RMeS RMa Course: Trending Topics

When? 15 & 22 February, 1 & 8 March 13.00 – 17.00 / presentation day: 29 March 2019 (changed date). 12.00 – 18.00 / deadline paper: 29 March
Where? University of Amsterdam, University Library – Belle van Zuylenzaal, Singel 425, Amsterdam. March 29: Potgieterzaal, Singel 425, Amsterdam.
Coordinator? Dr Alex Gekker (UvA) and Dr Maryn Wilkinson (UvA)
Guest lectures by? Dr Eugenie Brinkema (UvA), Dr Catherine Lord (UvA), Dr Robert Prey (RUG), Dr Arno v/d Hoeven (EUR), Prof. dr Sybille Lammes (UL), Dr René Glas (UU), Dr Jasper van Vught (UU), Prof. dr. Mark Deuze (UvA), Tim Groot Kormelink MA (VU)
Organisation? RMeS
For? First and second year RMa students in Media Studies, who are a member of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool). Students who are members of RMeS will have first access. RMeS staff and PhD researchers are welcome to sit in on specific sessions; please send an e-mail to RMeS if you intend to attend one or more seminar sessions: rmes-fgw@uva.nl.

THE COURSE IS FULLY BOOKED, please send an e-mail to rmes-fgw@uva.nl with your name, university and research school. We will put you on our waiting list.

General description:

Each spring, the Research School for Media Studies offers a Trending Topics course where faculty members from eight participating universities (UvA, UU, VU, EUR, UL, UM, RUG, RUN) present the latest research in their fields of interest through a series of lectures and workshops. The course invites RMA students to participate in an international, cutting edge research environment, while earning credits towards their degree. It presents a unique opportunity to get to know other students and leading academics from all over The Netherlands, in an open setting of engaging and ambitious exchange that would prove particularly fruitful for students who are aspiring to pursue a future career in academic research or teaching. All eight universities accept the credits earned in this module.

The field of media studies today is decreasingly tied to specific media types (film, television, or digital media) or practices (e.g. journalism), and instead often turns towards the areas of interaction between them, and their shared concepts and ideas. Larger trends such as globalisation, digitisation and convergence have prompted researchers to study the complex interrelation of technological changes and media content, as well as the new relations between users and producers, while different modes of media consumption have brought about new areas for aesthetics and politics that continue to require intense critical enquiry. These crossovers are both theoretically and methodologically challenging. Moreover, it requires us to rethink our engagement with specific media objects, and our critical analysis skills. Close reading remains incredibly important, but it can no longer stay isolated. In order to improve and enrich our understanding of the media objects we engage in our research, it is important to understand where different perspectives add to, overlap, or digress from one another.

In the ‘Trending Topics – Engaging Objects’ course, the lecture sessions will each take a specific media objects as a primary case study (from the field of film, television, digital media, and journalism studies), and bring two guest lecturers and their respective areas of expertise into dialogue about their objects. Each afternoon will be dedicated to the analysis, research and discussion of specific media objects. A fifth session revolves around student presentations in preparation of their final written assignment. All sessions, assignments, readings and preparatory work will be supervised and marked by dr. Maryn Wilkinson (UvA), the coordinator of the course. The grading will be based on both the presentation (30%) and the final written assignment (70%).


13.00-17.00 on Friday, February 15th, 2019: “Engaging Spectatorship”

  • Dr Eugenie Brinkema (Guest researcher UvA)
  • Dr Catherine Lord (UvA)

13.00-17.00 on Friday, February 22nd, 2019: “Audio Lives”

  • Dr Robert Prey (RUG)
  • Dr Arno v/d Hoeven (EUR)

13.00-17.00 on Friday, March 1st, 2019 “Playing Digitally”

  • Prof. dr Sybille Lammes (UL)
  • Dr René Glas and Dr Jasper van Vught (UU)

13.00-17.00 on Friday, March 8th, 2019: “New News” 

  • Prof. dr. Mark Deuze (UvA)
  • Tim Groot Kormelink MA (VU)

RMeS RMa Course: Contemporary approaches to digital cultures: platforms, politics, performances and people

When? 5 April, 12 April, 26 April, 3 May and 10 May. 13:00-17:00
Where? Erasmus University Rotterdam, Polak 1-20
For? PhD Candidates and RMa Students
Credits? 6 ECTS
Coordination? Dr Payal Arora (Erasmus University Rotterdam – ERMeCC)

THE SEMINAR IS FULLY BOOKED, please send an e-mail with your name, university and research school to RMeS-fgw@uva.nl. We will put you on our waiting list.

