Conference, CfP Communication and the City: Voices, Spaces, Media. University of Leeds, UK. 14./15.6.2013

Communication and the City: Voices, Spaces, Media

14-15 June 2013

Urban Communication Foundation & Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds

In association with ECREA Media and the City Temporary Working Group

Conference website:

The Communication and the City Conference is an international two-day event hosted by the Institute of Communications Studies at the University of Leeds. The aim of the conference is to bring together researchers and practitioners from a variety of national contexts to discuss questions of urban communication across academic disciplines and professional fields.

By middle of this century 7 out of 10 people in the world will live in cities, and it is in cities that we find major centres of political, economic, creative and ideological power. For these reasons, in recent decades an increasing number of scholars have come to see cities as powerful texts and contexts for communication research. Drawing from across the humanities, the social sciences and the arts, urban communication has become established as an interdisciplinary field in its own right. Within communication studies, scholars have adopted a variety of approaches to the study of the urban environment. These include social interaction and organizational outlooks, rhetorical and discursive frameworks, and technology and media studies. While it remains vital to keep pursuing distinct lines of inquiry about the city within and beyond communication studies, we believe that it is also crucial to foster a sustained dialogue among the various perspectives that inform scholarly, practice-based, institutional, and professional endeavours in the field of urban communication.


We invite submissions that address one or any combination of these three broad questions:

  1. What are the ‘voices’ that animate contemporary cities? How do different identities, groups, cultures, and constituencies interact, intersect and/or compete in mediated and non-mediated urban contexts?
  2. What are the communicative dimensions of urban ‘spaces’ in their own right? How does space mediate specific ideologies and subjectivities, and how is urban space constructed and communicated as place?
  3. What is the role of the ‘media’ in relation to both the symbolic and material existence of cities? How do both traditional and new media contribute to representing and experiencing, but also financing and structuring the urban environment?

We are interested in submissions that address these questions through various lenses, including technology, policy, aesthetics, and social/cultural/artistic/professional/political practices. In this regard, we welcome a range of theoretical, critical, empirical, and practice-based papers on any of the following topics:

  • The communication of cultural and social differences in the city (e.g. gender, class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, political and religious beliefs) along with the communication dynamics of related negotiations, divides and conflicts
  • Identity politics, intersectionality, and intercultural communication in the city
  • Political, countercultural, and social movements in the urban environment
  • Power and urban space (e.g. urban regeneration, segregation,gentrification)
  • Aesthetic, semiotic, rhetorical and discursive dimensions of urban spaces and places, including visual, material, aural, sensorial,and multimodal dimensions
  • Urban space and the communication of memory, heritage, tradition
  • Spaces of production, consumption and/or citizenship
  • The relationship between urban, suburban, and rural spaces
  • Representing and communicating the city (e.g. tourism and travel media, city and place branding, cinematic and televised urban spaces)
  • Media and technology usage in cities and their role in the experience of urban space (e.g. geo-location, new public and private spaces, augmented reality)
  • The presence and impact of media and communication technology in the urban environment (e.g. new forms of “media architecture”, security/surveillance technologies, urban screens)
  • The relationship between cities and the media, cultural, and creative industries (e.g. strategies of attraction of media companies into cities, impacts on communities and urban landscapes, connectivity and infrastructure, the local/global nexus)


Please submit abstracts for 15-minute papers by email to no later than NOVEMBER 30, 2012. Abstracts should be in English and include a title, your contact
details (name, mailing address, email) and a description of your paper (400-500 words). The conference committee will begin reviewing abstract submissions immediately after the deadline. Notification of acceptance will be FEBRUARY 1, 2013. Send your abstract as a Word document or in the body of your email.


In order to help your early planning for the conference, we have organized the basic programme structure for the conference (see conference website). This outline shows the start and finish times of
the conference, the main social events (lunch and reception), as well as tea/coffee breaks. A business meeting for the Urban Communication Foundation and the ECREA Media and the City Temporary Working Group (all conference participants welcome) is also scheduled for the afternoon of June 15. Official conference registration will begin on February 1, 2013. In order to be included in the final programme the deadline for presenter registration is April 1, 2013. The full conference registration fee is £60. There are some places available at a discounted rate (£30) for students and unwaged individuals. There are also a few free places available for presenters who reside in lower income countries ( or lower middle income countries ( Make sure to indicate whether and how you qualify for a discounted or free registration fee at the time of your abstract submission. As both discounted and free places are limited, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate all requests.


Conference co-organizers are planning to develop an edited volume and a special issue of an academic journal based on the themes of this international conference. The goal would be to publish the special issue in 2014 and the edited volume by 2015. To this end, the conference committee invites conference participants to submit previously unpublished papers related to the conference themes which may or may not be based on submitted conference abstracts. Contributions should be of no more than 7,000 words in length. More information about this volume will be made available just prior to the conference. The expected deadline for submission of chapters for review will be SEPTEMBER 30, 2013.

Daniel Makagon
DePaul University