Vacancy: PhD-candidate “Urban Media Engagement” (EUR)

at Erasmus University Rotterdam, working with Jeroen Jansz, Julia Kneer and Liesbet Van Zoonen.

To apply, please send your application letter with your research proposal, your resume, your publication list (if applicable), and the names and contact details of two referees, before August 12, 2017 by e-mail to Please mention “PhD Urban Media Engagement”. You should receive a confirmation mail within two weeks.

The project asks if and how young people construct an urban identity from their creative media practices. We build on two strands of urban research that claim, respectively, that creativity is a strong driver of a shared urban culture and that urban identities are less divisive and more inclusive than national ones. Our further integration of media research about active audience behaviour leads to a multidisciplinary perspective that reveals the potential of urban identities to exceed traditional divisions among youth based on national and ethnic backgrounds.

We use a multi-method design to analyse how young people understand their experiences of urban life and construct their urban identity from the active reception and production of (interactive) media.

We collaborate with the Rotterdam ‘maker space’ Bouwkeet and two creative agencies to create a living lab in which young people of diverse backgrounds consume, discuss and make media products.

More information:

Digital Democracy: Critical Perspectives in the Age of Big Data

Joint Conference of two ECREA Sections: Communication and Democracy; and Media Industries and Cultural Production

10 & 11 November 2017
Södertörn University, Stockholm
More information

Keynote speakers

  • Helen Kennedy (University of Sheffield)
  • Joseph Turow (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Mikkel Flyverbom (Copenhagen Business School)

The coordinates of democracy, civic engagement and political participation are being fundamentally reconfigured in the context of digital media, Big Data and algorithmic culture, and so too are the media industries. This joint conference of the ECREA Communication and Democracy and Media Industries and Cultural Production Sections provides the opportunity to analyse and assess these changes.

The constant need to measure and capture our behavior and attitudes has consequences for our political agency and subjectivities. What do big data and algorithmic culture mean in the context of democratic participation and engagement? What are the consequences of ubiquitous surveillance, preemptive policing and social bots for our understanding of democracy and exercise of civic rights? How do current discussions of political agency in the digital age compare to previous moments of disruption in terms of the introduction of media technologies?

Big data and issues related to algorithmic governance have become a major topic of enquiry in the context of media industries as well. ‘Legacy media’ are trying to respond by integrating new digital services with their existing ones and new data-driven journalistic and media production practices emerge. This presents policy challenges, as, for example, public service media need to adapt to a situation in which data is increasingly commercialized. There are implications too for media workers in this new moment. In this context, we wish to explore issues related to the integration of Big Data and the media industries as well as online production, creativity and digital labour.

During this section conference, we aim to engage with questions concerning datafication, media industries and (digital) democracy through addressing topics such as (but not limited to):

  • Political subjectivities and political agency in the age of Big Data
  • Political consequences of storing, processing and organizing of data
  • Civic engagement and political participation in times of Big Data
  • Surveillance and preemptive policing
  • Materiality and environmental issues of Big Data and algorithmic culture
  • New actors and discourses in the context of datafication
  • Democratic potential of Big Data and algorithmic culture
  • Algorithmic taste management in the media industries
  • Archives and archiving of cultural production and civic engagement
  • Media work and labour in datafied media industries
  • Data Journalism

YECREA workshop on Digital methods for studying algorithms: complicating the socio-technical relation is organized. More information here

Connecting the Masses: 100 Years from the Russian Revolution

From Agitprop to the Attention Economy

Call for Abstracts
November 13th, 2017 at the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam

The relationship between governments and the people they govern has been always hostage to rhetoric, propaganda, and strategic public relations, as well as aggressive marketing and the influence of contemporary media industries, altering the dynamics of healthy political communications. Often, this relationship has thrived on charismatic leaders, the “avant-garde”, who could feel the pulse of their population’s grievances, demands and hopes for the future. Whether the Russian revolution of 1917 is interpreted as a product of class struggle, as an event governed by historic laws predetermined by the alienation of the masses by monopoly industrial capitalism, or as a violent coup by a proto-totalitarian Bolshevik party, the Russian revolutionaries understood and connected to the masses in a way that the autocracy, bourgeois elites and reformists alike failed to do.

In the midst of rage, desperation and harsh everyday life conditions, due to the pressure and failures of WW1 against Germany, food shortages, growing poverty, inequality and alienation, the Bolsheviks felt the undercurrents in the seas of history and spoke to the people, exactly when the relationship between the Tsar and the population, and between the Provisional government and the Soviets were at a crucial tipping point. The Bolsheviks grasped the opportunity to change the world for themselves in the here and now, rather than waiting to reform in the future for their children. They did so violently and unapologetically with the effects of their move running through the Cold War and the confrontation with the West, all the way to the complex and intense relations between Russia and the United States, in terms of failed engagements of the past 25 years since the fall of the USSR, the first socialist state in the world.

Connecting to the masses is critical for the success of any movement, resurrection, protest, and revolution. The communication mechanisms for this connection have some times evolved and other times undergone revolutions of their own. Since the Russian centennial, scholars have examined how media and communication affects this connection to the masses in a double yet complimentary dynamic: how governments connect to the masses and how masses connect to their governments.

