides an all-encompassing overview of how fashion media storytelling, in both professional journalism and produced by social media personalities, can have a significant influence on purchasing intentions and promotion of unsustainable practices.

Magazines vs Influencers: A generational comparison of early introductions to makeup

ABSTRACT. This paper investigates generational differences between mothers and teenage daughters, examining how changes in media technology have impacted their early introductions to the wearing of makeup. Teen magazines of the 1980s had a significant influence on beauty ideals and the makeup use of young girls at the time. However, today, social media platforms like YouTube host thousands of influencers that have created a whole genre of makeup related content. This presents a unique opportunity to explore the impact of vastly different media influences on women’s makeup use in their formative teenage years.

Using an interpretative phenomenological approach, interviews were conducted with 12 mothers and their teenage daughters on their early introductions to and influences on the wearing of makeup.

Results found that magazines aimed at children introduce the idea of makeup as an instrument of play at primary school age, before many of the teen daughters were exposed to social media. This suggests that, despite the significant technological changes that have occurred in the media between the two generations, the traditional magazine format still plays a key role in the makeup socialisation of young girls. The findings also suggest that social media is not the sole source of media influence when it comes to teenage girls’ early introductions to appearance and social comparison behaviours that are associated with teen makeup use.

The Lifecycle of a Social Media Beauty Trend: A Case Study of the Instagram body

ABSTRACT. Social media has become a breeding ground for beauty trends and a cultural meeting point for interactions with these trends, which drive billions of dollars in consumer spending. This is exemplified by the Instagram body, a body type characterised by a small waist, thick thighs, and large buttocks. But despite the popularity of social media-driven beauty trends in the last decade, no lifecycle model currently exists for them.

As such, the study sought to create one using the Instagram body as a case study. To achieve this, interviews were conducted with stakeholders in the social media landscape such as content creators, fitness professionals, and a cosmetic surgeon. Additionally, an analysis was conducted of the song lyrics on the U.K. Offical year-end charts from 2010 to 2019 to identify references to the Instagram body. Finally, an analysis was conducted of YouTube video titles with the search term ‘big butt’ from 2010 to 2019 to map out content changes during this period.

The study produced a six-stage social media beauty trend lifecycle which consists of the emergence phase, the mainstreaming phase, the normalisation/ peak phase, the criticism/ fatigue phase, the discard phase, and the retrospective phase. It also identified stakeholders who influence the lifecycle such as content creators and celebrities as well as influencing factors such as the social media algorithm and content fatigue. Finally, it identified gender as a factor in the manifestation of these trends as they disproportionately affect women and its treatment could lead to instances of misogyny.

How communications surrounding Charismatic Actions can benefit sustainability in the Fashion Industry

ABSTRACT. Communication is one of the most relevant opportunities to increase the value and reach of sustainability and its accompanying issues for the fashion industry. To this end, the experience from areas with a much longer track record, such as Ecology can be considered. Thus, the concept of "flagship/charismatic species" has been transferred and implemented in this different context. Proposing a charismatic action related to fashion could benefit the sustainability issues that this industry is facing such as overconsumption. We will develop the concept of charismatic actions in the fashion context and focus on the importance of implementing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the impact of decisions taken by the industry and consumers. Through the communication of small decisions engendered by charismatic action (measured by a digital tool developed within the SFES project), this presentation will show how they can have a significant effect on sustainability in the fashion industry. Extending the life of our garments is one of the best strategies to guarantee the future for generations to come. The SFES project is part funded by the EU. The project is led by a team of 17 multidisciplinary staff from 5 academic partners (Glasgow Caledonian University, Centro Universitario Villanueva, Universitat Politècnica de València, Universidade da Madeira, EDHEC Business School) and 2 industry partners (Tendam Global Retail Group and Harris Tweed Hebrides).

09:00-10:30 Session 12F: Scottish Media and Culture
Location: W010B
The Effects of Covid on the Scottish Traditional Arts

ABSTRACT. This paper draws upon a survey of 275 traditional musicians, storytellers, dancers and artists during 2022, to examine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic upon the Scottish Traditional Arts sector.

The research uses both survey evidence and qualitative interviews to evidence the impact on four main areas: live events and participation; education; digitalization, and; careers.

The research quantifies and gives narrative evidence for some of the key impacts including the loss of live events and its impact on the arts sector, the impact on musicians and artists wellbeing and sustainability of income, participation and events. It also discusses the aspects of the rapid Digital Pivot undertaken across the arts sector during Covid-19, and how this is transforming the future aspirations and opportunities around glocalization of events, globalization of niche genres audiences, and the potential for newer revenue streams from digital franchising and online tuition in the traditional arts. The paper sets out the argument and evidence surrounding 'live digital' events in future and the relationships to place-based policy interventions aligned with the Scottish traditional arts, as well as the very real 'cost hangover' from Covid-19 for festivals and events.

#ScotlandsShame: Twitter, affective publics and football-related sectarianism in Scotland

ABSTRACT. Social media have frequently been identified as a significant contributing factor to sectarianism in contemporary Scotland. What is typically absent from these debates is empirical evidence showing the prevalence of sectarianism on online platforms in relation to football, and specifically how the rivalry between Celtic and Rangers fans is contested online. This paper sets out to address this gap through a qualitative study of tweets (N=84,028) posted during the disorder that followed the Rangers ‘title celebrations’ in Glasgow city centre on 15 May 2021. Results indicate that there was much evidence of dehumanising and sectarian language being used to ‘other’ Rangers supporters. Hashtags like #ScotlandsShame were used by citizens to document their experiences of what they perceived as the ‘anti-Catholic bigotry’ on display in the city centre that evening. The Scottish establishment was criticised for not doing enough to eliminate this bigotry, whether it be in the form of banning contentious Orange Order marches or abolishing segregation within schools. In response, Rangers supporters accused the Scottish Government of having an agenda against their club, as demonstrated by its failure to condemn the anti-deportation protests at Kenmure Street a few days earlier. In this way, social media afforded these affective publics opportunities to contest the dominant media narratives on both the Celtic-Rangers rivalry and football-related sectarianism in Scotland. The paper concludes by considering whether the sectarianism visible on online platforms like Twitter during such contentious events is reflective of broader societal trends.

