News from Regional Associations

IAMCR Newsletter | July 2014

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AMIC’S annual conference cancelled

Martin Hadlow, AMIC Secretary-General

Robert Burns’ poetic lines The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry... might well do with a more gender-neutral makeover. However, the thrust and intent of the expression is as accurate today as it was when the Scottish bard penned his famous poem.

For the Singapore-based Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC), the lines have real meaning as its best laid plans have just gone awry with the postponement, and now full cancellation, of its 2014 flagship international conference.

A little background.  AMIC planned its 2014 conference to be held in Bangkok, Thailand from the 9th-12th July. In fact, the conference dates were chosen to coincide with the IAMCR global conference in Hyderabad, India a week later, thus enabling delegates to attend both events. AMIC’s gracious hosts in Bangkok were to be the Faculty of Communication Arts at Chulalongkorn University. Arrangements were fully in hand, with the ‘call for papers’ completed, sponsorship promotion underway and even a hotel venue organised. 

The political situation in Thailand deteriorated to the extent that martial law was eventually declared. Although the prevailing situation in Bangkok was difficult, in close consultation with the conference hosts and other authorities on security and safety issues, AMIC proceeded with its plans. However, when the Thai military declared a coup late last month and various restrictions, including a curfew, were imposed, the situation became increasingly untenable.

AMIC’s ‘duty of care’ to conference delegates and staff members is such that the organisation was unwilling to expose colleagues from the region and beyond to potential injury or harm in a situation which is impossible to predict. Also, AMIC took note that, once the coup was announced, all major travel insurance companies advised their clients that coverage for Thailand was negated. In addition, Governments across the world issued travel advisories warning their citizens about travel to Thailand. 

The AMIC Board and Secretariat held urgent discussions and the Chairman issued a conference postponement notice. In the meantime, extensive negotiations continued with potential hosts for a possible relocation to another venue within the region. In the end, these proved inconclusive and it was decided, with time against it and increasing concern from conference delegates about their travel and leave arrangements, to cancel the conference this year.

Of course, AMIC is hugely aware that this decision has caused considerable inconvenience and this is greatly regretted. Many delegates had booked air tickets which carry penalties for cancellation, so the AMIC Secretariat is now issuing letters to those delegates which they can use to approach the airlines concerned to seek possible financial redress under force majeure provisions.  

This unprecedented situation has greatly distressed the AMIC Board, its Secretariat and, of course, the hosts at Chulalongkorn University. However, difficult times call for adamant decisions.

AMIC is now starting to plan for its next conference. It is possible that the 2014 conference theme and papers (with updating by the authors) may go forward to AMIC 2015. This matter will continue to be discussed in the months ahead. The on-going support of  IAMCR and its membership in these days of difficulty are, as always, highly valued and appreciated.

2014 ANZCA Conference – 9-11 July 2014 at Swinburne University, Melbourne

Terence Lee, ANZCA President

By the time you read this, the 2014 conference of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA, may have already begun . With the conference theme The Digital and the Social: Communication for Inclusion and Exchange, this year’s conference is focused on social media, broadly defined, and the paradoxical nature of our ubiquitous communications environment. It will also be one of our most innovative conferences ever.

A host of specially hand-picked speakers have been invited to deliver plenaries and keynote addresses, including Professor Robert Picard, director of the Reuters Institute at Oxford University and a leading global expert on media economics. ANZCA will also present keynotes presentations from: Asst Professor Jason Farman, a leading expert in locative and social media; AssocProfessor Tania Lewis an expert in lifestyle media and consumption; Dr Rowan Wilken, an expert in mobile and location based media and Professor Shirley Leitch, an expert in health and organisational communications.

And for the very first time, the conference will have its very own artist-in-residence in Dr Troy Innocent, an expert in gaming and a transmedia artist, who will create an alternate reality game specially for the conference.

ANZCA welcomes the participation of all IAMCR members to join us at the conference. For more information on the conference, visit: 

A new ALAIC summer school is born...

The First Summer School in Communication Research in Latin America ran from 19 to 25 March 2014. Organised by ALAIC (Associação Latino-Americana de Investigadores da Comunicação), Universidade de Brasília (UnB), and a consortium of universities, it was a tremendous success. The coordinator, Fernando Oliveira Paulino, from the Universidade de Brasília (supported by his colleagues César Bolaño (ALAIC/UFS), Liziane Guazina (UnB) and Fábio Pereira (UnB)) did a wonderful job, setting a new standard in hospitality and professionalism. 

IAMCR Treasurer and EB member Nico Carpentier represented IAMCR at the summer school, also because this Latin American summer school was inspired by the European Media and Communication Doctoral Summer School (of which Nico Carpentier is international director). Like the European Media and Communication Doctoral Summer School, the Summer School in Communication Research in Latin America uses a student-centred approach, providing ample attention for in-depth discussions and feedback on the student’s research projects.

The participants and lecturers of the First Summer School in Communication Research in Latin America – Picture by Thiago Botelho 

Immediately after the Summer School in Communication Research in Latin America, the ICA regional conference, also organised by the Universidade de Brasília (UnB) started. This conference ran from 26 to 28 March 2014. IAMCR’s representation was also ensured by Nico Carpentier, who participated in a plenary panel on North South dialogues with a talk entitled On Walls, Squares and Bridges. North-South dialogues in communication and media studies. Also this regional conference, with its three plenary panels, 9 main panels and 28 working group panels was very successful.