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[liberationtech] Call for Abstracts: Small Media Symposium 2011

Klara Chlupata klara at
Wed Feb 9 03:44:33 PST 2011

Hello everyone,

Below please find our call for abstracts for SMS 2011. The symposium site is



The Small Media Initiative invites submission of abstracts for its 2011
Small Media Symposium to be held at the School of Oriental and African
Studies, University of London on 8 – 9 April 2011.

In August 2010, Wired published an article entitled From Samizdat to
Twitter: How Technology is Making Censorship Irrelevant.  Is it?  Indeed,
for many, samizdat is a relic from the distant analog past. A quick glance
at the news seems to suggest that we are living in the digital age of
Twitter revolutions.

The role played by social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and
YouTube in contentious politics continues to be passionately debated by
academics, activists, politicians and pundits. While there are plenty of
examples of creative new politics, the recent protests in Burma, China,
Iran, and Egypt remind us that governments can simply shut communication
down. The question then becomes where do we go after moving from samizdat to
Twitter? What alternative channels and technologies of communication can
facilitate the flow of information when authoritarian regimes flick the kill
switch and what alternative political practices can we invent to
circumscribe state repression?

The February events in Egypt suggest that alternatives can be as low-tech as
the paper leaflets with practical and tactical advice for demonstrators that
have been circulating in Cairo or as high-tech as the speak-to-tweet
application that lets individuals dial a phone number and leave (or listen
to) a message translated to text on a Twitter page.

These alternatives we call small media, while others call them alternative
media, participatory media, and social movement media. This wide range of
communicative and political practices will be the focus of the Small Media
Symposium that will take place at the School of Oriental and African
Studies, University of London on 8-9 April 2011.

Areas of Interest
The symposium, to include a conference open to the public on 8 April 2011
and closed-door workshops on 9 April 2011, aims to bring together theorists
and practitioners across all disciplines and sectors, including academics,
activists and developers, to foster discussions about small media theory,
practice and innovation.

We invite contributions by academics and practitioners on a wide range of
topics and a wide range of approaches related to small media. Research,
practical experience insights, product demonstrations, case studies,
work-in-progress/posters, conceptual papers and proposals for workshop
themes are all welcome.

Possible areas of focus include but are not limited to:
- small media theory: concepts and framing
- state/media dynamics
- un/successful use of small media
- promotion of small media
- distribution of small media
- sustainability of small media
- the changing nature of politics, political practice
- the role of human networks
- imagination and emotion in small media: beyond the counter-information
- organizing small media democratically: problems and challenges

Deadline and submission details
The deadline for submission of an abstract (400 – 600 words) is 10 March

Abstracts can be submitted to contact at

Travel and accommodation
We have a limited budget to assist with travel and accommodation costs.

For further information, please contact us at
contact at

Centre for Media & Film Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies,
University of London
Index on Censorship
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