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ANZCA Conference 2016

Welcome to the proceedings of the 2016 conference of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association.

Communicators world-wide are currently experiencing a global change that is as radical as the industrial revolution was. While we may not be able to properly see what it means clearly or have the distance as yet to give us a deep understanding of these shifts, we can still ask whether the intellectual frames we used to understand what happened at the end of the nineteenth century are still useful to us now. Taking a very broad understanding of the fifth estate this conference sought to explore what is new and valued about the digital terrain, what has been lost and what has been gained, and how this process changes various forms of communication and actions we as communicators and communication scholars now need to engage with.

While the notion of the fifth estate initially referred to bloggers, journalists and other non-mainstream media outlets it may be that the place we presumed many outliers occupied is now constituting a new mainstream space. In this broader understanding of the notion of the fifth estate we wanted to include all the online networks that create and share information, constitute new communities, and aid in organising social movements that take the place of those that existed in an industrialised world, as well as the traditional forms that are finding their niche in this new digitised world. As well as considering the power of journalism, for example, in all its traditional and radically new forms, we also want to remind ourselves there are other loci of power for communicators of all stripes. Given this situation the conference addressed a range of questions that took up these issues, including:

  • Are possibilities of action, power and passion just as readily opened up via our engagement with film, with songs, with memes, podcasts and electronic devices whose function radically shifts what it is to be human?
  • Who do we consider we are now that interpersonal communication continues to mutate so significantly?
  • Do we still owe allegiance to the nation state and all that means for us as citizens as electronic messages dissolve borders?
  • Where is the still point in our identity as we mix ideas, values, ethics and histories that were unique but are now shared instantaneously worldwide?
  • Do the rights and duties of those who ‘take positions’ really help to address the fluid subtleties of power that occur through various communication acts?
  • How does the corporate world maintain itself as the power of consumers using social media hold it responsible in ways the corporations never imagined? • How do they convince their audiences of their benefit as the public sphere exhibits a flux and dynamism they could hardly foresee even ten years ago?
  • Will those who examine creative industries give as much time to exploring the basis of those industries, i.e. creativity, as they do to policy and markets? What are the implications of doing that? Do we really co-create messages?
  • What about power and identity?
  • How radically are they shifting shape and form?

There were many more questions asked and concerns discussed as we tried to create sense of what is happening around us and move towards finding an intellectual space that helps us as communicators usefully understand these shifts.

The conference took place in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia and was hosted by the University of Newcastle, Australia. It attracted 151 delegates from Australia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Korea, the United States, Zimbabwe and the Netherlands. The conference was underwritten by ANZCA and financially supported by the University of Newcastle’s Hunter Creative Industries and Technology (HCIT) Research Centre and the School of Design Communication and IT.

The conference was held in NAIDOC Week and, after a welcome to country by Joe Griffin from the Wollotuka Institute the conference was officially opened by A/Prof Mike Bowyer, Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Science and IT at the University of Newcastle. Keynotes across the conference were delivered by:

Philippa McGuiness, who is the author of Copyfight, a book that deals with the fallout from the digital turn for all media industries. She is herself a book publisher having been a Senior Commissioning Editor at Cambridge University Press. Philippa has also been the industry rep on the Humanities and Creative Arts panel of the Australian Research Council.

Prof Stephen Ward, who is a Distinguished Lecturer in Ethics at the School of Journalism as British Columbia University and founder Director of the Centre for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He spoke of plans for a global media ethics framework focused cross culturally.

Prof Amanda Lotz, who is from the Department of Communication Studies and Screen Arts at the University of Michigan. She focused on creativity and the shifts in the digitally oriented US television industry.

Prof Tony Schirato, who is Head of the Department of Communication at the University of Macau. While he has written numerous books centred on communication and cultural literacy and is widely recognised as a scholar of Bourdieu he spoke of the current relationship between sport, digital technology and the advent of fantasy games.

Joanne McCarthy, who is a Gold Walkley award winning journalist. She was instrumental in provoking the Royal Commission in Australia into sexual abuse of children which implicated Catholic Clergy. She spoke of her involvement in pursuing this issue.

HDR students were supported by ANZCA with a pre-conference event this year run by UON Communication postgrads Elizabeth Goode and Caitlin McGregor. They organised a number of relevant keynote speakers including the Thesis Whisperer, Dr Inger Mewburn. A panel where four researchers/academics/industry professionals shared their experiences and answered questions about post PhD career pathways was warmly welcomed. A/Prof Inger Mewburn, Dr Mitchell Hobbs, Dr Jonathon Hutchinson and Dr Elizabeth Paton took part in this panel. Selected papers from the pre-conference are published in the journal Platform.

The following awards were made at the conference:

  • Christopher Newell Prize for best paper dealing with disability and communication, or questions of equity, diversity and social justice as pertaining to communication was Professor Ramaswami Harindranath from the University of New South Wales for his paper entitled Multiculturalism, Interculturalism and Communication.
  • The Grant Noble Prize for the best student paper went to Jessamyn Gleeson from Swiburne University for her paper “Destroying the Joint?” How an online feminist campaign can assert a form of power in its attempts to challenge and change representations of women in the mainstream media.
  • The President’s Award for services to ANZCA went to Dr Janet Fulton.
  • The People’s Choice Award for Best Presentation went to Pita Shelford from the University of Waikato for his paper Hauora Tāne Māori: Tirohanga O Mua, O Muri Māori Men’s Health: An Intergenerational Perspective.
  • In addition, the Anne Dunn scholar of the year award, including a $3,000 prize supported by ANZCA, the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia and Anne Dunn’s family, was won by Dr Emma A Jane, Senior Lecturer, School of the Arts and Media at the University of NSW.

ANZCA and the 2016 organising committee are proud to present these Proceedings of the 2016 ANZCA Conference. The fully refereed papers presented here have all been subject to double-blind peer review and represent the 26 streams of research presented at the conference. We thank all the presenters and authors for sharing their research here and to all those who attended for making the conference such a memorable event.

Further papers from the conference are being published elsewhere, including in special issues of Communication Research and Practice, the Global Media Journal and as a book published by Cambridge Scholarly Publishers.

A/Prof Phillip McIntyre and Dr Janet Fulton, Conference convenors, ANZCA 2016


Journal: Communication Research and Practice
Special Issue: ANZCA 2016 Creating Space in the Fifth Estate. Guest Editors: Janet Fulton and Philip McIntyre
Volume 2 Issue 4 http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcrp20/2/4?nav=tocList

Journal: Global Media Journal – Australian Edition
Volume 10 Issue 2 – 2016
ANZCA 2016 Special Edition. Guest Editors: Janet Fulton and Philip McIntyre

Journal: Platform (Post-grad papers)
ANZCA Special Edition 2016. Elizabeth Goode and Caitlin McGregor – ANZCA Postgraduate representatives

Edited Book: Creating Space in the Fifth Estate
Fulton, J.M. and McIntyre, P. (eds.), 2017, Creating space in the Fifth EstateCambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

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