Call for Papers: MeCCSA Postgraduate Network 2020 Conference

University of Brighton, 10-11 September 2020

Conference Theme: Mediating Place: Memory, Culture and Experience

The MeCCSA Postgraduate Network is pleased to invite postgraduate researchers to attend our upcoming annual conference at the University of Brighton on 10th and 11th September 2020.

The theme of the conference is Mediating Place: Memory, Culture and Experience. However, the Postgraduate Network and the Organising Committee at the University of Brighton are committed to providing an inclusive and supportive environment for all postgraduate students in Media, Communication and Cultural Studies. Therefore, papers around other themes, including the full range of research areas and methodologies in our field, are also strongly welcome and encouraged.

Details on the theme:

Place is something more often sensed than understood, an indistinct region of awareness rather than something clearly defined. ‘Place’ has no fixed identity, as places themselves do not, and has similarly been subject to numerous demands, whether theological or philosophical, political or aesthetic.

Tacita Dean and Jeremy Millar, Place, 2005, p. 14

Dean and Millar’s comments encapsulate the pervasiveness of place in contemporary research – but also point to its inherently contested nature. The interaction of ideas, experiences and cultures of place are always already infused with power, politics and the plurality of possible pasts, presents and futures.

This conference aims to explore the multiple mediations of place and understand the demands and opportunities these provide for our research, in terms of both theory and method. What knowledges, practices and positionalities are opened (and closed)? What entanglements and encounters are produced (and denied)? What types of places emerge and how do they interact (or not)?

Structured to encourage understandings, experiences and discussions of place as a ‘simultaneity of stories-so-far’ (Massey, 2005), we are seeking papers, panel proposals and creative contributions from a wide range of disciplines and would be delighted to receive abstracts from interdisciplinary researchers and submissions from creative practitioners.

Contributions are not limited to the below, but the following are some themes delegates may want to present on:

(Un)bounded Place

Place can be created through the enforcement of boundaries – political, material, imagined, technological etc. – or can exist less tangibly as sensed or remembered. Places are often both of these at the same time. Work that engages with the contested and productive natures of (un)bounded place, and work that attends to the boundary itself – exploring its particular social, political and cultural ecology – are just some examples of what might come under this theme.

Depicted Place

This theme understandably links closely with ideas of bounded place as when a place is depicted, decisions are made of what is included and where the limits lie. It is possible to argue that all material culture is a depiction of the place it has come from, a notable example is the often stereotyped dot painting style of Western Desert Aboriginal art becoming synonymous with an Australian aesthetic (Gibson, 2011). A more overtly political element of depicted place may be discussed through the idea of mapping (and counter-mapping) place.

Disappearing Place

This theme speaks to both the increasing ‘placelessness’ of places through, for example, the homogenising forces of ‘development’ and the untethering effects of contemporary capitalism and its (apparent) ‘fluidity’, as well as the more material eradication of places through processes of power and politics, as well as climate change and environmental crisis. Questions of which places endure – in what way, and how, why and for whom – are also pertinent here.

Examples of topics explored through theories of place:

Place’s Critical Relation to Space and Environment

Feeling Out of Place

The Politics of Place

Placing Oneself in Place

The Online/Virtual Place

Without a Place

Time and Place/Memoryscapes

Co-becoming With Place

The Agency of Place

Please send an abstract of 200-400 words along with a brief biography and institutional affiliation to by 30th March 2020.

We are accepting proposals for:

20-minute paper presentations

1.5-hour panel sessions (with 3-5 contributors)

Creative contributions: short films, performance, artistic practice etc.

Research poster submissions are very welcome – please be aware that you will be expected to provide the printed poster.

If you would like to propose a panel please send a 300 word description of the panel along with the abstracts.

Please indicate in your submission if you need any specialist equipment, other than projector and podium.

Please also let us know if you have any particular access requirements.

There are a limited number of travel bursaries available, please enquire for more information.

Additionally, we would like to encourage delegates to submit full versions of their papers for the potential inclusion in a Special Conference Issue of the Postgraduate Network’s journal Networking Knowledge. More details about this will be released after the abstract deadline.

If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch with the details above.

We look forward to receiving your abstracts and welcoming you to the conference.

Conference Organisers: Jo Pilcher, Kate Monson, Ëpha Roe, Helene Marie Abiraad, Martha Beard, Harriet Parry, Kavitha Ravikumar, Matt Smith and Ali Williams

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