Conference model

Online with an African “hub” and global satellite activities

In alignment with the possibilities offered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the conference’s main theme, Rethinking Borders and Boundaries, IAMCR 2021’s conference will offer multiple modalities for participation. It will be primarily an online conference but will also have an African “hub” at USIU-Africa, and satellite activities at various points around the globe.  


Nairobi2021 will have several components. These include:

1. Online Conference Papers

Similar to the 2020 conference this will be a space for IAMCR members to present and get feedback on their work and/or to get certification of their presentation of a conference paper. Submitted abstracts will be reviewed by sections and working groups (S/WG) and selected ones will be invited to submit short conference papers (1,000 to 4,000 words). Papers will be published on the site a week before the conference begins, on a platform enabling written comments. They will remain online for a limited period afterwards. 

See the description and resources at IAMCR 2020 Online Conference Papers for more details about how this worked at our recent conference, including Overview: How will online conference papers work?, Information for authors and Information for chairs, respondents and discusssants.

This component will offer enhanced possibilities for exchange and networking. It will be fully accessible to IAMCR members,

2. S/WG Online Sessions

Also similar to the 2020 conference, there will be a series of pre-recorded sessions organised by IAMCR’s sections and working groups. Heads of the sections and working groups will decide the themes, formats and speakers, but will be encouraged to consider formats that allow for more interactivity such as roundtables or live-to-tape webinars. For a description of how this worked in 2020, see Overview: What are online sessions?. Note that the second format is preferred, in which presenters will convene in a single online video meeting on Zoom or another platform. The meeting is recorded and the complete video is uploaded and streamed on the conference site. Sections and working groups will be able to optionally choose to stream live interactive segments to complement the pre-recorded ones. This component will be fully accessible to IAMCR members.

3. Flow34

A stream featuring videos that integrate academic and aesthetic narratives. Proposals for this component will be reviewed by the Flow34 team. Topics can originate from the entire field of Communication and Media Studies. The selected videos will be scheduled and presented on the conference platform.

4. Plenary sessions

Several plenary sessions will be organised. They will include both live and pre-recorded segments and will take place in both online and in the Nairobi hub’s physical space. 

a. Opening and closing plenaries

These will be streamed live from USIU but will include both live and pre-recorded segments. Main presentations pre-recorded, but other elements, such as Q&A sessions and moderation will be live. For example, a pre-recorded keynote presentation might be followed by a live Q&A session incorporating the keynote speaker on Zoom, a local panel, and questions from remote participants. In addition to being streamed live from the website and on external platforms that offer live commenting, the opening and closing will be recorded and accessible to the public. 

b. Thematic plenaries

Two or three thematic plenaries will be produced at USIU Africa and possibly other hubs. Several formats are possible. They can mix pre-recorded and live segments, including live Q&A sessions. The plenaries will be recorded and accessible to the public.

5. Live Interactive Forums

We are in the early stages of developing models for a series of live interactive forums. These will be live sessions, on Zoom or a similar platform. More details will be provided later. 


1. The Nairobi Hub

The role of the Nairobi Hub, at USIU-Africa, will be situated somewhere between the exclusively online role played by Tampere University for the 2020 conference and that of the host of a traditional IAMCR conference. The activities of the Hub will combine face-to-face and online activities, often serving as the nexus between the two. 

a. Face-to-face

People physically attending the conference at the Nairobi Hub will be able to attend both the main online conference and join locally organised activities of a parallel regional or national (depending on the possibilities afforded by the pandemic) conference.  

For the main event they will join the live plenary sessions (with local moderators and both local and remote presentations), for example. Additionally, screens will be set up at the hub allowing them to join selected S/WG Online Sessions and Interactive Forums. 

A parallel national or regional conference, possibly counting with some international participation, will also be held.  

b. Online

The Nairobi Hub will be responsible for coordinating the online activities associated with the plenaries and the S/WG online sessions. 

2. Regional/national hubs

Regional and national hubs, with activities similar to those of the Nairobi Hub’s face-to-face activities, will be encouraged and supported. 

3. Watch parties

At a smaller and more local level, communication faculties, research organisations, etc. will be encouraged to get together informally to watch and participate in certain moments of the conference.

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