Audience Section - CfP 2018

The Audience Section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) invites submissions of abstracts for papers and panel proposals for the IAMCR 2018 conference to be held 20-24 June at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, USA. The deadline to submit abstracts is 23:59 GMT on 31 January 2018.

Conference theme: Reimagining Sustainability: Communication and Media Research in a Changing World

The Audience Section invites papers that reflect the conference theme or the section's interest in new approaches to audience research in context of a fast moving digital, global media environment.  The Section aims to reflect and encourage interest in understanding audiences for a range of media technologies, in diverse settings, reflecting the role of media in identity, everyday life and broader social, cultural and political engagement.

In the context of major transformations in media, we seek to encourage reflection on the changing nature of audiences, innovations in ways of studying audiences across a range of media and contexts to address the challenge of an increasingly complex convergent media environment.


In addition to the open call for papers, we would like to invite papers and proposals for papers and panels that address the following themes:

Rethinking Audience Research:  Innovations in theory and method are essential if audience researchers are to keep pace with a rapidly changing media environment where audience(ing) takes multiple forms and resists easy categorization or investigation. We welcome proposals for papers that address new conceptual and practical approaches to studying audiences in the complex convergence of digital and linear media across a range of platforms and that reflect on the emerging agenda for audience studies in a radically transformed media ecology.

Configuring Audiences: academic audience research no longer ‘owns’ the concept of ‘the audience’, as, media industries, governments, regulators and NGOs are increasingly interested in audience research. This is an area of study in its own right in audience research; how is the audience configured in these different contexts, for different reasons and using different methods.

Audiences in Context: There is a growing acknowledgement that the audience is not to be found in front of the television in the domestic space of the living room. Studies of Fans and other dispersed audiences have encouraged an ethnographic turn in audience studies and the decentering of the contexts and practices of being an audience. We welcome submissions that ‘follow’ audiences into different contexts and engage with the ways that media are dispersed through the practices of everyday life.

Audience Experience: There are a variety of ways in which audience experience(s) are being rethought in media and communication. For example, as participants in social media, audiences are a form of association. The affective turn suggests new ways of thinking of the visceral aspects of audience engagement within a media environment that affords new forms of connectivity. The section welcomes presentations that engage these new ways of thinking about audience experiences.

Measuring Audiences: a variety of methods are developing to quantify audience practices in a variety of ways. Broadcasters gather data on audience responses through a variety of means that are displacing traditional audience surveys and panels. Twitter feeds provide resources for big data analysis of connected audiences and their sentiments. Submissions reflecting on new media audience research tools and applications are welcomed.

Youthful audiences:  Young people’s relationship with media has been the subject of both the celebration of the potential for new forms of creative expression and anxiety with regard to the impact of powerful media on vulnerable audiences. In relation to new media forms, young people are frequently seen to be in the vanguard of new audience trends and emerging practices of consumption and engagement. We welcome papers that explore audience experience from the child’s perspective, and that examine opportunities, risks, and challenges faced by children in the current media environment.

Transnational Audiences: there is a transnational turn in media audiences for global formats and local series, signaling an increasing range of audio-visual content available to consumers, fans and publics, including translations, subtitling and fan subbing of fiction and non-fiction television and social media. Doing audience research in digital and transnational media landscapes calls for multi-faceted, pragmatic approaches to varieties of audience experiences in social and cultural contexts. We welcome papers that explore transnational audiences, including the significance of distribution contexts, geo-cultural approaches to audiences, and the significance of place and time, to researching audiences, users and publics.

Submission of Abstracts:

Abstracts should be submitted from 9 November 2017 through 31 January 2018. Both individual and panel submissions are welcome and early submission is strongly encouraged.

Deadline for submissions:

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 31 January 2018 and will not be extended.

Decisions on acceptance of abstracts will be communicated to applicants by their Section or Working Group Heads no later than 15 March 2018.

Guidelines for Abstracts:

Abstracts should be between 300 and 500 words in length. All abstract submissions must be made via IAMCR's Open Conference System at There are to be no email submissions of abstracts.

It is expected that for the most part, only one (1) abstract will be submitted per person. However, under no circumstances should there be more than two (2) abstracts bearing the name of the same author either individually or as part of any group of authors. Please note also that the same abstract or another version with minor variations in title or content must not be submitted to more than one Section or Working Group. Such submissions will be deemed to be in breach of the conference guidelines and will be rejected by the OCS system, by the relevant Head or by the Conference Programme Reviewer. Authors submitting them risk being removed entirely from the conference programme.

Criteria for Evaluation

Submitted abstracts will generally be evaluated on the basis of:

1. theoretical contribution
2. methods
3. quality of writing
4. literature review
5. relevance of the submission to the work of the Section or Working Group
6. originality and/or significance

Important dates and deadlines to keep in mind:

  • 9 November 2017 – Abstract submission system (OCS) opens

  • 31 January 2018 – Deadline for submissions

  • 8 March 2018 – Registration opens

  • 15 March 2018 – Notification of decisions of abstracts

  • 20 March 2018 – Deadline to apply for travel grants and awards

  • 3 April 2018 – Deadline to confirm your participation

  • 7 May 2018 – Last day to register at discounted early-bird fee

  • 28 May 2018 – Deadline for full paper submission

  • 1 June 2018 – Final conference programme published on the website

  • 20–24 June 2018 – IAMCR 2018 Conference

Audience Section

Visit the Audience Section's webpage >>>


Peter Lunt, University of Leicester

Annette Hill, Lund University