Educational Programme 2020 – 2021

We are currently finalizing our educational programme for 2020-2021. We expect to offer the following educational activities:

RMeS Winter School & Graduate Symposium (expected January/February 2021)
RMeS RMa Course: Trending Topics (expected February/March 2021)
RMeS RMa Course: Fake News, Conspiracy Theories, Disinformation and the Media (expected April/May/June 2021)
RMeS Summer School (expected June 2021)

Masterclasses will be announced during the academic year.

Full programme will be available by the end of August. Registration will open begin September.

We wish you all a well deserved Summer break.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The RMeS office is closed from July 30 – September 1, 2020

How to work with pleasure in times of corona by Bernadette Kester (EUR)

—originally posted at— 

This is a blog post written by Bernadette Kester she is a senior Assistant Professor in the Department of Media & Communication at Erasmus University. Her teaching and research activities lie in the fields of journalism studies and media and representation. Currently she works on publications about the coping strategies of war journalists; and the well-being of foreign correspondents and journalists in general.

How to work with pleasure in times of corona

The global pandemic of COVID-19 has dramatically transformed our everyday realities. Such significant changes inevitably affected our approaches in academic work. With (even greater) uncertainty  about the future and merging of office/home environments, finding focus can be rather challenging. We have reached out to our Confidential Counsellor and a qualified Meditation Teacher, Dr Bernadette Kester for some advice and useful tools in battling distractions. Below you will find Bernadette’s message. The PhD Club of ERMeCC is very grateful for your time and expertise, Bernadette!

First of all, thank you for inviting me to contribute to your blog with a piece on ‘how to work with pleasure (in times of corona)?’. Indeed, I altered the title… but to me it sounds better than ‘how to prevent stress?’. How you formulate what your circumstances are, how you feel, what you would like to accomplish, what your ideal work situation would be, etc. matters a lot. Language matters, language constructs our reality, at least it influences how we experience our reality. It seems our brain doesn’t respond well to negatively formulated demands or wishes. So instead of saying ‘I don’t want to eat chocolate so much’, it usually works better and more stimulating to say ‘I want to eat more healthy food’. In our case, it’s most of all not about the wish ‘not wanting to feel stressed or frightened or worried’ but about the question ‘How could I learn to work with pleasure (under the circumstances)?’. It boils down to your main question ‘How to stay focused?’. Indeed, having a focus, and being focused in your (life and) work, generates enormous pleasure.

  • Formulate your wishes and your aspirations positively
  • Contemplate on the question of what it means to work with pleasure. How does that look for you? What would your ideal conditions be? Which of these conditions are realisable (given the circumstances)?

In order to feel balanced and well we need to know (and we usually do know) how to recharge ourselves, we (usually) also know what our goals are (short and long term), and we have learned how to keep strong ties with the people around us. Under the given circumstances the first and the last condition have become more complicated. Not being able to go to the pub for relaxing and seeing your friends can bring about feelings of loneliness and isolation. Try to zoom out and consider this situation as temporary. Such an approach has been widely propagated these days, but it is actually true and it offers some opportunities! It opens the road to the most important thing in life: to become friends with yourself or to feel at home with yourself! Sounds perhaps a bit woolly for some of you, but I discovered myself how important this actually is. How often are we unsatisfied with ourselves, criticizing ourselves, being very strict to ourselves, et cetera? And a lot of this happens unconsciously. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to your dearest friend. Talk to yourself, keep a diary, learn to know yourself (better). Be more encouraging and lenient to yourself. This intimate relationship lasts a lifelong, so you better start to value it. If the basis is okay, the rest is a ‘piece of cake’. But if the basis doesn’t feel okay yet, start with the cake (see below)!

  • Take on a different perspective on your social reality: zoom out every now and then
  • Be as kind to yourself as you would be to your dearest friend

Let’s return to our main question: How to work with pleasure?

Want to read more? Here you find the complete blog post, including practical tips. 


