Keynote lecture: Patrick McCurdy

Comics, Collision, and Communication: Wrestling with The Beast 
This lecture tackles conference themes through the lens of The Beast: Making a Living on a Dying Planet a graphic novel set in Alberta, Canada that tells the story of two precariously employed millennials – Mary & Callum – living in the heart of Canada's oil country and working on opposite sides of a media firestorm. Born from academic research into the contentious mediatized debate surrounding Canada’s oil/tar sands, ‘The Beast’ was published as a critical reflection on the bifurcated state of energy discourse and the accompanying pollution of the public imagination. Drawing from the comic’s content, together with examples from the collaborative genesis and process underwriting its creation, ‘The Beast’ is discussed from three interwoven perspectives. First, as a public intervention in the ongoing mediated struggle over the representation of energy futures. Second, as a research project which was made possible through academic collision and collaboration. Third, and related, the talk focuses on ‘The Beast’ of academia, the unwieldly domain of media and communications and how challenging the field creates new opportunities for research and understanding. 

Patrick McCurdy (PhD) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, University of Ottawa. His research draws from environmental communication, media theory and social movement studies to examine media as a site and source of social struggle and contestation. Since 2014 his research has focussed on the media practices of tar sands/oil sands stakeholders in the context of a highly polarized and mediatized debate over Canada’s energy resources and its energy future. In 2018 Patrick published the graphic novel The Beast: Making a Living on a Dying Planet (Ad Astra & The Digital Press  at the University of North Dakota  ) which was developed and produced in partnership with Hugh Goldring (writer) and Nicole Burton (illustrator) and sought to communicate the bifurcated nature of Canada’s oil/tar sands debate to a larger, non-academic, audience.
Patrick’s work has been published in several academic journals and he is the co-author of Protest Camps (with Anna Feigenbaum and Fabian Frenzel; Zed, 2013) and the co-editor of three books: Protest Camps in International Context: Spaces, Infrastructures and Media of Resistance (eds with Gavin Brown, Anna Feigenbaum and Fabian Frenzel; Policy Press, 2017), Beyond WikiLeaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism and Society (eds with Arne Hintz and Benedetta Brevini, Palgrave, 2013) and Mediation and Protest Movements (eds with Bart Cammaerts and Alice Mattoni, Intellect, 2013).
Patrick is currently under contract with McGill Queen’s University Press for a manuscript provisionally titled A Tar Sands Tale: The holding power of fossil fuels over the social imagination. He is also working on a documentary film as a companion to the book.
Patrick is a Core Member of the University of Ottawa's Institute for Science, Society and Policy, and is also a member of Sustainable Canada Dialogues (SCD), a network of Canadian scholars working towards Canada’s transition to a low-carbon energy economy.


Keynote lecture: Anja Bechman

Social Media and Collective Behavior

Anja Bechmann is Associate Professor at the Department of Media and Journalism Studies at Aarhus University in Denmark where she serves as chair of the research program in Media, Communication and Society and as Director of DATALAB – Center for Digital Social Research. Social Media and Collective Behavior
In her lecture Anja Bechmann will provide an overview of how she has been investigating collective behavior in social media during the last seven years using large-scale trace data primarily from Facebook. In her lecture Bechmann will conceptualize the collective on social media drawing on a pragmatism, STS and network theory inspired theoretical framework. Through trace data studies she will present findings on inequality, filter bubbles and (ongoing work on) disinformation that have been described as some of the challenges inalgorithmic scripted communication spaces facilitating collective behaviors and the potential manipulation there of by powerful and strategic actors. In this context she will also include methodological discussions on social big data ethics and conflicting values in the research work. An important element in studying collective behavior is applied artificial intelligence or machine learning models both as an element in the design work behind the optimization of the algorithms facilitating the object of study, and as important models in the analytical process of detecting such collective patterns in the data. Bechmann’s recent work thus discusses the need to control the work with AI more, outlining models for documentation needed in order to install effective governing procedures for explainable, accountable and fair AI. 
Bechmann is a member of the Danish Academy for Technical Sciences, co-chair of the Association of Internet Researchers’ ethics working group, and member of the EU Commission HLEG on fake news and disinformation. Her work has been published in journals such as New Media and Society, Information Society, Information, Communication and Society, Big Data & Society, Digital Journalism and various edited volumes at Routledge and MIT Press. Currently, she is working on a book manuscript with the working title ‘Social AI: The Acting Machine’. Her research has been funded among others by the Ministry of Higher Education and Sciences in Denmark, Independent Research Fund Denmark, Swedish Research Council, the European Horizon 2020 ICT program and Aarhus University Research Foundation. “ 



