Niall Flynn, PG Student | MeCCSA Postgrad Network Conference 2015

LSFM postgraduate students Niall Flynn, Alberto Micali and Andrew West attended the MeCCSA PGN Conference in July 2015. Niall posted:Niall-Flynn-PostGrad-2015 This was the annual conference of the postgraduate section of the UK-based media and cultural studies network. It was an important experience from an academic viewpoint: an occasion to share ideas, gain experience presenting research and network with colleagues from around the world who are working on similar research topics.

MeCCSA-2015-logoThis year the conference was themed around the question of the relations between practice and theory. This is a key question for contemporary media and cultural studies, which are facing the ongoing emergence of new media forms and transformation of media practices, as well as the challenge to develop appropriate frameworks of understanding. Coventry University was an appropriate location to host this year’s conference.   The projects and work being done in their media department addresses these topics in engaging and innovative ways. [See, for instance, Centre for Disruptive Media]

The conference was also a wonderful opportunity to present our own work, to receive feedback and comments on it, with the objective of evaluating its value or, conversely, its weaknesses. Here are Alberto’s comments on his presentation:

Alberto-Micali-Mecssa2015“Together with Peggy Reynolds, I was invited to present in the ‘Humans and Machines’ panel, which was set up – according to the argument of our presentation – around the theme of the posthuman, and its relevance for media and cultural studies. I was very satisfied with the panel, and not only for my own presentation. I believe in the potential of such occasions in creating critical reflection and debate around an issue; particularly when – as in this case – the issue goes beyond the strict purposes of the panel or the conference.

My paper was a methodological extract from my doctoral thesis, touching on questions of media ecologies and Felix Guattari’s concept of ‘machinism’, and pointing at the necessity of moving beyond traditional humanities and towards post-humanities; the attempt to leave behind the humanist impasse of classical studies of media and culture. Similarly, Peggy Reynolds discussed the notions of scalar relations and fractal geometries in allowing us to follow the same path.

After our papers, an exciting discussion animated the panel, prompted especially by the engaging videos shown by Peggy in the background of her presentation, and the active participation of other postgraduate colleagues and active scholars in the field. This critical engagement of all participants was my main satisfaction. It demonstrated how academic research, which proposes ethical questions that surpass its own field of application, can be more than an end to itself.”

Niall-Flynn-Group-shot-Mecssa_2015-croppedOver the course of two days, the panels were engaging and diverse, the workshops were informative, and the keynote presentations were fascinating. Videos are available here.  There was a friendly atmosphere throughout, with people eager to learn from others and to share their own ideas.

Overall, the conference organisers did a great job. Putting together such a programme is hard work, and it was appreciated by all in attendance.

Diary date: The MeCCSA 2016 conference will be taking place on 6-8 January at Canterbury Christ Church University whilst the MeCCSA PGN 2016 conference will be being held in the summer at the University of Leicester.