Category Archives: ECREA


I got a message from the Summer School to say that the recordings from our presentations were ready to download late last week. These were recordings of all the comments about our PhD proposals from fellow students and lecturers . I spent a couple of typing sessions transcribing the comments and then editing them down. This was an illuminating exercise as much of the minutia of the comments I’d forgotten or missed during the hour long feedback session. The comments ranged from discussions surrounding my methodology, structure and theory to more specific points about how I will define creativity and the use of generational theory in my research.

I’ve now got comments and feedback from three sources; ECREA lecturers about my research project and both my supervisors on my literature review. By way of consolidation and at the start of my second year I want to review these and then make changes ahead of developing and planning my empirical research.

I had a meeting yesterday with my supervisors to consolidate all these views. We defined a set of actions that I needed to pursue in order for me to progress to the empirical research. I’ve now got a very busy time ahead of me.

On Wednesday I also met with my third supervisor who gave me lots of advice about the how to conduct my empirical research followed by a symposium at London Metropolitan University, my previous university, on International News and Journalism in the 21st Century. The general opinion from the many students in the audience was that the panel were painting a very pessimistic view of the future of journalism. Their view was also very negative towards the value of digital and social media. In fact citizen journalism was not mentioned by any of the speakers which I thought very strange.

Summer School Day 12 – Going home

It’s finally and officially ‘going home’ time. My flights not until late so a few of us decide to go to the Moderna Galerija, the modern art gallery of Ljubljana, to add a bit of culture to our trip. Outside the entrance is a heap of rubbish which has been dumped and left to rot (left). It made me smile. Now I’m fairly sure this is just junk but on the other hand it could be one of the exhibits! A hybrid Tracey Emin anyone? Anyway the gallery was very enjoyable with some great exhibits within.

I also spend much of the day discussing House and Techno music with Bart who has a similar encyclopaedic knowledge of these genres as I do. The flight was uneventful bar my annoyance at the duty free prices which were more expensive than the UK. As a result no one was buying them so they tried to offer tickets with secret discounts on them. Just put the prices down and people will buy them again.

Summer School Days 9 & 10

Everyone is getting very tired now and the energy levels are depleting by the early afternoon. The last two days have been mainly concerned with getting the final student presentations finished and feedback given. Attendance at these has been very high surprisingly. However, the afternoon workshops, How to Teach Using Blogging by Fausto Colombo and Theory Matters by Beybin Kejanlioglu have had a low turn out due to tiredness and, probably, information overload.

Last night we arranged an unofficial farewell party in the halls of residence ahead of the official farewell meal in restaurant in the city. It had previously rained yesterday after a long hot sticky few days but the heat was back and the evening was warm. There was a stage and dace floor on the main hall and Bart Cammaerts, who’s had plenty of professional DJing experience, supplied  the music. I think there was an expectation by most of the group that he was going to play lots of well know chart music. It was a bit of surprise to them when he started with some rather kitch French instrumental music followed by some house and techno. To me this was a delight. So often do these events end up with music sounding like it’s from a wedding, trying to please everyone. Bart did a stirling job. He even played some Jah Wobble and Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus.

Summer School Day 8

After the one and only day off it’s back to the programme again. This morning starts with a workshop on Action Research in Journalism by Ebba Sundin which references the work of Jean McNiff. It’s the second time that action research has been discussed in this programme so we’re able to connect with the subject.

Tobias Olsson is next up with a lecture that is closely related to my research project What’s so ‘social’ about social media?: Critical reflections on the emerging media ecology of participation. I’d been looking forward to hearing his take on Social Media. In the lecture he discusses the ‘media ecology of participation’ and the notion of a ‘convergence culture’ as described by Henry Jenkins and the ‘co-creative environments’ of  Burgess and Green. But then at this point Tobias asks us to remain critically aware of these ideas.

He asks us to reflect on three points. Firstly that what appears to be genuinely ‘social’ can in fact be produced by professional organisations as part of their marketing. Secondly, that here are in essence social and participatory features to most media. And finally that all media use is social.

After an expansive and clear explanation of these points he concludes that it is a long step from technological possibilities to social realities.

The afternoon lecture begins with a stimulating lecture by Bart Cammaerts from the LSE entitled Having a Laugh? Activism, Mediation and Protest Tactics. Annette Hill‘s Made to Measure: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Media Audiences workshop continues throughout the afternoon. This involves discussion and a workshop that explores the advantages of communicating with researchers from outside of your own discipline to help identify problems and develop new strategies.

Summer School Day 5 & the weekend

The Summer School has continued throughout the weekend with officially only half-a-day off, this morning (Sun). The European Union funding rules stipulate that students should be engaged in study for the whole 12 days. Slave drivers!

Many people, myself included, were rather fragile on Friday due to our first night exploring the bars in the city. Thankfully we went on a visit to an NGO in the centre of Ljubljana in the morning and then to the Slovene Ethnographic Museum in the afternoon where the  lectures took place. Michael Bruun Andersen gave the first on The Meaning of Form in Journalism: The case of television news. It was a hot day and the museum had no air conditioning so along with the after effects of last night’s alcohol many people didn’t make the afternoon sessions. Indeed, I left after Michael’s lecture and spent what was left of the afternoon meandering around the city.

