IAMCR 2016 - Audience Section - CfP

The International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) will held its annual conference from 27 -31 July, 2016 in Leicester, UK. The IAMCR Audience Section invites papers that reflect the conference theme or the section's interest in new approaches to audience research in context of a fast moving digital, global media environment. 

Conference theme: "Memory, Commemoration and Communication: Looking Back, Looking Forward"

See the conference key dates and deadlines: http://iamcr.org/leicester2016/keydates

See all Calls for Papers for IAMCR 2016: http://iamcr.org/leicester2016/cfp

Visit the conference website: http://iamcr.org/leicester2016

The Section aims to reflect and encourage interest in understanding audiences for a range of media technologies, in diverse settings, reflecting the role of media in identity, everyday life and broader social and political engagement. In the context of major transformations in media, we seek to encourage reflection on the changing nature of audiences, innovations in ways of studying audiences across a range of media and contexts to address the challenge of a  fluid and ephemeral digital and mobile media environment.

The deadline to submit abstract is midnight GMT on 15 February 2016.


In addition to the open call for papers, we would like to invite papers and proposals for papers and panels that address the following themes:

Rethinking Audience Research:  Innovations in theory and method are essential if audience researchers are to keep pace with a rapidly changing media environment where audience(ing) takes multiple forms and resists easy categorization or investigation. We welcome proposals for papers that address new conceptual and practical approaches to studying audiences in the complex convergence of digital and linear media across a range of platforms and that reflect on the emerging agenda for audience studies in a radically transformed media ecology.
Configuring Audiences: academic audience research no longer ‘owns’ the concept of ‘the audience’, as, media industries, governments, regulators and NGOs are increasingly interested in audience research. This is an area of study in its own right in audience research; how is the audience configured in these different contexts, for different reasons and using different methods.

Audiences in Context: There is a growing acknowledgement that the audience is not to be found in front of the television in the domestic space of the living room. Studies of Fans and other dispersed audiences point to an ethnographic turn in audience studies and the decentering of the contexts and practices of being an audience. We welcome submissions that ‘follow’ audiences into different contexts and engage with the ways that media are dispersed through the practices of everyday life.

Audience experience: There are a variety of ways in which audience experience(s) are being rethought in media and communication. For example, as participants in social media, audiences are a form of association. The affective turn suggests new ways of thinking of the visceral aspects of audience engagement within a media environment that affords new forms of connectivity. The section welcomes presentations that engage these new ways of thinking about audience experience.

Measuring Audiences: a variety of methods are developing to quantify audience practices in a variety of ways. Broadcasters gather data on audience responses through a variety of means that are displacing traditional audience surveys and panels. Twitter feeds provide resources for big data analysis of connected audiences and audience sentiments. Submissions reflecting on new media audience configurations are welcomed.

Youthful audiences:  Young people’s relationship with media has been the subject of both celebration of the potential for new forms of creative expression and anxiety with regard to the impact of powerful media on vulnerable audiences. In relation to new media forms, young people are frequently seen to be in the vanguard of new audience trends and emerging practices of consumption and engagement. We welcome papers that explore audience experience from the child’s perspective, and that examine opportunities, risks, and challenges faced by children in the current media environment.

Audience research: memories from the past, avenues for the future. Audience research is a well-established field of studies within Media and Communication Research. We welcome papers that review the history of audience inquiry and the different approaches adopted by media scholars. Looking to the past can also be seen as a chance to imagine what the future will bring, offering the opportunity for papers dealing with expectations about how the audience and audience research will evolve in the short, medium and longer term.

We invite papers for a joint session of the Public Service Media Policies and Audience sections that offer a critical analysis of public service broadcasters in terms of audience involvement and public participation.

Reflecting broader media trends, public service broadcasters reach audiences via different technological platforms and involve members of the public in a variety of ways in production, delivery and consumption (Lowe, 2009). Accordingly, many media policy documents emphasize concepts like interaction, participation and co-creation. In these, policy makers and public broadcasters state, “viewers, listeners and users are increasingly moving towards a more active relationship with the media that they consume” (BBC, 2007).

However, research demonstrates that there are limits to the conflation of producer and audience, often mentioned in media theory and policy, especially in a public service media context (Bechmann & Lomborg, 2012). New media strategies can frustrate users, for instance when they do not receive feedback from producers and/or other users (Couldry et al., 2010). The motivations, thresholds and potential benefits of audience involvement in public service media are rarely taken into account in theory and policy (Lunt & Livingstone, 2012). Consequently, audience involvement is mainly technologically and not user driven, placing limits on audience participation in and with public broadcasters (Bardoel, 2007).

For this session we invite contributions that analyze how public broadcasters engage audiences and to critically reflect on public service media ideals such as participation and audience involvement.


Individual papers and panels are possible, but all proposals must be submitted through the online Open Conference System from 1 December 2015 – 15 February 2016. Early submission is strongly encouraged. There are to be no email submissions of abstracts addressed to any Section or Working Group Head.

It is expected that for the most part, only one (1) abstract will be submitted per person for consideration by the Conference. However, under no circumstances should there be more than two (2) abstracts bearing the name of the same applicant either individually or as part of any group of authors. Please note also that the same abstract or another version with minor variations in title or content must not be submitted to other Sections or Working Groups of the Association for consideration, after an initial submission. Such submissions will be deemed to be in breach of the conference guidelines and will be automatically rejected by the Open Conference System, by the relevant Head or by the Conference Programme Reviewer. Such applicants risk being removed entirely from the conference programme.

Upon submission of an abstract, you will be asked to confirm that your submission is original and that it has not been previously published in the form presented. You will also be given an opportunity to declare if your submission is currently before another conference for consideration.

Presenters are expected to bring fully developed work to the conference. Prior to the conference, it is expected that a completed paper will be submitted to Section, Working Group, Session Chairs, and/or Discussants

For enquiries or further information, please contact:
Section Chair: Peter Lunt,
University of Leicester,

Important dates and deadlines to keep in mind:

  • 1 December 2015 Open Computer System (OCS) available for abstract submission
  • 15 February 2016 Deadline for submissions
  • 1 April 2016 Notification of acceptances of abstracts
  • 15 April 2016 Deadline to apply for travel grants and awards
  • 28 April 2016 Deadline to confirm your participation
  • 20 May 2016 Last day to register at discounted early-bird fee
  • 30 June 2016 Deadline for full paper submission
  • 7 July 2016 Final conference programme published on the website
  • 27-31 July 2016 IAMCR 2016 Conference

Audience Section


Peter Lunt,
University of Leicester,

See the conference key dates and deadlines: http://iamcr.org/leicester2016/keydates

See all Calls for Papers for IAMCR 2016: http://iamcr.org/leicester2016/cfp

Visit the conference website: http://iamcr.org/leicester2016