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Call for Papers: The Youthification of Television and Screen Culture

Biannual Conference of the Television Studies Section of ECREA (European Communication Research and Education Association), 24-25 October 2019, University of Groningen, NL

Television is constantly testing its definitional boundaries. What was formerly defined by ways of transmission and screen technology, is more and more in dissolution in today’s mediated landscape. Young people, especially, are turning away from traditional broadcast television – and turning towards other screens and formats. This development is forcing established structures to react and adapt to this new viewing culture. Novel formats, such as the Norwegian teen drama series ‘SKAM’ or the Spanish talent show ‘Operación Trriunfo/Star Academy’, proved to be extremely successful in overcoming the traditional boundaries of the medium, amongst others by including multi-platform technology and storytelling via social networks.

How can we understand television today as a ‘young’ medium and audiovisual culture? As a connected screen culture, not constrained anymore by a singular screen and fixed location in households, the medium continues to play a key role in people’s everyday lived realities. How is television understood by young audiences as part of their wider screen culture? A clear contradiction seems to be a part of this trend, with older viewers leading traditional television audiences, and younger populations increasingly connected through other audiovisual devices and contents.

And how should scholars of audiovisual culture try and make sense of television production and use by/for these younger audiences? The conference ‘The Youthification of Television and Screen Culture’ therefore also provides a platform to reflect on ‘young’, contemporary, and intersectional approaches to the study of television and connected audiovisual media on multiple platforms and screens. The conference has as its key goal to overcome ‘narrow’ definitions of the medium television, inviting reflections from wider and intersectional perspectives studying the medium’s production, reception and/or cross-platform programming in different European contexts.

The conference invites papers addressing comparative studies of television, audiovisual culture and screen culture, international research on new and/or multi-platform modes of production, distribution and consumption; and related to challenges of television (studies) in Europe, including:

  • Formats for young audiences
  • Specific challenges that come in connection with ‘young TV’
  • New practices of traditional TV channels in platforms, apps and social networks
  • ‘Young’ approaches to studying television and screen culture as media in transition
  • Examples of past collaborations, present and future of European co-productions for younger audiences
  • Intersectional approaches to studying youth screen culture, platform culture, gender and ethnicity
  • New ‘young’ methods and recent approaches to the medium, including digital humanities, in order to clarify the medium’s relevance among the youngest audiences
  • Storytelling across media and mobility of screens for younger viewers
  • Media literacy: tech skills of youngsters and adults
  • TV and education in the era of streaming and cross-platform culture

Beyond the thematic specific contributions, the conference invites papers that deal with:

  • Theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of European television, especially devoted to the new era of audiovisual consumption
  • Production Studies, specifically how television content creators currently do audience studies, and broadcasters and content creators are at present part of academic research
  • Reflections on the future of television

The conference will also host a special panel organized by the ECREA Film Studies section. The section invites paper proposals devoted to exploring new film-TV hybrid forms boosted by young people. The section welcomes submissions that explore theoretical explorations, comparisons of case studies and innovative approaches, in order to shed light on the future of film and cinema in its merging with TV platforms and the new cultural practices emerging within the new generations.

EXTENDED DEADLINE: Proposals for individual papers or panels can be submitted to the ECREA Television Studies Vice Chair, dr. Berber Hagedoorn at until 31 May 2019. Abstracts should be written in English and contain a main question/argument, theoretical framework, methodology, results and reflection on key conference question(s). The length of individual abstracts should be between 300 and 500 words maximum plus key references, institutional affiliation and a short bio (max 150 words). A panel proposal should include a panel presentation (max 300 words) along with four or five individual abstracts and a short biographical note of each author.