Audiences 2017: A Bournemouth University/ CSJCC Workshop, 3 May 2017, Bournemouth, UK

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Audiences 2017: A Bournemouth University/ CSJCC Workshop

Wednesday May 3rd 2017, 09:00 – 17:30.

This event is free, but spaces are limited. Interested parties please email Dr. William Proctor to book places (bproctor@bournemouth.ac.uk).

Bournemouth University’s Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community (CSJCC) cordially invites you to Audiences 2017, a workshop including activities and presentations. I am pleased to announce the following scholars will be speaking at the event and sharing their experience of audience research, addressing key issues such as methodology, ethics and project design.

Professor Martin Barker (Aberystwyth University):

“Not just any old data”: the role of theories and methods in audience research.

 Dr. Ranjana Das (University of Leicester):

The Audiences of “Offensive” TV: Offence, Affect and Publicness in Front of Provocative Screens (drawn from research conducted by Ranjana Das and Ann Graefer, and forthcoming book, Provocative Screens, co-authored with Anne Graefer).

Dr. Jim Pope (Bournemouth University)

Reader response theory and practice, applied to readers of hypertext fiction

Dr. Richard McCulloch (Huddersfield University) & Dr. William Proctor (Bournemouth University):

The Force Re-Awakens: The World Star Wars Project

The morning will be dedicated to presentations, each focusing on individual research projects. Following lunch, we will then proceed to participatory workshop exercises designed to address the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’ of audience research. The following overview provides a précis of workshop activity (with thanks to Professor Barker and Dr. Das).

Audience research is at least to a small extent the awkward cousin of much else in media and cultural studies: arriving on bad days, asking difficult questions, making life complicated for the ‘family’. Not accepting favoured ‘theories’. Demanding good empirical evidence for ‘obvious’ propositions. But audience research is also now well-established and practised with dedication by an increasing number of people in our field.  It has its dedicated Journals, its academic sections of major organisations, even occasional specialist conferences.  Understanding what we do, why, and how – and of course with what challenges and difficulties – is surely important.

The aim of this Workshop is to give you an opportunity to think through how and why you might design a piece of audience research on something pretty current and surely very important. In the first part of the day, you will have heard four presentations from people who, in different ways, have practised various kinds of audience research.  In the afternoon, we will hope to make this as concrete and exciting as we feel it to be, by taking you through some of the processes that we go through, as we plan and design our research.  The topic we’ve chosen to build this around is the nature and rise of the ‘new populism’.

A lot of important work (both journalistic and academic) has been done on this topic, looking at the rise of specific websites, Fox News and radio jock shows, and social media platforms that have played a part in this. There has also been valuable work on the sociology of the phenomenon: the rust belt in America, the former industrial towns in the UK, and so on.  And – more uncertainly – there has been work on the rise of new forms of racism, which is also part of the same phenomenon.  But a huge amount remains unknown.  So, what might be contributed if we were in a position to explore the media choices and involvements of those attracted to the ‘new populism’?

  • What specifically could ‘audience research’ contribute that other kinds of research could not – however hard we might think it will be to do it in practice?
  • What questions would we be aiming to ask – and how might we in theory go about answering them?
  • What would be the biggest barriers to doing the research – and how might those barriers be circumvented?
  • What might be our own assumptions as we approach the task, and what might we do to stop these blocking us and making us prejudge?

 

 

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