Thursday, 10 May 2012

Conference: Convergence, Engagement and Power (24/5)

University of Leeds 1 day Postgraduate Conference - Convergence, Engagement and Power: Digital Convergence and the Challenge to Global Hegemony

We warmly invite you to attend the Institute of Communications Studies 6th Annual PhD Conference, taking place in the ICS Building, Clothworker's North, University of Leeds on May 24th 2012, at 9am until 6pm

Full details, including registration information and abstracts, can be found on our website;

All enquiries can be directed to

Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Natalie Fenton (Goldsmiths College) and Prof. Stephen Coleman (Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds)


From Iran to China, Cairo to Oakland, Chechnya to Tunisia, bold claims are being made about the role that new technologies are playing in the emergence, sustenance, and viability of populist political movements. Empowered by the prosthesis of technical devices, the ’99%’ appear to have bypassed the monopoly of the mass media through the creation and sustenance of alternative media channels, disseminating information, ideas and political expression unhindered. As such, a question must be asked; how is the authority, legitimacy, and hegemony of the ruling elite being threatened by convergent media?

Focusing deeper on the role of technology, these events are often mediated by popular social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook. These interactive platforms have permeated every aspect of day-to-day life, but questions remain as to the role they play in building and sustaining a true democratic discourse. The innovation of these technologies originates in a global hegemonic system which retains their ultimate ownership through existing corporate and financial systems. On the world stage, Western governments pour praise on so-called technologically mediated movements like the ‘Arab Spring’, yet domestically the same leaders oppress similar political collectives such as the Occupy movement.

In addition to the political and technological dimensions, there is a multifaceted and multi-layered convergence at play which is influencing the ways existing media forms are produced. Consumers simultaneously become producers, and traditional cultural industries now share space with user-created digital domains of production. Has the notion of convergence reinvigorated the cultural industries by making the production process more democratic, or is it undermining their hegemony over the media we consume?

Optimistic expectations and pessimistic disdain are polarizing the debate within academia, hence these issues beg for critical questioning; to what extent are publics, through their engagement with new technology and convergent media, influencing or challenging political, corporate, and social power structures within society? Once the issues are laid bare to analysis, is the global hegemonic landscape really changing in the digital age?

In light [sic] of these technological, cultural, social and political events, we cordially invite you to the 6th annual Institute of Communications Studies PhD Conference, University of Leeds.

This student-led initiative aims at fostering debate among future academics by bringing together those researching areas related to media convergence in a formal conference environment, to critically engage with this exciting topic while also gaining the chance to hear from leading keynote speakers in the field of political communication.

Best wishes,

ICS PhD Conference Organising Committee

No comments:

Post a Comment