Three-D Issue 19: MeCCSA 2013: Spaces and Places of Culture

Máire Messenger Davies
University of Ulster

The members of the conference team at the University of Ulster have been impressed and pleased by the enthusiastic response we have had from people wanting to present papers at the 2013 conference in Derry in January (see The theme of ‘space and place’ has produced a number of submissions from scholars who might not normally come to a MeCCSA conference: scholars of architecture, tourism, ‘heritage’ and city studies, as well as media scholars studying representation of place and space in film, television, photography and digital media. An action-packed year in the media policy arena, has also produced a number of submissions on press regulation and the Leveson Inquiry. It seems, too, that there will be strong national (Ireland, UK) and international (China, USA, eastern Europe) themes.

Signing up: who’s coming?

We budgeted for 150 delegates in our original plans and we have had many more successful submissions than this. However, as we predicted, not everybody whose abstract has been accepted will be able to come – whether through teaching clashes, budget squeezes or travel complications. Hence we cannot yet confirm final numbers.

Our programme is taking shape, but will not reach its (semi) final version (when it will be uploaded to the website) until the week of 26th November when the early bird registration also comes to an end.

We are encouraging potential delegates through regular email reminders to register in time for the early bird deadline, to help us finalise the programme, and to make their own travel and accommodation plans easier.

We want to ensure that everybody listed on the programme really intends to come – given the practicalities of booking travel to Northern Ireland, this commitment is necessary. It won’t be very easy (or cheap) for people to decide near the last minute that they’d like to turn up and give a paper after all.

Meanwhile, we can confirm that all the promised keynotes except one, as featured on the site, have confirmed their presence: a brief table of when they are speaking is outlined below.

Changes of plan

Derry walls overlooking Bogside

One unfortunate dropout has been one of our keynote speakers, Adriana de Souza e Silva, who was speaking in the final keynote session on ‘online space and place’. However we are grateful to the team of Paul Sermon and Charlotte Gould from the University of Salford, for taking her place. Judging from many of our submissions, virtual space, and the ways in which it relates to ‘real’ space will be a major theme in these two and a half days.

The third day of the conference, as at Bedfordshire in 2012, will run until 5 pm. We realize this may make return travel more complicated for some people. On the other hand, if you have made the effort and expense to come to Derry, it may be worth your while to get the full value out of your trip, and benefit from the full length of the programme. For people staying on until Saturday, we hope that the City of Culture planners and ourselves, will be able to lay on some entertainment in the city on Friday evening.

Programme Outline: January 9-11, 2013

For more information, visit:

DAY 1: Wed 9th Jan 2013 

11.00-12.30pm Registration, lunch
12.45-2.30pm Opening Plenary 1: spaces and places of culture:
Beatriz Garcia, Phil Redmond, Shona McCarthy – Chair, M. McLoone; Official welcome, VC Richard Barnett
3.00-4.30pm Panels
4.45–5.45pm Plenary 2: Stuart Hood memorial lecture, John Hill
6.30–8.00pm Reception, Playhouse, hosted by Derry City council
8.15-10.00pm Plenary 3: Film and TV session with illustrative clips
‘The local as global: Regional film and TV production’: Panel discussion with Phil Redmond, TV producer, City of Culture and John Moores University; Richard Williams, NI Screen; Ruth McElroy, University of Glamorgan and Scrin Wales; Brian Winston, University of Lincoln & documentary film maker. Chair, Maggie Taggart, Arts and Education Correspondent, BBC NI.

DAY 2: Thurs 10th Jan 2013

9.00-10.30am Panels
11.00–12.30pm Plenary 4: ‘The place and space of journalism nationally, internationally & online’:
Roy Greenslade, UK; Homson Shaw, China; Claire Wardle, Storyful, Dublin, (online & citizen journalism) Chair, Pat Loughrey
12.30–2.30pm Derry events; practice screenings; lunch
2.30–4.00pm Panels
4.30-5.30pm Plenary 5:
Bruce Brown: ‘Preparing for the REF’
5.30-6.30pm MeCCSA AGM,
7.30pm Conference dinner, Custom House
9.30pm MeCCSA Quiz, Custom House upstairs

DAY 3: Fri 11th Jan 2013

9.30-11.00am Panels
11.30–12.45pm Plenary 6: Conference overview
Terry Eagleton, ‘Culture, space & place’;
James Curran ‘Mickey Mouse Squeaks Back’
12.45–1.30pm Network meetings
Lunch, posters, prize-giving
2.30-4.00pm Panels
4.15–5.30pm Plenary 7: ‘Transcending space and place: mediating place online’

Stephen Shaw, MoD Frank Designs, Belfast;
Paul Sermon & Charlotte Gould, University of Salford, Chair tba

Conference space and place

Custom House Table Setting

Plans are well under way for making sure the conference venue is as attractive and user friendly as possible. The Magee campus of the university has been refurbished over the summer and all technical and physical resources staff are standing by to help. Running a major event so soon after Christmas is always a bit risky – as other conference organisers will attest, but we hope we are prepared for most possible hiccups. There is no teaching in early January, as we still have a semester system, so we will have the campus spaces very much to ourselves, with overspill rooms if required. Meetings have been held with representatives of the City of Culture and Derry venues, such as the Playhouse, and the Nerve Centre, to prepare for receptions and cultural events, and also screenings. A number of practice scholars want to screen full-length material, and we hope to programme this as part of the City of Culture events, when all the information becomes available.

Over to you …

We’ve done our best to prepare for Meccsa 2013: when January comes, it’s going to be up to you, the delegates, to make the event a success, and ,we hope, to enjoy your visit to the historical Maiden City, in its beautiful surroundings. In the meantime, please keep in touch and send queries via the contact names on the website.

For further information contact:
Prof. Martin McLoone at, and keep an eye on the conference website, as it develops, at

For more about Derry/Londonderry: and 

The new "Peace Bridge"

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