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Mending the Gaps: Re-Thinking Media Theory and Practice

Date posted: 06/02/2008

“Mending the Gaps: Re-Thinking Media Theory and Practice"
10 May 2008
SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies, London
Centre for Media and Film Studies, Brunei Gallery, rooms B101, B102, B104.

An Interdisciplinary Symposium for Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers

Academics and Non-Academics


Keynote speaker: Dr John Postill Senior Lecturer in Media, Sheffield Hallam University
Film Screening: Tony Dowmunt, Lecturer in Communications, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Call for Papers/Presentations:
Generating great enthusiasm and popularity amongst its delegates and audience, the 2007 ‘Minding the Gap’ symposium held at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has raised awareness of the need for a greater conceptual unity of media theory and practice. The symposium brought together media theorists-and-practitioners in a challenging exploration of the many gaps that are constantly experienced between media theory and practice. By doing so, it prompted a plethora of questions, on the different ways in which these gaps can be ‘mended’.

‘Mending the Gaps: Re-thinking Media theory and Practice 2008’ proposes to create a space and time to further develop these discussions with the specific goal of finding ways to blend media theory and practice, and to formulate new, more nuanced, approaches to the debate. In the academic and media ‘world’, practice and theory can be thought and experienced in many overlapping ways. Thus, developing academic thinking is a practice, practical skills a form of knowledge, media practice research a way to perform academic requirements, practitioners’ theoretical turn an intellectual quest, and both production and consumption can be perceived as a form of practice: all through reflection contribute to the praxis of knowledge.

‘Mending the Gaps: Re-thinking Media theory and Practice 2008’ proposes to assemble the insights, analysis and ideas of postgraduate students, early career researchers and media practitioners, whose work brings media theory and practice together. The event will focus on perspectives dealing exclusively with factual, non- fictional media. Participants are asked to take into consideration how theoretical ideas can be of use for media practitioners and/or vice versa; how media practices aid theoretical understandings. They welcome papers from a range of different disciplines in the Social Sciences such as, but not only; Media Studies, Cultural Studies, Journalism, Anthropology, Sociology and Political Economy. They particularly encourage reflections on Ethnography, and presentations based on video and audio material.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words or a short film synopsis should be submitted by the 25th February, 2008 to . Video and Audio files should be made accessible through Internet providers (i.e. MySpace, MediaFire, Weblogs). A clear link to the material should be included in email. Papers and synopsis should address, but are not limited to the following themes:


  • Media practice used as alternative methodology to feed into theory; film, photography, audio media, web-based media into research
  • Practical media as means of representing research as an alternative to the written text
  • Professional experience of being a media practitioner used to inform theoretical work
  • Ethnography in media research


  • Theories of media production
  • The uses of theory for practice: Journalists and other media practitioners reflect on the use of theory in their practice
  • Engaging in new and original ways in which teaching can be re-thought by bringing theory and practice together
  • Professional experience of using theory for practical work in the media.


  • Case stories recounting the personal ethical, political and practical challenges facing double-practitioners
  • Double practitioners who work in between the gap of theory and practice; presentations will be sought from individuals with substantial practical experience whose cases offer broad and unusual insights
  • Reflections on academic practices

The Organising Committee

Veronica Barassi, Goldsmiths College
Melissa Pignatelli, SOAS
Line Thomsen, University of Aarhus