[acc-cca-l] Call for Submissions- Digital Immaterialities Graduate Conference

Saskia Kowalchuk saskia.kowalchuk at mail.concordia.ca
Mon Jan 25 09:15:31 MST 2021


Call For Submissions: Concordia University’s Media Studies Graduate Conference

A virtual conference on the theme of

Digital (Im)materialities

May 25-29th 2021

Submission deadline February 20th, 2021

As the pandemic continues to rage, we approach one year of conducting much of our lives: personal, professional, academic, online. This transition has proven in turns frustrating, alienating, and humorous but, more saliently, it has highlighted a myriad of questions and challenges in the realm of communications and media studies. Given these considerations, our conference encourages a self-reflexive approach which takes advantage of the unique affordances of virtual gathering and challenges the notion of the virtual as ahistorical and non-spatial: a global conference for a moment of global crisis. This year has not only seen the mainstreaming of such platforms as Zoom and TikTok, but has reiterated the importance of longstanding lines of inquiry of Queer and Disability studies scholars whose work attends to the importance of digital community and accessibility. By bracketing the “im” in immaterialities, we hope to emphasize the dual nature of digitally mediated life during the pandemic: both the ephemeral and the durable; absence and presence. Though these aspects are inherent to virtual existence, they are highlighted during moments of crisis. While this conference is presented by the Communication Studies department, we wish to foster scholarship which bridges fields of study and provokes diverse ways of thinking through seemingly discipline-specific questions. As such, we hope to offer an arena for graduate scholars, research-creators, and artists to critically engage with the issues of the moment, offer solutions and connect with fellow thinkers to both mourn what has been lost during the pandemic and to celebrate the unique possibility for reimagining the status quo.

Accepting Submissions related, but not limited, to:

  *   Communications infrastructure

  *   Speculative futures

  *   Indigenous Futurism

  *   Afrofuturism

  *   Media archaeology and digital archivism

  *   Cyborg feminisms

  *   Critical disability studies and digital accessibility

  *   Queer digital intimacies

  *   Game studies, communities, and ephemeral gathering

  *   Critical Platform Studies

Submissions may endeavour to answer questions such as:

  *   How has the current climate of crisis mediated the relationship between the Public and Science?

  *   In a time when leisure, games, and playing together have been necessarily discouraged in the name of public health, how have our experiences and understandings of these phenomena changed or adapted?

  *   What are the effects of changing the scale of digital gatherings and communities we witnessed this year? How does one reconcile senses of presence and togetherness with absence, immateriality, and isolation?

  *   As our homes became sites of multiple aspects of our lives, how has the relationship with the body changed?

  *   How has this transition shifted the way we produce our sense of self?

  *   How have media narratives of ‘crisis’ and ‘unprecedented times’ gathered to political regimes around the globe?

  *   How has this language of ‘crisis’ been utilized by governments and various powerful actors and to what end?

  *   To what extent has speaking of the past year as ‘unprecedented’ erases and steers away from the coverage of and conversation surrounding historical and structural events and power dynamics?

  *   How has the perception of space changed and is being mediated differently now that most aspects of our lives take place online?

  *   How do we think through the ongoing and increasing inequalities both of access and of potential? On the one hand, the growth of e-tailers such as Amazon, and on the other hand, the ways in which the digital divide became salient as students in many places and contexts could not attend their online schooling.

  *   What are the implications of the move of most activities into datafiable digital spaces, considering the surveillance and data-driven economy?

  *   With most of our lives taking place online, how do we interpret the importance of policies such the GDPR  in the EU and recent PIPEDA propositions in Canada?

  *   Considering the cultural industries in Quebec, Canada and across the globe, how has the different media and lockdown policies facilitated the survival and growth of certain industries while oblitaring others?

  *   How has the industry of digital transition created dependency and became mandatory with the lockdown policies around the globe? How has this forced digitization impacted the various industries, fields, communities, associations?

  *   How can we mediate and reimagine our increasingly digital world through gaming? How might gaming explore alternative futures?

  *   How does differing power dynamics between subjects, such as but not limited to race, gender, sexuality, disability etc. affect the way we mediate and reimagine our world?

