Birkbeck announces Stuart Hall PhD scholarship

by Scott Rodgers on November 25, 2016

This has caught me by surprise, but I’ve just learned that my institution Birkbeck is offering a Stuart Hall PhD Scholarship for 2017-18, in partnership with the Stuart Hall Foundation. Some great news, making me proud to work at the institution (as, by the way, did the College’s recently-announced Bridges to Study programme for asylum seekers in London). I’ve pasted the Scholarship description below, but do visit the relevant award page for the full details.

On the subject of Stuart Hall, I also happened to notice that he is the focus of a special issue of Critical Studies in Media Communication titled ‘Stuart Hall Lives: Cultural Studies in an age of Digital Media‘. Amongst many interesting pieces, there is one by Ken Thompson reflecting on Hall’s less-frequently-discussed time at The Open University, my own (short-lived) home before coming to Birkbeck.

Professor Stuart Hall had a major influence on many scholars at Birkbeck. He was an outstanding academic who throughout his life developed new areas of scholarship and research, established new organisations and entities and was a catalyst for a number of significant initiatives: journals like New Left Review and Soundings, the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies and the visual arts organisations Autograph ABP and Iniva (the Institute of International Visual Arts), and the award-winning arts building Rivington Place in east London.

The Stuart Hall PhD Scholarship will be awarded to one student in the School of Arts or the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy at Birkbeck beginning her/his studies in 2017, and will cover fees and a stipend either full time for three years or part time for five. The scholarship can be held in any of the Departments in these two Schools. It is expected that the award-winner will be working in an interdisciplinary area of study focused on one of Stuart Hall’s many areas of interest: cultural studies, psychosocial studies, ‘race’ and ethnicity studies, visual arts, politics and sociology.

Potential applicants should first apply to the Department of their choice for a PhD place, stating that they wish to be considered for the scholarship. Please see below for further details on the application process.


intro-altToday a roundtable I have edited on ‘The Urban as Emergent Key Concept for Media Theory’ has been published online in Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture.

This roundtable was initially spawned from a session at ICA 2016 in Fukuoka, Japan. In its journal form, it brings together contributions from five scholars (Zlatan Krajina, André Jansson, Myria Georgiou, Giorgia Aiello and me) that have worked with both media and urban theory. The focus of the opening essays is perhaps more conceptual than empirical (which some people at the ICA session actually didn’t seem to like that much, but there you go). In the main, it’s about how the urban – and related concepts like the city, urbanism and urban space – have travelled in and through media theory and research.

I’ve listed a little more detail on the opening essays below. Over the next three weeks, a set of responses from the contributors will be added. Of course, it’d be interesting if there were also some thoughtful comments made in relation to individual posts.

Currently-available contributions (full details here) are:

The Urban as Emergent Key Concept for Media Theory: An Introduction – Guest editor Scott Rodgers introduces the main thematic issues and questions to be addressed.

Back to the City – Zlatan Krajina suggests media studies returns to its roots in the city, to rekindle its early, less disciplinary, instincts.

Mediatization and Urban Struggle – André Jansson connects the ambiguity of “the urban” with that of “mediatization”, considering their relationships through the example of urban exploration.

Right to the City, or Compulsion to Connect? – Myria Georgiou reflects on the politicized relationships between the right to the city and emergent compulsions to communicate digitally.

A Visual-Material Approach to the City – Giorgia Aiello presents a visual-material approach to the communicative dimensions of urban built environments, linking both mediation and mediatization.

Theorizing Media after the Urban Revolution – Scott Rodgers argues that conceiving of the urban as processual, amorphous, relational and unbounded provokes a critical rethinking around why, where and how we study urbanized media.


