Actively engage with place, people, and cultures

Nithila in the centre flanked by scholars who presented in a GEC session she chaired

Nithila Kanagasabai is a Doctoral Fellow at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, India. She received a travel grant to present her papers, "Subject Transformations: New Media, New Feminist Discourses" to the Gender and Communication Section, and "Online Misogyny in the Age of Neoliberalism" in the Journalism Research and Education Section at IAMCR's 2017 conference in Cartagena, Colombia. She also received a travel grant to attend the 2016 conference in Leicester, UK.

I am writing to thank IAMCR for the generous travel grant that enabled me to travel to Cartagena, Colombia to attend IAMCR 2017. This is the second time the travel grant from IAMCR has helped me participate in the annual conference. I was particularly thrilled to be a recipient this year because of this edition's focus on decolonising media and communication research. This conference gave me an opportunity to not just present my work, but also interact with many scholars and discuss trends in the Global South.

My association with IAMCR has grown and strengthened over the past few years. My first IAMCR conference was in Hyderabad, India in 2014. As I was based out of Mumbai, IAMCR 2014 presented me with a great opportunity to participate in an international conference with relative ease of access. Enthused by the feedback and networking opportunities it provided, I decided to attend the conference in Montreal in 2015. In 2016, I was fortunate to receive the IAMCR Travel grant for the first time and this enabled me to travel to Leicester. These conferences have continually fostered an environment of critical engagement and learning, and participating in them has helped immensely in building my own work.

This year, I presented my work in two sections, namely, Gender and Communication (GEC), and Journalism Research and Education (JRE). The post presentation discussions directed me towards similar research being done in other contexts, and offered new insights on ways to take my work forward. For the first time, I was also given the opportunity to chair a session in the GEC section. It was challenging to engage with work coming out of varied contexts, but it was simultaneously exciting, as a lot of it spoke to my own work in the field of gendered digital spaces. 

Moving beyond academics, IAMCR conferences held at diverse locations encourage participants to actively engage with the place, its peoples, and their cultures. Whether it was the fiesta organised at Plaza de la Aduana, or the Gabriel García Márquez walking tour, the 2017 edition kept this tradition alive.  

Over the past four years, presenting at IAMCR conferences has allowed me to receive critical feedback vital for reworking the paper before it is published, and facilitated professional relationships with scholars from various parts of the world. The travel grant helps visibilise research coming out of previously colonised countries, and I hope IAMCR continues to support young scholars from these locations in accessing this platform.

Thank you very much once again!

- Nithila Kanagasabai, Mumbai, India

IAMCR travel grants are funded with a percentage of all IAMCR membership payments plus the voluntary contributions of IAMCR members and supporters.

Please consider making a donation to the travel grant fund. It's a great way to encourage emerging scholars and new perspectives within IAMCR.

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