The Publishing and Communications program at the University of Melbourne is proud to host this year's Australian Media Traditions (AMT) conference on the theme Media Convergence: Continuities and Change.
Convergence - between "new: and "old" media; distinct media technologies and forms; different sites and institutions of media production; and between media and audiences - has been with us almost as long as media themselves. The history of convergence includes recognisable patterns and cycles which can be just as illuminating as clear instances of paradigmatic change and innovation. As well as exploring radical departures, AMT presenters are invited to analyse the significance of continuities and discontinuities that pattern change in media, and to essay the cultural and social residues of Australian media convergence.
To some extent, the same pattern of closure and corporate merger can be seen today, as in the Nine/Fairfax combination. But social media has afforded some established media sectors and institutions new audiences and opportunities for storytelling and promotion. Indigenous media, sports media and the SBS are among the beneficiaries.
New forms of hybrid media and new objects of convergence culture have also emerged. In book publishing, audiobooks are enjoying a heyday, while authors see their roles converging with the traditional role of publisher to create a new career path - the self-published author. In journalism, the Guardian Australia has celebrated its fifth anniversary, while entirely new sites for public journalism have sprung from the universities, and podcasting and online video flourish as important new journalistic forms. But to what extent have such developments made it easier to become a successful writer; or opened the door to more female and minority voices in media? And what difference have new voices made? Have they served previously unmet audience needs, or reduced the unevenness and inequality of media access and coverage in this country? Has the traditional empirical turn of Australian newspaper journalism significantly altered since the internet became the primary site of news in print?
The conference will be held at the University of Melbourne's Parkville campus.
Building on AMT's longstanding interest in the history, professional traditions and cultural impact of Australian newspapers, magazines, radio, television, public broadcasting, cinema and internet, the program includes a stream about books and book publishing.
Call for papers
The conference organisers are interested in exploring media convergence and its consequences from a wide range of perspectives.
Possible topics and approaches include:
- contemporary media histories of convergence (eg the Fairfax/Nine merger)
- comparative media histories (case studies from now and then, or then and then)
- transnational histories of convergence
- audience studies - how audience engagement has changed media coverage and influence
- Indigenous media in the post-digital sphere
- media in translation
- book publishing in the post-digital sphere
- changes in public broadcasting
- change in journalism culture and/or practice
- the rise of new media forms and/or objects
- histories of new-media interventions in political and social life
- cultural and social residues of media convergence
- the Netflix effect in Australia
- histories of media marketing
- studies of notable continuity in the Australian media and Australian journalism from colonial times up to the late twentieth century
Papers concerned with Australian media traditions outside these themes will also be welcome.
Please send a 250-word abstract with three keywords, plus a short bio, to CFP@amt2019.org by Friday 31 May 2019. Include your family name and the word “abstract” in the subject line.
Professor Alexis Weedon, University of Bedfordshire
Convergence of publishing and media: Insights from the present into the past
The revolution in communication technologies of the past 30 years has caused us to look into the history of the media for historical antecedents, to earlier periods when there was an upheaval in the forms of communication and storytelling. For me this is the interwar epoch when the technologies of film, radio, and television changed rapidly and challenged the ascendency of print. Reconstructing the struggles of some of the early pioneers of authorship across media who had to learn the requirements of different media, to work collaboratively foregoing literary acclaim, and who strove to retain property rights and manage income streams, I will draw insights relevant to contemporary media publishing and illuminate the cross-currents which contemporary professionals have to navigate. In the talk I will explore the continuities and change in media convergence by comparing the 1920s and 1930s with the New Media (1995-2012) and authorship in the twenty-first century.
Alexis Weedon is Professor of Publishing and UNESCO chair of New Media Forms of the Book. She co-founded and co-edited Convergence: the International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies from 1995 to 2017, and is author of Victorian Publishing: The Economics of Book Production for the Mass Market (2008), Elinor Glyn: Novelist, Glamour Icon and Businesswoman with V. Barnett (2014) and editor of the five-volume History of the Book in the West series (Ashgate). Her research articles range from quantitative analysis of the historical costs of book manufacture to the history of media conglomerate publishing in Britain, and the psychological and cultural function of storytelling in society. More recently she has focused on unearthing the stories of lesser-known authors who were pioneers of cross media storytelling and is currently writing The Origins of Transmedia Storytelling. She is Director of the Research Institute for Media, Art and Performance at the University of Bedfordshire, UK.
The conference will be held at the University of Melbourne's Parkville campus.
Getting into the city from the airport
From Melbourne Airport, take SkyBus to the Melbourne city terminal situated at Southern Cross Station (in Spencer Street). This normally costs approximately $18.00 each way, and does not need to be booked in advance. For information about the public transport services which run to and from Melbourne Airport, including SkyBus and bus routes 478, 479, 500 and 901, please see the Public Transport Victoria Airport buses web page.
A taxi from the airport will take around 40 minutes and will cost approximately $50.00. Taxi ranks are located on the ground floor outside Terminals 1 and between Terminals 2 and 3.
Public transport to the University
The best way to get to the University is by public transport. Trams run along Royal Parade and Swanston Street.
The University is located outside of the Tram Free Zone in the CBD. You will need a myki card when travelling on public transport in Melbourne. You can buy and top up a myki:
- At all 7-Eleven stores, plus other retailers displaying the myki sign
- At myki machines (full fare only) at all metropolitan train stations
- Online By calling 1800 800 007 (6am - midnight daily, all night Friday and Saturday)
- At Melbourne Airport, myki machines have been installed in Terminals 2, 3 and 4; concession myki cards can be purchased from the SkyBus Terminal
- Public Transport Victoria (PTV) has useful resources; a Journey Planner and Tram Tracker
Centre for Theology and Ministry,
29 College Crescent, Parkville 3052
Phone: +61 3 9340 8800
220 Leicester Street, Carlton 3053
Phone: +61 3 9347 3428
Naughtons Parkville Hotel
43 Royal Parade, Parkville 3052
Phone: +61 3 9347 2255
Vibe Hotel Carlton
441 Royal Parade, Parkville 3052
Phone: +61 3 9380 9222
Larwill Studio, Arts Series Hotel
48 Flemington Road, Parkville 3052
Phone: +61 3 9032 9111
Rydges on Swanston
701 Swanston Street, Carlton 3053
Phone: +61 3 9347 7811
196 Drummond Street, Carlton VIC 3053
Phone: 0410 676 344
Quest Carlton on Finlay
2‐9 Finlay Place, Carlton 3053
Phone: +61 3 8341 4777
Best Western Travel Inn
Cnr Grattan and Drummond Streets, Carlton 3053
Phone: +61 3 9347 7922
Other accommodation options
Other hotel option can be found via booking sites such as:
Depending on availability, the University's Residential Halls and Colleges offer casual accommodation. Availability is generally, but not always, during non‐semester periods. Please submit your accommodation enquiry online on the Colleges website. If a College is able to help you, they will contact you directly.
For more information about the conference please contact the convenor:
Dr Sybil Nolan