The University of Stirling’s Communication, Media and Culture Division was proud to host the Scottish debut of the MeCCSA annual conference, which took place from 9 to 11 January 2019 at the Stirling Court Hotel. The MeCCSA conference is considered the most significant annual media and communications forum in the UK, and this was its first time in Scotland.
The conference brought together 223 academics, scholars and professionals from more than 90 universities and other educational and professional institutions based in 19 different countries, reaching as far as Australia and New Zealand.
The conference theme “Continuity and change: Media, Communications and Politics” was designed to speak to different fields represented within MeCCSA, whilst also speaking to specific anniversaries significant to Scotland, including the 20th anniversary of the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament.
The conference featured four thought-provoking keynote speeches, four roundtables, and 42 panels with 152 individual papers, practice-based explorations and a film screening. The event was rich in intellectual and thought-provoking discussions, as well as in opportunities to network, socialise and come up with innovative ideas for further research in the field.
The opening keynote speech, given by Philip Schlesinger of the University of Glasgow, tackled a range of contemporary issues for communications, public deliberation and democracy defined by political and economic turmoil. Another powerful keynote lecture, by Shohini Chaudhuri of the University of Essex, dealt with the creative challenges in contemporary filmmaking from and about the Arab World and Iran. Leshu Torchin, of the University of St. Andrews, tackled questions of genre and geopolitics and offered some interesting examples of economies of fact, finance, and the body in popular culture. Hannu Nieminen, of the University of Helsinki, questioned the relations between the media, democracy and informed citizenship by examining the Nordic model. The keynote speeches can be viewed on the MeCCSA YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDsXEQ2O-VUn0xm09_pa-IQ/featured.
Four intriguing roundtables with prominent speakers from academia and practice addressed the topics of media and nations in transition; women in media and politics; media production in Scotland; and the intersections of journalism and public relations.
In a variety of panels and events, delegates questioned the role of traditional and digital media and communications in maintaining continuity and advocating for change. The central topics included digital cultures, participation and change; ethics and credibility in the media; gender issues in communications, media and politics; media activism and civic engagement; media, ethnicity and racism; media populism; ways of witnessing; and crisis and change communications, amongst many others.
There were social and networking events Scottish style aplenty: a visit to the Scottish Parliament https://www.cmcstir.org/meccsa-2019-delegates-visit-the-scottish-parliament/ . A walk to the National Wallace Monument, an opening reception in the Pathfoot building, to which the guests were escorted by a bagpiper, a pub quiz in the Meadow Park Pub, whisky tasting delivered by Woodwinters, and a dinner with traditional Scottish Ceilidh dancing.
MeCCSA 2019 was a truly international, diverse and all-encompassing occasion with a Scottish essence and of high significance in the world of academia, research and practice.
You can watch the videos from the conference here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDsXEQ2O-VUn0xm09_pa-IQ/videos or alternatively look for the hashtag #MeCCSA2019.
This post was written by Lucia Hubinska and Sophia Narron, MSc students in public relations
You can visit the MeCCSA 2019 Conference website: https://www.stir.ac.uk/meccsa2019