In this letter to the members, IAMCR's president, Nico Carpentier, talks about our conferences and an initiative to expand IAMCR's Ambassador Programme.
At this point in time, our 2021 IAMCR conference is about to end. The platform will remain open for another few days, but then we will be able—with much satisfaction—to put a full stop behind this endeavour. Again, our Section and Working Groups, the Local Organising Committee, our partners, the Executive Secretariat, the Executive Board and the International Council have shown the best of themselves. I think we did a spectacular job, especially keeping in mind that online conferences are not easy to organise, and that it is not always easy to motivate conference participants to do more than ‘merely’ uploading a paper or video. But, our conference model worked: We had an abundance of online papers and videos, with content that was innovative and challenging. We successfully tried out new formats – the live online forums, and the more creative audio and video work in Flow34. And more than 2600 comments were recorded on the online platform.
Meanwhile, preparations for the 2022 IAMCR conference, organised in collaboration with the School of Journalism and Communication of Tsinghua University, and the Department of Media and Communication of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, have already started. Again, we have something to look forward to. We will also have many problems to solve, as always, but the new Local Organising Committee has already been established and they have all the competences on board to deal with the up-coming problems. And more importantly than problems: We’ll have—yet again—great opportunities to exchange ideas, to get acquainted with new research and to learn from each other, across continents and their many frontiers.
But IAMCR should be–and is—more than an organisation that puts together an annual conference (even when we do this well). For instance, our publications, and also our new webinar series, bear witness to this. But we should do more. We also want to expand the ambassador programme, as this will strengthen our regional presence, and allow us to build more and stronger collaborative networks. IAMCR has had ambassadors for years, and these colleagues have more than proven themselves. We simply want to have more people that are willing to act as interface between the more localized academic communities, and IAMCR.
One novelty is that we explicitly call upon the early-stage scholars of our community to become IAMCR PhD ambassadors. We believe that there is lots of energy, innovation and creativity with the PhD students in the field of communication and media students. We believe that IAMCR should generate opportunities for early-stage scholars to become more visible and more active at the global stage. This is why we have opened a call for new ambassadors, still warmly welcoming IAMCR Faculty ambassadors, but also inviting early-stage scholars to become IAMCR PhD ambassadors. We hope that this initiative will enable scholars, in different stages of their careers to contribute to the academic dialogues in our field, also outside the main conference.