On the 2nd and 3rd of February, 2023, the Communication Science Research Group at the University of Twente hosted the 24 Hours ‘Etmaal’ of Communication Science. Just shy of 400 people attended the conference, joining us in Enschede from institutions and organizations in Flanders and the Netherlands (and beyond).
The conference started on Thursday the 2nd with two preconferences. The first preconference was organized by the Organizational Communication division and covered the topic ’employee voices in digital organizations’. The second preconference was hosted by the Media Psychology division, and focused on ‘tools and strategies for performing bibliographical analyses and systematic reviews’.
Thursday noon, the Etmaal kicked off with a keynote on the conference’s theme ‘Communication in Transforming Societies’. After identifying the different groups among those in attendance, keynote chair Femke Nijboer introduced three speakers who would give us their perspective on changes in society and the role communication science can and does play in them: Jan van Dijk drew out a map of Communication Scientific (and adjacent) theories, situating them in this larger societal context. Alexander van Deursen (through a pre-recorded video) talked about the changing role of technology in human communication. Suzanne Janssen looked forward, discussing her ongoing work on the social implications of automated and automating technologies in the workplace.
The opening keynote was followed by an afternoon of 34 presentation sessions spread across multiple buildings of the University of Twente’s campus. As this Etmaal was a special jubilee edition, we ended the formal part of the day with a trip down memory lane. Some established names within the field of Communication Science dug into their computer history and gave one of their ‘old’ presentations that they had given at Etmaal conferences of the past 25 years. Interestingly, these themes still appeared to be more relevant than ever. Patti Valkenburg charted evolutions of research on digitization in communication. Jeroen Jansz talked about his study on representation of women in games, dubbed ‘the Lara phenomenon’. Sofie van Bauwel looked back at a presentation she had given via overhead projector relating gender norms to consumerism. Except for the visuals, these presentations would not have been out of place in a 2023 presentation line-up. Etmaal would not be complete without the award ceremony, which was held at the end of this keynote. Moniek Buijzen received the NeFCA senior career award. Although Moniek couldn’t be present in real life, Hilde Van Den Bulck took the time to honor her great work and achievements (so far!). Monique Alblas won the dissertation award for her great work on watching TV and obesity. The Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap also awarded Aart van Stekelenburg for ‘best article written by an early career researcher’, and Tim Raats as best reviewer.
After the award ceremony, the conference moved to Enschede’s city center for a dinner and party at the Twentsche Food hall. Attendees dined on special cuisines from six kitchens, ranging from vegan homestyle cooking to very popular sushi rolls. NeFCA celebrated their tenth anniversary by enriching the open bar with mocktails and specialty beers. The evening then transitioned from dinner to party as DJ Rob Rolefes helped those present get reacquainted with communication scientists’ special repertoire of dance moves.
Starting in the morning after a night that was perhaps a little too short for some, another 32 presentation sessions helped to re-energize attendees. Special sessions were held to promote brainstorming techniques among the Young Scholars Network and to share advances in communication science education with the Educational Network.
The organizing committee was honored to be able to have organized the first fully in-person Etmaal conference since the Covid-19 pandemic, and especially wants to thank the keynote speakers, session chairs and presenters, student volunteers, and of course all attendees for bringing their research insights and positive vibes to this event.
The Etmaal 2023 Organizing Committee
Mirjam Galetzka, Shenja van der Graaf, Lilian Boerkamp, Pauline Teppich, Sikke Jansma, and Ruud Jacobs