Etmaal 2024 – Rotterdam

On the 8th and 9th February, we have had the pleasure of reconnecting during the annual Etmaal voor Communicatiewetenschap conference, which in 2024 was organized by the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Nearly 500 scholars, students, and practitioners joined in the city center of Rotterdam and discussed the theme of Responsible Communication, while strolling around De Doelen.

When most participants were still traveling and arriving in the city, some had already gathered to attend one of the three pre-conferences. Guests engaged with the following topics: Unifying and Advancing Children, Adolescents, and Media Research: A Pre-Conference for Enhanced Collaboration; Diversity and Inclusion in Organizational Communication; and Analyzing Visual Communication. Afterwards, many Etmaal participants enjoyed coffee, tea, and light refreshments before embarking on a two-day communication and media journey. In line with the ‘Responsible Communication’ theme, all catering options were vegetarian. On Thursday, there were four blocks planned throughout the day with a grand total of 42 sessions (including two panels on persuasive communication and one panel on science communication) available. During lunch, we also saw multiple posters presenting research results. In the late afternoon, early career scholars had the opportunity to benefit from an Early Career Mentorship Session, which was organized by the steering committee of the Media Psychology division.

On Thursday afternoon, we also had a chance to hear from prof. Diana Rieger from Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich) who considered whether hate speech could be seen as a form of entertainment. In the presentation, Diana provided ample statistics about a rise of hate speech during the pandemic and discussed multiple findings on different motivations for engaging with hate speech. Various participants engaged in the discussion, which prompted further conversations about the topic of hate speech and possible responses to it.

The first day of Etmaal closed with some more relaxed activities. After tasting Italian pastas served for dinner, there was a traditional award session opened by Dr. Alexander Schouten. Etmaal attendees also thanked Dr. Margot van der Goot for her service as NeFCA president and welcomed Dr. Alexander Schouten as the next president of NeFCA. Following the ceremony, there was ample time to catch up informally with friends, enjoy a drink, and immerse in music courtesy of the DJ Niels Kramer (an Erasmus University Rotterdam alumni). Many guests took to the dance floor.

On Friday, 33 sessions were offered (including one panel on popular communication), which were spread across three blocks. Friday’s lunch was not only accompanied by various posters but also saw a high level of engagement. Many conference participants joined the poster session, making it an exceptionally interactive and lively exchange of ideas. Afterwards, the conference came to a close with NeFCA general assembly, as well as with two sessions organized by the Young Scholars Network and the Human-Machine Communication Division.

The organizing committee would like to thank the participants and speakers for contributing fascinating presentations, enriching discussions, and furthering the exchange of knowledge. We also want to express our gratitude to prof. Diana Rieger for joining us in Rotterdam, to De Doelen staff for their support in organizing the conference, and to the volunteers for their assistance. We are also grateful to the NeFCA board for giving us a chance to host this year’s Etmaal. We are looking forward to many more conferences in the future.

The Etmaal 2023 Organizing Committee
Bartek Żerebecki, Yijing Wang, and Anne-Marie van Prooijen