Laughter and reusable water bottles  – experiencing the ECREA conference

by Annamária Neag

After years of Zoom-meetings and uploading presentations to YouTube, there we were, finally in person, in Aarhus for the ECREA conference! It’s interesting how the small things – like picking up your conference badge in the morning – can bring unexpected joys. Maybe because we have taken these things for granted for so long. This year we decided to go full swing and almost our whole research team participated in the conference. Obviously, it was a different experience for our PhD student colleagues and for those participating in their fourth ECREA conference. However, the overall feeling was that of joy: joy for being able to see old and new colleagues, sharing research findings and experiences and receiving or giving feedback. In this blog post we reflect on our experiences, while sharing what we presented throughout the conference.

Jana Rosenfeldová talked about intergenerational justice and age as a polarising factor in the Czech media coverage of the Fridays for Future movement (link).

“This was the fourth ECREA conference for me (one of which was online), but probably due to the long break caused by Covid, in this case I perceived that there was a very friendly atmosphere, also encouraging comments and evaluations of the presentations, and fruitful discussions on all the panels I attended (which was not always the case before). I also really appreciated that the organisers opted for vegan food. Of course, the limitation of such large conferences is that teams often go in groups and there isn’t as much discussion with other teams. Smaller, themed conferences are better in this regard.” (Jana)

Lenka Vochocová presented the intersection of discriminatory characteristics in online civic representations of politically active youth (link).

“ECREA had a very special vibe for me this year, everyone seemed so focused, interested in other scholars’ presentations, I felt a special synergy in what we are doing as a community. I was particularly happy about the panel on practices in academic publishing that I co-organized, the debate was lively and inspiring. Despite the decision to exclude Russian scholars around which a conflict evolved, I perceived it as a good opportunity for opinion exchange and refining of our stances.” (Lenka)

Lydie Kárníková then talked about the cultural specifics of discursive construction of youth civic activism in Czech online media (link).

This was my first time on an ECREA conference and I was glad to have caught the thread related to my paper (youth studies, digital activism) and followed one type of panels throughout the 1,5 days of our presence at the conference (we had to fly back home earlier as the event spanned up to the weekend, how work-life balance unfriendly!:-) This meant that I was meeting the same people in the discussions and I enjoyed that we could build up on what we have heard in the past panels and what was being discussed, as the audience was quite coherent. The conference covered such a broad area of research interests that the word “parallel sessions” seemed quite fitting – it actually felt like a couple of parallel conferences on almost unrelated topics (media and communication is a flexible joint indeed). I also enjoyed the keynotes as they tackled the topic of “impact” in a very inspirational way. Bringing the research out of academia is crucial. (Lydie)

I presented two different research activities connected to our Primus research group, one introducing the findings of our scoping review analysing digital youth activism, while the other presenting the preliminary findings of our multimodal analysis of FFF’s Facebook pages in the Czech Republic and Hungary.

For me, the best bits were when I was able to share a laugh or a thought with colleagues whom I haven’t seen in a long time. I especially liked the plenary talks, as the topic of impact is something on my mind for quite some time. In this regard, not all sessions had this as their main focus, which is a shame because I think we’re living in times when researchers need to go beyond just presenting research findings. We really do need to see how we can improve the lives of the communities we are living in. (Annamária)

And finally, Victoria Nainová presented her own dissertation this time at ECREA and she says:

“Presenting at the ECREA conference was new for me in the sense of a physical presence. The panels I attended were very fulfilling. To be honest, I did not know what to expect regarding the social events organized there. I think as I am still very new at this, I did not know how to break the walls and start a discussion with somebody from the field during the social events or after the panel ended. Hopefully, I will get a chance to improve myself during the next events, I know what to work on.” (Victoria)

Special thanks for the organisers for paying attention to sustainability with the reusable water bottles, the vegetarian meals and the conference app as default. Let’s carry this forward to other conferences from now on.

Laughter and reusable water bottles  – experiencing the ECREA conference
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