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Conference update: Dr James Nesbitt

MeCCSA 2013 is due to begin and there have been a few line up changes. Unfortunately, due to illness, Dr Phil Redmond will not be able to attend; however we do have Dr James Nesbitt (star of Cold Feet and the Hobbit) confirmed for the first day in our Plenary 3 discussion on Regional Film and Television Cultures. For full information please see our programme and schedule.

We also have a page with our @CMR_ulster twitter feed. If you'd like to discuss the conference please use the tags #MeCCSA2013 #CMR

Now due to speak at MeCCSA 2013: Dr James Nesbitt.

University of Ulster

Students outside the main building on University of Ulster's Magee campus.

The MeCCSA Conference in 2013 will be hosted by the University of Ulster's School of Media, Film and Journalism at the historic Magee Campus in Derry~Londonderry, ( from Wednesday 9th January to Friday 11th January, 2013.

Taking advantage of the location of Derry~Londonderry as the 2013 UK City of Culture, (see the University of Ulster plans a programme built around themes relevant to the city itself: cultural geography – 'space, place, walls, bridges' – and the conflicted history represented there. Given Northern Ireland's current screen successes – the popularity of Game of Thrones, shot here, and the 2012 Oscar for Terry George's short film The Shore, there will be a focus on film and television studies, with screenings and contributions from film makers; delegates are encouraged to submit their own creative material for exhibition during the conference and film policy will be a conference theme. The programme also includes a special tribute lecture to the late Stuart Hood and his contribution to radical TV drama.

Derry – Space and Place

Derry~Londonderry, as its dual name and nickname, Stroke City, implies, has been a divided space, geographically, politically and culturally. Its selection as UK City of Culture highlights this conflicted identity since the city's traditions are both Irish and British (which currently encompasses Scottish, but 2013 may bring a new perspective on that …) We expect Irish and other aspects of national and regional identity, to be themes throughout the conference programme, to which we hope scholars from the Republic of Ireland will contribute. The City of Culture concept – which will be discussed in our opening plenary – also represents general economic and social regeneration. As the local team puts it: 'City of Culture is now the catalyst for the transformation and regeneration of Derry, with plans to invest more than £200 million in its infrastructure including the recent construction of the iconic Peace Bridge (see picture) and the redevelopment of the historic Ebrington Military Site, adding a whole new dimension to the city's product offering.'

Reporting Spaces and Places

Derry~Londonderry has attracted a great deal of international press attention during its recent history, so it is fitting that contemporary journalism, its ethics, problems and pressures, will be a further key topic in the conference. Our keynote journalism panel, headed by Prof Roy Greenslade, of the Guardian, and City University, will address ethical issues such as those raised by the Leveson Inquiry, including the specific ethical pressures of reporting in conflict situations. Radio has made a major contribution to such reporting – and in the 30th anniversary year of the Community Radio Association, the MeCCSA conference will include spaces to address the role of an often mistakenly under-valued medium in media policy discourse.

Virtual Spaces

Dr Beatriz Garcia

Dr Beatriz García, Head of Research at the Institute of Cultural Capital, a collaboration between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University.

Increasingly spaces are being mediated in a variety of ways through developments in digital technology, heritage site mapping and gaming – an area of research a number of colleagues at Ulster are exploring. One of our keynote panels will address this through the work of academics Paul Sermon and Charlotte Gould of the University of Salford; the panel will also discuss the contributions of industry with a presentation by Stephen Shaw of MoD Frank Designs, Belfast. We hope that contributors to the conference will develop these issues, in both creative and academic presentations.