Therefore, we invite participants to debate this relationship and the strategies and lessons of “connecting to the masses”, in light of the development in media, technology and communication strategies over the last century.

Potential questions include: Is it still about charismatic leadership and movements that connect to the general population or has algorithmic communication intervened to amplify and commodity populist leaders, without bringing into fruition claims of digital democracy/reform or radical socio-political change? Are the social media protests we witness a flash in the pan or able to sustain movements, parties, organizations in the long durée? What communication and what technologies do contemporary movements need to advance their goals?

Areas the conference addresses are the following:

  • Evolution of propaganda: From leaflet bombs to Twitter
  • Artificial attention, political packaging and the so-called attention economy
  • Tactical media and tech activism in the 20th and 21st centuries
  • Strategies and lessons for the use of ICTs in mobilization
  • Impact of technology on revolutionary social change in the macro-perspective
  • Revolutionary-era media and communist rhetoric and transition to post-communism
  • Mediated contestation, surveillance, censorship and systems of control
  • From journalism to social media gatekeepers
  • Spheres and systems of political deliberation
  • Evolution of the ownership of means of communication, processes of labour reproduction in the media, culture and communication industries
  • (R)evolution of technology at work, digital labour, alternative production models
  • Intelligence and cyberespionage in the 100 years span.
  • Technosocial infrastructures and the politicization of health, illness and biopolitics.

Invited Participants*
Richard Aldrich, Anton Allahar, Franco Berardi, David Berry, Sebastien Broca, David Chandler, Cholpon Chotaeva, Cristiano Codagnone, Gabriella Coleman, Lina Dencik, Anastasia Denisova, Mats Fridlund, Myria Georgiou, Goodwin, Andrji Gorbachyk, Galina Gorborukova, Baruch Gottlieb, Jason Hughes, Arne Hintz, Gulnara Ibraeva, Anastasia Kavada, Olessia Koltsova, Garnet Kindervarter, Iliya Kiriya, Mathias Klang, Maros Krivy, Adi Kuntsman, Adele Lindenmeyr, Geert Lovink, Peter Lunt, Jacob Matthews, Dan Mercea, Galina Miazhevich, Peter Mihalyi, Gerassimos Moschonas, Phoebe Moore, Zenonas Norkus, Alex Neumann, Jonathan Ong, Tamás Pál, Despina Panagiotopoulou, Korina Patelis, Thomas Poell, Vincent Rouzé, Maria Rovisco, Paul Reilly, Ellen Rutten, Michael Schandorf, Markus Schultz, Nikos Smyrnaios, Serge Sych, Irina Tjurina, Marc Tuters, Giuseppe Veltri, Anastasia Veneti, Stefania Vicari, Alex Wood.

*To be updated as attendance is confirmed. Please follow us on Facebook and on Twitter (@cttm_conference) for regular updates.

The conference is organised through a collaboration between Athina Karatzogianni from the School of Media, Communication and Sociology of the University of Leicester; Stefania Milan from the DATACTIVE research group at the Media Studies department of the University of Amsterdam; Andrey Rezaev from the Department of Sociology at St. Petersburg State University; the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam; and the State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki.

Please email abstracts (250w max) and/or any inquiries to Athina Karatzogianni by July 1st 2017 latest.

Conference: Animation and Memory at Radboud University

International Conference
Radboud University, Nijmegen
22-23 June 2017

The past thirty years have witnessed the emergence of memory studies as a field that has yielded a rich body of research into practices of remembering and forgetting in art, popular culture, and everyday life. While live action cinema and documentary films have been studied extensively, the interrelation between animation and memory has so far received much less attention. This lacuna in scholarship is particularly pertinent in light of the increasing number of animation films dealing with various forms, methods, and contexts of remembering and forgetting. Our conference seeks to address this lacuna.

Hands-on workshop: Media Ecology Project – Mark J. Williams (Dartmouth University)

On Friday 12 May, 15:00-17:00 hours, Mark J. Williams, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at Dartmouth University, will teach a hands-on workshop on using the Mediathread platform for doing research on digitized historical US propaganda film collections. All very welcome!

University of Amsterdam, Media Studies eLab, BG1, Turfdraasterpad 9, room 0.16.


This workshop will offer an introduction to The Media Ecology Project (MEP), an online resource that realizes new research synergies as it provides more and better scholarly access to historical media. MEP engages dynamic new forms of scholarly production and online publishing (traditional and computationally enhanced scholarship), but also initiates new capacities for support and advocacy by the scholarly community on behalf of the essential work performed by media archives.

The workshop will be organized into two sections: 1) a brief overview of the pilot studies already engaged for MEP, and 2) a hands-on tutorial that will offer a practical introduction to the online platforms and interfaces of MEP, especially the  Mediathread workspace that affords the production of time-based annotations and granular analyses of archival texts. For this hands-on session, we will work with a selection of digitized propaganda films of the US information agency and a selection of the WWI films in the US National Archive’s collection and possibly the European Film Gateway WWI portal. Faculty and students attending the workshop should be advised to bring laptops (rather than mobile devices) to the session for this tutorial.