Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier, France*
After two years editing Networking Knowledge – the Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network it’s time for me to step down and handover responsibility to a new pair of hands.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve had the pleasure of co-editing special issues on Mediatizing Gaza (with Nour Shreim) and Fortress Europe: Media, Migration and Borders (with Sara Marino), which I felt were issues that needed urgently responding to with a presentation of research currently being done by emerging scholars. The format of an online journal does after all enable immediate initiatives and the quick turnaround of peer-reviewed material. I’ve also enjoyed co-editing the journal’s last two special issues on the Annual MeCCSA-PGN Conferences held in 2014 (with Andreas Rauh Ortega) and 2015 (with Francien Broekhuizen, Danai Mikelli, Poppy Wilde).
Having introduced the possibility of publishing articles and other material on any MeCCSA-related theme as part of standard, unthemed issues, I’ve also had the opportunity to commission a wide range of material – from articles on Simondon and digital objects and Rancière and Occupy, to proposals for digital environmental media studies and review essays on Christian Fuchs and Social Media – from emerging scholars from other countries and disciplines (published in standard issues in the summers of 2015 and 2016). And having encouraged the inclusion of interviews with established scholars as part of the journal’s special issues, I’ve also had the opportunity to interview Clare Birchall, Lisa Blackman, Rebecca Coleman and Gary Hall on their keynote MeCCSA-PGN lectures, Helga Tawil-Souri on the digital occupation of Gaza, David Morley on media, migration and the borders of Fortress Europe, and Des Freedman, Terry Flew and Sean Phelan as part of a special section of interviews on neoliberalism, media and power.
In my time as editor, I’ve tried to speed up the peer-review process and ensure that decisions are made within (in most cases) a month, and I’ve increased and regularised the number of issues of the journal published to 6 per volume. I’ve also made the calls for submissions, issue proposals and peer-reviewers open, so that those interested can contact the editor at any point in the year. Another recent initiative has been to publish video abstracts for some of our articles on our YouTube channel, which is dedicated to showcasing material published in the journal, as well as the wider activities of the network, such as conferences and workshops. And as a member of the executive committee of the network, it has also been a pleasure to work with colleagues on such activities.
I’ve been impressed by the quality and scope of many of the issues that the journal’s guest editors have also produced, some of which I inherited from my predecessor, and some whose proposals I accepted myself. The diversity of subject areas – digital comics, cinematic spectatorship, selfies, music audiences and practice-led research – is an encouraging reflection of the breadth of research topics currently being investigated. ‘Gender and the Screenplay’, ‘Together While Apart: Mediating Relationships’, ‘Sex & Sexualities in Popular Culture’, and ‘Ageing in a Network Society’, are among the other issues currently underway, and which will be inherited by my replacement, Patricia Prieto Blanco.
Already co-editing the forthcoming issue on Mediating Relationships, Patricia is a visual researcher working on place, affect and the everyday, and she teaches photography and media studies at the University of Brighton. I’m sure the journal will be in safe hands and I wish her well with her time as editor. I hope she enjoys it as much as I did.
* From September 2016: Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ), France