RMeS Workshop: Renegade audiences? Understanding and exploring the practices of toxic fans, vigilantes, trolls, and provocateurs

Workshop organized by Dr Simone Driessen (EUR), within the context of the RMeS PhD Workshop Grant

When? THIS WORKSHOP IS POSTPONED. Expected new date: Fall 2020
Where? Erasmus University Rotterdam
Coordinator? Dr Simone Driessen (EUR)
Open to? PhD’s and research master students, max 20 participants

THE WORKSHOP IS FULLY BOOKEDplease send an e-mail to with your name, university and research school. We will put you on our waiting list.

Please note: If you want to register as an auditor, please send an e-mail to, including your affiliation.

When the all-female reboot of eighties cult-classic Ghostbusters was released in 2016 the film was met with critique from a small group of dissatisfied fans. What followed were misogynistic comments from these (former?) fans in response to an all-female cast. A small group of trolls harassed one of the involved actresses, Leslie Jones, to such an extent that she decided to close her Twitter-account. Although it is well accepted in today’s world that consumers (audiences) can participate by leaving reviews, comments, critiques or appraisals, not much attention has been paid, in media studies, to feelings of dislike or displeasure and the audiences who are affected by these.

This workshop aims explores what happens if audiences’ affective investments are challenged. If we, in media studies, consider audiences as participatory communities, comparable to micro communities, this allows for a point of departure to discuss the more challenging or ‘anti-fannish’ behaviour of audiences. What if nostalgic feelings for a pop culture text turn sour (e.g. Ghostbusters), or calling out of a particular person has severe consequences like doxing (e.g. GamerGate)? Examining such reactions and practices offers a fundamental framework for understanding polarization in today’s society.

In this interdisciplinary workshop, students are invited to discuss and scrutinize “renegade audiences”. In her introduction, Dr. Simone Driessen (workshop organizer) will explore this concept through the lenses of Fan- and Surveillance Studies. Additionally, “renegade audiences” are further explored with two established scholars in these fields: professor Matt Hills (Fan Studies), and associate professor Daniel Trottier (Surveillance Studies).

In his session, Prof. dr. Matt Hills addresses how changing doxas might play a role in the toxic responses and behavior of fans. He will discuss this idea by looking at cases in various fandoms, where fans have responded defensively in relation to shifts towards inclusivity and diversity in a cultural text. Think about toxic responses to the recent appointment of a female doctor in long-running BBC-series Dr Who, or reactions to the inclusion of a female lead in the Star Wars sequels. This helps to further discuss with participants the notion of “renegade audiences”.

Additionally, Dr. Daniel Trottier invites participants to consider the ethical dimensions of contemporary audience research, including implications for those carrying out research on these practices. In this session, the participants will work on conceptual and societal concerns regarding researching renegade audiences, and how to tackle the practical/ applied issues this brings in terms of data collection and publishing findings.

After the workshop, students who participate for the 1ECTS will apply their knowledge to a particular case. Students get a 1,5h-window to complete a brief investigation on a “renegade audience”, further explicated in a concise group presentation. Doing so, students have a chance to demonstrate their

knowledge of the (preparatory) literature, sessions, and the discussed ethical guidelines.

Preliminary programme of workshop:

11.30 – 12.00 – Welcome & Introduction by Dr. Simone Driessen (organizer)

12.00 – 13.00 – Session 1: Matt Hills (open to ERMeCC researchers)

13.00 – 13.30 – Lunch

13.30 – 14.15 – Session 2: Daniel Trottier

14.15 – 14.30 – Introduction to the Assignment

14.30 – 16.00 – Participating RMeS students (for the 1 ECTS) have this 1,5-hour window to complete the group presentation [see details assignment]

16.00 – 17.00 – Assignment Presentations

17.00 – 17.30 – Closing remarks & discussion

Speaker bios:

Prof. Matt Hills, University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom

In july 2016, professor joined the University of Huddersfield as Professor of Media and Journalism. With Professor Cornel Sandvoss he is co-director of the Centre for Participatory Culture, and supervises a number of PhD students in this area, focusing significantly on media fandom and fan studies. Prior to joining Huddersfield he was Professor of Film and TV Studies at Aberystwyth University. Before that, professor Hills worked for more than a decade at Cardiff University. He has written six sole-authored research monographs, starting with Fan Cultures in 2002 and coming up to date with Doctor Who: The Unfolding Event in 2015, as well as publishing more than a hundred book chapters and journal articles in the areas of media fandom, cult film/TV, and audiences in the digital era.

