Countdown to IAMCR 2014!

IAMCR Newsletter | July 2014

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Usha Raman, Chair of the IAMCR 2014 Local Organising Committee

With one week left before we meet in Hyderabad, preparations for the annual conference are moving into high gear. The Local Organising Committee is looking forward to an exciting and stimulating five days with discussions and presentations spanning a wide range of topics in our ever-expanding field. The conference will take place in a brand new state—Telangana—shaped by regional aspirations expressed in one of the nation’s most keenly fought elections.

The opening plenary will be delivered by Prof Manuel Castells and he will be joined on stage by Mr. Jawahar Sircar, the Chief Executive Officer of Prasar Bharati, India’s public broadcasting trust, who will provide insights from his long career straddling the public and academic sectors. Other panels, looking at a range of issues from Internet governance to marginalization to cinema in the region, have shaped up well and feature both familiar and new voices.

Both UNICEF and UNESCO feature in a big way in this year’s conference, emphasizing IAMCR’s effort to reach out to other policy making and implementation bodies in the global media landscape. These collaborative efforts are visible on plenary and special sessions relating to communication for social change, media education and gender. In addition, several satellite discussions convened by interest groups in these (and other) areas pack a lot into the four and a half day programme.

Delegates who arrive early for the pre-conferences will have an even more packed schedule. The two-day Community Media pre-conference has an interesting line-up of scholars, activists and policymakers from India and elsewhere, while the Communication for Sustainable Growth promises an intense and focused discussion on key issues.

July is monsoon season in India, and this year, also the period of Ramadan, and Hyderabad is a good place to be on both counts. The LOC has planned a few cultural events to showcase some of the performing arts of the region, and delegates will also be able to sample other aspects of the city on their own or through one of the guided tours that we have put together. The Golconda Fort, one of the city’s most visible landmarks, is just about 15 km from the conference venue, and offers an interesting trek. Charminar, the other city icon, is in the heart of the old city and some distance from HICC, but its bazaars stay lit up and open late into the night for festival shopping. Driving to the old city from the convention centre—which is the brand new city—could be a lesson in itself, uncovering the layered history of Hyderabad from the Mughal to British through the post-colonial era. Of course, the chaos of the traffic could be daunting, but it arms one to remember that the slow moving confusion tends to discourage accidents! 

Hyderabad in July will be warm, wet, and welcoming.