Presentations may take the form of:

  *   Short talks (5-8 minutes),

  *   Long talks (15-20 minutes),

  *   Project demonstrations (8-10 minutes),

  *   Workshops (60-90 minutes, with at least one facilitator; may be discussion- or technology-based),

  *   Media Gallery (stand-alone media artifacts: visuals of up to five images or gifs, audio or video works under five minutes) for a digital gallery hosted on the conference website,

  *   Performances (time frame is flexible; please include details in your proposal).

Requirements for the Application:

  *   Presentation must be Zoom compatible (we will consider alternate formats with thorough logistical specifications that are coordinated and provided by the presenter). Please note that we do not have funding to allocate to additional technical needs.

  *   250 word abstract (text (PDF), audio (mp3), or video (mp4); optional short media excerpts of two (2) minutes or less (mp3 or mp4); up to three (3) images (PNG, JPG, or GIF)

  *   Application may be in English or French, however presentations will require English transcripts provided by the presenter

How to apply?

Please submit your proposals through our online form linked below by February 20, 2021.

Requested information includes:

  *   Name

  *   Most recent institutional affiliation

  *   Level of Study

  *   Presentation format (i.e. short talk, workshop, poster, video)

  *   Project title

  *   250 word abstract or audio (mp3), or video (mp4) of two minutes or less summarizing your proposal

  *   Status of project (completed, in-progress, idea stage)

  *   Language of Presentation; English transcript must accompany second language presentations

  *   Email address you can be contacted at

  *   Your accessibility needs (if not addressed by our accessibility statement)

Fill out the submission form<https://airtable.com/shrX3e7MsTBQfNcSs>

Both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified by late March 2021.

Visit our website<https://digitalimmaterialities.cargo.site/>

Follow our socials:

Facebook Digital Im-materialities Conference 2021<https://www.facebook.com/Digital-Im-materialities-Conference-2021-105792651463782/>

Twitter @mediastudyconf <https://twitter.com/mediastudyconf>

Instagram @digitalimmaterialities<https://www.instagram.com/digitalimmaterialities/>

Contact us by email<mailto:digitalimmaterialities at gmail.com> if you have questions, comments, or concerns that you need addressed

Accessibility Statement-

As mentioned in the description of the annual conference Digital (Im)materialities, the digital format of the conference allows us to rethink what it means to create an accessible academic space of gathering. Following the recommendations and tenets advocated by the critical disability activist group Sins Invalid<https://www.sinsinvalid.org/curriculum>, we aim at thinking about the ways in which we can make our conference accessible from the design stages and every step of the way with an iterative mechanism in place. As accessibility policies are something that must be adaptive and require both planning and retroaction, we will document the ways in which we make our event accessible.  We are constantly in a state of learning and dialogue so feel free to email us at any point for suggestions on how to make our conference more accessible. Our aim is to share what we learn through trial and error and along this journey to make accessible to the broad public ways in which accessibility can be part of the designs of any social gatherings or event; as well as to lessen the burden of voicing and explaining accessibility needs from people with disability who want to present, participate or attend our conference. The resources and considerations we will undertake will be accessible on our website under the rubric: Thinking accessibility every step of the way.

With this statement we are not positioning ourselves as experts, on the contrary, our attempt at making this conference as accessible as possible should be taken as a testimony of the feasibility of such parameters.

On accessibility at the Call for submission stage of the conference:

  *   To overcome certain structural hindrances often present in the call for submissions for academic conferences, we accept different formats for the application. You may apply for submission using three different formats: a 250 word abstract (PDF), a short two (2)-minute video (mp4) or a short two (2)-minute audio (mp3).

  *   The form to submit your project will include a space to specify accessibility needs we may not have thought of.

  *   All of our documentations and website will use a dyslexic friendly font such as Verdana, Tahoma, Century Gothic, Trebuchet, Calibri, Open Sans.

  *   We will provide closed-captioning as well as translation (specifically for presentations that are in other languages than English) and transcripts of the live discussions.

  *   We are thrilled to have the opportunity to host a conference that has the potential for global reach which is why we will accept presentations in other languages as long as the presenter provides an English transcript of their work.

  *   Lastly, the conference will be on zoom which has a maximum capacity but will also be live-streamed on Youtube to allow more people to attend.

Saskia Kowalchuk, B.A.
Media Studies Master's Student
Academic Co-chair, Digital (Im)materialities Conference
Department of Communication Studies
Concordia University
Montreal, QC, Canada
saskia.kowalchuk at mail.concordia.ca
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