Three-D Issue 17: The 2011 MeCCSA Postgraduate Network Conference

Shelley Thompson
Bournemouth University

More than 60 papers, nearly 100 postgraduates and early post-doctoral researchers, three keynotes and plenary session, two workshops, and a barbecue on the beach. That was the recipe for a successful 8th Annual MeCCSA-Postgraduate Network Conference in July!

Postgraduate researchers from Bournemouth University’s Media School organised the event, which attracted early career researchers from around the UK and Europe for two full days of conference activities on 4th and 5th July 2011. At the close of the conference, participants reported the various activities in and out of the conference venue coupled with high-quality paper presentations made for an enjoyable experience.

The event, which was sponsored by ADM-HEA, featured papers on topics including peace journalism in post-conflict societies; representations of gender and sexuality in television; reconceptualising the Western in film; and the transmedia narratives of the Muppets.

Many of the participants reported that they attended the event for the opportunity to present their work in a supportive environment and were not disappointed by this year’s conference.

Dean Stephen Jukes officially opened the conference on 4th July and introduced the first keynote speaker, Prof. Barry Richards of Bournemouth University. Richards’ address asked participants to consider what responsibilities the media have in relation to violent, potentially violent or anti-democratic extremisms in his paper entitled ‘Freedom of speech, extremism and the emotional public sphere’.

Prof. Heather Nunn and Dr. Anita Biressi, both from Roehampton University, represented the Women’s Media Studies Network in a plenary session on the second day of the conference. In her paper ‘Retreat TV: frugality, emotional investment and home’, Nunn considered representations of the home in reality TV from site of financial investment before the housing market decline to, more recently, a site of emotional investment. Biressi, in her paper ‘From Caterpillars to Butterflies: the work ready makeover on reality TV’, questioned whether and to what extent factual programmes like Benefit Busters and Working Girls represent political debate about gendered and classed social mobility.

The conference closed with poetry from Prof. Seán Street of Bournemouth University in his paper ‘The Colour of Sound – Poetic Modes of Making Radio’. In his address, Street asked conference attendees to listen to the poetry of radio drawing on examples from a variety of programmes including the shipping forecast.

In addition to the guest speakers, attendees had the opportunity to attend workshops on writing and publishing their work in academic journals presented by Dr. Darren Lilleker (Bournemouth University), developing engaging posters presented by Mark Shufflebottom (Bournemouth University), and a session where participants shared their experiences of teaching facilitated by Debbie Flint and Jenny Embleton, both of ADM-HEA (see report on page 8). Many participants said they enjoyed the keynote and plenary sessions, as well as the workshops they attended and would like to see more sessions like them at future conferences.

The annual conference is amongst the many events of the Postgraduate Network that is designed for postgraduates and early year post doctoral researchers to share their research and experiences. A conference edition of the Postgraduate Network journal, Networks, is in development and will soon be published online.

For more information about the MeCCSA-Postgraduate Network, visit www.meccsa.org.uk/networks/postgraduate-network.

To check out the journal, visit http://journalhosting.org/meccsa-pgn/index.php/netknow/issue/current.

Posted by Einar Thorsen