RMeS Winter School & Graduate Symposium 2020-21

Modes of Knowing in Media Studies

When: 28 & 29 January 2021
Time: TBA
Where: VU University Amsterdam – ONLINE
ECTS: 2 (two full days plus preparation 3 days)
Organized by: Prof. dr Ginette Verstraete (VU), Prof. dr Tamara Witschge (HvA/RUG) and Bernadette Schrandt MA (HvA) and RMeS
Open to: PhD candidates who are a member of RMeS
Fee (non-members): € 150

Keynote: Prof. Larissa Hjorth (RMIT University) | Workshop: Onias Landveld

This year’s RMeS Winter School (28-29 January 2021) will be jointly organised by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

Ever increasingly our research is asking and inviting us to create media ourselves, to collaborate with research participants, with related research fields, with artists, and/or with other practitioners. We see this trend developing especially in new strands of media studies; from action research, auto-ethnographic media studies, design anthropology, maker thinking, to arts-based research. This Winter School explores our engagement and collaboration with practise-based and related research practices, and focuses on how we can best incorporate a dialogue with such areas into our own research. How do we give participants, practitioners, collaborators, and our own creative work and thinking, a voice, in our writing?

Collaborative research and practise-based approaches have a tremendous impact on the field of media studies. Not only does it directly affect our output – in terms of potential form and register, impact, relevance, and knowledge valorisation – but it also asks us to reconsider valuable and important questions. For example, we may have to re-assess how we produce knowledge: who ‘holds’ the knowledge now? Who ‘knows’ what exactly? What is this knowledge? Who is an expert? What is the role of academia, in relation to the arts, and to society? And who then contributes to this academia? How can and should we, as scholars, do justice to what we study, and who we collaborate with, be they users, producers, practices, objects, and/or anything in between?

Traditionally, researchers have been deemed to be experts about something: they ‘know’ retrospectively, and from a distance (because the objects studied are most often finished or completed and the methods come from long established academic tradition). But currently, collaborative and practise-based approaches seem to invite us to re-think that position, since researchers are now more ongoingly ‘immersed’ in the things they study. The knowledge produced becomes more processual, subjective, and experience-based. Of course, in reality, this division is not quite so clear-cut, nor is the latter type of knowledge entirely new, if we look at the theories of embodiment or situated knowledge in the Humanities, for example, or methodologies of reflection-in-action or research-through-design. Nevertheless, there are many questions that arise specifically from adopting practise-based and collaborative approaches.

In this Winter School, we centralise some of the key questions that result from these new directions in our field – and invite you to participate by reflecting on how and where (one or more of) these questions affect your own work.

The five central questions we will look at are:

  • What is the relation between practise-based knowledge and academic knowledge, and who ‘owns’ what type of knowledge?
  • What methodologies or methods problematize – or alternatively, uphold – the (hierarchical / political / social…) divisions between traditional and new forms of academic practise, in media studies, and beyond?
  • What kinds of collaborations can we initiate to incorporate a wider range of perspectives, to put theory into practise, and/or to give practise a broader scope?
  • What new forms of thinking, writing, and making, could represent different modes of knowing in our research?
  • What is the place of our research outside of the university? To whom is it of value, why and how? Are there ways in which we can make our research more relevant and accessible?

We greatly look forward to hearing your thoughts, to receiving your abstracts, and to compiling an exciting Winter School programme for you. Regrettably, due to the ongoing corona circumstances, our Winter School will still be held online this January. We are committed to making it an exciting event nevertheless, and one that is rich and fruitful in its exchange of thought and ideas.

Practical information

The Winter School will feature three different types of sessions; 1) sessions for presenting your work to peers, 2) keynote lectures by RMeS staff members and guest speakers, and 3) a skills/career workshop.

  1. PhDs are kindly asked to submit an abstract for their Winter School presentation. For this abstract, we ask you to reflect on the ‘call for papers’ of the Winter School, and to relate one or more of its central questions to your ongoing work. Please indicate which question(s) you are working with at the top of your abstract. For the presentation paper itself, you may work from or submit a chapter of your dissertation, a draft for an article, or a write-up of recent research results, or whatever you would like to discuss with your peers and/or think is fruitful for your own progress. After we receive your abstracts, we will group them into panels, selecting panels around similar themes and subjects, key questions or approaches, and/or levels of advancement in the PhD track. If you want to be in a session with one or two of your peers (people whose judgment you value, or people you haven’t worked with yet) please also feel free to indicate this on your abstract. About three weeks before the Winter School starts, you will be asked to submit your full paper presentation, so it can be peer-reviewed before the Winter School. All participants will be asked to peer-review in writing (1-2 pages) one other presentation before the Winter School starts, and to present this peer-review orally during the session itself, keeping the central questions from the ‘call for papers’ of the Winter School in mind as discussion points. If you are interested in chairing a session as well, please let us know.
  2. Lectures: Prof Larissa Hjorth | Workshop: Onias Landveld
  3. This Winter School will offer a workshop on “Academic Careers Outside Academia”.

Sign up for Winter School

If you are interested in participating and earning credits (both in EC and social credit from your peers), please:

  • Register for the Winter School before January 11, 2021 at the very latest via our website. You will receive a confirmation email from our RMeS office.
  • Please submit abstracts for individual presentations before January 11, 2021. Abstracts should be max. 300 words, and should include a clear research question or thesis statement for the presentation. Please indicate which of the five questions in the ‘call for papers’ are most relevant to you Please also indicate on your abstract whether you would like to be in a panel with specific other participants, and/or any suggestions you may have for suitable reviewers for your paper (although we cannot promise that all these requests are met…).
  • You can opt for two formats in terms of paper submission:
  1. Those of you who are in the very early stages of your PhD may consider working from (or submitting) your PhD proposal, which will then be commented upon by your peers. (This is recommended to PhDs who have just started)
  2. Other PhD candidates may work from (or submit) a chapter of their PhD/an article/recent research results, or a conference presentation, of approx. 5,000 – 6,000 words.
  • Full papers of (or one of the above formats) are due by January 18, 2021. On the basis of your submissions, we will group the panels, assign reviewers and organize responses. We will distribute the papers to all panel-members and assign the tasks of writing a full peer review to another participant. Each of you will have to write/prepare one peer review and response.
  • Presentations: During the Winter School, each participant will give a presentation of 5-10 minutes. Each participant then receives an oral peer review during the session, and in writing on the same day – as well as providing a peer review to another. All session members engage in general discussion, response, and communal feedback.