Audience Section

The International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) invites the submission of abstracts of papers and proposals for panels for the 2019 Congress of the Association, which will be held from 7 to 11 July, 2019 at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. The deadline for submission is 8 February 2019, at 23.59 UTC.

IAMCR conferences address a wide diversity of topics defined by our 32 thematic sections and working groups. We also propose a single central theme to be explored throughout the conference with the aim of generating and exploring multiple perspectives. This is accomplished through plenary and special sessions, and in some of the sessions of the sections and working groups. The central theme for 2019 focuses on communication, technology, and human dignity: Communication, Technology, and Human Dignity: Disputed Rights, Contested Truths

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.  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, cultural 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 an increasingly complex convergent media environment.


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 have encouraged 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 experiences.

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, including new currencies of engagement with social media and mixed media content that attempt to capture audience attention with quantitative performance metrics.

Generations and audiences: Young and older people’s relationship with media has been the subject of debate about opportunities and barriers within media participation and creative expression. For example, 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. In relation to older people, silver surfing and digital media participation in relation to age, health and well being is set alongside barriers to access and digital media skills amongst the elderly. We welcome papers that explore audience experience from perspective of media generations, and that examine opportunities, risks, and challenges faced by different generations in the current media environment.

Transnational Audiences: there is a transnational turn in media audiences for global formats and local series, signalling an increasing range of audio-visual content available to consumers, fans and publics, including translations, subtitling and fan subbing of fiction and non-fiction television and social media. Doing audience research in digital and transnational media landscapes calls for multi-faceted, pragmatic approaches to varieties of audience experiences in social and cultural contexts. We welcome papers that explore transnational audiences, including the significance of distribution contexts, geo-cultural approaches to audiences, and the significance of place and time, to researching audiences, users and publics.


We accept submissions in the official languages at IAMRC: English, Spanish and French. Whenever possible, we encourage people making presentations in French or Spanish to consider preparing their slides in English.

Section Heads

Peter Lunt and Annette Hill

University of Leicester, Lund University,