CFP: Mediating Cultural Work

Mediating Cultural Work: Texts, Objects and Politics

Conference of the CAMEo Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies

6-8 September 2017, Stamford Court, University of Leicester, UK

Keynote Speakers:

  • Angela McRobbie (Goldsmiths) author of ‘Be Creative’
  • Jack Linchuan Qiu (Chinese University of Hong Kong) author of ‘Goodbye iSlave’
  • John Beck (Westminster) & Matthew Cornford (Brighton) co-authors of ‘The Art School and the Culture Shed’

Others confirmed to date: Mark Banks, Eleonora Belfiore, Bridget Conor, Doris Ruth Eikhof,  Chris Land, Jo Littler, Kate Oakley, Dave O’Brien, Martin Parker, Keith Randle, Anamik Saha, Jennifer Smith Maguire, Claire Squires, Helen Wood, David Wright.

The expansion of cultural work –  understood as activities of production in the creative and cultural industries, media and the arts – has been accompanied by a plethora of texts, discourses and representations about such work, as well as a whole range  of policy narratives, descriptions and manifestos designed to specify and define the goods and qualities such work provides. Yet more critical accounts have also emerged to challenge the ways in which cultural and media work is mediated, as well as organised, managed and experienced – subverting common-sense understandings and more upbeat and hegemonic narratives.

At the same time, new platforms and technologies of production are shaping the ways in which cultural work is undertaken (and understood) as a meaningful social practice, while the cultural industries themselves continue to produce expressive objects, goods and commodities that manifest and mediate the labour that has gone into their production, suggesting ways of consuming or engaging with them as ‘crafted’ objects or as symbolic forms.

This interdisciplinary conference therefore focuses on how cultural work and production is mediated – in terms of text, image, discourse, narrative, policy, curriculum, ideology and fantasy, as well as through technology, materially, and in objective form. We are especially interested to discuss the politics of mediation – and to outline progressive challenges to an ‘expressive’ and ‘creative’ work that continues to be blighted by social exclusivity, inequality and injustice.

We invite submissions of individual papers or panels (of up to four papers) from across the social sciences, arts and humanities, and from industry practitioners, that relate to any of the following themes:

  • Policies and Programmes: what ‘official’ technologies, texts and discourses are currently used to define and describe work and working lives in the cultural, creative and media industries; what logics, rationalities, data, ideologies and imaginaries are in evidence? What knowledges or truths might they affirm or reject? How do such policies travel, translate or reproduce?
  • Texts and Representations: how is cultural, creative and media work represented in popular media such as film, television, art or music – or in the texts, programmes and practices of management and organisations, or in systems of training and education? What possibilities are enabled or constrained by popular and professional discourses on the cultural industries?  What links the symbolic and the economic in such cases?
  • Objects and Practices: how are cultural industry objects and goods constructed, negotiated, and legitimated by mediating institutions and individuals? How do specific industries (such as craft, design, fashion, food and drink, TV, music, journalism, publishing) generate working practices that help mediate new social relations of cultural production and consumption? What visibilities and invisibilities are occasioned by a focus (or fetish) on the cultural or crafted object?
  • Agency and Action: how are struggles to define and deliver a more equal, equitable and just cultural and media workplace taking shape, in discourse and action? What structures, entities or agencies are helping to mediate, shape or enact a progressive (or reactionary) politics of cultural and media work?

Please submit abstracts for papers or panels to by Wednesday 3rd May 2017 – for details of how to submit go  Please email all submissions to

Decision on submissions: Mid-May

Conference fee: £185 (£100 for students) includes all lunches, evening meals and refreshments.

Registration and Accommodation Options available from 19th May

Informal enquiries and further details

Published by katefcairns

Associate Professor, Department of Childhood Studies, Rutgers University-Camden

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