Liveness, Space and Reframing Connectedness: Pandemic Lessons from Scottish Film Festivals

ABSTRACT. Prof. Rebecca Finkel & Dr Lesley-Ann Dickson Queen Margaret University

This paper presents findings from research which aimed to better understand how the first wave of COVID-19 had a strategic impact on film festivals in Scotland. Film festivals, at the time, mainly had to shift to digital modes of film exhibition, resituating social/public festival space as domestic/private festival space. In this paper we first discuss how festivals attempted to retain the experiential characteristics (sense of liveness, community, and festivity) that distinguish them from domestic film consumption and cinema exhibition, revisiting the concept of film festivals’ ‘ephemeral value’ (Burgess, 2020) in the online context. We then explore what online festivity has meant for audience communities. We argue that any account of online film festival audiences should take into consideration the relationship between film festival viewing and other media practices. Specifically, we draw attention to the ways in which audiences exert agency in reframing film festival viewing practices as distinct from other domestic media practices in the context of everyday life and space. In particular, we investigate the spaces of media consumption (materiality, location, technology/screens) and forms of social interaction between different audience members. We argue that it is within these reframed sites of liveness and connectedness, in the liminal space between, that the online film festival is performed, negotiated, or absent. Research methods include a survey questionnaire and online focus groups of Scottish film festival audience members. Pandemic experiences are important for informing recovery and finding ways forward that embrace lessons from this difficult period as we face new challenges in the cultural and media sectors.

Media futures of political mobilisation – the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and beyond

ABSTRACT. In many ways, the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence was a media event. What has come to be remembered as a revival of political participation and democracy has been significantly shaped by the media and co-created through emerging media narratives. With another referendum on Scottish independence on the horizon, questions of how to meaningfully connect members of the public, foster deliberation and facilitate political mobilisation across traditional and new media platforms are highly significant.

In 2014, traditional newspapers discursively performed a narrative of political mobilisation, equality, and democratic revival. This narrative defined the rhetoric and practical frames for online participation, mobilisation, and engagement among the wider population, but was also challenged by debates across alternative and social media platforms. Against the backdrop of these performances, this paper examines the 2014 referendum campaign as a digitally mediatised political event in the context of digital movement politics (M. Castells, 2015), with particular attention to underlying power and class dynamics. By contextualising this debate and critically comparing its often conflicting representations with interventions by participants and activists, this paper scrutinises the role of discursive political activism on social media platforms (K. Boyle, 2019). Thus, it carefully investigates discursive political activism’s mobilising power for digital ‘publics’ during and beyond the 2014 referendum. Based on this critical analysis and contextualisation of the mediated debate, I argue that political participation and empowerment among the wider population were discursively constructed, promoted and limited by routine media performances of long-standing narratives of national(ist) and party-political self-identification (Billig, 1995).

09:00-10:30 Session 12G: Women's Media Narratives
Location: W001
The Connected Writer: Exploring the Digital Experience of Women Writers from Brazil

ABSTRACT. The use of social media has placed increasing demands on fiction writers’ time in recent years. The old portrait of the writer sitting in front of a typewriter or computer, alone with her thoughts, has been transformed as writers are now expected to spend time curating their profiles and engaging with potential audiences. Despite the abovementioned changes, which have brought new habits and paradigms, researchers have not largely explored fiction authors’ use of different social media websites and applications. This knowledge gap becomes even larger when we talk about marginal women writers from the Global South. Thus, in this article, I analyse how women creative writers from Brazil utilise social media in their careers. I have interviewed twenty-seven women writers and conducted a thematic analysis that allowed me to see how these peripheral women employ different platforms to manage their writing careers and how they understand said usage. My main findings, which I contextualise and reflect on by engaging with relevant literature, were the following: women from different age groups presented different strategies of platform usage; they seem to understand that some platforms are used as a backstage tool whereas others are frontstage tools; finally, they seem to make extensive use of Instagram, even though the platform is heavily focused on images and their trade is based on the use of words.

Past, present and future of women's anger: towards transforming the frame of recognition in media narratives

ABSTRACT. Lessage noted in the 1980s that “women’s anger is pervasive, as pervasive as our oppression, but it frequently lurks underground" (1988: 421). Currently, female rage has acquired a new visibility (Kay, 2019) in the context of recent feminist protests and politics, and in diverse cultural forms and discourses. However, despite that hypervisibility, marginalized groups continue to be disadvantaged: either their anger is openly ignored or the neoliberal “feeling rules” pressure them to self-control their expression (Kanai, 2019; after Hochschild, 2003 [1983]). So, the enraged subject achieves a different degree of legitimacy depending on a gendered, classed and racial interpretation. The challenge is, then, to go beyond the double bind that manifestations of rage are confronted with in the light of “affective injustice”, according to which certain victims of oppression must contain their anger if they want to be seen as credible (Kay & Banet-Weiser, 2019; Srinivasan 2018). From that perspective, we ask ourselves whether women have anything to gain from narratives that, instead of stigmatizing, would present female rage as a legitimate mobilizing force. Thus, we are not only interested in understanding how women’s anger has been mediatized, but also in pointing out new narrative modes that would politically articulate it or develop an “anger competence” (Chemaly, 2018), in line with Lorde’s (1981) notion of productive and creative anger. To that end, we operationalize “anger competence” into analytical dimensions that will help us address, through media examples, how certain narratives enable women to use rage to confront and transform inequalities without being stigmatized and/or coopted by neoliberal discourses.

