Researchers in media and communication, cultural studies, creative arts and visual ethnography, journalism and public relations, architecture and urban design; postgraduate students, educators, and emerging career researchers, are invited to submit an abstract for a major international symposium held at Deakin University on 24-25 February, 2014.

What is meant by the term ‘contemporary publics’ and how does that present new directions in thinking and research around the concept of ‘public’?

New notions on publics come from a range of media and communication, social, political and artistic fields of inquiry. Networked publics and micro-publics arise from digital cultures and new media platforms; boundaries now blur amongst advertising, public relations and their targets in both physical and virtual space; journalists strive to redefine the role of public broadcasting within new and obsolete concepts of media. Blogs, personal websites, webzines and new forms of engagement emerge within the affordances of technology like mobile phones and within intra-organisational spheres like Facebook and Twitter.  Contemporary publics are transforming within urban, interior and installation spaces. Relentless inquiries into the new domains of public and private in the era of 21st century personalised capitalism and consumer culture reveal changing rhetorical and ideological values around of the notion of the public.

This Symposium, organised and hosted by the Persona, Celebrity, Publics (PCP) research group at Deakin University, invites you to address this complex topic from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives:

  • Online cultural challenges to Publics
  • The public(s) in public broadcasting?
  • Audiences/Publics tension
  • The nation-state and publics
  • Public Individuals
  • Status of opinion in the contemporary publics
  • The contemporary agora
  • Historical formation of the public/publics
  • Public intellectuals and public discourse in the 21st century
  • Propaganda, conflict and public opinion
  • Architecture and publics
  • Public art, space and publics
  • The Public, private, intimacy
  • Activism, agency and public spaces
  • Rethinking selective tradition
  • Affect and Publics
  • Public Control: Stigmatization of collectives classes, and publics
  • Surveillance and public space
  • Global publics and tourism
  • The contemporary crowd, flash mob and publics
  • The Socialisation of Publics
  • Public Images
  • Sound, noise and publics
  • What is public interest?
  • Popular culture and publics
  • The celebrification of public life
  • Politics, citizens and publics
  • Public scandal
  • Spectacle and publics
  • Green publics
  • Children, play and publics
  • Screening publics
  • Viral publics

Confirmed Keynote Speakers include:

  • John Frow, ARC Professorial Fellow, School of English, University of Sydney;
  • Tania Lewis, Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communication, RMIT;
  • Felicity Collins, Associate Professor, School of Communication and Critical Enquiry, La Trobe University;
  • Andrew Tolson, Professor of Media and Communication, School of Media and Communication, De Montfort University, UK.

Deadline for Abstracts: 4 November 2013. Please send a 250 word abstract for consideration before the due date to Kristin Demetrious: the subject line “Contemporary Publics International Symposium: abstract submission”)

Determination of the success of your proposed paper/abstract will be conveyed to you before the end of November 2013.

Registration/Fees/ Accommodation details: To be posted on the PCP web site in the coming weeks. Accepted papers need to be submitted in complete form to the organisers by 1 April 2014

A selection of the best papers from the symposium will go into an edited collection provisionally titled Contemporary Publics. Palgrave has expressed an interest in receiving the proposal for such a volume.

Kristin Demetrious and Sean Redmond (on behalf of the PCP Organising Committee)