How do we identify the fake from the real? What strategies enable us to reveal and yet protect our subjects who seek anonymity online? Can researchers be activists and their research serve as instruments for social change? How do we ensure fair representation through big data analytics? These are some of the questions that need addressing as we seek to study digital cultures. This course identifies key research issues and novel methodological solutions in the study of contemporary digital cultures. In particular, we investigate challenges faced in the arena of data authenticity, representation and communication to lay and other publics.

The course is organised around four dimensions – platforms, politics, performances and people. Platforms are the new contexts for digital cultures. They are deeply corporatized, walled gardens that often allow a small circle of researchers to access their vast data. They are designed to be unstable, as they need to constantly innovate and re-design to stay competitive. Here, students learn to apply methods of place-making and data hacking to circumvent issues of access and locatedness. To speak thoughtfully about the politics of engagement, students learn to critically identify and capture the perspective from varied actors such as (non)users, programmers, politicians, corporations and activists. To extract voices from below, students learn how to deploy action research using social media campaigns. Performances are about digital expressions, memes and trends. Here, students learn to use digital methods to assess claims of globality and diversity through big data. Lastly, in the module on People, students learn to apply auto-ethnography to digital contexts such as gaming, city navigation and other applications. Overall, this course provides both qualitative and quantitative methodological insights into the examining of contemporary digital cultures.


Students have knowledge and understanding of:

  • A critical understanding of contemporary digital cultures
  • Key methodological problems risen due to the advancement of new technology platforms
  • Exposure and critical insight into novel empirical approaches for the digital age
  • Diversity in digital cultures and the implications on social equality and representation

Students are able to:

  • apply relevant theoretical insights in choosing appropriate methods to analyze digital cultures
  • critically reflect on academic texts, both verbal and in written form
  • design and write an essay; make an intellectually compelling argument on the choice of methods and identification of challenges in the chosen topic
  • present their argument in a clear, convincing and engaging manner

Compulsory literature:

  • Readings via RMeS and online resources

Workshop: Media Sports and World Building

Media Sports and World Building

A workshop / Master class of the ASCA Cross-Media Research group in cooperation with Arts and Culture, VU)

25 June 2018, 13-19h

Location: UvA Library, Vondelzaal (Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam; https://goo.gl/maps/oJVP2vdLiVE2 )
Registration: m.stauff@uva.nl (See details below)

The media discourse of competitive sports contributes some of the most consistent and powerful world-building dynamics to the constantly changing cross-media landscape. The serialized and repetitive organization of its competitions guarantees an endless stream of interrelated events, and the evaluation of performances provokes ongoing investigations and contested narratives about heroes and villains. While each sport offers its own characteristic spaces and characters, they all share an emphasis on the particular rules that structure behavior within their specific worlds, rules that aim to create a level playing field that is clearly differentiated from the surrounding ‘reality’.So far, ‘world building’ has mainly been described as a branding strategy (and fan practice) dealing with works of fiction. Yet, sports also offer a highly dynamic and complex set of elements with their own logic and mythology. All media – from newspapers, radio, and film to television, social media, and smartphones – contribute to this world of sports to attract and monetize eyeballs, activating their specific capabilities to extend the already existing world with additional details and alternative perspectives. While narrative is important, the world building in sports includes other elements as well: rankings and records, data visualizations and memorabilia, medical reports and legal contracts, for instance. Because of sports’ character as a global commercial enterprise, its world building is closely entangled with questions of copyright and the appropriation of the latest technology. And while the media discourse often presents sports as a world of its own, it connects to, and impacts on, the world beyond its delineated space (just like all world building does).

In this workshop, we present several case studies with which we analyze how different media and their specific technological and economic affordances harvest, extend, or modify the world-building dynamics of modern competitive sports, asking how the entanglement of sports and media practices generate narratives, characters, events, visuals, controversies, and real-world (legal, technical, political) effects.

13:00-13:30 Welcome – Sebastian Scholz (VU), Markus Stauff (UvA)

13:30-14:50 Panel 1

  • Politics before kick-off? Mapping controversies on Twitter about the 2018 FIFA World Cup
    Carlos d’Andréa (Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil; visiting scholar at the UVA)
  • The Visual Worlds of Extreme Sports
    Florian Hoof (Center for Advanced Studies ‘Media Cultures of Computer Simulation’ at Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany)

15:15-17:15 Panel 2

  • Televised Football: Race/Ethnicity and Whiteness in Content, Production, Reception
    Jacco van Sterkenburg (Rotterdam University)
  • Data Worlds and Media Sports
    Markus Stauff (University of Amsterdam)
  • Transmedia Strategies in Journalism. An analytical model for the news coverage of planned events
    Lorena Tárcia (Centro Universitario de Belo Horizonte, Brazil)

