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PCR open seminar, IMAGINE EUROPE: A report from Roskilde, Denmark

The Participatory Communication Research (PCR) section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) successfully hosted a seminar, titled, Imagine Europe, on the 19th October 2017, in Roskilde, Denmark.

The one-day seminar was kicked off by Prof. Nico Carpentier, Chair of the PCR section, with a keynote presentation titled, Telling the story differently: Visual sociology as a way to communicate academic research on Cyprus. This was followed by four academic presentations, two interactive workshops, five short films and a discussion panel with the filmmakers. Each of these sessions was focused on articulating and exploring different perspectives on contemporary Europe and its so-called ‘crisis’. The seminar was attended by over 30 participants who spent the day discussing and experimenting with modalities for communicating, representing, and creating knowledge about Europe.

Within the seminar setting there was a broad representation of disciplines from the humanities and the social sciences, including anthropology, education, communication, history, film, and media studies. The broad themes of discussion during the event centred around the topics of cultural conflicts, migration, sexuality, identity and nationality. Diverging perspectives were shared by the participants from the geographies of Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

The seminar was held at the The Old City Council Hall at Byens hus in the heart of Roskilde. Byens hus is a historical venue, that for more than a century has been at the center of local democratic decision-making and continues to host a variety of community-driven projects and events. The local residents of Roskilde also supported the seminar – notably, Jesper Holck for HTML coding, Lasse Egholm and Mads Folmer for graphics assistance and Anton Rydahl through his dedicated vegan cooking for the participants.

The seminar theme, re-imagining Europe, resonated with everyone who participated in the event. One of the participating filmmakers, Valerie von Kittlitz, reflected that the seminar contributions together communicated the idea that “. . . it is up to us to grasp Europe beyond the visual and identity clichés of perfection which surround it, and consider it instead as a malleable, vulnerable and imperfect entity – which however persistently offers itself to translations of a utopia, in the sense of collective peace and stability." In a similar vein, Kirsten Vestager Bruun, one of the seminars local participant commented, “It was fantastic to see what you have made, and to recognize that in fact, Europe is all what you have shown. And I think that [your different works] in facts are symbolizing . . . imaginations, which hold us together.”

The full program, including seminar theme, abstracts and bios are found here. See below, a collection of photos from the Imagine Europe open seminar.