Call for Papers

Communicating Multi-modally: Research and Expressive Culture

ICA Pre-conference, American University of Paris, May 26, 2022

Submission Deadline: December 17, 2021

Communication research has long been presented in books and journal articles despite the discipline’s interest in the multiple forms in which communication practice takes shape. While scholars examine visual imagery, sound, and performance, for example, work in multimodal formats is assigned to the realm of art and creative expression, rarely to communication scholarship. This assumption means our discipline has only begun to push the boundaries of knowledge production in new, more expressive directions that better capture communication’s multimodal condition. This pre-conference builds on recent ICA programming dedicated to multimodal work, bringing together established and emerging scholars around the world who embrace expressive culture as foundation in communication research.

We see multimodal scholarship as having particular value for addressing a more diverse population of scholars and students, and for engaging with intellectual energies that are not formally organized within institutionalized academia. It holds promise for a more locally and globally inclusive communication field. Our goal is to explore the power and limitations of multimodal scholarship, and to sustain conversations about institutional support, policy, and guidance for multimodal research, teaching, and publishing.

We are excited to invite scholars who work in multiple modalities to submit their work to the pre-conference, to be held in person at the American University of Paris on May 26, 8am – 4pm. If you engage in research-creation, creative commons projects, interactive data visualization, computational art, performance, or digital humanities and social sciences, for example, or in any classical medium such as film, video, radio, movement, or installation, we welcome your submission.

Communicating Multi-Modally is co-sponsored by five divisions and interest groups at ICA, including Ethnicity and Race in communication, LGBTQ Studies Interest Group, Philosophy, Theory and Critique, Popular Media and Culture, and Visual Communication Studies. We are open to work that speaks to wide-ranging questions relevant to communication and to our divisional and interest group cosponsors. Topics include (though are not limited to):

  • Climate and environmental justice
  • Decolonial perspectives
  • Dis/ability
  • LGBTQ studies
  • Media, law, and policy
  • Migration/immigration and human rights
  • Participatory communication
  • Popular media and culture
  • Racial justice
  • Transmediality
  • Transnationalism/globalization
  • Urban communication
  • Visual communication

Proposals must include the following components:

  1. a written narrative (250 – 500 words)
  2. a sample of the multi-modal work to be presented at the pre-conference (include links and passwords to cloud-based files rather than large files themselves; there will be upload capacity limits); and
  3. a 200-word bio for individual submitters or each member of a collaboration

If your project is website-based, your narrative might include a link to a staged or live site, or a collection of screen shots of work in progress. If your project is a live performance, consider a script excerpt or outline plus short audio sample. If your project uses audio and visual channels, consider linking a Vimeo clip or any internationally accessible platform. Overall, your narrative and accompanying material should communicate the form of the project and its capacity for exploring and understanding communicative practices, sites, participants, cultures, or techniques. Please ensure that your narrative together with your sample and bio are as expressive as possible of the project as a whole and your proposed presentation.

English should be used in submitting proposals, though projects need not be in English only. Project samples, however, should be translated or represented in English wherever possible (e.g., through subtitles or narratives on paper). Due to limited space and resources, we invite presenters to think small, low-tech, portable, and experimental in terms of space, equipment, and electrical needs. Presenters will be expected to provide their own laptop computers and connectors.

Additional details:

  • The day will include 6 panels in three sessions (2 panels per session) and an invited closing plenary.
  • We hope there will be at least a small amount of exhibition space on site for presenters, who may want to combine exhibition or performance with commentary and other forms during their panel slot. We will confirm. At this point we request that you propose submissions for the space and time (15-20 minutes) of a scheduled presentation.
  • The program group will review submissions and assemble sessions, with consultation where we need additional expertise.
  • Breakfast, lunch, and coffee breaks will be provided.

Collage image credits: Cherian George, Eric Sucar/University of Pennsylvania, and Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.