IAMCR 2018 - Reimagining Sustainability

IAMCR Newsletter - November 2017

IAMCR’s 2018 conference will take place on June 20-24 in Eugene, Oregon. It is the first time in the organization’s sixty-year history that the conference will be held in the United States. “Our school and the university of Oregon are honoured to have been chosen as the site for the conference”, stated Dr. Juan Carlos Molleda, dean of the School for Journalism and Communication. “For over 100 years, (our program has) been dedicated to promoting intellectual debate that leads to new ways of thinking about social, economic, and political problems.”

The 2018 conference theme is Reimagining Sustainability: Communication and Media Research in a Changing World. As part of its Sustainable Development Agenda, the United Nations defines sustainability as harmonizing three core elements: environmental protection, social inclusion, and economic growth, so as to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The conference theme is designed to encourage proposals that address these intersections by revising and remixing theories, practices, and institutions that move beyond merely sustaining—towards thriving societies and cultures.

Dr. Gabriela Martinez, head of the Local Organizing Committee, said that Eugene, Oregon is the ideal place to have these conversations, stating that “the state of Oregon has a national and international reputation as one of the world leaders in sustainability, and Eugene is a city that has taken to heart the advancement of social, economic, and environmental well-being.” Dr. Michael Schill, president of the University of Oregon, echoed this sentiment, stating that “the University of Oregon is in the Pacific Northwest and it’s an ideal location to discuss the conference theme.” According to Schill, “Oregon has a long history of commitment, vision, and innovation related to sustainable lifestyles. The city of Eugene takes a comprehensive approach that places equal importance on advancing social equity, economic prosperity and environmental health.”

Nevertheless, it has been noted that the USA may seem an unusual choice of venue, given recent developments. While the conference site was selected before Trump’s unexpected victory, we at the University of Oregon are more convinced than ever of the urgent need to reimagine sustainability and the fundamental role that communication must play in securing that outcome.

When the current US administration announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, signed by 195 other countries, Oregon joined 23 other US states and territories, together representing more than half of the country’s population, and committed to supporting the agreement. IAMCR 2018 is committed to working with researchers, activists and grassroots organisations to showcase local and global efforts to reimagine sustainability and to promote dialogue and exchange with global media and communication scholars.