RMeS Network Event: How do You…Communicate to a General Public?

How do You…Communicate to a General Public?

A workshop on making your work popular

Date and Time: April 13 from 13:00 to 17:00 at Utrecht University

RMeS is happy to invite you to the 2017 edition of our annual RMA and PhD network event. This year’s event will focus on popular academic writing and presenting Media Studies research to a non-specialist audience.

In line with the previous editions of the RMeS network event — which covered the topic of methodology (2014), the process of (re)writing (2015), and career paths in and beyond media studies (2016) — this year’s program will tackle the topic of popular academic communication. How to tailor your writing and communication to a non-specialist audience? How to write or present in a catchy and attractive way without sacrificing the richness, complexity, and nuance of academic research? What kind of stylistic devices and presentation techniques can help you to communicate your research in a lively and understandable way? How to reach out to a broader audience via non-specialist media and communication channels?

For all RMA students and PhD-candidates eager to master the skill of popular academic writing and communication: this is the event to attend!

The 2017 RMeS network event will have a workshop set-up that consists of two parts:

  1. Dan Hassler-Forest (Media Studies, Utrecht University) will speak about writing and communicating in a popular academic manner, and provide you with many tips and tricks based on personal experience. Dan Hassler-Forest is a media and English literature scholar who publishes on topics ranging from comics and graphic novels to superhero movies, transmedia and media convergence. Dan frequently speaks at public venues, such as the EYE Film Museum, Felix Meritis, Spui25, De Rode Hoed, and ‘de Universiteit van Nederland’. He is also a recurring presence in (popular) news media, giving interviews on films and television culture for television, radio, and the printed press. After Dan’s presentation, there will be a response by Sandra Wagemakers (PhD at Tilburg University) who plans to write a popular academic publication based on her PhD research.
  2. Participants will apply the hands-on approach presented in the first part of the event to their own research and writing. Within a small group of peers, you will brainstorm about the possibilities and pitfalls for communicating your own work to a general public. The groups will then select the research of one of their members as a case study for which they develop a “popular academic writing and communication plan” that advices on which communication channels, stylistic modes, and presentation formats would be suitable for this specific case.

Registration: Please register no later than April 1st

The event will take place at Drift 25, room 3.02 in Utrecht, with drinks & snacks afterwards.

For questions of any kind please contact us by email at phdcouncil.rmes@gmail.com

We are looking forward to meeting you there!

The RMeS PhD Council (Simone Driessen, Sjors Martens, Tim Groot Kormelink, Sofie Willemsen, Rik Spanjers, Lianne Toussaint, Sanne Rotmeijer)

PhD Defence: Alex Gekker (Utrecht University)

Uniquitous Cartography: Casual Power in Digital Maps

When? 9 December 2016, 14:30
Where? Senaat hall of the Academiegebouw (academy building) of Utrecht University, at Domplein 29, 3512 JE  Utrecht.
The doors close at the exact time and latecomers will not be able to enter.

On 9 December 2016, Alex Gekker will defend his PhD Thesis Uniquitous Cartography: Casual Power in Digital Maps. His main proposition is that mobile digital maps should be understood simultaneously as being ubiquitous (think Google Maps) and being personalised. This results in unique power relations between makers and users of such maps, which become part of our mundane technological background.

The defence will last exactly 45 minutes, after which the extended committee will deliberate and finally award him a doctoral degree (unless something goes freakishly wrong). After the defence, the guests are invited to participate in a reception that will take place downstairs.

You are cordially invited to join Alex Gekker in celebration, if you are (or willing to be) in the Netherlands around that time. Please RSVP using the form below whether you plan to attend, and – if so – whether you are staying for the reception. It will greatly help him with planning the day.


PhD Defense: Enis Dinç (University of Amsterdam)

Performing Modernity: Atatürk on Film (1919-1938)

Supervisors: Frank van Vree, M. Şükrü Hanioğlu and Esther Peeren
Date: 13 December 2016, 12:00 hrs, Agnietenkapel

When Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of the Turkish Republic, took the lead in the national resistance movement in Anatolia in 1919, he was far from being a household name. Nevertheless, the effort and attention that his government devoted to the creation of his public image gradually turned him into a superhuman figure in the eyes of many. The mass media played an important role in the creation and dissemination of this image, and helped Atatürk to advance his project of building a new “imagined community” of the Turkish nation.

Based on extensive research in Turkish and foreign archives, this dissertation explores the relationship between media and power, and more specifically the role of film in the making of the myth of Atatürk and the modern Turkish nation-state in the early twentieth century. By placing newly discovered footage featuring Atatürk in a series of contexts, this study demonstrates that this footage did not merely record history but assisted in the shaping of it. It shows that film played an important, if sometimes paradoxical role in making Atatürk and Turkey’s new “modern” image visible on both the national and the international stage. Finally, it suggests that the making of the leader’s image in cinema not only influenced his contemporaries when he was alive, but continued to have an effect long after his death, determining how later generations have continued to imagine Atatürk as a hero, teacher, father and modern statesman.

RMeS RMa Tutorials 2016-17: University of Amsterdam

Dates: see below
Venue: University of Amsterdam
Open to: First and second year research master students in Media Studies and related fields, registered with RMeS
Offered by: the Research School for Media Studies (RMeS), as part of the RMa curriculum
Credits: 6 ECTS
Registration: register before 1 February, 2017. Amount of participants is limited.
Register here
When registering for a tutorial, please fill in at remarks which tutorial. Note: you can only attend ONE tutorial.


