The 5th Annual Conference of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University Westminster, held in association with the British Journalism Review, will focus on ‘Protest Movements, Free Speech and the Media’.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • W. Lance Bennett, Professor of Political Science, Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication, and Director of the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, University of Washington
  • Nick Couldry, Professor of Media and Communications and Director of the Goldsmiths Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy, Goldsmiths College

The recent wave of protests sweeping both authoritarian regimes and Western liberal democracies has highlighted the close interconnections between media and protest, particularly in times of economic hardship.  New forms of social media can disrupt constraints placed on traditional sources of information and public debate, whether through state intervention or monopolistic private ownership, and in theory provide platforms for a multiplicity of voices. Going beyond the hype surrounding ‘Twitter’ or ‘Facebook’ revolutions, this year’s conference will look at the role of media in representing and promoting protest and dissent. It will explore how contemporary media can shape practices of organizing, decision-making and mobilisation, change the focus of public debate, and influence the structure of protest movements and their capacity for social and political.

Our focus is not confined solely to recent protests or to new media. Instead, we aim to situate current movements such as Occupy or the movements of the Arab Spring within broader trajectories of protest with papers examining the role of media in past mobilizations. We also seek to investigate the plurality of media used in protest, both new and old, mainstream and alternative, digital, analogue and paper-based.

Charles Wheeler Award

The conference will conclude in the evening with the annual presentation of the British Journalism Review’s Charles Wheeler Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcast Journalism.

This year it is awarded to Robin Lustig, distinguished reporter and former presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight
The presentation will be followed by a guest speaker (to be confirmed)

Programme and registration

The conference will take place on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 June 2013. The fee for registration will be £195 with a concessionary rate of £99 for students, to cover all conference documentation, refreshments, lunches, wine reception and administration costs.

Download the conference schedule

Registration closes 29 May.