Moderator: Lars Mogensen
Keynote Panel "Challenging the Field": Leonardo Custodio. Raul Ferrer Conill, Bente Kalsnes, Maria MurumaaMengel and Kristian Møller

Moderator: Lars Mogensen

Challenging the Field
Lars Mogensen s a free lance journalist, mainly working with programs about current affairs and philosophy for Swedish Public Radio (SR).

Raul Ferrer Conill

Raul Ferrer-Conill is a lecturer and researcher in media and communications at Karlstad University. His doctoral dissertation investigated the use of gamification in digital news production. His research interests cover journalism, digital forms of engagement, and processes of datafication. He has published his work in journals such as Journalism Studies, Digital Journalism, and Television and New Media.

Leonardo Custodio

Leonardo Custodio is a Brazilian post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) at Tampere University. He is also the co-coordinator of the Anti-Racism Media Activism Alliance (ARMA), a three-year project (2018-2020) funded by the Kone Foundation. Previously, Custodio researched media activism in favelas of Rio de Janeiro. His current research and project focus on how people who suffer from racism use media technologies available to raise their voices and act against racism in Finland and Brazil. This  research came out as a book "Favela Media Activism: Counterpublics for Human Rights in Brazil" (Lexington Books, 2017) LINK

Bente Kalsnes

Bente Kalsnes is Associate Professor at the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University. Her main research areas are media innovation, social media, political communication and information disorder. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oslo with the dissertation:  "The power of likes: Social media logic and political communication" (2016).

Maria Murumaa-Mengel

Maria Murumaa-Mengel (PhD in media and communication) is a social media lecturer and the program manager of journalism and communication at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu. She is involved in research focusing mainly on young people’s use (and non-use, going “off the grid”) of social media, digital literacies (social media literacies and porn literacies) and the transformation of private and public in online spaces. More specifically, her most recent research has looked into how young people construct and navigate the online-intimate (e.g. Tinder and online-pornography), how online risks (e.g. “online perverts”, e-bile) and opportunities (e.g.  microcelebrity) are changing everyday practices of youth. Maria is interested in the methodological aspects of creative research methods and has explored the possibilities of these methods in studies about imagined audiences and online risks. She has published work in Young: Nordic Journal of Youth Research, International Review of Information Ethics and First Monday, is a member of AoIR, ECREA, IAMCR, ICA and EU Kids Online network. She has also written study materials and textbook chapters on (social) media literacies for Estonian schools, worked extensively with students, parents, teachers, sexual health professionals and youth workers. 

Kristian Møller

Kristian Møller is a postdoc at the IT University of Copenhagen studying the intersection of media technology and LGBTQ sexuality and culture. His Ph.D. The mediatization of intimacy details the role of dating/hook-up apps in gay men’s everyday lives, intertwining media theory with critical concepts of affect and intimacy. In the methodological strand of his work, he contributes to the development of a digital ethnography and ethics attuned to the many kinds of mobility occurring in, on and around digital media. Current work centers on drug and media use in queer male sex practices typically referred to as “chemsex”. Through new materialist and assemblage theories he approaches the complex circulation and modulation of action and affect in the chemsex event, specifically in regards to HIV/AIDS virality, medicine, and imaginaries. His work is embedded in the research project Medicine Man: Media assemblages of medicalized masculinity, funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, with additional support from the AIDS Foundation of Denmark.