Yesterday I was at the MECCSA (Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association) conference for the first time, presenting one of three papers on hyperlocal media from BCU, a kind of unintentional panel that will hopefully help ground us as a centre of expertise in this area, alongside colleagues at Cardiff University. My colleagues here were Jon Hickman And Dave Harte. I’ve spoken about hyperlocal before whilst on the Creative Citizens research project, but this was a first for me, going solo outside of the University with interim findings from my PhD work. I was talking through some of emergent themes of my ethnography so far, notably the ways and extent to which the audience set the agenda, and notions of control, in participatory media (in this case hyperlocal Facebook pages). We’ve talked in the past about the usefulness of doing things like presentations and papers whilst doing a PhD, and whether it’s actually a distraction, but in this case it was helpful in consolidating ideas that will probably appear in a more expanded form as one of my chapters. I’m less sure of what people made of it, but the act of getting putting those slides up and talking it through were helpful enough to make it very worthwhile.
— Rachel-Ann D Charles (@RADC83) January 6, 2016
— Dave Harte (@daveharte) January 6, 2016
The conference also coincided with another first, being able to promote my journal paper on the same work (but with a different slant), part of a Media anthropology special issue of Anthropological Notebooks, the journal of the Slovene Anthropological Society. There I’m exploring what lost pet stories on hyperlocal media can tell us about the larger audience practices, and with help from a couple of colleagues, it’s already got some interest, but again, there is work there that will be useful to my PhD.