Monthly Archives: December 2017

Call for Papers: Signal Strength: women and media practice in conflict and crisis situations

Via the Radio Studies list:

The MeCCSA Radio Studies Network is delighted to announce a Call for Papers for ‘Signal Strength’, a symposium taking place on Thursday 8th March 2018, International Women’s Day at the University of Sheffield.

The deadline for abstracts is Monday 15 January 2018

Speakers confirmed so far include: Caroline Vuillemin, CEO, Fondation Hirondelle, Lausanne; Dr Helen Turton, University of Sheffield; Tala Halawa, BBC – West Bank, occupied Palestinian territories.

This symposium aims to examine the extent to which radio and other forms of media provide a platform for women who are, or have been, in conflict and crisis. Drawing on practice and academic research, discussions will explore multiple angles such as: gendering media strategies to improve the recognition and representation of women in peril; issues surrounding the safety and protection of women journalists and aid workers; and the limits and limitation of media freedoms.

We invite contributions from academics and practitioners with experience in radio and international conflict with the aim of exchanging knowledge and best practice. We welcome papers related to these themes or to the broader topic:

Use of radio and media in conflict environments
Use of radio to support women
Local and/or community radio in conflict/crisis
Women as (radio/media) audience in conflict/crisis
Empowering of women – and local communities – through radio (and media)
Radio in society in conflict-affected areas
Safety and protection of women journalists
Representation of women in conflict/crisis by the radio
Women and broadcasting technologies
Media freedoms – the limits and limitations of media strategies and policies, domestic and foreign
Stereotyping on air and in the media
Resourcing women’s radio journalism in conflict/crisis environments
Women in radio and on air – pedagogy and practice

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (2017), women comprise approximately 50 per cent of refugees worldwide, mostly as a result of conflict, and are often put at greater hardship than men in these situations based upon their gender. With men either killed or at war, women become the heads of households, conservers of the community and rebuilders of the economy. The significant impact of conflict and crisis on women, who have also often become targets of sexual violence, is recognised in the UN Security Council’s resolution 1325.

As media coverage of women in conflict and crisis is increasing, the role of radio within this merits further exploration. Of all forms of media, radio occupies a particular place in conflict-affected areas, providing a low-tech and low-cost public space, being cheap and portable, not relying on a mains source of electricity and being able to target illiterate or orally-based cultures.

In certain circumstances, digital technologies also provide for the production and circulation of audio and visual media material. Such access to online communication channels facilitates conversation and dialogue from the comfortingly mundane to life-saving. For women in unstable societies, the intimate nature of radio also ensures a safe haven, away from male or mixed environments, in which to seek comfort, advice and helplines. It also provides the opportunity for women, as practitioners, to represent their female audiences and reach out to them.

When conflict and crisis necessitate migration, and when women and families are forced to move and live in foreign countries, media – and radio in particular – can play a significant role in the settling-in process. Not only can digital technologies enable the tuning-in online to estranged stations and the familiar voices of home, but local services can proffer the welcoming hand of friendship and provide opportunities for empowerment through cultural and linguistic guidance, as well as moral support.

Drawing on practice as well as academic research, this symposium aims to provide a platform not just for the theory but for voicing lived experiences too.

Submission guidelines:
Please send 150-200-word abstracts, with short bio, to by 15 January 2018.
Speakers will be notified of acceptance by 30 January 2018.

Overview of the symposium:
The registration fee will be £35 (£25 for early bird booking).
The symposium is open to anyone interested in this topic, regardless of whether they are presenting a paper.