We are proud to welcome you to the conference ‘In the Flow: People, Media, Materialities’. It is arranged by the Advanced Cultural Studies Institute of Sweden (ACSIS), a national centre for interdisciplinary and international networking in cultural research. This is the sixth biennial ACSIS conference. All the conferences have had different themes connected to various aspects of cultural research. ‘In the Flow: People, Media, Materialities’ is a continuation of the fifth conference, ‘On the Move’, which explored the ‘mobility turns’ various extensions in cultural research. This conference also emphasizes spatial, cultural and social flows, but the focus is on mediatization and how new and old media interact with bodies, institutions and various industries to produce social, cultural and material effects.
We are especially proud to welcome our two keynote speakers, Anna Reading, Professor of Culture and Creative Industries at Kings College, London, and Mike Crang, Professor of Geography at Durham University, two scholars who in recent years have set out to rework the borders of, on the one hand, the cultural and the symbolical and, on the other hand, the material and the physical. The borderlands between the representational and the corporeal are explored by the plenary panel led by André Jansson, Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Karlstad University, discussing what body-monitoring technologies do to our experiences of being human.
The keynotes and the plenary panel set the tone for sessions and individual papers presented by cultural researchers from many different countries. There are, for example, a number of presentations on digital technology. Similar to the plenary panel, some look at the nexus of mediatization and material embodied in everyday life actions and habits, examining the interplay between physical movement and affective engagement regarding wearable devices. Others approach the overarching theme of flows and slowdowns by discussing various aspects of understanding and tracking the circulation of images, music, texts and materialities, such as the mundane practices tied to online searches, methodologies to analyze online data, the curbing of the contemporary abundance of documents in institutions or how patents and copyrights regulate the distribution of on-screen immaterialities as well as material objects.
The conference suggests that the ways in which digital media saturate contemporary everyday life have energized and renewed classic cultural studies fields, such as the study of identities, music consumption and television viewing. Theoretical redirections such as new materialism and ANT have directed attention to the agency of non-human actors such as computers in cultural processes at the same time as scholars have kept their eyes open for the everyday life agency of, for example, children and young people.
Digital media are a very significant theme running through the conference. Another is the flows of objects and ideas through space as well as the effect of flows on people and places, investigating, for example, two-way flows between colonized lands and the metropole itself, flowbacks of labour and capital, urban transformations and the reconfiguration of resort cities. A third theme is heritage flows. A series of sessions discuss how new technologies, globalization, policies and changing classification systems set heritage values, exhibitions and institutions in motion. Additional themes such as cultural sociology, feminist culture studies and the future of gender and sexualities remind cultural researchers of the importance of keeping their eyes open for power relations, inequalities, identities and politics.
We are also very pleased to present our series of spotlight sessions. Here we have invited researchers to discuss time, media history, heritage institutions, the impact of digital media on fan and celebrity cultures, and feminist culture studies. Thanks to an initiative from the master’s students on the Linköping University Programme for Culture, Society and Media Production, we have a spotlight session on education and research.
The conference is supported by Linköping University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Swedish universities which co-fund ACSIS, and the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation. We are also enormously grateful for and impressed by the unpaid efforts of all invited speakers, panellists, moderators, session organizers and paper presenters. We invite you to discover the conference’s rich and varied content, which encourages interdisciplinary exchanges as well as conversaions across empirical fields. Finally, we wish to stress that conferences are a great opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones. In addition to the discussions at the sessions, there will be plenty of time to socialize at the reception on Monday evening at the art gallery Verkstad and at the conference dinner on Tuesday night.
director of ACSIS
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. , 136 p.