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Refereed Proceedings of the 2017 ANZCA Conference:

Communication Worlds: Access, Voice, Diversity, Engagement – An introduction

Welcome to the proceedings of the 2017 conference of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association, held at the University of Sydney. The conference invited reflections on the worlds of communication we inhabit, create and reshape – from ancient, modern and future communication worlds through to colonial and postcolonial worlds, activist and start-up worlds, ecologies, ecosystems and environments.

As we can see from our various encounters with the internet and social media across the globe, different types of ‘worlding’ enable and/or inhibit our access to, voice, participation in and engagement with media and communication spheres. With these four concepts in mind, ANZCA 2017 sought to explore who has access to our symbolic worlds and who is excluded from them; what knowledges, skills, resources and strategies enable us to enter these worlds; and what forms of presence these environments support, as well as what absences they suggest. Our second theme explored the concepts of voice and listening – who decides, on what terms and with what consequences, when people are given platforms to speak? How and in what contexts are they heard? Media diversity was a third theme, inviting accounts of how we might reimagine communication worlds, policies, practices and platforms for the more effective expression of cultural diversity. Engagement, our final theme asked colleagues how we might invite and recruit people to communicate in our worlds, and how we might we gauge the depth, breadth or scope of their interests, responses and contributions.

Click here for a list of the 2017 conference refereed papers with download links.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the 2017 conference handbook.

The conference was held from 4–7 July, hosted by the Department of Media and Communications with the financial support of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the School of Literature, Arts and Media. Some 266 scholars and professional guests attended over the three days, with around 240 paper and panel presentations delivered, and a vibrant opening postgraduate research day on Tuesday, 4 July. This event attracted around 50 participants, who heard about strategies for maintaining an academic work/life balance from four colleagues, ANZCA 2016 host Dr Janet Fulton, Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media at the University of Newcastle; Dr Sheree Gregory, Lecturer in Innovation Management and Human Resources at Western Sydney University; Dr César Albarrán-Torres, Lecturer in Media and Communication, Swinburne University; and Dr Crystal Abidin, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Media Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC) at Jönköping University. ANZCA Keynote and ICA President Professor Paula Gardner, from McMaster University in Canada, also presented her talk on research cooperation: ‘Trials and Tribulations in Collaboration: Toward a Feminist, Justice-Based Approach in Research-Community Projects’.

On Wednesday, 5 July, conference delegates were warmly welcomed to country by Gadigal Elder Uncle Allan Madden, from the Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council, followed by the conference opening addresses from Professor Phillip McIntyre, President of ANZCA, and from the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Annamarie Jagose.

A moving opening plenary, ‘Deterritorialising Media: Resilience and Activism’, marked the anniversary of the 1967 Referendum in Australia and the 10th anniversary of National Indigenous Television (NITV), and explored key changes to Indigenous media practice, publishing and policy over the last decade. Chaired by Professor Bronwyn Carlson, Director of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University, the panelists included Daniel Browning, presenter of ABC Radio National’s Awaye!; Summer May Finlay, public health consultant with Cox Inall Ridgeway, Croakey contributor and #JustJustice campaigner; Allan Clarke, journalist with NITV and formerly Buzzfeed and Fairfax Media; and Dale Husband, Māori Radio presenter and editor.

Delegates also enjoyed addresses from four excellent keynote speakers over the next two days. On Thursday, 6 July, Professor Silvio Waisbord, Associate Director in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, delivered a timely address, ‘Populism and the Dangers of Anti-Liberal Communication’, which argued that the breakdown of the twentieth-century mass media order and the consolidation of disaggregated mediated spheres have laid the groundwork for an upsurge in populist politics and post-truth communications. ICA President Professor Paula Gardner, Asper Chair in Communications in the Faculty of Communication Studies and Multimedia, McMaster University, then spoke about ‘Sharing as Power: ICA’s Ethical Paradoxes in the Information Age’. On Friday, 7 July, Professor Daya Thussu, founder and co-Director of India Media Centre and research adviser to the China Media Centre at the University of Westminster, proposed ‘A New Global Communication Order for a Multi-Polar World’, in which China and India are harnessing the potential of digital globalisation to challenge Western or, more accurately, American hegemony in media and communications. His theme was then adroitly picked up in a powerful call by Professor Wanning Sun from the University of Technology Sydney, an expert in Chinese media and cultural studies, for Australia scholars to adopt a more cosmopolitan framework for teaching journalism, media and communications.

