With almost 2,000 proposals submitted from 89 different countries worldwide, IAMCR’s 2016 conference promises to be another truly global gathering of media scholars. The theme for this year’s conference in Leicester, England, is “Memory, Commemoration & Communication: Looking Back, Looking Forward.” As noted in the call for proposals, this theme provides the opportunity “…not only to look back at which memories are preserved and which forgotten, but also to look forward to how cultural memories might be archived, remembered, (re)produced, stored, erased, modified and re-told across time and space.”
It is more important than ever to interrogate the mediation of memory, as the world faces a range of catastrophic issues that demand a clear sense of the past to understand the present and plan for the future. For many, it is increasingly clear that memory and rememberance are intrinsically bound up with media, information and communication technologies. In her book, Mediated Memories in the Digital Age (Stanford University Press, 2007), José van Dijck defines mediated memories as: “the activities and objects we produce and appropriate by means of media technology for creating and re-creating a sense of past, present, and future of ourselves in relation to others.” This relationship between memory and media is a labyrinth, or as van Dijck notes, “a complex interaction between brain, material objects, and the cultural matrix from which they arise.” Consequently, a plethora of research topics are bound to emerge from the theme chosen by our Leicester colleagues.
Recently, questions related to memory and media have inspired dialogue with a wide range of other disciplines --from the arts, science, and humanities including philosophy, anthropology, and environmental studies. As we remember our past and confront emerging technologies, we should look forward to increasing interdisciplinarity and collaboration.
In addition to the wide range of general topics relating to media, memory and commemoration, the conference theme also opens space to commemorate IAMCR's history and anticipate our 60th anniversary celebration at the 2017 conference in Cartagena, Colombia. We look forward this July to celebrating the 50th anniversary of Leicester’s Centre for Mass Communication Research and its close ties with our organization.
The 2016 conference marks a special memory for me, personally, as the first IAMCR conference that I attended was in Leicester in 1976. I recognized immediately that the association provided the potential for intellectual stimulation, as well as valuable interactions with global media scholars. Having attended IAMCR conferences and becoming involved with the association over the past years, I have gathered memories and friendships that have enriched my academic life. I am sure that you have had similar experiences and our gathering in Leicester this July will further inspire new memories.
Best wishes and see you In Leicester!
Janet Wasko, President, IAMCR