Archive for 2021

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[Commlist] CfP Media Building

Thu Feb 25 03:55:43 GMT 2021

[Virtual Conference]
Media Building: Architecture, Communications and the Built Environment, 7-10 July 2021
Hosted by the University of Salford and Northumbria University
Abstract Deadline: 11 April 2021

Since the emergence of the first newspapers, the relationship between place and content has been central to the media’s development. The spatial politics of media production could fundamentally shape its reception and circulation. If ‘the medium is the message’, then this applied equally to where media artefacts were created as to what was contained within them. Publishers quickly understood that, from both a commercial and philosophical perspective, landmark headquarters or publishing plants could help enforce the legitimacy and significance of their enterprises. Thus, structures such as the striking neo-gothic spires of the Chicago Tribune tower or the sleek art-deco exteriors of the Daily Express building in London offered compelling expressions of media power, modernity, and the aesthetics of mass communication, providing what Aurora Wallace describes as a “definable shape…a hook on which to hang some news about the media itself.” At the same time, media buildings became key nodes in the urban geography of communications, complementing editorial efforts to make and remake the modern metropolis.

This virtual conference invites contributions which explore the intersections between architecture, communications, and the built environment. While all papers will be considered, our focus is on print, broadcast, and digital media. We are interested in the relationship between media content and media space, and the ways in which this relationship has changed over time. What would press barons such as Joseph Pulitzer, who saw their buildings as “the central and highest point(s) of New World Civilization”, have made of Facebook’s Menlo Park Campus; an arguably more impressive yet radically different vision of media power? How have media buildings – both real and imagined - informed and given form to a range of sociopolitical, cultural and ideological constructs, becoming a “delivery mechanism” for ideas about objectivity, authority and identity? And what can the past and futures of media architecture tell us about the changing nature of media production, distribution, and consumption in the twenty-first century?

Potential topics and case studies include:
• The rise and fall of the “newspaper row” (Fleet Street; Park Row; Picayune Place; etc.) • Media power and the modern skyscraper (China Media Group HQ, Beijing; the New York Times building, ‎Manhattan; Der Spiegel building, Hamburg; etc.) • Media cities and mediated cities (Facebook Menlo Park Campus, Silicon Valley; MediaCity, Salford Quays; Media City Park, Dubai; etc.) • Media buildings in popular culture (Superman and the Daily Planet; Janoth Publications and The Big Clock, etc.) • Liminal spaces, private architectures, media publics (blogging and the coffee shop; radical media and the built environment; media cultures in the ‘post-newsroom’ age; etc.) • Reuse, relocation, and the afterlife of media architecture (the redevelopment of the Chicago Tribune building as condominiums, the Chicago Bee building as a public library, etc.) • Media building design and journalism/newswork politics (soft power and media architecture; the ‘newsroom’ as a social and cultural construct; etc.) • Race, Ethnicity and Media Buildings (the Johnson Publishing building in Chicago, the Daily Forward building in New York, etc.) • Media architecture and the end of empire (Times of India building, Mumbai; National Media Group, Nairobi; Broadcasting House, London; etc.)

In the spirit of debate and inclusivity, we welcome proposals for either individual presentations (c. 20 minutes), or panels (c. 60-90 minutes) in a variety of formats: traditional conference papers, pre-recorded papers, roundtables, scholar-practitioner interviews, multimedia presentations, etc. Accounting for the participation of international scholars, the conference will follow an afternoon format, with sessions taking place between 12 and 6pm BST. If you have a preference for appearing earlier or later in the day depending on your own time-zone, please highlight this as part of your abstract submission.

Send abstracts (400 words max), or any questions about format and presentations, to Carole O’Reilly [(c.oreilly /at/] and E. James West [(ejwestuk /at/] by 11 April 2021.

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