Sponsored events contributed to the networking and educational opportunities at the conference, with the Association’s journal publishers Taylor & Francis hosting the Welcome to ANZCA cocktail event in the TAG Family Foundation Grandstand on Wednesday and Griffith University’s Reporting Islam project co-sponsoring the conference lunch on Thursday, after which Associate Professor Jacqui Ewart held a workshop on best practice for public communicators during terrorism cases.

The closing plenary on Friday afternoon, titled ‘Reimagining Communication Worlds’, saw a panel of experts, in dialogue with the audience, reflecting on the conference theme and urgent questions faced by the field in relation to access, voice, diversity and engagement in the Antipodes, the Asia-Pacific region and internationally. The panelists were Marcus Strom, journalist and Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance representative; Antoinette Lattouf of Media Diversity Australia, Sofya Gollan of Create NSW, Joyce Brandful, communications for development consultant, Professor Paula Gardner from McMaster University and Professor Colleen Mills of the University of Canterbury. Professor Gerard Goggin chaired the session.

The conference closed with drinks in the Nicholson Museum, followed by the 2017 Henry Mayer Lecture, jointly sponsored by the Media International Australia journal and Swinburne University. Dr Ruth Harley, former CEO New Zealand Film Commission and Screen Australia, delivered the lecture, ‘Luminous Moments: My Life and Times In The Trans-Tasman Screen Trade’.

To recognise scholarly achievement in 2017, ANZCA presented a range of awards at the conference. Two A$750 travel bursaries were awarded to the postgraduate students who submitted the best full papers prior to the conference, Juan Liang from the University of Canterbury and Verity Trott from the University of Melbourne. Elizabeth Goode from the University of Newcastle won the Grant Noble Prize for best postgraduate student paper with ‘The Dilemma of Voice in Biographical Narratives: Confronting Complexity in the “Unexpected Stories” of Intercountry Adoptees’. Cate Thill from the University of Notre Dame and Tanja Dreher from the University of NSW were jointly awarded the Christopher Newell Prize for the best paper dealing with disability and communication for ‘Disability, Listening and Media Justice’. The People’s Choice award for best presentation was awarded to Dr James Meese, from the University of Technology Sydney, for ‘Digital influencers and the Political Economy of Social Media’. The President’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to ANZCA was jointly awarded to Associate Professor Michele Willson from Curtin University and Associate Professor Elizabeth Gray from Massey University.

Professor Geoffrey Craig, Head of Research in the School of Communication Studies at Auckland University of Technology was awarded the 2017 Anne Dunn Award for excellence in journalism or communications research, a $3000 prize supported by ANZCA, JERAA (the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia) and Anne Dunn’s family. For the first time since the award’s inception, the judges opted to highly commend the work of another applicant, Dr Stephen Harrington, Senior Lecturer in the School of Communication at Queensland University of Technology.

Each of the conference keynotes, along with an excerpt from the open plenary and the best postgraduate paper will be published in a special 2018 edition of the Association’s journal, Communication Research and Practice. A selection of the best conference papers is also being published in 2018 themed issues of Media International Australia and the postgraduate journal PLATFORM: Journal of Media and Communication.

ANZCA and the 2017 organising committee are proud to present the proceedings of the conference, a collection of 28 papers that represent many of the research streams presented. The fully refereed papers presented here have all been subject to double-bind peer and editorial reviews. We thank all the ANZCA members who contributed their time to the review process, particularly incoming ANZCA President Professor Gerard Goggin, Ms Susan Jarvis, who handled the substantial editorial management and proofing, the authors and presenters for sharing their research here and the 2017 delegates for making the conference such a memorable event.

ANZCA 2018 will be held in Auckland, New Zealand from 3–6 July, and will be jointly hosted by the University of Auckland, Massey University, Auckland University of Technology and Waikato University. The conference theme is ‘Multiple Realities: Fluidity, Hybridity, and Stability in Global Communication’ and the call for papers can be found at

Fiona Martin, University of Sydney, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Conference Co-convenor and Proceedings Editor, ANZCA 2017 Conference Organisation Team