Interdisciplinary conference and festival ‘Communities and Communication’ takes place on Saturday 24 April following a year which has seen digital communication thrive.
The event will explore the ways in which communities start, develop and grow, what is created within those groups and how real connections are built within the virtual environment.
Dr Agata Lulkowska, Steph Steventon and Dr Sharon Coleclough from the Staffordshire University’s Department of Media and Performance have organised the conference.
Agata, a Senior Lecturer in Film Production, explained: "The idea for this event emerged in early 2020 as we were entering into the unknown of what later developed into a full-blown pandemic. The community is a concept which is at once decreasing and increasing, as we move away from real-world connections to online ones.
“Coming from a perspective of practice-based researchers, we discussed the links between academia and the creative world, and we thought of the importance of connections – between disciplines, between cultures and between people. The idea of our hybrid-event was born.”
The programme features contributions from musicians, artists, filmmakers and researchers from a range of disciplines, with the event comprising six panel discussions, ten poster presentations and 30 film screenings.
Keynote speakers include multidisciplinary award-winning visual artist Juan DelGado and revered classical guitarist Zane Forshee who is Chair of Professional Studies and Director Peabody LAUNCHPad at Johns Hopkins University. From closer to home, is Community Manager at YMCA North Staffs Nichola Twemlow who plays a key role in the North Staffs Cultural Education Partnership and Stoke Creates.
Agata said: "We did not expect such a spectacular response to our call for submissions. Between films and papers, we received nearly 2,500 applications from 105 countries. It was clear that there is a need for a positive reminder about what brings us all together and the importance of communities and connections in the contemporary world.
“With some exquisite keynote speakers and special guests, we have no doubt the first edition of our event will be a great success and we look forward to welcoming guests from across the globe.”
‘Communities and Communication’ takes place on Saturday 24 April 2021 – book your free place.