Community and Activist Media: Resistance and Resurgence

Guest Editors: Tanja Dreher (University of New South Wales), Pieter Maeseele (University of Antwerp) & Susan Forde (Griffith University).

The Journal of Alternative & Community Media (JOACM) publishes research that helps explain the shifting media environment, and the ways in which people use alternative forms of media and communication. Issues of concern to the journal include the nature and distribution of media power; access to and participation in media; media practices of communities and social movements; and the possibilities of emerging technologies and new media.

This special issue of the Journal of Alternative and Community Media is inspired by papers from the OURMedia gathering in Brussels, 2019; and the planned (but cancelled) post-conference to the ICA 2020, to submit papers on the theme,  Community and Activist Media: Resistance and Resurgence’.

Planned publication is September, 2021.

We call for academic papers alongside contributions from alternative media practitioners who will contribute to a special section, ‘Essays from the Frontline’.


From the resurgence of white supremacy and authoritarian rule to rapidly changing technologies and the rise of social media; and from the precarious state of journalism to state crackdowns on dissent and the ‘free press’, community and activist media face multiple ‘disruptions’ and challenges. While the 21^st century media environment offers increasing opportunities for ‘voice’, the challenges for community and activist media are practical, political and fundamental. At the same time that this is occurring in community and activist media, scholars in this field are often working at the intersection of research and activism, a theme explored in the 2019 OURMedia gathering.

This special issue will bring together engaged scholars to explore the challenges and opportunities for community and activist media at a time of unprecedented pressures – considering new resurgences, and enhanced opportunities for resistance. Additionally, paper proposals at the intersection of research and activism are most welcome; and by extension, papers which draw connections between scholarly activism (scholactivism) and media activism, emanating from a key theme of the OURMedia conference, are also sought.

Key questions to be explored include:

  • What is the role of activist and community media in contemporary social justice struggles – including anti-racist work in the context of resurgent racisms, and intersectional work in the context of anti-feminist backlash? What are the possibilities for resistance and transformation?
  • How can we best analyse and respond to white supremacist and far-right media?
  • How do community and alternative media enable voices that are marginalized or excluded from the ‘mainstream’ to be heard – what can we learn (or not) from their practices?
  • What is the role and value of established ‘community’ media when social media platforms enable a proliferation of voice?
  • What have we learned from the legacy of platforms such as Indymedia, and how can it inform our structures, agendas and goals for the future?
  • How does one integrate activism and scholarship? What are the tensions between the ‘scientific’ needs of research and commitments to social change and social justice?
  • What is the state of news and current affairs – including news journalisms and issues-based talks programming – at a time of both technological and professional ‘disruption’?
  • What does ‘community’ or ‘alternative’ media mean in the current digital media environment, which features a proliferation of non-mainstream voices?

The special issue welcomes participation from researchers and practitioners across community and activist media very broadly defined – including alternative media in all its guises, community media interventions, alternative journalism initiatives, citizens media, media activism and more. No APCs are charged.

Media activist and other practitioners who wish to contribute should contact Susan Forde directly ( to discuss an alternative ‘Essays from the Frontline’ format to complement the suite of academic papers to be published in this special issue.


  • Abstracts due October 1, 2020
  • Full papers due December 10, 2020
  • Reviews sent to authors February 15, 2021
  • Revised manuscripts due April 30, 2021
  • Paper acceptances notified June 30, 2021
  • Publication September 2021

Please send your abstracts to the Guest Editors: 

Tanja Dreher,

Pieter Maeseele,

Susan Forde,