‘Dangerous women’ and their algorithmic powers: contemporary representations of datafied femininity in film and tv.

ABSTRACT. With the rise of datafication, the epistemological power of the algorithm is made visible in popular science fiction and horror texts. In this paper we examine films such as Lucy (2014), Ex Machina (2015), M3GAN (2023) and TV shows such as The Good Place (2016-2020) and Years and Years (2019), to argue that society’s turn toward data takes a primarily female form. This form, we find, is characterised by a techno-biological omnipotence, the power of networked autonomy, and a computational knowing that might one day exceed, challenge, leave, or even erase both the society that has produced it and the body it inhabits.

Contemporary anthropomorphised AI technologies such as virtual assistants are often rendered feminine (Guzman, 2016). However, unlike their domesticated nonfiction counterparts, we find that in fictional representations, the epistemological power of the feminised algorithm extends dangerously beyond the human and indeed paradoxically beyond the computational. In this paper, we explore representations of algorithmic power as an uncontrollable femme fatale (Farrimond, 2018), imagined in this way because of the epistemic uncertainties that, as scholars such as Brunton and Nissenbaum (2015) find, big data creates. The algorithmic femme fatale is culturally imagined therefore both as epistemic allure and threat: the feminised algorithm/ algorithmic feminine knows all, and therefore know too much (Doane, 1991). These representations engage with recent technological developments with stories of bodily departure, data-driven autonomy and networked power, and do so by building on earlier narratives gendered forms of knowing and the potentials of technology.


Brunton, F. & Nissenbaum, H. (2015) Obsfucation. Massachusetts: MIT press.

Doane, M.A. (1991) Femmes fatales: feminism, film theory, psychoanalysis. New York and London: Routledge.

Farrimond, K. (2018) The contemporary femme fatale: gender, genre and American cinema. New York and London: Routledge.

Guzman, A. L. 2016. ‘Making AI safe for humans: A conversation with Siri’. In Socialbots and Their Friends: Digital Media and the Automation of Sociality

The perfect birth: A content analysis of midwives’ posts about birth on Instagram

ABSTRACT. There is limited research into how midwives use social media within their professional role. Small pilot studies have explored the introduction of social media into maternity practice and teaching but there is little evidence around how midwives use social media professionally. This is important as 89% of pregnant women turn to social media for advice during pregnancy (Baker and Yang 2018). Midwives’ use of social media could be influencing women, their perception of birth and their decision making.

This paper is the first study of its kind to explore how midwives are using the popular social media platform Instagram to portray birth. Using content analysis, the study identified 917 posts from 20 midwives’ accounts between 2020-2021, containing 1216 images/videos. Most came from USA (n=466), and UK (n=239), Australia (n=205) and New Zealand (n=7) respectively. Five themes emerged from the analysis: ‘Birth Positivity’, ‘Humour’, ‘Education’, ‘Birth Story’ and ‘Advertisement’. Midwives’ portrayals of birth represented a greater proportion of vaginal births, waterbirths and homebirths than known national birth statistics; both the midwives and women portrayed in images were primarily white, demonstrating a disproportionate representation

This study provides insight into how midwives post an un-medicalised, low risk representation of birth. Further research is recommended to explore midwives’ motivation behind their posts, and how pregnant and postnatal women engage with social media.

09:00-10:30 Session 12H: Open Access Roundtable

Open Access Roundtable Session

The advent of open access publishing promises a revolution in terms of the dissemination of academic research. From 2024, all UKRI-funded research must be disseminated through open access (monographs, book chapters and edited collections, as well as peer-reviewed journal articles) and the next REF is set to go the same way. What are both the opportunities and challenges which open access brings and what does it mean for you? Join our distinguished panel in a debate about the future of academic publishing as we look ahead to the age of open access.


John Connolly (Chief Editorial Adviser, Routledge Open Research; Professor of Social Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University)

Gillian Daly (Executive Officer, SCURL: Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries)

Murray Leith (Editorial Board Member, Scottish Universities Press; Professor of Politics, University of West of Scotland)

Dominique Walker (Publishing Officer, Scottish Universities Press)

Location: W010A
13:00-14:30 Session 16A: Distribution: Change and Challenges
Location: W002
Global distribution from your living room: Exhibiting a short film during the pandemic

ABSTRACT. “We’ve never seen it screen in person!” the producer exclaimed while the team behind our award-winning short film, ‘Talia’ discussed its festival journey so far.

Since November 2020, when ‘Talia’ began exhibiting online at festivals around the world, we had yet to watch it screen publicly – not because it hadn’t shown in public, but because various limitations on travel or venue capacity had meant that online participation was a preferred or only option.

Distributing any film project is a challenge, especially during and emerging from the COVID-19 crisis, however, distributing a self-funded, community-level short film was another story entirely. Short films often rely on film festivals, public screenings and events in order to find an audience or share its content with a community. Back in 2020, our plans for an in-person premiere had been put on hold, and many festivals temporarily closed their doors to regroup.

As film festivals turned to online platforms, so did the creators. From harnessing social media to share stories, to meeting on Zoom, both creators and exhibitors quickly discovered that adaptation to technology was vital during the long months in lockdown.

In my proposed presentation, I will share the experience of a virtual distribution journey with ‘Talia’. This will sit alongside my research into community media exhibition strategies, offering solutions for the years ahead as we find ourselves in an increasingly hybrid world when it comes to reaching our audiences.

Cultural Politics of Legitimising Licence Fee in the Era of Streaming

ABSTRACT. Abstract

This study examines the changes and continuities of the UK government’s licence fee schemes when many production and delivery mechanisms of British television are disrupted and restructured by foreign streaming platforms. Over the last decade, major broadcasters like BBC and ITV have experienced a loss in their viewership following the rise of streaming platforms (Sweney, 2022). Despite some efforts by British broadcasters to counter US-based streaming moguls, the domestic streaming market has been dominated by foreign competitors. As the market became more fragmented and saturated by foreign competitors, many of British television’s existing production and broadcast mechanisms have been fundamentally challenged, and broadcasters have been forced to reconsider their business models (D’Arma, Raats and Steemers, 2018; Pratley, 2022).

