Archive for calls, August 2008

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[ecrea] Call for Papers: African and Arab Media Audiences

Wed Aug 06 11:20:18 GMT 2008


African and Arab Media Audiences:
Shared Agendas for Research

Conference jointly organised by the
Africa Media Series, Arab Media Centre and Audiences Group
Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), University of Westminster

Dates: 30-31 March, 2009
Venue: University of Westminster, New Cavendish Campus,
115 New Cavendish Street, London W1


Media research to date has largely neglected the fast growing and diverse media audiences in African and Arab countries. These countries share painful histories of colonization and broadly comparable experiences of post-independence media development. Today they share the challenge of adjusting to global trade and investment regimes that affect local media production and distribution systems but are crafted elsewhere. Yet when we speak of media reception in the Global South, we tend to think in terms of isolated geographies: of 'Latin America', 'Africa', or the 'Middle East'. By contextualizing primarily in terms of place, we overlook memories, issues and features that media users in different regions have in common. We foster artificial boundaries and separate research agendas. As a result, opportunities for productive joint debates about Arab and African media consumption are missed.

Blogs, chatrooms, social networking sites, and the use of SMS indicate that African and Arab audiences, like audiences generally, are highly active in sending and receiving messages in innovative ways. This conference, organised by the University of Westminster's Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), will explore this activity, taking in the old, the new, and processes of change and transformation. It draws on the combined resources of CAMRI's African Media Series, Arab Media Centre and Audiences Group. It focuses on media use and media users in two overlapping regions, where the culture and politics of former colonial powers have combined with internal influences to shape the audience experience in particular ways.


Conference papers are invited on audiences in African and/or Arab countries and their reception and appropriation of all types of media. Papers are welcomed with or without comparative dimensions. They may adopt interdisciplinary approaches or be rooted predominantly in one field or discipline. Audience studies may segment the audience in accordance with conventional demographic categories, or they may offer alternative perspectives on identity. Interactivity is a potential theme, as is access to/use of digital media generally, including the Internet and mobile phones. Methodological questions will be high on the conference agenda.


The conference will begin during the afternoon of Monday, March 30th and continue to the early evening of Tuesday, March 31st. Plenary sessions will be held for one keynote speaker on each day. The remaining sessions will consist of concurrent panels, except for one or more plenary sessions dealing primarily with theoretical and/or methodological issues. The fee for registration will be £50, with a concessionary rate of £25 for students. Online registration will open in October 2008.


The deadline for abstracts is Monday, December 15th 2008. Successful applicants will be notified by Tuesday, January 6th, 2009. Abstracts should be between 150-350 words. They must include the presenter's name, affiliation, email and postal address, together with the title of the paper and a brief biographical note on the presenter. Two copies of the abstract should be sent, one to Dr Tarik Sabry (<mailto:(T.Sabry02 /at/>(T.Sabry02 /at/ and one to Dr Winston Mano (<mailto:(W.Mano /at/>(W.Mano /at/ The selection committee will comprise members of CAMRI's Africa Media Series, Arab Media Centre and Audiences Group.


It is recognised that research institutions in a few African and Arab countries have very limited funding for their staff to attend conferences overseas. In order to encourage participation by scholars who might be affected by financial constraints and whose research fits the conference theme, the conference organisers hope to be able to offer fee waivers and travel subsidies in selected cases. Anyone interested in presenting a paper is advised to submit their proposal pending further information about their eligibility for a possible grant.

The University of Westminster is a charity and a company limited by guarantee. Registration number: 977818 England. Registered Office: 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW.

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