In the aftermath of the pandemic, six European professors founded a new meeting space for virtual encounters between media scholars.
“We cannot let the momentum of international research collaboration and contacts be lost. We need a plan.” This is the motto of the newly founded meeting space for media researchers called the European Media Salon.
The idea of the “salon” is simple: groups of scholars at all levels can meet for short talks and dialogues up to 30 minutes, which is followed by an extended discussion up to an hour.
The idea was initiated by Andreas Hepp from the University of Bremen, Germany, Giovanna Mascheroni from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy, Göran Bolin from Södertörn University, Sweden, Johanna Sumiala from the University of Helsinki, Finland, Nick Couldry from the London School of Economics, the UK, and Veronika Kalmus from the University of Tartu, Estonia.
– With the covid-19 pandemic, there have been online conferences, but one thing in particular no longer exists: the open scientific exchange in Europe that took place around meetings and in conference breaks. The Salon is intended to offer a format for this, not necessarily online, but in future also hybrid, that is, partly on site, explains professor Andreas Hepp from ZeMKI, Centre of Media, Communication and Information Research, that is the host of the Salon.
– Our plan is to create a space for open discussion among European media and communication scholars so that critical discourse does not break off, especially in times of radical change in our media environment.
But more Zoom or Teams meetings, is that really what we need to invigorate the collaboration?
– We are, of course, aware of the fact that there is a considerable “zoom fatigue” sweeping the academy, says professor Göran Bolin.
– However, we believe that a more intimate format like the “salon” can be sufficiently different from the other online meetings we are having. And, we are really thinking in terms of a conversational space where scholars can allow themselves to reflect around a specific topic and exchange ideas in a dialogic form.
In a longer perspective, the organizers think that the salons might even go “live”.
Photo: Drew Goffman CC-BY