A wee little ethnography of ICA 2016

by Scott Rodgers on September 12, 2016

ica-ethnography-airport-cropped-adjustedI’ve gone and done something I always wanted to do: write an ethnography of a conference; to be precise, one of the 2016 ICA conference in Fukuoka, Japan. Now, straight away, the proviso I’d make is that I’ve written one that is quite short and modest (UPDATE: and certainly it doesn’t merit the title of ‘ethnography’, as one rightly commented already in Twitter, if tongue-in-cheek). The piece is for the Counterparts section of Mediapolis, which is essentially just supposed to be a ~1300 word conference report. It’s just that I made my life difficult, perhaps, and insisted on writing it in this vignette-y way.

Since I knew in advance I was going to write it, though, it did sometimes make for a kind of alternate reality conference experience. I could be listening into the most mundane conversation, on the periphery, and thinking, well that’s sort of interesting. Or I could be outright bored, waiting for one thing or another, and in the deep mire of that boredom realise that I find something rather curious about it (I guess the best example of this is my tortuous wait in a lunch buffet line, my starting vignette in the piece).

More than anything, though, writing this just made me realise how much more deeply one could analyse these sorts of events. Many do so already. For example, Gabriella Coleman has published great ethnographic work on hacker conferences (opens a PDF – I must tip my hat to Giancarlo Sandoval for recently reminding me of this work). Indeed, the editorial board member who refereed and then edited the piece, Floris Paalman, did a wonderful job of pointing out all sorts of potentially interesting emergent themes, especially related to thinking about the spatial politics of the conference. While it’s too bad the length – and time available – prevented me from really exploring those themes, I hope that there are still some points which are recognisable and interesting to the academic conference goer, whether frequent or sporadic, ICA or otherwise.


Second Mediapolis essay: ‘Small-gauge as remediating and metamedial’

July 7, 2016

My second essay within the special Mediapolis roundtable on ‘small-gauge’ scholarship, which has been running over the past few weeks, has now been published. It’s been a really interesting exchange which tries to confront and tease out the emergent notion of small-gauge scholarship, a term contained in the founding mission statement of the journal. If […]

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New Mediapolis essay: ‘Small-gauge as environmental and ordinary’

June 22, 2016

Over at the Mediapolis journal, I have published a short essay as part of a roundtable on the emergent notion of ‘small-gauge’ scholarship. The notion of small-gauge was alluded to in the founding mission statement of this new and experimental journal, and has since generated some substantial interest and debates. This roundtable tries to tackle […]

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The media-urban nexus: histories, stakes, possibilities (text of keynote paper)

May 31, 2016

Below is the text of a keynote paper given on Sunday 29 May 2016 for the ‘Mediating cityscapes’ symposium, held as part of the Artists’ Film Biennial at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. It was an informal paper, in which I mainly was asked to open out some issues for the symposium. So I deliberately […]

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Mediating cityscapes symposium at the ICA

May 27, 2016

This Sunday, 29 May 2016, I will be presenting a keynote paper for ‘Mediating cityscapes’, a symposium being held as part of the Artists’ Film Biennial at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. My paper – titled ‘The media-urban nexus: histories, stakes, possibilities’ – will be an attempt to open up some broad themes around what […]

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Yuk Hui at Birkbeck on ‘For a Realism of Relations: The Case of Digital Objects’

May 23, 2016

Very unfortunately I won’t be able to attend this seminar at Birkbeck (though, fortunately, it’s because I will be talking in my first visit to Japan). Looks like an excellent discussion will be had. Full details are below. Yuk Hui – For a Realism of Relations: The Case of Digital Objects The Vasari Research Centre […]

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Event: What things are, what things do

May 17, 2016

Next week, on Friday 27 May, Güneş Tavmen and Hannah Barton are organising what looks to be an interesting interdisciplinary seminar titled ‘What things are, what things do’. The event – sponsored by Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture – will host a set of debates around the ‘structuring structures’ of media culture: in […]

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Event: Digital Us: Are We ‘Together’ in a Networked Culture?

May 12, 2016

At the very beginning of Birkbeck Arts Week 2016, on 16 May 2016, I will be taking part in an event which touches on familiar themes, but perhaps from new angles and through a juxtaposition of fairly different contributors. While I am going to draw upon some recent small-scale qualitative research I’ve undertaken on the […]

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