Report back from the the 2016 IAMCR Conference by C4D Co-ordinator Katie Bartholomew
With over 1,000 participants, each engaged with Media Development research and practice, the 2016 IAMCR Conference was buzzing with discussion and activities. The theme of this year’s conference – ‘ Memory, Commemoration and Communication: Looking Back, Looking Forward’ – gave rise to a packed schedule of lively and diverse papers. The ‘Participatory Communications Research’ section was particularly relevant to our network focus on Communications for Development.
Relevant highlights included…
Thomas Tufte (Ørecomm research group and Roskilde University, Denmark) looked at the nature and mediation of embodiment and experience within a new generation of social movements.
Sarah Cardey (Reading University, UK) presented a paper on ‘gendering innovations’, analysing how development communications use gender frameworks – and how they don’t use them, pointing out that the social change theory of change doesn’t include gender theories.
Rafael Obregon (Chief of C4D at UNICEF) explored how the ‘Scaling Up Nutrition – SUN’ programme demonstrates how social mobilisation can work top-down, such as through global farmers’ coalitions, as well as from the grassroots – which is a challenge within an institution setting, where project aims might be mis-aligned.
Susan Abbott (CIMA) and Winston Mano (University of Westminster) presented findings from their pre-conference ‘Media and the Development Challenge’, hosted by University of Westminster earlier in the week – of which you can read the full report here.
Martin Scott (University of East Anglia), delivered a couple of papers: firstly, on the dynamics of humanitarian news journalism; and secondly, on his contribution to a book – launched at the conference – entitled ‘The External Image of Africa: Conclusions from the New Research Anthology’. Martin discussed how not to write about writing about Africa.
Jessica Noske-Turner (RMIT, Australia) spoke on the challenge of evaluating C4D projects, using the example of the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme’s (PACMAS) small-scale innovation fund.
Jonas Agerbaek (of Roskilde University, Denmark) was elected Vice-Chair of the Participatory Communications Research section for the next 4 years, and delivered a paper on ‘grounding democracy theory in the practices of NGO driven communication for development’.
After a busy Friday of conferencing, C4D Network joined forces/shared poppadoms with CIMA (Centre for International Media Assistance) at a curry house meet-up. There was plenty of vibrant discussion between those working in media development, and those working in communications for development… and those in between – perhaps most of us! – as we reflected on the fuzzy boundary between these two fields, and how they can best work together. A satisfying way (for mind and stomach) to celebrate a successful conference. We look forward to IAMCR 2017 in Cartegena, Colombia!