Non-theatrical Film

Dr Eef Masson (e.l.masson@uva.nl) | 6 or 12 EC | University of Amsterdam

Historical film audiences, much like contemporary ones, were exposed to a range of materials – not just the fiction features they could watch in entertainment theatres, and that classical film history and theory have tended to focus on. Film spectatorship also took shape in homes, classrooms, museums or town halls, where family films, educational films and information or propaganda films were shown to a variety of publics. While such films have been used as sources by scholars in other fields for quite a while – for instance, in social history – profound interest among media historians is relatively recent. Moreover, information on the purposes which these films served, the circumstances in which they were presented or the practices they were part of is often hard to come by. In spite of this, practitioners agree that such data are crucial to their interpretation, especially from a retrospective point of view.

The tutorial will offer students the opportunity to research a historical corpus of non- theatricals of their own choosing. Projects can take different shapes, but will require in any case a combination of archival research (film viewing; locating and interpreting primary sources) and methodological reflection (how to best make sense of these films retrospectively?). More hands-on projects (e.g. those involving the identification or presentation of a particular corpus, likely part of a 12 EC module) will always also have an academic component (report or research paper). Decisions on reading materials will be made early on, but will depend on the participating students’ choice of corpus.


The University as Media Assemblage

Dr Markus Stauff (m.stauff@uva.nl) | 6 or 12 EC | University of Amsterdam

Our daily lives at the university are shaped by a complex set of media: In different situation an each specific interplay between presentation software (e.g. powerpoint), digital learning environments (e.g. blackboard), library databases, university architecture with access codes, public relation media, and many more media technologies shapes the access to knowledge, the social organization and the power relations. The university, thus, can be taken as a key example for the ubiquity and heterogeneity of media, which all receive their function from the complex assemblage of technologies and practices, human and non-human actors, materiality and form.

We will start by mapping the media that have become entangled in university practices, tracking the stories and the implicit or explicit rationales of their implementation. This allows us to discuss basic methodological questions: Which insights do we gain from analyzing the interfaces or the political economy of tools? When is it relevant to talk to people who develop, adapt or apply a specific tool? In this process, we will use the example of the university to discuss key concerns of contemporary media studies. The theoretical references will surely include actor-network theory, assemblage theory, didactics, sociology of organizations, or workplace studies; yet, the selection of concepts will also depend on the questions provoked by the case studies we will focus on.


Watching it Play (Out)

Alex Gekker (A.Gekker@uva.nl) | 6 EC | University of Amsterdam

People, in particularly younger people, increasingly watch others play video-games online. This phenomenon is part of the appearance of new persona-driven video-blogging (vlogging) entertainment provided by various ‘YouTubers’. Often young and relate-able, they manifest a novel kind of para-textual relationships with their audiences. Moreover, these types of content are becoming begrudgingly accepted by more traditional media forms, exemplified by guest appearances of YouTube star PewDiePie on various television shows (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4fxG17hk8Q, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pM21uQR6G_Q, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_cO-k2DAFw) or the recent opening of a Dutch YouTubers -theme exhibition at the Netherlands Sound and Vision Institure (http://nos.nl/op3/artikel/2136378-eerste-youtube-tentoonstelling-ter-wereld-geopend-in-beeld-en-geluid.html).

Yet despite the popularity of such topics like lifestyle, humour and make-up tutorial videos, games-related content consistently remains at the forefront of this emerging genre. This type of content now constitutes the most viewed and most profitable video material on YouTube and other platforms. Yet, game-play videos are somewhat paradoxical as they incorporate a passive consumption of interactive media. In this tutorial we will examine various ways to understand the game-watching phenomenon, meet game-makers and game-streamers as well as attempt to create and record our own Let’s Play series.


RMeS Electives: Urban Interfaces (Utrecht University)

When? Block 3 (06-02-2017 until 13-04-2017)
Where? Utrecht University
More information and Registration

This course actively teams up with ongoing research of the [urban interfaces] research group, a network of media and performance studies scholars, professional artists and designers, (media) ethnographers, cultural theorists, and PhD students. [urban interfaces] investigates urban transformations from the perspective of mobile and locational art, media and performance in urban contexts, using research methods such as playful mapping, audiovisual documentation, performance analysis and the development of a theoretical and critical vocabulary.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, cultural researchers have been concerned with how transport and communication technologies, rapid urbanization and massive social upheavals impact social mobility, civic engagement and modes of belonging. Today, globalization, the spread of information technologies in the urban domain, and the debate on participatory culture and civic engagement spur a further mobilization of urban culture, identity and publics. Both scholars as well as artists and designers enquire into how urban space invites collaborative and playful practices of resistance, appropriation and/or engagement. By productively exploring mutual similarities and differences in concerns, methods, concepts, and skills, [urban interfaces] seeks to investigate urban transformations in a methodologically innovative manner.

Students will develop their own research in relation to current urban media, art and/or performance projects. They can also participate in ongoing research projects, such as the Connecting Cities/Connecting Neighbourhoods project, on the inclusive, interactive and creative potential of digital technologies, and Urban Heat on art, activism and the public sphere. We will in particularly explore the potential of collaborative research and of crossdisciplinary methodologies.

Career orientation:
The course actively engages students in ongoing research projects of the [urban interfaces] research group and current urban media, art and performance projects; students get acquainted with interdisciplinary approaches and crossdisciplinary collaborations with researchers, artists and designers relevant to the professional field of media, art and performance, and current cultural (urban) dynamics.

NOTE: This is not an RMeS core activity but an elective announced on this site solely for  your information. You should register for this course through the university that offers it, and the credits you will earn will also be given out by that university. If your program includes a requirement to earn credits from a national research school, the credits for this elective do not count towards that requirement. You may need to acquire the permission of your programme coordinator and/or board of examinations in order to participate and earn credits for this elective.