Conference will deal with relations between media and democracy


SNP’s Joan McAlpine, left, and Fiona Hyslop, right, with the speakers at the conference in the University of Stirling.

A MAJOR UK media and communications conference starts at the University of Stirling today – the first time it has been held in Scotland.

The three-day Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) conference theme is ‘Continuity and Change – Media, Communications and Politics’, encompassing a range of academic fields.

It coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Scottish Parliament, where conference delegates last night joined politicians at a reception sponsored by Joan McAlpine MSP, which featured a welcome address by Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs in the Scottish Government.

Dr Alenka Jelen-Sanchez, deputy head of the Division of Communications, Media and Culture at the university, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting the first MeCCSA annual conference in Scotland at the University of Stirling.

“We’re looking forward to bringing together academics, practitioners and professionals to question the role of traditional and digital media and communications in maintaining continuity and advocating for political change.”

Conference topics will include: media activism and civic engagement; digital cultures; media in devolved political contexts; media archives and pedagogy; documenting political change; ways of witnessing; crisis and change communications; media representation of marginal groups; ethics, power and responsibility; and cultural histories of film, media and communications education.

Keynote speakers will include Philip Schlesinger, a professor in Cultural Policy at the University of Glasgow, who will ask: ‘What’s happening to the public sphere?’

Shohini Chaudhuri, a professor in the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex, will discuss ‘continuity and change in contemporary film-making from and about the Arab world and Iran’.

Leshu Torchin, a senior lecturer in Film Studies at the University of St Andrews, will explore documentaries’ role in pushing ‘poverty and its symptoms into the realm of politics’. Meanwhile, Hannu Nieminen, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and professor of media and communications policy at the University of Helsinki, ‘will critically discuss our understanding of the relationship between the media and democracy’.

There will also be four round-table discussions with prominent academics, experts and practitioners, on: media and nations in transition; women in media and politics; media production in Scotland; and the intersections of journalism and public relations.

  • Let’s hope the SNP in West Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire Council’s SNP administration have someone present to hear Professor Nieminen who “‘will critically discuss our understanding of the relationship between the media and democracy’. Perhaps they should invite Joan McAlpine to Dumbarton to give them a talk on censorship and press freedom? – EDITOR

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