(online) Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap 2022

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), 10-11 February 2022 – online edition

On 10 and 11 February 2022 the Department of Communication Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Brussel organized the online edition of the Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap. The Brussels Etmaal already started in 2021, with a webinar on diversity, algorithms and the role of public media with keynote speaker Jonathon Hutchinson and panellists from NPO, VRT and SMIT in 2021.

It was long unsure whether we were able to hold the Etmaal online or offline, but with restrictions still in place, the Brussels team now set up the academic conference fully online.

This Etmaal edition centred on the theme ‘Diversity, democracy & communication’, acknowledging that challenges related to diversity, and how these impact democratic societies, are closely interlinked with emerging and reconfigured media and communication infrastructures and practices.

The program kicked off with a keynote lecture by Prof. Natali Helberger, Distinguished University Professor of Law and Digital Technology, with a special focus on AI at the University of Amsterdam. Her talk, “Fireworks and democracy” focused emerging regulatory European frameworks. Afterwards, communication scholars from the Netherlands and Flanders presented their on-going work in no less than 14 parallel sessions. Besides the panels structured along the lines of NeFCA’s divisions, the Educational Network organized a special session and the Young Scholars Network organized a session on networking for young scholars: “Networking revised: how to successfully network (and enjoy it!)”. In total, 374 participants registered for the conference.

During the General Asssembly of NeFCA, several scholars were given awards for their contribution to the field. Sanne Kruikemeier (University of Amsterdam) received the NeFCA Young Scholar Award and Roel Lutkenhaus (Erasmus University Rotterdam) received the NeFCA Dissertation Award. Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap selected an article written by Willem Buyens and Peter Van Aelst (University of Antwerp) as ‘Best article by a junior author’ (2021). The Frieda Saeys Prize was awarded to Sofie Vranken (KU Leuven).

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), 9 September 2022 – Brussels edition

On the 9th of September 2022 the Department of Communication Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel hosted a “Dag van de Communicatiewetenschap” in Brussels. This one-day event was the third and only physical part of the Etmaal 2022, following cancellations due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Etmaal 2022 already kicked off with a panel of public service media and algorithms in February 2021, followed by the fully online Etmaal hosted in February 2022, where we invited scholars from Belgium and The Netherlands to present their work in the different sections. A keynote lecture presented by Prof. Natali Helberger (University of Amsterdam) focused on the challenges for European media policymakers in dealing with platform regulation.

The third part of Etmaal on September 9th took place at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in the city centre of Brussels and gathered around 200 scholars from Belgium and the Netherlands. Thanks to the great work of the different NeFCA sessions there was a range of sessions, including a well-attended session on “practicing academic kindness” hosted by the Young Scholars Network, a keynote and industry panel discussing the challenges for foreign and domestic streamers in Europe, a panel on the usefulness of news personalization in broadcasting and press industries, and a multidisciplinary session examining practices in health and political communication during the Covid-19 crisis. The programme was closed by a talk by artist Dries Depoorter. The traditional Etmaal party took place at Plein Publiek.

The local organising committee was led by Tim Raats, Kevin Smets, Christel Vaeremans and Maximilian Grönegräs with the support of the research groups imec-SMIT and Echo.

A special issue of Tijdschrift van Communicatiewetenschap was published in late 2022 collecting several contributions of the different Etmaal initiatives organised by Vrije Universiteit Brussel. More information here.

Organizing team at the Department of Communication Studies:
Prof. Dr. Tim Raats (imec-SMIT, VUB)
Prof. Dr. Kevin Smets (Echo, VUB)
Maximilian Grönegras (Echo, VUB)
Daniël Jurg (imec-SMIT, VUB)
Christel Vaeremans