NordMedia23 Conference Summarised: A Recap from Norway

Taking place in Bergen from 16 to 18 August, the NordMedia23 conference ermerged as the grandest event in the 50-year history of the NordMedia conference series, boasting the highest number of registered participants and presented research papers. These are summarising remarks. 


The year 2023 witnessed the NordMedia conference reaching new heights in terms of participant numbers and research paper submissions. With a record-breaking 401 registered guests and an impressive count of 375 presented research papers, the event marked a pinnacle in the 50-year history of the NordMedia conference series.

Nordic countries were notably well represented, with substantial participation from Sweden (111), Norway (107), Denmark (78), Finland (71), and Iceland (5). The conference, however, also welcomed researchers from outside the Nordics, including Belgium (6), Germany (4), Czechia (3), Japan (2), Australia (2), Canada (1), Estonia (1), Scotland (1), Spain (1), UK (1), France (1), Greenland (1), Hong Kong (1), and Israel (1).

The NordMedia23 hosted 12 divisions and 3 temporary working groups. Of particular note, Games Studies, previously a temporary working group, has this year taken on the status of a division. Here is an overview of the divisions and temporary working groups in 2023:

  • Division 1. Audience studies 
  • Division 2. Environment, science, and risk communication 
  • Division 3. Journalism studies 
  • Division 4. Media and communication history 
  • Division 5. Media, globalisation, and social change 
  • Division 6. Media industries 
  • Division 7. Media literacy and media education 
  • Division 8. Organisation, communication, and promotion  
  • Division 9. Political communication 
  • Division 10. Television and film studies
  • Division 11. Theory, philosophy, and ethics of communication 
  • Division 12. Games studies
  • TWG1. Sensory and immersive extended reality media: AR/VR/XR
  • TWG2. Visual communication and culture 
  • TWG3. Media, communication, and health 

Technological Takeover? 

NordMedia23’s theme, “Technological Takeover? Social and Cultural Implications – Promises and Pitfalls”, offered a lens into the profound impact of technology on communication. Delving into platforms, algorithms, and datafication amidst a dynamic global context, the conference aimed to question the breadth of technological influence, its consequences for Nordic societies, and the rise of a digital welfare state. For detailed information, refer to the conference theme text.

The conference featured two keynote speakers: Professor Nicholas Diakopolous from Northwestern University in Chicago and Professor Vilde Schanke Sundet from Oslo Metropolitan University.

Diakopolous’s talk, “Designing Sociotechnical Media Systems”, underscored the pivotal role of scholars in shaping future media systems. He advocated for purposeful design approaches to cultivate information environments beneficial to society, exemplifying AI-driven news discovery tools. Diakopolous emphasised articulating design requisites, innovating sociotechnical elements, and evaluating systems for effective scholarly contributions, concluding with a call to expand the design culture’s scope for impactful media system development.

Professor Diakopolous delivering opening keynote.

Schanke Sundet’s closing keynote, “Growing up on Big Tech: How Global Platforms Define Youth Entertainment Culture”, explored how Nordic youth embrace platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat for entertainment, reshaping their cultural landscape. The talk delved into the influence of big tech on youth culture, strategies for legacy media to reconnect with younger audiences, and broader societal implications. The talk was informed by the ongoing research project “GLOBAL NATIVES? Serving young audiences on global media platforms”, delving into generational shifts and their ramifications on youth, the entertainment industry, and media regulations.

Vilde Schanke Sundet from Oslo Metropolitan University at NordMedia23.

Pre-Conference for Doctoral Students and Future Fest 

A one-day academic workshop preceding to the main conference was organised for doctoral candidates in media and communication studies. That was the fourth time such a pre-conference was held. It originated during the 2017 conference in Tampere, and it has grown to become an integral part of the NordMedia tradition. 

This year’s pre-conference attracted 22 participants and 12 senior discussants. The workshop provided an excellent opportunity for discussing Nordic PhD projects and fostering valuable connections. Maarit Jaakkola was entrusted with coordinating this year’s workshop, much like in 2021, on behalf of Nordicom. You can read about Maarit Jaakkola’s insights on the pre-conference here.

The pre-conference for doctoral students has developed into an essential element of the NordMedia conferences. Photo: Maarit Jaakkola

The NordMedia23 event also featured an interactive exhibition called Future Fest, where students presented a myriad of prototypes, each exploring the concept of “good communication” within the realm of emerging media technologies. The exhibition was a collaborative effort involving TekLabMedia Futures Research Centre, and Media City Bergen.

Exploring ‘Good Communication’ in Emerging Media: Student showcasing a prototype at Future Fest during NordMedia23.

Nurturing Connections

Fostering connections and cultivating interactions lies at the hearth of NordMedia conferences. In 2023, we remained committed to offering attendees diverse avenues for social engagement. A pinnacle for mingling was a dinner held at Grieghallen, a concert hall named after the esteemed Bergen-born composer Edvard Grieg.

Grieghallen served as the backdrop for the NordMedia23 dinner. The concert hall was also the venue for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1986.

As we are passing the baton to Denmark now, we extend our thanks to everyone who participated in NordMedia23, making the conference the grandest one yet. Stay tuned for #NordMedia25 updates! 

See the previous NordMedia Conference summary on the 2021 conference in Iceland: NordMedia21 Conference Summarized: Lessons Learned from Iceland.