The recently founded Temporary Working Group on Intercultural Communication & Diversity (ICD) held its kick-off event at ETMAAL 2019. Participants came from different fields and institutions across the Dutch and Flemish communities to attend this pre-conference. This first event was a successful first step into building an inclusive and multidisciplinary venue for intellectual exchange about intercultural communication and diversity issues.

During the first half of the pre-conference, four guest speakers briefly presented their work to illustrate the wealth and breadth of research conducted under the umbrella term of Intercultural Communication & Diversity (ICD). All four guest speakers presented different methods, concepts, disciplines, and research settings that are included in our TWG. Dr. Koen Leurs (University of Utrecht) focused on media and migration, Dr. Alexander Dhoest (University of Antwerp) discussed intersectionality and suggested ways of bridging the gap between qualitative and quantitative research, Dr. Barbara Schouten (University of Amsterdam) talked about intercultural aspects of health communication, and Dr. Joep Hofhuis (Erasmus University Rotterdam) outlined some of his research projects on organizational and interpersonal communication across cultures.

Following these presentations, participants were invited to actively discuss the challenges and opportunities that await the field of Intercultural Communication and Diversity in general, and our TWG in particular. Working in smaller groups, the participants engaged with several topics, namely: how to benefit from the multidisciplinary nature of ICD and of our TWG, how to disseminate our findings to academia and society, and which societal urgencies to place at the heart of our TWG. After the discussion, the main conclusions of each table were briefly presented to the rest of the group and final ideas exchanged. The workshop part of the pre-conference was fruitful and the main points raised by the participants are currently being compiled into a document that will be shared with all our members.

In the afternoon, two parallel sessions also took place. Researchers presented work on various topics, including acculturation, online trolling, social media use, refugees, and LGBTQ– showing once again the potential of our TWG to host vibrant multidisciplinary discussions.