Young Scholars at Dublin IAMCR 2013 – in their own words

IAMCR Newsletter | November 2013

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Young Scholars at Dublin IAMCR 2013 – in their own words

By Ruth Teer-Tomaselli

A record number of nineteen travel bursaries were awarded to young scholars to attend the  IAMCR 2013 Conference in Dublin.  The large number of spaces was the result of a better-than expected financial position of the Association, and the generosity of the Dublin local organizing committee. IAMCR was able to support twelve awardees, and the Dublin Organizers added a further seven.  In keeping with IAMCR policy, the awards were divided between Asia, Africa, South America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.  This allowed participants from as far afield as India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, Chile, Palestine, Romania, and Albania.

Academic impetus

The beginning of a scholarly profession is a vitally important time, and meeting top-notch scholars from all over the world provides a real boost to the career. Certainly, that is what the recipients told us. SubbaRao Gavaravarapu  from Jamai-Osmania in Hydrabad noted that “IAMCR serves as my link to the communication fraternity, latest in theory and a chance to listen/interact with whom I consider luminaries of media and communication research. This time, I also met the scholars whose work I have been reading and citing and was able to engage in discussions and network with other young scholars.” Azmat Rasmin wrote that  “[b]eing a young media researcher from Sri Lanka I see IAMCR as an incredible source in widening my professional scope in the field of media and communication research.  I attended an IAMCR conference in 20012 for the first time, which was a visible shift in my perception, critical thinking and my writing.”  His second visit in 2013 offered her “a second shift in my career; this offer is not only for me but also for my country where the media education is kind of emerging after 30 years of endless war”.

The opportunity to present one’s research in the company of established names in the field can be daunting, but is always extremely satisfying.  Shanade Barnabas attended the Durban 2012 conference as a student volunteer, and that gave her an appetite to become more fully involved in IAMCR. This year was able to attend as a full delegate.  “While nervous about presenting my work directly after an expert in his field and chair of the Working Group I stood up and pretended that was not the case at all. It was very encouraging to have attendees ask questions after my presentation, with some asking to be sent the full paper.”  Diego Céspedes  from Chile was “honoured’ to present a paper in the same session Maria Olivia Monckeberg, “a highly recognized researcher in Chile, amongst with other important researchers around the world”, and  “felt highly appreciated in our presentation and in the subsequent meetings”. Geisa Fernandes presented the finding of research on cartoons in Brazil to the Comic Art Working Group. “It was a very positive surprise to see that our issues are very similar to those from other regions. The meetings made it possible for us, comic researchers, to organize ourselves in different committees in order to guarantee not only the continuity of the working group, but also to increase its participation in the conference”, she noted.   

SubbaRao told us that her Working Group on Health Communication “successfully evaluated and critically examined the use of original methodologies, different media, protocols, instruments and indicators to promote health in different parts of the word”, and that the “medley of perceptions, findings, experiences and inferences provided by fellow researchers from different countries, cultures and contexts helped me gain newer insights into the field”.  SubbaRao, we are looking forward to meeting up with you again in your home city next year!

A chance to meet the IAMCR family

IAMCR isn’t simply an annual conference at which one gives one’s own paper then disappears.  The real value of the conference is in the people we meet: “Our experience on the 2013 IAMCR conference [was] a unique opportunity to meet some of the people who helped motivate us to take further challenges in our future” opined Diego Céspedes.  Especially important were the discussions shared over meals, coffee breaks  and social events. “The lunch meeting with the Professor Janet Wako and Nico Capentier was too good! It gave us, the Grant Awardees, a peek into the administrative and governance aspects of IAMCR, future plans and perspectives to strengthen the Association. I am sure my fellow awardees also share a feeling that IAMCR is consciously encouraging young researchers and practitioners to contribute to its growth”, writes  SubbaRao. Geisa Fernandes is looking forward to meeting IAMCR 2014: “it is a relief to know that there will be another opportunity of meeting again the following year. After all, face-to-face interaction, still makes a difference. I hope to see you all again in Hyderabad!

Dublin – a city to broaden the mind

Many of the recipients commented that the bursary gave them their first opportunity to travel abroad outside their own country: “IAMCR Dublin was my first of its kind experience in many ways for me - travelling abroad, attending and participating in an International conference outside India, and above all travelling and exploring the places on my own” wrote SubbaRao; while Shanade Barnabus  told us that “[a]ttending this year’s IAMCR conference in Ireland was  […] my very first international trip and one that I was greatly looking forward to, having had a fascination with Ireland for some years now”. 
Dublin proved to be a great city to explore – safe, fun and full of interest. “Being in the city of Dublin was a fantastic experience”, enthuses Shenade. “The weather was good to us sub-tropical climate lovers (it wasn’t too cold) and we appreciated it! It was a marvel to me that the sun began to set around 22h30. After the conference had ended for the day, the Irish summer afforded us an extra five hours of sunlight that we gratefully used in order to take in the many sights of Dublin city. I took my first ride in a tram and felt like an intrepid traveller. Over the course of the week, together with colleagues, I walked along the ever-busy O’Connell street, the Samuel Beckett Bridge, gazed across the River Liffey, weaved along the cobble-stoned streets of Temple Bar, watched a game of cricket played at Trinity College and – feigning comprehension of Ulysses - posed for a photograph beside James Joyce. It was an altogether wonderful experience.”

We give the last word to Azmat Rasmin: “young scholars like me hardly find access to explore ourselves and hardly find a common forum to for a self-testing. IAMCR 2013 conference gave me a great opportunity to be self tested as a young researcher, expand my networks, explore my field of interest, learn new ways of putting a research paper in to discussion and related many findings delivered with my own context. It was a great platform for me to listen to new discourses around media and communication research. Attending this kinds of conference without been receiving a travel grant is only a dream for many of us.”

Are you interested in applying for a Young Scholars’ Bursary for Hydrabad 2014?

IAMCR is making fifteen grants of up to US$ 1,500 each available to early-stage scholars, who are members in good standing from low and middle income countries and will be participating in our upcoming conference in Hyderabad, India. The cash grants are intended to help offset the travel costs of IAMCR members who would otherwise be unable to attend the conference. While the grants will not cover the full cost of your expenses, they are enough to help you on your way.  You must have a paper accepted for presentation in order to apply and only paid up members of IAMCR are eligible to apply. Full details of application, together with the relevant dates, terms and conditions, will be published well ahead of the next conference, so watch out for IAMCR notices.