Researching Media and Cultural Industries: A PhD Masterclass with Professor David Hesmondhalgh, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 25 November 2016

The Communication Sciences Department of the VUB was honoured to receive Professor David Hesmondhalgh from the University of Leeds for an interactive masterclass with 9 PhD students working on media production and cultural industries. PhD students from Rotterdam, Leuven, Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels had the opportunity to discuss their work with David Hesmondhalgh, one of the leading scholars in the field.

Setting out from questions and project summaries of the participants, the masterclass dealt with research on news organisations, video games, music tourism, digital distribution, creative labour, and film and TV production. The questions and discussions dealt with: access to – and reliability of – industry data and industry members; the risks and difficulties of production studies; genre and medium specificity; and combining different theoretical approaches and methods. Professor Hesmondhalgh pointed out the relevance (and dangers) of combining levels and approaches, and suggested that contemporary political economy could be part of a more interdisciplinary mix. Hesmondhalgh furthermore highlighted the importance of ‘genre’ in media studies, and the risks of overestimating change and novelty when discussing trends in media, hence overlooking continuity and stability of organization, processes and underlying power structures in media and cultural industries.

Next to the useful ideas and encouraging words of Professor Hesmondhalgh, the masterclass provided the opportunity for the participants to get to know each other and possibly lay the foundations of future collaborations.

The PhD masterclass was organised by research group CEMESO, Department of Communication Sciences of the VUB and chaired by Professor Tim Raats.

The event was supported by NeFCA.