17:30-18:30 Evening Lecture

  • “The Super Fight”: Muhammad Ali and the Cultural Politics of Closed-Circuiting Boxing Exhibition
    Travis Vogan (School of Journalism & Mass Communication and the Department of American Studies at the University of Iowa, USA)

Invited speaker: Travis Vogan, Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Iowa. He researches the intersections among sport, media, and U.S. culture with a special focus on television, media industries and institutions, documentary, and the relationship between commerce and cultural value. Next to numerous articles he published the following books:

  • Keepers of the Flame: NFL Films and the Rise of Sports Media (University of Illinois Press 2014)
  • ESPN: The Making of the Sports Media Empire (University of Illinois Press 2015)

His current book project, ABC Sports: The Rise and Fall of Network Sports Television, uses the American Broadcasting Company’s influential sports TV division to outline the development, politics, and transformation of sports television from the 1950s through the early 2000s.

The workshop is open to all interested scholars, PhD- and MA-students. RMa and PhD students who want to earn 1 ECTS can either contribute a presentation (15 minutes) or a report on the event (800-1000 words).


RMeS Network Event: “How do you… Disconnect in a Digital Age?”

Date: 25 April 2018, 13.00-16.00 (followed by drinks)
Venue: Utrecht University [room to be confirmed]
Registration: https://goo.gl/forms/jHESESnumQaMlcpJ2


In line with the previous editions of the RMeS Network Event – which covered such themes as methodology, (re)writing, and academic communication – this year we will focus on “How do you… disconnect in a digital age?”

Digital detox holidays, phone stacking dinners, virtual suicide, a year without Internet.
In a culture obsessed with social networking, participation and connectivity, to disconnect has come to mean going off-line: to reclaim presence in the physical world; to revitalize face to face communication; to salvage the actual over the virtual; to (temporarily) obliterate one’s online identity. To disconnect signals a desire to re-connect: with one’s off-line identity, with friends, with the spiritual values of life, with one’s natural environment, with the world at large. Disconnectivity thus bespeaks connectivity, and vice versa.

During this years’ RMeS Network Event, Pepita Hesselberth will engage with you in a discussion on paradox of disconnectivity in the digital age, taking the “Data Detox Kit” – as well as academic life itself – as a case in point.

For the eager reader:

Pepita Hesselberth is Lecturer in Film and Literary Studies and Digital Media, at Leiden University. She is the author of Cinematic Chonotopes (Bloomsbury 2014), and co-editor of volumes on Compact Cinematics (Bloomsbury 2016) and Legibility in the Age of Signs and Machines (Brill 2018). She is currently finalizing her project on Disconnectivity in the Digital, for which she received a fellowship from the Danish Council for Independent Research, and was appointed as a research fellow at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen (2015-2018). For more info see here.

The purpose of the annual RMeS Network Event is to stimulate the exchange of ideas between PhD and RMa students of different universities in light of a topical theme and/or practice relevant to (junior) media researchers.

Symposium: The politics of memory and platforms

29 March 2018
University of Groningen
Registration: Send an e-mail to: p.h.smit@rug.nl and RMeS-fgw@uva.nl


This one-day symposium revolves around the question how the politics of memory are today increasingly interwoven with the politics of social media platforms. Social media such as YouTube, Facebook, and Wikipedia are not only platforms for content sharing and consumption, social networking, and knowledge production. They can also be conceived of as vast archives that simultaneously hold and construct our mediated personal, public, social, political, and collective memory. They are both containers and filters of our past. The aim of the symposium is to problematize social media platforms as such “platforms of memory.” The symposium precedes Rik Smit’s defence of the dissertation: Platforms of Memory: Social Media and Digital Memory Work.


University Museum Groningen
Oude Kijk in Het Jatstraat 7A
9712 EA Groningen


9.30 Doors open and coffee

10.00-10.15 Welcome by Marcel Broersma (U of Groningen)
10.15-10.30 Introduction by Rik Smit (U of Groningen)
10.30-10.45 Andrew Hoskins (U of Glasgow): “Digital Forgetting”
10.45-11.00 Q&A
11.00-11.15 Christine Lohmeier (U of Bremen): “Keep it or delete it? – Practices of personal digital archiving”
11.15-11.45 Roundtable discussion and Q&A

11.45-13.00 Lunch break

13.00-13.15 Huub Wijfjes (U of Groningen): “Creating sustainable online memories: The quest for public service web archives”
13.15-13.30 Q&A
13.30-13.45 Susan Aasman (U of Groningen): “Ritualised memory practices versus YouTube’s home mode”
13.45-14.15 Roundtable discussion and Q&A
14.15-14.25 Concluding remarks by Marcel Broersma (U of Groningen)

14.25-14.45 Coffee, cake and chatting

16.00-17.00 Public PhD defence Rik Smit

17.00 Reception at Academy building