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[ecrea] CfP: Instagram Conference 2018: Studying Instagram Beyond Selfies

Fri Mar 09 11:45:25 GMT 2018


I am delighted to announce the CfP for /the Instagram Conference 2018: Studying Instagram Beyond Selfies/ to be hosted by Middlesex University London on 1 June 2018.

The purpose of the conference is to explore new theories and methodological approaches capable of unlocking the full socio-anthropological potential of Instagram, and better enabling researchers to undertake the deep exploration of everyday practices through the platform.

Abstract below

Keynote speakers (


*Richard Rogers*, Professor of New Media & Digital Culture, Media Studies, University of Amsterdam


*Crystal Abidin*, Postdoctoral Fellow with the Media Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC) at Jönköping University, and Adjunct Researcher with the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) at Curtin University

We invite participants to submit an abstract (350 words) or a full panel proposal (500 words).

Link to the full call for proposals:

Deadline: *30 April 2018*


*Instagram Conference 2018: Studying Instagram Beyond Selfies*

*Middlesex University London, 1 June 2018*

With as many “users as Twitter (310 million), Snapchat (100-million-plus) and Pinterest (100 million) combined”, Instagram has become one of the most important social networking sites globally and in the process has transformed the role of photographs and photography in visual culture. The phenomenal success of Instagram has not gone unnoticed by brands and micro-celebrities that increased their investments and activities on the platform. Beyond its popularity and commercial value, Instagram is an environment but also a device that offers rich possibilities for conducting social research. Most notably it opens up a number of new pathways for exploring socio-cultural processes related to the more mundane, tiny, and unseen aspects of people’s /ordinary lives/. Instagram enables researchers to see through the eyes of social actors, and glimpsing into their everyday micro-rituals, private moments, and back- as well as front stages – the essential material of sociology and anthropology, which were either unavailable or prohibitively expensive to explore before at scale.

The conference will explore new theories and methodological approaches capable of unlocking the full socio-anthropological potential of Instagram, focusing on two major challenges that have arisen in recent research. From a theoretical point of view there is a scarcity of empirical research conducted through Instagram. In addition, although Instagram has been used for exploring a variety of topics, the majority of projects have tended to focus on the selfie phenomenon. For all its zeitgeisty appeal, the selfie is in fact a niche phenomenon in the larger context of Instagram genres. The attention given to selfies is more than understandable, given their importance to brands and micro-celebrities as promotional tools. However, such users represent just a portion of the whole Instagram population. Hence, there is a need for new theories and approaches capable of enabling researchers to undertake the deep exploration of everyday practices through the platform. From the methodological perspective, the major issue concerning Instagram relates to that fact that in 2016 the platform heavily curtailed access to it feed API for non-commercial partners, rendering it particularly difficult for many academics to access it for research purposes. This poses serious limitations to the possibility of developing sustainable and effective strategies for collecting and analysing Instagram data. Again, we see here another major concern that is urgent to address and discuss within an International Conference.

We invite participants, both academics and professionals, from various disciplines including media studies, sociology, anthropology, consumer culture, political science, information and computer science, branding, PR and advertising, arts, urban studies. Together, we will address a set of recurring questions in current research, from the theoretical and methodological perspective. How, for example:

  * /What do ‘ordinary’ users use Instagram for?//Subversive uses of
    selfies on Instagram/. /Studying every day practices and rituals on
    Instagram. Identity work on Instagram/.
  * /Brands on Instagram: how do brands relate to consumers on
    Instagram?/H/ow do consumers relate to brands on Instagram? /
  * /Which kind of social formations does Instagram afford? Communities?
    Publics? Crowds?/
  * /How is affective labour performed on Instagram? Which are the best
    strategies to capture and measure it?/
  * /How can we study creative work through Instagram?//How does
    creativity work on Instagram?/ /How is arts consumption influenced
    by Instagram?/ /How do artists use Instagram?/ /How is the concept
    of artistic value affected by Instagram?/
  * /Is still possible to explore Instagram without public APIs? And if
    so how?//Innovative Instagram research methods that have gone beyond
    the API roadblock./
  * /Content analysis on Instagram between traditional and natively
    digital approaches: which works better? Is it possible and
    advantageous to combine the two? How?/
  * /Network analysis on Instagram: is network analysis a suitable
    approach for studying Instagram? What are the best strategies? /
* /Automated visual analysis: challenges, possibilities, and limitations /
  * /Instagram Algorithms: how do they work? How do they shape the user
    experience? How do they shape the practices of researchers? Which
    are the best strategies for studying and understating Instagram
    algorithms? /
  * /Data visualisation on Instagram: innovative approaches/
  * /Big Data analysis on Instagram: challenges, possibilities, and
    limitations /
  * /Studying Instagram via mobile devices/
  * /How can we study Instagram via its new features, that is, Instagram
    stories and carousel?/
  * /How can we study the urban space using Instagram?/
  * /Can we study politics via Instagram?/
  * /Is Instagram a good environment for studying the gig economy? /

The conference will comprise two plenary sessions and 4 breakout panels.

The conference will take place on Friday, 1 June 2018.

Abstract and full panel proposals are due by 30 April 2018.

Please submit your proposal to Alessandro Caliandro, email (A.Caliandro /at/ <mailto:(A.Caliandro /at/>

Individual abstracts should be 350 words or 500 for a full panel proposal. Please also include a short bio of no more than 100 words per participant.

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