In this regard, the financing of British public media through licence fees has faced criticisms from different stakeholders in society—as the Conservatives’ plan to abolish the scheme in 2027 and the discussion about privatising Channel 4 exemplify. That said, based on analysing policy documents issued by relevant authorities, including the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Office of Communications (Ofcom), this study explores the discursive nature of licence fees n policy contexts. Considering the importance of public broadcasters in British society as safeguards of British culture, as well as anchor organisations facilitating creative clusters across the nation (BBC, 2022), the findings will contribute to understanding the changes in both British television in the streaming era and the presence of public service broadcasting in British cultural politics.


Taeyoung Kim is a Lecturer in Communication and Media at Loughborough University. Inspired by the traditions of critical media studies and the political economy of communications, his research centres on understanding the relationship between global and local forces in local cultural production at a time when many of the production and delivery mechanisms are reshaped and disrupted by US-based media and platform companies, and how the state responds to the globalisation of local cultural production.

13:00-14:30 Session 16B: Social Media: Protest and Political Change
Location: W003
Exploring the EndSARS Movement: Police Brutality in Nigeria through the lens Memory Studies

ABSTRACT. On 3 October 2020, a young man was reportedly shot dead by a team of Nigeria's Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Delta State, Nigeria, on the allegation that he was an internet fraudster. The evidence of Joshua's shooting was captured in a video. The audio in the video states that the Police just shot and killed the owner of the Lexus SUV and zoomed off with his car (Agbo, 2021). The Nigerian Police dismissed the report at first instance (Agbo, 2021). Nonetheless, the Police did not tender any evidence to substantiate its claim. Within a few days, the viral video generated outrage and engendered vast decentralised street protests in major cities in Nigeria, mainly organised through social media. From October 2020 till date, the Movement has had two protest Anniversaries (EndSARS 1.0 and 2.0). The Movement has continued to construct memories across times, an evolving area dominated by Western studies (Smit, 2020; Daphi & Zamponi, 2019; Merill & Lindgren, 2020), with a dearth of studies from the Global South, Africa, specifically. Consequently, using the digital ethnographic approach, this study attempts to understand how protesters use Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram "Stories" (Ephemeral; 24 hours Story) to construct memories of the EndSARS Movement in Nigeria from 2020 and through its Anniversaries in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Preliminary findings indicate that the "Story" enables connective memory work and constructs memetic resurrection, networked commemoration and digital narration of the EndSARS agitation.

Game of Shipyard: Role of social media and lens-based arts and in making political change

ABSTRACT. This paper discusses a case study of a bottom-up process of creating social knowledge for a political change in transforming a site of the former Gdansk Shipyard, Poland into a new waterfront quarter. Since 2021, the Gdansk Shipyard’s site is a candidate for the UNESCO World Heritage List. The paper examines the role of social media and lens-based arts in shaping public awareness concerning values of the Gdansk Shipyard’s cultural heritage, as well as generating political pressure and influence upon decisions of public officials, concerning forms and procedures of post-shipyard’s regeneration.

The paper addresses a lack of adequate public dialogue and participation within the schemes of the contemporary urban planning and development practices, referred to as neoliberal hegemony of urbanization (Brenner and Theodore, 2005, Miles, 2004, Fezer, 2010). The aim is to contribute established methodology of urban planning, through enhancing understanding of values of artistic interventions, with effective use of social media, in challenging the dominant views and planning practices of hegemonic city, simultaneously addressing urban cultural production by integrating citizens’ socio-spatial experiences and views.

The paper adopts a theoretical framework of rhizomatic multitude that emphasises the role of self-established, networked community of artists-activists and citizens with its shared knowledge, built dialogically with use of social media (Deleuze and Guattari, 1980, 1994; Negri and Hardt, 2001; Virno, 2004; Virno and Hardt, 2006). This adopted model is used to analyse organizational practices of art community as well as its participative performance in constructing and sharing social knowledge over time.

Countering Islamophobic hate speech on Twitter: Activist strategies
PRESENTER: Elizabeth Poole

ABSTRACT. Much has been written about the rise of xenophobic extremism online in the context of the growth of populism, post 2016 (Schradie, 2019). In particular, Twitter has become a focus for research due to its particular role in elite and journalist circles but also for practical reasons (Siapera, 2018). Our own research from 2016 to 2020 shows how hate speech towards Muslims ebbs and flows depending on trigger and viral events, as well as the context. Twitter can also be a space for solidarity amongst and with marginalized groups, this was particularly evident in a period of tighter restrictions on the platform and purge of far-right activists following the Capitol Hill riots (Poole et al, 2020). Activist strategies can be identified by analysing Twitter, but few projects have also interviewed those working to counter Islamophobia about their engagement practices. This paper draws on 15 interviews with key international activists who use Twitter regularly to participate in solidarity work with Muslims, including journalists, academics and other actors. The interviewees were drawn from our Twitter sample of three trigger events: Brexit, the Christchurch terror attack and Covid. We explore their objectives in engaging on a platform that has been criticized for its ‘commercial sentimentality’ and ‘impatience’ (Nikunen, 2019). What benefits does this participation bring? Can solidarities be formed online? What can other progressive groups learn from their practices? The paper speaks to the conference theme in exploring the limitations and possibilities of activist strategies online for connecting and countering Islamophobic hate speech.

Online Political campaigns as a form of social media movement protest– case study of the #OBIdient movement.

