Dublin Updates

IAMCR Newsletter | June 2013

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Conference Speaker Attacks Austerity Regime in Europe

 “Mr Higgins, a leftwing poet and human rights campaigner, was elected president in the wake of Ireland’s financial crisis in October 2011 with the biggest vote in the history of presidential elections. He spoke as May day demonstrators poured into the streets across the eurozone, spurred on by the growing backlash against austerity.“ (Financial Times, 1 May 2013).

The Dublin organisers are pleased to have as keynote speaker at opening session of the IAMCR-2013 conference, Michael D Higgins, the President of Ireland. Our speaker has also distinguished himself in recent weeks as the only politician from establishment parties in Ireland who gets and names some the strategic social, political and ethical issues at stake in the current crisis and, especially, the 'austerity' regimes that have followed in its wake in Europe.

Indeed Michael D Higgins stands out as one of the few politicians from mainstream political parties in Europe today who has expressed robust opposition to the current orthodoxies of austerity and imposing the huge costs of a bankrupt banking system onto the public finances.  Over the past month, he has attracted widespread media coverage after expressing such views in an address to the European Parliament  and in recent media interviews.  His outspoken criticisms of the current austerity policies is all the more striking, because the President of Ireland's main role is meant to be largely ceremonial and incumbents usually keep away from speaking on politically sensitive questions.

In an interview published, suitably enough, on May Day, Michael D Higgins warned that the prevailing approach to dealing with the fallout from the financial crisis was leading to massive unemployment and social inequalities, risked creating social upheaval as well as undermining the legitimacy of the whole EU integration project. He said that the EU faced as much a ‘moral crisis’ as a financial or economic crisis and there was an urgent need for a radical new economic model and set of policy initiatives “ (Financial Times, 1 May 2013).

Amongst other notable past works and achievements, Michael D. Higgins was a high-profile Minister for Arts and Culture and Gaeltacht  [1993-97] with a distinct, indeed unique record of policy reforms in that area.  As Minister, he also had direct responsibility for the promotion of the  Irish language and for the economic and social development of  Irish-speaking areas in the State; And for many years, he was a foot soldier in academe:  as a lecturer in sociology at the National University of Ireland in Galway, where his lecturing engaged with media, communication and  inter-cultural relations, inter alia.

Michael D Higgins was a regular columnist for the music magazine, ‘Hot Press’, over the  1982—1992 period, during which he engaged with the social issues  of the day. He is also the author of several volumes of poetry.  For more SEE http://www.president.ie/biography/

Michael D Higgins will address the  opening session of the conference at 6.00pm sharp on Tuesday 25th June. All those wishing to attend should plan to turn up earlier in the afternoon to Register (desks open from 2.00pm till 5.15pm).

Paschal Preston, Chair LOC

IAMCR- 2013  Dublin and the Environment

The local organising committee (LOC) in Dublin have been working to engage with current environmental concerns in planning the conference.  We hope to make this conference as green and sustainable as possible, and have been working with the IAMCR Environmental Committee to share suggestions and best practices for the environment.  We would like to update you with some of the developments that we have been working on.

One major area of concern for us is that of keeping our delegates hydrated while keeping the carbon footprint associated with supplying water at a minimum.  We are delighted to announce that we have sourced a 'water in a box' concept where the traditional plastic water drums for water coolers have been replaced by more sustainable, recyclable boxes.  These boxes have a number of advantages.  The supplier does not have to make a return journey to drop off and collect the boxes (as they would with traditional water drums) and so the transportation emissions associated with water delivery and return are halved.  The well from which this water is sourced is less than 50km from the DCU campus, furthermore making the water product truly 'local'.  The packaging is sustainable and recyclable.  More information on our water will be available at the water stations which will be located in each building.

Transportation is another area that we have been working on.  DCU is serviced by twelve city bus routes, covering city centre and arterial journeys, and is close to the airport and the main bypass motorway.  Details of transportation options will be included on the website.  Therefore, we can encourage delegates to find public transport options, particularly for journeys to city centre and local accommodation.  To minimise the necessity for taxis, there are shuttle buses from the main conference hotels to the campus for those who have booked their accommodation through the conference website.

The Campus:
In January, DCU formally began its campaign towards ‘Green Flag’ accreditation with An Taisce (Ireland's National Trust). A Green Committee was set up to focus on three target areas: energy, waste and biodiversity.  Since then, a series of initiatives and awareness campaigns have been introduced, including film screenings and panel discussions.  Most buildings in DCU are fitted, or are in the process of being fitted with motion detectors to only trigger lighting when they sense room occupants.  They also switch off after a certain amount of time if no movement is detected.  We are also training our conference volunteers to be vigilant about energy use, such as switching off computers every evening and turning off lights in any rooms that are not fitted with motion detectors.

Many more green initiatives are in process, such as sourcing sustainable and environmentally friendly paper stock, strategic waste management and environmental catering practices.  We would like to thank Gabriele Hadl, Chair of the IAMCR Environmental Committee for her help and advice in steering us towards a green conference.

Trish Morgan, LOC Team

More IAMCR Travel Awards for Dublin Conference

IAMCR has awarded an additional 5 travel grants to young scholars from lower-income countries. The grants were made possible by financial resources generated by the organisers of IAMCR's 2012 conference in Durban.

The 5 additional grants, together with those announced in April, mean that an additional 21 young scholars from low and middle-income countries will be able to attend the Dublin conference in June.

We would like to thank the organisers of the 2012 conference in Durban and the 2013 conference in Dublin for their generous contributions in support of IAMCR's commitment to stimulating a global intellectual exchange and in particular to ensuring the conference's international diversity and encouraging the presence of young scholars. We would also like to thank the many members who applied for travel support and, of course, to congratulate those who were selected.

Below is the name and country of residence of the 5 recently-announced award winners as well as the title of the paper they will present and the name of the Section or Working Group. Details of the previously-announced award can be found in the article IAMCR awards 16 travel grants for Dublin 2013.

  1. Alet Janse van Rensburg, South Africa. “Indifference to climate change: the case of South African audiences”, Audience Section
  2. Diego Ignacio Cespedes and Antonio Figueroa, Chile. “The espectacularization of politics in the Chilean written press between 1990 and 2010”, Journalism Research Education Section
  3. Subba Rao, India. “Are perceptions of obesity and its risk factors different among ‘overweight’ and ‘normal weight’ adolescents? - Findings from formative research in South India”, Health Communication Working Group
  4. Shanthini Sarah, India. “A comparative analysis of Community Radio Stations managed by educational institutions and NGO’s in Tamil Nadu, India”, Community Communication Section
  5. Uma Shankar Pandey, India. “Digital Competence Index: Proposing a Structural Equation Modeling Approach to Measure Digital Divide”, Digital Divide Working Group