Saturday is an early start again with a abstract writing workshop for the whole morning given by Nico Carpentier.  Nico gives us lots of advice and gives us a picture of what academic research entails.

Saturday was also the day when the first group of lecturers leave and new ones arrive. So we went down the student discount bar in the city centre and gave them a good send off (left) then back down to the bohemian Metelkova district again. This time the bar was playing some rather dated punk music.

Sunday morning and early afternoon was officially a rest period. Most people too the whole day off although there was an optional lecture in the afternoon. I sent the day going round the Sunday flea market and then a walk up the hill to Ljubljana Castle with Virpi and Julia. The castle has a fabulous 360 degree view of the city

Summer School Day 4

This morning I gave my presentation on my research subject Social Media: Three Generations of Sharing, Creativity and Collaboration (left). On the whole I think it went fairly well. I timed it just about right and finished just a few seconds ahead of time. My main self-critisicm of the presentation was that I ended the last few slides by reading them out word for word without elaboration. It’s what is known as the Karaoke delivery. But this was due to me not wanting to go over time and end with my final slide.

My three respondents were Ates Gursimsek (student) Francois Heinderyckx and Nico Carpentier (flow manager). Generally the proposal was met with a positive response. The panel thought that the subject matter and area of research was appropriate and agreed that this was a subject that had not been addressed sufficiently and that it was “our duty (as researchers) to look at this subject”.

All three thought that my proposed two-step methodology was well developed. There was a comment from Francois that suggested that I might find it more difficult than I envisaged to get enough participants for the first phase of the research. Francois also raised issues about certain wording within the proposal. Using phrases like “reaches maturity” he felt were inappropriate. He challenged the Chris Anderson quote “When the tools of production are available to everyone, everyone becomes a producer” as this implies uncritical and partisan thinking.

`Part of this research will address Media/digital literacy from a technical and critical standpoint. Francois suggested that young people may use digital media intuitively but they “know it in a certain way” lacking critical understanding. “Technology helping generations get back in contact with each other”. This is an area to explore further.

The issues of how I define creativity, the meaning of creativity and how I measure it were raised but I was expecting them. Francois and Nico also thought that the use of Sharing, Creativity and Collaboration may be too much for me to cover comprehensively in my PhD. They suggested it may be better for me to concentrate on one. They thought my presentation suggested that my primary focus was ‘Creativity’. ‘Collaboration and Sharing’ should have a lower emphasis in the research. I should work on my research question to reflect this. There was a lot to take in but this will be invaluable advise to take home.

In the afternoon we had a lecture by Heiner Stahl on Getting the Sound of Radio out of the Archive: European Broadcasting History in a Transnational Perspective. I’d spoken to Heiner earlier in the week about our love of Krautrock bands of the early 70s like Can, Faust, Neu!  Cluster, Amon Düül II and Tangerine Dream so this lecture really interested me.

The evening was the first real night out for me. I felt I’d deserved a few drinks after the presentation and ended up in the artist area of the city and a bar that was playing Dub Reggae and a very bohemian looking clientele. Left is a picture of Ates, my student respondent, and myself at the bar.

The temperature out here is now in the late 20s centigrade. So it’s still quite warm with no need for jackets. The beer is ok but it is all lager. This bar is very cheap though.

Left the bar about 1.30 am and walked for about half-an-hour from the city centre back to the accommodation.

Summer School Day 3

The morning session was taken up with Student Workshops. Today’s lecturer respondent and afternoon lecturer is Andreas Hepp (left in picture) and with the moderator Nico (right). The sessions are rigidly  monitored for timings. Many of the early presentations are too long and are therefore truncated. This is a little frustrating from an observers point of view but necessary with issues of fairness and keeping to schedule. No amount of pleading from the presenter will get Nico to give them more time. All the sessions are being recorded for uploading to the web and revisiting later. My presentation is first thing tomorrow so I’m going to get an early night tonight in preparation.

The afternoon session begins with Andreas’ lecture on the Mediatized worlds and media research: Non-mediacentric media studies as a challenge and followed by Kees Brants workshop on the Potentials and Pitfalls of Comparative Research.

There is an evening Roundtable session too on the Future of Communication Studies with Denis McQuail and Hanno Hardt. Its already been a long day and most of us are fairly tired. The mood of the panel is sombre and delivery is muted however Denis McQuail always has something worthwhile to say. This can not said of  Hanno Hardt who grows increasingly negative about the future of communication studies and seems intent on harking back to what he perceived as better times. His very long winded and dismal outlook added a wave of despondency through an already weary and frustrated audience. At this point, as though by telepathy, Kees shouted out that he thought he was wrong and that he should buck his ideas up which prompted a low level argument between the two. This was an event that was desperately needed and brought a bit of life to an otherwise rather dull session. I wish it’d happened half-an-hour earlier.

Had a chinese meal and one beer in a local restaurant and then went back and completed the final preparation for my presentation in the morning.