Audience research in a ‘post-media’ age? Reflections on media-centric and non-media centric approaches to researching audiences in the 21st century


ECREA Audience and Reception Studies Conference 2015

25-27 June 2015, University of Tartu, Estonia

Deadline for submission: 15th April 2015. Notification of acceptance: 25 
April. Conference Fee – 55 Euros.

As media environments diversity around us, and audiences continuously 
commute across a range of different communicative spaces, encompassing a wide variety of platforms, the centrality of media and its texts in our 
analysis of audiences has started being questioned. There is a strong argument for retaining a focus on texts (and their interpretation) at a time when it is only too easy to claim that texts are far too fluid, far too many and far too ambiguous now for ‘text’ to be retained as a basis of interrogation in audience studies. Audiences continue to interpret, listen, receive, produce and share texts and therefore, the media 
continues to be central in our endeavour as audience researchers. On the other hand, a new wave of research in our field argues for a non-media 
centric approach to audiences, where there is a shift of focus from the interpretation of specific texts to the spaces occupied by audiences, to 
audiencing being analysed not in response to a particular genre or 
format, where the focus on media and reception is replaced by a focus on 
spatiality and practices outside of the space in front of the television screen. This conference seeks to bring together scholars who advocate a retention of focus on texts and interpretation with scholars who ask for a non-media centric approach to the field.

We are looking for abstracts from both sides of the media-centric and non-media centric approaches to audience research. Abstracts could be theoretical reflections, methodological reflections or conventional presentations of well-theorised empirical work, as long as the topic relates to the theme of this conference. Some potential areas we are looking to address include, but are not restricted to –

• Non-media centric theoretical approaches to audiences

• Text-centric theoretical approaches

• New media, audiences and the role of ‘text’

• Spaces, places, urban geographies in relation to being audiences

• Advertising and audiences

• Cities and audiences

• Ethics, morality and audiences in an age of converged media

• Tourism, global flows and transnational audiences

• Meta reviews or birds’ eye views of the field

• Empirical and theoretical papers

Keynote speakers

Prof. Triin Vihalemm, University of Tartu, Institute of Social Studies

Prof. Louise Phillips, University of Roskilde, The Department of Communication, Business and Information Technologies, Dialogic communication

Additional session: Young scholars’ short intensive course: Analysing 
Dialogue, Participation and Power.

Around the conference, prof Louise Phillips and prof. Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt will also host a designated young scholars seminar looking at the questions of dialogue, participation and power where the focus will be on prof. Phillips’ Integrated Framework for Analysing Dialogic Knowledge Production and Communication (IFADIA) which combines Bakhtin’s dialogue theory, Foucauldian discourse analysis and elements of Action Research and STS. The focus on the course will be on theorising and analysing forms of participation in terms of IFADIA’s Bakhtinian and discourse analytical approach. The framework will be introduced during lectures and then students’ PhD projects will be discussed through a focus on how to analyse the co-production and negotiation of meanings in different contexts that co-constitute/shape processes of meaning-making. Event is open to all interested young scholars from across and around communication studies interested in the issues of dialogue, power and communication. If you wish to include your PhD project in the discussion, please submit short project abstract via the conference submission form

There is no additional fee for Young Scholars course.

Formats for submission

Please submit abstracts up to 200 words by 15th April on our conference 
paper submission portal available at this link:

Notification of acceptance/rejection will be made by 25th April.

Best regards,

Ranjana, Pille and Jakob (ARS Section Management Team)

Local organisers: University of Tartu, Institute of Social Sciences: 
Ragne Kõuts, Inga Kald, Ene Selart,Katre Sakala and Kristel Vits.

Conference fee is 55 EUR and this includes conference materials, coffees 
lunch and dinner during the conference.


The conference will take place in the University of Tartu, Institute of 
Social Sciences ( The sessions of the conference 
will be located at the historical building of Institute of Social Sciences, in the very heart of the beautiful downtown of Tartu (, in the walking distance of number of 
hotels and restaurants.

The nearest airport in Tartu has direct flights to Helsinki, the biggest Estonian airport in Tallinn is 2.5h bus ride or 2 hour train ride away, but bus connections also provided access to Riga airport.


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