ABSTRACT. Social media (SM) has allowed for the organisation and communication of protest across different African countries (Poell and van Dijk 2017). In Nigeria, SM served as a platform where discussion and mobilisation for a social movement had successfully occurred in 2018 and in 2020, demanding the disbandment of Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) #EndSARS (Dambo et al. 2021). Therefore, social media are a technological platform where individuals with similar interest can converge to discuss and organise protest movements. Similarly, SM has become an effective tool for online electoral political campaign (Vergeer 2015); it has served as vehicle for information dissemination, supporter reinforcement, recruitment of volunteers, fundraising and voter mobilisation (Bimber and Davis 2003). SM is therefore a platform which has been utilised for various political purposes – electoral campaigns and social movements. This paper intends to investigate how presidential campaigns in Nigeria are being organised as social media movement. Specifically, this paper will explore how the distinct concepts of online electoral campaign and online social movement might interact, redefining and shaping one another particularly in the Nigerian context. This paper will examine the role of influencers within the #OBIdient movement on various social media platforms from March 2022 to February 2023, to determine if online electoral campaigns can be a form of activism shaped by social media movement protest. This research contributes to the social and political dimensions of media futures and connected relationships.

13:00-14:30 Session 16C: The Future of Technology
Location: W004
Immersive technology, media literacy and the future

ABSTRACT. This paper will outline the key findings from our latest qualitative research into immersive and future technology. We explore people’s experiences of ‘protometaverse’ technology, the ways in which media literacy intersects with these experiences and what this might mean for the future of media literacy. The findings will be contextualised with data and insights from our longstanding media use and attitudes research, which demonstrate the significant changes in media and technology habits of people in the UK over the past 15 years, and our Technology Tracker survey, which provides insight into the take up of internet-enabled technology such as VR headsets.

Ofcom’s Making Sense of Media programme seeks to improve the online skills, knowledge and understanding of UK adults and children. Our approach to promoting online media literacy is multi-dimensional, and considers a number of different aspects, including what users do and experience online; how media literacy initiatives can promote digital skills; and how the design of services can impact on users’ ability to participate fully and safely online. This research will consider each of these aspects, identifying the upcoming media literacy challenges in this arena, looking at how people currently behave in similar environments and what we can learn to prepare for a future where such technology becomes more mainstream.

Nested Cinematic Reality: cinema as a connected multi-media immersive experience for the living room of the future

ABSTRACT. Nested Cinematic Reality (NCR) is a practice-as-research project based on a novel concept for the presentation and consumption of cinematic content, which combines an atmospheric interior space (with IoT features), a virtual space in a VR headset, and traditional screens and other networked devices. The NCR research offers a vision for the living room of the future as a dynamic, customised cinematic space, which weaves a unique non-linear, nested narrative structure and immersive atmosphere for the viewer, based on contiguous and continuous transitions/alternations between the parallel or nested perceptual layers. The experience thus combines audio-visual, environmental, and emplaced, embodied production of meaning and affect, while blurring the boundaries between real/virtual, and direct/mediated experience. In this way, the project aims to discover new, immersive modes of film storytelling, aesthetics, performance and viewer participation, rooted in art/expanded cinema traditions and theoretical/philosophical concerns. By combining established and emerging production and presentation technologies, the project explores the narrative and emotional effects of a nested atmospheric environment, as well as the opportunities and limitations of visitor embodiment, empathy, virtual emplacement/displacement, and novel audio-visual expression and communication.

The first version of the project, funded by the University of Salford, will be realised as a public multi-media installation in Media City, Manchester in June 2023, creating an opportunity to test the vision for the Nested Cinema technology and content, and gather audience feedback. The installation will generate insights and audio-visual documentation, which will underpin the presentation of the research at the 2023 MeCCSA conference.

Connected Futures: the role of Virtual Reality in engaging the contemporary consumer with brand messages

ABSTRACT. In an era of rampant fashion and textile consumption, messaging around authenticity and slow fashion production is important in moving towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 12: responsible consumption. With the advent of AR-enabled mobile devices and web-VR, and the continued growth of the gaming industry, the contemporary consumer is increasingly exposed to immersive media.

As part of the AHRC-funded Augmented Fashion project, immersive web-VR content was created for Harris Tweed® in an attempt to engage the contemporary consumer with this traditional, heritage textile brand. This paper presents audience reactions to and engagement with the web-VR Harris Tweed® experience, comparing brand image perceptions created by traditional, real-world film content versus the immersive, virtual content.

Data was gathered using an interpretive paradigm, via a qualitative survey, which involved a purposive sample of Generation Z participants. The results of this comparison provide insight into the acceptance of and attitudes towards VR by a contemporary audience and will be of specific interest to those creating immersive content within the branding and advertising industries.

Augmented Fashion is an AHRC-funded interdisciplinary research project involving academics and industry partners from the fashion, textiles, and computing science disciplines in both the UK and China. The project seeks to explore ways to engage the consumer with the craftsmanship, heritage, value and sustainability of traditional fashion and textile products, using immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to attract the attention of contemporary audiences with these traditional and sometimes under-valued products.

13:00-14:30 Session 16D: Radio: Past, Present, and Future
Location: W009
Networks built for life: social cohesion connections through the practice of community media

ABSTRACT. Pushing back against the common narrative that media technologies increasingly disrupt human connections, community media is widely recognised as contributing to social cohesion (Order 2017; Forde et al., 2009; Lewis, 2008). However, much of this research is interested in community media audiences and listener engagement, rather than the experiences of community media practitioners themselves.

The Community Media Training Destinations research project interrogated the experiences of people with significant involvement in the Australian community broadcasting sector, to examine the impact of community media training and participation on career pathways. The research encompassed a national survey and in-depth interviews with 25 community broadcasting practitioners in 2022. This paper outlines one of the project’s key findings; that working or volunteering in community radio plays an important role to develop robust and meaningful networks, connections, and relationships which are central to shaping personal and professional pathways.

