Section Head Election 2019 - Call for candidates and statements

Popular Culture Working Group

The Popular Culture working group of the IAMCR will hold elections during its business meeting at the upcoming IAMCR conference in Madrid. The date and time of the business meeting will be included in the final programme of the IAMCR 2019 conference.

The working group provides a space for researchers of popular culture. The working group aims to encourage studies of the relationships between media production and consumption and popular culture from a range of perspectives that are theoretically informed and empirically grounded.  

The current officers of the Working Group are Barry King (co-chair) and Tonny Krijnen (co-chair). Following an eight-year term, Barry King will step down as co-chair. Tonny Krijnen will stand for re-election in the position of chair.

Any IAMCR member who would like to serve as an officer of the Popular Culture Working Group must submit their name and institutional position, a statement of no more than 400 words (with bio and motivation for being a candidate), to the current officers (see contact details below) with a copy to IAMCR General Secretary Gerard Goggin ( and to the IAMCR secretariat (, by June 14, 2019.

You can find the election rules at:

    • Co-chair: Barry King -
    • Co-chair: Tonny Krijnen -

Candidates and statements

For Chair:

For Vice-chair:

Statements of candidates for Chair

Tonny Krijnen (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Tonny Krijnen is assistant professor of Media Studies in the department of Media and Communication of the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research interests lie with all aspects of popular television (production, content and consumption), moral imagination, and gender. Her most recent publications focus on the transnationalisation of the television industry (New Media & Society), and an entry for the Encyclopaedia of Gender, Media and Communication (Wiley/Blackwell). With her co-author Sofie Van Bauwel, Tonny is currently working on the second edition of their book Gender and Media (Routledge). Other current projects involve an ethnography at a commercial TV production house and the construction of moral-emotional frameworks in the programmes produced. Last but not least, Tonny currently co-edits a special issue for Information, Communication and Society,  and a special issue for Media and Communication.

Tonny also functions as a reviewer for multiple academic journals and is a member of the editorial board of the open access journal Media and Communication. Additionally, she also regularly serves in PhD committees as a jury member, or PhD advisory boards. Tonny coordinates the Master Media and Creative Industries as her department and is actively involved the continuous renewal of the teaching programmes at her department. 

In the past, Tonny has served as the vice-chair and chair for the Gender and Communication Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA). Her activities then included, among others, conference organization, co-edition a book volume and special issue, and the setting up of ECREA’s Women’s Network.

Tonny has been actively involved in the Popular Culture Working Group for several years. In the past she was an active member of the advisory board. For the past four years, Tonny served as co-chair of the Popular Culture Working group and has successfully co-organized the previous IAMCR conferences, being (partly) responsible for the working group’s programme and the social events. With this experience behind her, she hopes to further develop the working group in future years.

Statements of candidates for Vice-Chair

Niall Brennan (Fairfield University, United States)

Niall Brennan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Fairfield University. His research focuses on representations of gender and sexuality in media texts; Latin American media; and emerging communities of media consumers. He recently published a chapter in the Handbook of Diasporas, Media and Culture (Wiley/Blackwell) that unravels the concepts of diaspora and hybridity in post-colonial space, and another that looks at new modes of horror filmmaking in Latin America (Emerald). Niall also wrote an entry for the International Encyclopaedia of Gender, Media and Communication (Wiley/Blackwell) that traces depictions of queer contestants, hosts, and the sociopolitical and commercial dimensions of queer-oriented reality television.

Niall’s current research includes historical examination of queer Australian celebrities in US media, and the use of memory in US and Australian women’s television prison dramas. In 2017, Niall published the coedited volume, RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Shifting Visibility of Drag Culture (Palgrave Macmillan). He has since embarked on a new book project concerned with drag culture in digital/online space.

Niall’s teaching introduces his research to the curricula, including in the courses Gender, Sexuality and Media; Consumer Culture; Communication and Popular Culture; Globalization, Media and Culture; and Visual Communication. He is devoted to teaching across disciplines and seeing interdisciplinary course growth, and is now developing a course called Reality, Society and Media, which challenges reality from multiple perspectives. Niall regularly leads classes and guest-lectures in other programs, such as Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Irish Studies; and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Niall is part of Fairfield University’s Strategic Planning Working Groups, and he serves on the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Liberal and Professional Studies steering committees. For the past few years, Niall has been an abstract reviewer for IAMCR’s Popular Culture Working Group and Gender and Communication Section. He also reviews manuscripts for several discipline-related journals and book publishers.

As a long-standing, participating member of IAMCR’s Popular Culture Working Group, Niall is looking forward, as vice-chair, to formally steering the Group in new and exciting directions, including becoming a Section, producing collaborative publications, and organizing and hosting seminars and conferences. Given Niall’s dedication to the Group, as well as his research, teaching and service histories within the field of popular culture, Niall considers himself to be well-positioned to serve as vice-chair of POC.

Frederik Dhaenens (Ghent University, Belgium)

Prof. Dr. Frederik Dhaenens is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication Sciences at Ghent University, where he teaches courses that deal with media, (popular) culture and socio-cultural diversity. Situated on the crossroads between media studies, cultural studies and gender and diversity studies, Dhaenens’ research has predominantly focused on the politics of representation of various popular culture and media texts. It has contributed to a deeper understanding of such diverse media cultural phenomena as the programming of (LGBTQ) film festivals, the representation of masculinities in fan videos on YouTube, the negotiation of heteronormativity in different genres of popular television fiction or the curation of identity-themed playlists on streaming services. This work has been consistently presented at international conferences, published in international peer-reviewed journals and cited as relevant and exemplary research. 

Dhaenens has been actively involved in various international organizations. First, he is an active research member of CIMS (Centre for Cinema and Media Studies, Ghent University). Further, he was chair of the Gender and Communication section of ECREA (European Communication Research and Education Association), research member of CEDAR (Consortium on Emerging Directions in Audience Research) and editor of DiGeSt (Diversity and Gender Studies). These organisations and networks have allowed him to build a national and international network of both young and established researchers. It also enabled him to go on a research stay at King’s College London to inquire into identity-based programming at BFI Flare and to study LGBTQ-themed playlist curating on streaming services at Queensland University of Technology.

Now, he is looking for a new challenge and would like to take on the role of co-chair of the Working Group Popular Culture of IAMCR. As his biography demonstrates, his research and teaching revolves around the understanding the role of popular (media) culture in contemporary societies, using critical media studies and cultural studies perspectives. He has experience in running a section of an international organization, organizing conferences and off-events, and is able to take on this work besides his daily work as assistant professor. Last, he has been an active member of the Working Group, knowing very well its history, setup and potential. He hopes to contribute to this critical and engaging working group.