Dr. Daniel Trottier, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Dr. Trottier is an Associate Professor at the Department of Media and Communication of Erasmus University Rotterdam. His current research considers the use of digital media for the purposes of scrutiny, denunciation and shaming. Daniel is the PI of a five-year NWO-funded project on this topic, entitled “Digital Vigilantism: Mapping the terrain and assessing societal impacts”. Prior to joining Erasmus University, Dr. Trottier was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Westminster, Uppsala University Sweden, and the University of Alberta, Canada. He completed a PhD in Sociology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. Dr. Trottier has authored several articles in peer-reviewed journals on this and other topics, as well as books like Social Media as Surveillance with Ashgate in 2012, Identity Problems in the Facebook Era with Routledge in 2013, and Social Media, Politics and the State (co-edited with Christian Fuchs) with Routledge in 2014.

Dr. Simone Driessen, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Dr. Driessen is a lecturer and researcher in the Media and Communication Department of Erasmus University Rotterdam. In 2017, she obtained her PhD, on the affordances of mainstream popular music in the everyday life of ageing audiences, from the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture (ERMeCC). Her PhD was nominated for the Boekman Foundation Thesis Prize in 2018, and one of her papers won the ‘Top Paper of the Popular Culture Division’ in 2018, at the highly competitive International Communication Association conference. Dr. Driessen (co-)authored several articles which appeared in peer-reviewed journals, a.o. in Popular Music & Society, Participations and Journal of Fandom Studies, and contributed to various edited collections on the topic(s) of popular music and (ageing) fandom, popular culture and vigilant audiences.

Assignment for participants


This assignment helps to better understand the phenomenon of “renegade audiences” and their reactions and practices, by researching a particular controversy such an audience was involved in:

1) First, after reading the preparatory readings for the workshop, we ask you to individually work on a definition of how you understand the concept of “renegade audiences”. Send this in prior to the workshop and bring this definition to the workshop.

2) On the day of the workshop, you’ll work in a group with max. 3 peers on the following:

  1. A) As a group, select an event or happening to which a “renegade audience” responded (from a toxic, vigilant, provoking etc. perspective).
  1. B) Conduct a short investigation to uncover what happened and how the audiences responded. For example, gather about +/- 5-8 (news) articles or +/- 15-20 comments discussing this event/ happening.
  1. C) Discuss your findings of the audiences’ practices with help of the assigned readings in a 5- minute presentation to convey your findings to the group. Each presentation is followed by a few minutes of Q&A that will touch upon your ethical handling of the material.

Your presentations will be evaluated on the following aspects:

1) Your understanding (definition) of renegade audiences (2 points);

2) The incorporation of the assigned readings and workshop content (5 points);

3) The aptness (creativity, originality) of the selected case study (1 point);

4) The coherence of your presentation style (2 points).


  • Driessen, S. (forthcoming). The fandom strikes back: vigilantism in online pop culture fandoms. In D. Trottier (ed), Vigilant Audiences: Justice Seeking through Global Digital Media. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers.
  • Hills, M. (2018). An extended Foreword: From fan doxa to toxic fan practices? Participations; Journal of audience and reception studies, 15(1), 105-126.
  • Trottier, D. (2017). Digital Vigilantism as Weaponisation of Visibility. Philosophy and Technology, 30(1), 55–72. doi:10.1007/s13347-016-0216-4


  • The definition of what participants consider as “renegade audiences” should be sent in latest 3 days prior to the workshop;
  • The presentations (graded assignment for the 1 ECTS) are held on the day of the workshop.