References Forde, S., Foxwell, K., & Meadows, M. (2009) Developing Dialogues: Indigenous and ethnic community broadcasting in Australia. Intellect Books.

Lewis, P. M. (2008) Promoting social cohesion: the role of community media. Strasbourg: Council of Europe

Order, S. (2017a). All the lonely people, where do they all belong: community radio and social connection. Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media, 15(2), 243-258.

Speaking my Mind: Governing the Present, Imagining the Future on All India Radio

ABSTRACT. When the Hindu nationalist party BJP came to power in India in 2014 with Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister, All India Radio started broadcasting a unique program on October 3rd. Prime minister Modi addressed the nation on the radio program "Mann ki Baat." The Hindi phrase "Mann ki Baat" can be loosely translated as "Speaking my mind." The phrase conveys an informal folksy tone; the Prime Minister speaks to the nation directly on air, addressing the imaginary citizenry about the nation's challenges, aspirations, and social issues. This paper analyzes the rhetoric of "Mann Ki Baat" to argue that this radio broadcast reflects the logic of neoliberalism and implicitly demonizes the "other." Through rhetorical pointers, the "other" is depicted as anti-national, an agent hindering national progress. This radio broadcast produces an aural emotional spectacle, connecting the present with the future and harping on building a national space where citizens should become responsible individuals, not dissenting voices. The discourse of "Mann ki Baat" shape the "other" as an unauthentic citizen with the tacit approval of the state machinery. The mediated imaginary of the "other" in "Mann ki Baat" belongs to the liminal space between the political citizenry and the cultural citizenry shaped by the majority. Also, "Mann ki Baat" imagines the un-authentic citizen as a threat to the majoritarian socio-cultural national fabric. The imagined monstrosity of the "anti-national" in the broadcast produces a fear of the anti-national in the public imagination, similar to the colonial anxiety of racial purity.

Digging Around In Public Service Radio. BBC Archaeology Broadcasts – Looking From The Past To The Future

ABSTRACT. In the early decades of the twentieth century archaeologists were carving out a new role for themselves as public intellectuals, and radio broadcasts represented a platform to relay archaeology to a public enthusiastic for information about the past. The BBC’s public service broadcasting remit, and the advent of regular radio broadcasting in 1922, enabled exciting new possibilities to bring education and entertainment to the British public. During this same period the growing profession of archaeology was becoming established as a respected scientific pursuit, with defined practices, boundaries, and techniques. At home and abroad, British archaeologists were making exciting discoveries about the earliest civilisations, and exotic finds such as the discovery of the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun fuelled public enthusiasm for archaeology. A symbiotic relationship rapidly developed between radio producers and archaeologists.

This presentation challenges the entrenched belief in the prominence of television in early media representations of archaeology, and analyses the significant role of BBC radio in archaeological historiography. Through discussing the important contribution of pioneering archaeological radio broadcasters, it also considers the place of archaeology in the modern media landscape. In the context of increasing challenges from commercial broadcasting, have we already seen the heyday of media archaeology? How are contemporary pressures on public service broadcasting impacting on the presentation of archaeological information to modern audiences, and how concerned should we be about the future of media archaeology, and the survival of educational broadcasting in general?

13:00-14:30 Session 16E: Gender and Genre
Location: W010B
The Evolution of Tim Burton’s Female Protagonist in Film and TV: Alice in Wonderland (2010), Big Eyes (2014) and Wednesday (2022-).

ABSTRACT. This paper explores the evolution of Tim Burton’s female protagonist through the lens of his trademark tropes and motifs: broken and transgressive bodies presented metonymically, and the theme of childlike, individualistic, creative outcast fighting against the conformity and narrow-mindedness of ‘the crowd’.

Tim Burton is a prolific director with an unmistakable visual style. His narratives typically revolve around a male protagonist, creative, eccentric and often childlike, who is punished by society for failing to ‘fit in’ and to be ‘normal’. The themes of creativity, loss of trust and rejection are highlighted by extensive use of visual synecdoche. Burton’s visual and narrative focus on exaggerated eyes and damaged hands paints the picture of an outcast renouncing bland bourgeois conformity in favour of individualistic fantasy and utopian authenticity. Physical brokenness or exaggerated features reflect the psychological fragmentation that comes with the refusal to subscribe to a collective identity.

Burton also confers these features and motifs onto his three female protagonists – Alice (Mia Wasikowska, Alice in Wonderland), Margaret Keane (Amy Adams, Big Eyes) and Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega, Wednesday). Yet, only in Wednesday, a recent Netflix project partially directed by Burton who is also credited as an executive producer, does the titular protagonist get the full ‘Burton’ treatment complete with the Gothic-Romantic sentiment, extreme individualism fed by dark creativity, and the overarching Frankenstein theme of the monster vs ‘the crowd’. This paper also considers the reasons for this development, including the change of medium and the collaborative format in which Burton’s style is turned into a franchise.

“I Feel Like I’m Stuck in a Weird Loop”: Rotoscoping, Time Travel and Female Subjectivity in Undone (Amazon Prime, 2019—)

ABSTRACT. The promotion of Undone, a women-centric half-hour drama, emphasises its status as an example of quality television and as a work of art with regard to its use of rotoscoping to create a complex storyworld as well as its female protagonist’s character trajectory. This paper investigates the ways in which the rotoscoping and spatio-temporal structure of Undone work to articulate its main character’s experiences as an individual living through precarious times as she relates to others and herself. Undone’s narrative structure weaves together scenes from the narrative present, past, and future. This is achieved via rotoscoping, which acts as narrative glue that conveys the characters’ affective relationships with one another by emphasising their interdependence and interrelatedness. In the context of contemporary US TV, Undone, alongside other recent television programmes such as Search Party (TBS/HBO Max, 2016-2022), Made for Love (HBO Max, 2021—), and Russian Doll (Netflix, 2019—) employs Science Fiction and other genre tropes and aesthetics outside the conventions of typical women-centric half-hour dramedies of the past few years. As their protagonists navigate how to relate to others, questions of sex, race, and class are raised and viewers are invited to consider these dynamics within contemporary culture and society, as they negotiate both anxieties and hopes pertaining to this year’s conference theme of connected futures. Due to Undone’s unique storytelling device¬—rotoscoping—this paper is especially interested in showing how this technology enables the rendering of the story’s principal character’s complex interpersonal relationships and worries and hopes about the future.

