RMeS RMa Course: Trending Topics – Engaging Objects

When? 14, 21 & 28 February, 6 March 13.00 – 17.00 / presentation day: 20 March 2019 12.00 – 18.00 / deadline paper: Mid April
Where? University of Amsterdam, TBA
ECTS? 6
Coordinator? Dr Maryn Wilkinson (UvA)
Guest lectures by? TBA
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.
Registration will open 31 October 2019

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%).

Programme:

13.00-17.00 on Friday, February 14, 2020:

13.00-17.00 on Friday, February 21, 2020: 

13.00-17.00 on Friday, February 21, 2020:

13.00-17.00 on Friday, March 6, 2020:

Educational Programme 2019-2020

We are currently finalizing our educational programme for 2019-2020. We expect to offer the following educational activities:

RMeS Winter School & Graduate Symposium (expected January/February 2020)
RMeS RMa Course: Trending Topics (expected February/March 2020)
RMeS RMa Course: Contemporary approaches to digital cultures: platforms, politics, performances and people (expected April/May 2020)
RMeS Summer School (expected June 2020)

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 wonderful Summer!

Review: RMeS Network Event – How do You… Collaborate with External Partners?

Collaboration with external partners: Why? How? What are the consequences?

This blog is written by Rashid Gabdulhakov (PhD-EUR)

As academics, we are still ‘touching the waters’ in matters of collaboration with external partners. Collaboration is a logical and, perhaps, an inevitable scenario in contemporary research.  But how do we tune it up? How do we turn collaboration into a well-oiled engine that can guarantee us a long-lasting, smooth, and mutually satisfying ride? This year’s RMeS annual networking event was dedicated to debunking these complex and highly relevant questions. The invited speakers Prof Dr Tamara Witschge, Dr Amanda Paz Alencar and Professor Melissa Wall shared their rich experiences and unique perspectives. In this blog entry, I will provide brief snapshots of presentations and discussions that took place at the workshop, as they can be handy for our fellow PhDs who could not join the event.

The event

The idea and importance of collaboration with external partners has been actively penetrating and circulating in the academia-related discourse. When organizing this year’s annual networking event, the PhD Council of the Research School for Media Studies (RMeS) decided to tackle the topic and debunk the issue with the help of the invited experts. Council members and RMeS Board are very grateful to the experts for their time and unique insights. We also thank all of the participants for joining us, for asking important and challenging questions and for sharing their own experiences.

Why collaborate with external partners?

The workshop opened with a critical take on the very nature of collaboration with external partners. Workshop participants were challenged to think about what is lacking in current approaches in order to formulate a coherent and multi-perspective understanding of the importance of collaboration. Who are these partners, what are their interests, backgrounds, perceptions?

Participants were encouraged to critically assess their own position and presentation when approaching new actors. Partners beyond academia can be a crucial source of information and a source of access to the field. Moreover, they can inform and assist us in constructing the ‘right’ questions in the early stages of our research when we explore the topic. Here it is important to note some of the challenges associated with exploratory site visits. For instance, justifying such visits to ‘the other side’ can be a difficult task.

As academics, we have a voice and a desire to make a meaningful impact through our research. Collaboration with external partners presents unique opportunities for getting our analysis and arguments ‘out there’ and into ‘the real world’. In the broad sense, the WHY question can be summarized as getting access, ensuring connectivity, being informed, informing, contributing and participating.

How do we establish collaboration?

When organizing events, we should be conscious of opportunities to invite external partners. Workshops and academic conferences can be fruitful grounds for mutually beneficial connectivity and exchange between academia and external partners. Social media is another important and handy domain where we can approach, connect and maintain contact with actors we are interested in establishing a collaboration with. Social media is also a space where we present our projects and ourselves; therefore, we should be savvy and strategic about personal presentation. Realistically speaking, a lot has to do with ‘who you know’ and ‘who you can get to know’ through your own network. So, be proactive!

The dangers and conflicts of interest in collaboration with external partners

The workshop’s second half was dedicated to addressing the more challenging sides of collaboration with external partners. Some of the addressed topics included financial questions, ethics, project ownership, personal and collective aims, etc. When it comes to finances, we tend to think that collaboration can help us fund research and financially aid those who decide to collaborate with us. In reality, things are more complicated and our project members are increasingly more often expected to pitch-in financially.

As far as finding research partners is concerned, there are over-researched sites and over-partnered institutions, which may further make it difficult to identify and approach potential collaborators. The workshop participants were encouraged to think strategically and critically about whom to approach and why. There are cases where the approached partners have had a negative experience with academics in the past, it is important to be aware of such instances and to work out your own strategy for approaching such actors. Furthermore, it is important to keep considering the motivations to collaborate – not only the motivations of our collaborators but also our own. How do we ensure ethical and mutually beneficial collaborative partnerships in which both academic integrity and the greater good are served? Neither academia nor external partners are homogeneous entities. Thus, we need to think about how alternative voices can be heard.

To avoid any potential misunderstandings and contestations over project trajectory and ownership, it is important to get the expectations out at the very early stages of establishing a collaboration. We should always be pragmatic, strategic, and true to ourselves and our partners.

Summing up

Collaboration with external partners can be a wonderful and mutually beneficial experience. If you ask yourself the right questions before and during the collaboration, your chances for a satisfying and successful experience will rise. I hope that this brief snapshot from the workshop will come in handy for you! Best of luck in your approaches to collaboration and please share your success stories with us on this blog! Stories of ‘not so successful’ collaboration are also welcome. We hope to see you at the future RMeS events.

Relevant literature

Wagemans, A., & Witschge, T. (2019). Examining innovation as process: Action research in journalism studies. Convergence. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856519834880

Rashid Gabdulhakov Portrait (Vertical Broad)

Author

Rashid Gabdulhakov is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Media and Communication of Erasmus School of History Culture and Communication.

Supervised by Dr Daniel Trottier and Professor Susanne Janssen, Rashid is investigating vigilante acts in the digital domain as part of the ‘Digital Vigilantism: Mapping the terrain and assessing societal impact’ project funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)

Recipient of the first RMeS PhD Workshop Grant: Dr Rik Smit

We are very proud to announce that Dr Rik Smit (University of Groningen) will receive the first RMeS Workshop Grant. The RMeS PhD Council, together with two selected members of the Advisory Board, selected Smit’s proposal out of 4 other proposals.

The jury praised Rik Smit’s proposal “Appnography: Researching the apps of life and the life of apps” for its exciting, topical theme and its well-thought-out and well-developed programme. They also applauded his original student assignment which asks participants to come up with a “design fiction”, aimed at exploring and critiquing possible futures. As the workshop connects Rik’s PhD project (Platforms of Memory: Social Media and Digital Memory Work) to his current project on personal memory apps, the jury believes the RMeS Workshop Grant will provide him with a fantastic opportunity to present his work to a new generation of media scholars.

The workshop Appnography: Researching the apps of life and the life of apps is scheduled 1 April 2019.

About the PhD Workshop Grant
The RMeS PhD Workshop Grant enables advanced PhD-candidates or recently graduated PhDs to organize a workshop around their own research and share their expertise with a new generation of scholars. The workshop is to center on the theme of the recipient’s dissertation or their current research project. The Grant is intended to acknowledge original and innovative contributions to the field of media studies and to highlight the work of talented scholars at the beginning of their careers.