DETAILS: Mining stories, meaning and emotion in film - A woman's perspective

ABSTRACT. In 2019 I made the film DETAILS: Women and Social Realism (25 mins), in partnership with Teeside University that looked at the contribution of female filmmakers to social realist filmmaking in the United Kingdom. In 2020 the film was nominated for a Research in Film award by the AHRC.

In her contribution to the film, actress Kate Dickie expressed that "Women mine stories differently to how a man would" and that working with women directors was different to working with male directors. At various points Dickie, in discussion with UK Film Directors Tina Gharavi and Morag Mackinnon, try to define what or why working with women or men directors was a different experience. The contributors also discuss the need for more diverse voices and argue that women filmmakers are instrumental in ensuring that those voices are heard and their stories are told. In this conference paper I will further the themes of this conversation and look at what qualities women, in lead creative roles, bring to the relationships and creative processes on productions and how it impacts the outcome. Where are the diverse female voices in Scottish Film? If there were more female-led television and film productions being commissioned, would we see more and/or different industry success? I will reference the work of female led Scottish Film production companies such as Synchronicity Films, Black Camel Pictures, Sigma Films and Tyke Films as well as the work of women directors including Joanna Hogg, Clio Barnard, and lesser know rising stars based in Scotland such as Laura Carriera (Director: The Shift) and Olivia Middleton (Director: A90). I will also share observations and outcomes of my own working practice as a screenwriter and director.

PLEASE NOTE: I am also submitting the film mentioned here as a proposal for a screening event so people can watch it as well as attend the individual presentation.

13:00-14:30 Session 16F: Identities and Representations
Location: W001
The Outsider

ABSTRACT. Many people are familiar with the term ‘alternative comedy’ but this phrase often obscures other forms of entertainment that could be found on what was called the alternative cabaret (altcab) circuit of the 1980s. My book, A Cultural History of Alternative Cabaret, 1979-1991, is the first cultural history written about the altcab movement of the 1980s. Using performers’ interviews, participant observation, autoethnography, archive study and discourse analysis, my book charts the movement from its infancy to the moment it was supplanted by the ‘new’ comedy and ‘laddism’ of the early 1990s.

This paper discusses my book’s autoethnographic chapter, ‘The Outsider’. With a title is borrowed from Camus’ work of the same name, this chapter sets out to explain how I refused to perform to expectations of a form of white-constructed ‘blackness’, and how my cultural capital contributed to my position of resistance. Indeed, as Fanon argues in Black Skin, White Masks, a black man is required to “not only to be black but he must be black in relation to the white man”.

In addition to Camus, ‘The Outsider’ draws from the works of Bourdieu, Ellison, Fanon and Carrington to critically analyse my comedy journey from my rebellious childhood to my early years as one of the few performers of colour on the circuit.

Authenticity, habitus, and classed visibility in Chinese rural-to-urban migrant workers’ online identity performance

ABSTRACT. Facilitated by the explosive growth in video-sharing social media, videos produced by rural-to-urban migrant workers have generated unprecedented visibility on the Chinese internet. As a group suffering from structural social inequalities, their recordings and sharing of everyday moments enable their own presentation of identities to be seen. Drawing on Bourdieu’s notion of class distinctions and Goffmanian understanding of identity performance, this study investigates migrant workers’ online visual self-presentation on the basis of a multimodal discourse analysis of 30 self-produced videos posted by them. It examines strategies they take to project themselves as “authentic workers”, including posting the rawness of the body, displaying the working-class way of life, and producing class-based visual aesthetics. In practicing these strategies, migrant workers redefine dominant perceptions of their identities by conferring new meanings to the established, stigmatised labels associated with them. This then allows a previously mis/underrepresented social group to normalise and make their identities a familiar presence in public space, thus brewing the potential to resist the wider hegemonic hierarchies of visibility. However, this study also discovers that the increasing visibility and the subsequent intensified scrutiny constrain migrant workers’ performed authenticity. What they present as authentic is not merely decided by themselves but is expected to be in line with the normative class-based distinctions and ideological scripts; otherwise, they might be deemed as “fake/inauthentic.” As a result, migrant workers carefully balance burnishing one’s image while simultaneously deflecting potential critiques. This study thus contributes to current scholarships by revealing that authenticity, like other social constructivist ideologies, is also a weapon for the reproduction of class-based social inequalities.

13:00-14:30 Session 16G: Digital Journalism and Dilemmas
Location: W010A
Safety and Privacy in the Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs)

ABSTRACT. Support is growing for restricting the use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) and extending a right of public participation, but disagreement remains about how to do this.

The UK government has already consulted on how to restrict their use. A petition to the Scottish Parliament on SLAPPs has received all-party support in the Petitions Committee and is now being progressed to a further evidence-gathering stage.

Other jurisdictions, notably in the United States, already have measures to restrict their use but many do not.

SLAPPs usually arise out of defamation actions but their real purpose is to halt public criticism and discourage investigative journalism into rich and powerful individuals, using the chilling effect of the costs of defending a claim regardless of its merits.

The UK is the most used jurisdiction for foreign legal threats, even by sanctioned Russian oligarchs. Former Financial Times journalist Catherine Belton faced five lawsuits from three sanctioned Russian oligarchs and firms. Author Tom Burgis was sued in London by a Kazakh mining group before the case was case thrown out by the High Court.

Both writers have described the high psychological toll placed on them.

At the same time the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that London law firms are using former police officers and special forces personnel along with hackers to put targets under “aggressive surveillance” to produce evidence for court cases.

Together these are real and immediate threats to media safety and privacy.

The News People of Silence: Digital Prodnewsers and Non-Professional WhatsApp News Groups in the Era of News Mobility

ABSTRACT. In a world where life has become more and more liquefied (Bauman, 2005), mobile devices have been playing an instrumental role. These are strongly embedded into contemporary social life and are giving rise to various forms of coordination and social networking (see Ling, 2014; Westlund, 2013; Ling and Campbell, 2011). Mobile technology is nowadays part and parcel of the world of journalism, perhaps to the degree that it is hard to imagine news without digital mobile networks (Duffy and Westlund, 2022). Such technology impacted, for example, the platforms whereby news is being produced, distributed and consumed, but also the array of actors that are nowadays involved in its manufacturing, illustrating news as an ongoing information construction process in which professionals and other participants are joining hands (see e.g., Ilan, 2022; Cervi, Pérez Tornero & Tejedor, 2020; Belair-Gagnon and Holton, 2018; Ahva, 2017; Chadwick, 2011; Goggin, 2010). This paper addresses mobile news-making by focusing on non-professional WhatsApp news groups and the daily supply of materials delivered via these groups by its non-professional members – the “prodnewsers”. These materials are eventually received by traditional news organizations and end up as news items. Based on a thematic analysis of materials in three leading Israeli non-professional WhatsApp news groups (“People of Silence”, “Field Security” and “Reports from the Ground”), and on in-depth interviews with the groups’ founders and selected prodnewsers, this paper aims at illustrating these groups as a hybrid form between news ‘professionals’ and ‘amateur’ WhatsApp users, and their social implications.

References Ahva, L. (2017). How is participation practiced by “in-betweeners” of journalism?. Journalism Practice, 11(2-3), 142-159.‏ Bauman, Z. (2005). Liquid life. Cambridge: Polity. Belair-Gagnon, V., and Holton, A. E. (2018). Strangers to the game? Interlopers, intralopers, and shifting news production. Media and communication, 6(4), 70-78.‏‏ Chadwick, A. (2011). The political information cycle in a hybrid news system: The British prime minister and the “Bullygate” affair. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 16(1), 3-29.‏ Cervi, L., Pérez Tornero, J. M., and Tejedor, S. (2020). The challenge of teaching mobile journalism through MOOCs: A case study. Sustainability, 12(13), 5307, 1-15.‏ Duffy, A. and Westlund, O. (2022). Mobility, smartphones and news. In: Stuart, A. (ed.), The Routledge Companion to News and Journalism, 2nd Edition (pp. 170-178). London: Routledge. (forthcoming) Goggin, G. (2010). The intimate turn of mobile news. In: G. Meikle and G. Redden (Eds.), News online: Transformations and continuities (pp. 99-114). New York, NY: Palgrave McMillan. Ilan, J. (2022). Live and Kicking: Digital Live Broadcasting Technologies, Participating Strangers and News Mobility. International Journal of Communication, 16, 20.‏ Ling, R. (2004). The mobile connection: The cell phone's impact on society. San Francisco, CA: Elsevier.‏ Ling, R. and Campbell, S. W. (2011). Mobile Communication: Bringing Us Together And Tearing Us Apart. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. Westlund, O. (2013). Mobile news: A review and model of journalism in an age of mobile media. Digital journalism, 1(1), 6-26.‏

Media Education and The Devolved Post-Covid Scottish Newsroom

ABSTRACT. Ornebring (2010) suggests that “Journalists ascribe great power and independent agency to technology” (p. 1), 12 years on technology has defined journalistic identity in pre-covid and post covid newsrooms and dictates how, where and when we gather and share content. Between 2018-2021 i conducted doctoral studies into MOJO practice around the world and upon viva completion in June of last year i returned to national and regional newsrooms as a one-man band journalist with ITV in the UK.

Over the past year i have incorporated insights from my reporting for ITV during the pandemic, into my teaching and post-doctoral studies. These include reflecting on the challenges and opportunities of more autonomy in the field, evaluating editorial decision making and exploring the skills required for cub reporters entering newsrooms that are now often just "empty seats" Deuze (2019).

In this paper i will expand on these findings drawing on my three roles of researcher, practitioner and educator and demonstrate how the concerns facing many young reporters are ones we overlook or take for granted including self-confidence building and interpersonal skills developed. Through supporting and mentoring these areas, students develop stronger abilities in the field and can embrace the autonomy offered, verses seeing the independence of the devolved covid newsroom as wholly alienating.

The auto-ethnographical elements including personal reflections from the fieldwork aligns in parts to a new wave of journalism research building on the work of Philo et al, (Murphy, 2020) (Willig, 2012). The short paper will also include video clips and examples of teaching aids to support undergrad and postgraduate media pedagogy.


Ornrebring, H (2010) Technology and journalism as Labour: Historical Perspectives, Journalism, Sage Publishing

Murphy, E, (2020) A Guide to Remote Mobile Ethnography, Indeemo

Deuze, M, (2019) What Journalism Is (Not), Social Media + Society

Willig, I, (2012) Newsroom ethnography in a field perspective, Sage Publishing

17:00-18:00 Session 20: Film Screenings

1. Catriona MacInnes

Women and Social Realism: (Documentary 25 mins)) written, directed and edited by Catriona MacInnes

Featuring Actress Kate Dickie, and filmmakers Morag Mackinnon and Tina Gharavi

Made in partnership with Teeside University, looking at the contribution of female filmmakers to social realist filmmaking in the United Kingdom. In 2020 the film was nominated for a Research in Film award by the AHRC.


2. Jimmy Hay

Location: W005