Archive for NUI Galway

25 years of Flirt FM

Flirt FM merchandise

Last week was the 25th anniversary of the founding of Flirt FM, Galway’s student radio station. I was the founding station manager at the station, and I got to go back on air as part of the celebrations – in the afternoon with my sons (including an interview they completed with my father, about his involvement with RTÉ’s Galway Community Radio project in the 1970s/1980s), and later with media analysts/scholars Paul Riismandel and John Anderson, where we explored the role of alternative media in covering protest.

Then this week I was part of a discussion on Paul’s radio show/podcast, Radio Survivor, where (along with current Flirt FM station manager Paula Healy, and co-hosts Jennifer Waits and Eric Klein). Lots of fun, and some serious discussions too.

Open Science Communities

An article I contributed to, authored by an international group of open science advocates, is now available as a per-print. The article provides an overview of the background to, rationale for, and operation of Open Science Communities.

CFP: Towards Resilient Community Media

Towards resilient community media

A conference at NUI Galway (Ireland), 13-15th June, 2019

The community media sector has been the focus of an increasing amount of scholarly attention as it has grown in size, from social movement theorists, to political economists, to those focused on governance and organisational communication.

Maintaining community media organizations poses a complex challenge, requiring ongoing attention to funding, to governance structures, to changing political and economic conditions, and to the task of building and consolidating relationships with communities. The challenge is exacerbated by the operation of community media within a capitalist system that is antithetical to the values of collaboration, non-commercialism, and inclusion that are at the core of work in this area. As Atton and Hamilton (2008: 26) note in their analysis of the political economy of alternative journalism, the “general political-economic dilemma for any critical project is that it needs resources with which to work, but those crucial resources are present only in the very society that it seeks to change or dissolve.”

This conference will provide an opportunity to reflect on questions of resilience and endurance as they arise in community media, and to explore the various interdependent factors that can impact the ongoing stability and health of community media projects. In addition to welcoming research grounded in particular case studies, we look forward to papers that will, in a holistic fashion, explore the role and operation of the sector in the context of broader socio-political concerns.

Contributions are invited from academics (including emerging and early-career scholars) exploring these issues, as well as from those working within the community and alternative media sectors.

Areas of focus might include (but are not limited to):

  • Analysis of the political economic contexts within which community media operate, including regulatory, financial, and staffing challenges.
  • Exploration of issues of governance and internal organisation
  • Analysis of sectoral cooperation and collaboration.
  • Questions of ethos, including issues of localism, defining community, ideology, and purpose.
  • Maintaining and refreshing relationships with communities.
  • Grappling with the ongoing tension between pragmatism and idealism.
  • Case studies of community or alternative media projects, including historical case studies, that provide insights into one or more issues of relevance to the conference theme.

In the first instance, proposals should be sent to andrew.obaoill@nuigalway.ie, and should include:

  • Author name and affiliation(s)
  • Paper title
  • 200-word abstract

The conference will open the evening of Thursday 13th, with academic sessions throughout the day on Friday 14th. Saturday 15th will include a field trip to the site of the Marconi transatlantic wireless telegraphy station in Connemara, supported by funding from the Broadcast Authority of Ireland, along with a visit to the studios of Connemara Community Radio.

Proposals are requested by 30 April, 2019. Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

It is anticipated that selected papers from the conference will be published as a themed issue of a relevant academic journal.

This conference is made possible with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and of the NUI Galway College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies.

Joining the steering group of the Irish Media Literacy Network

I’ve been appointed as a member of the Interim Steering Group of the Irish Media Literacy Network established by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

In late 2016, the BAI finalised and published its Media Literacy Policy. The policy arises from the BAI’s obligations under the Broadcasting Act 2009 to foster, develop and undertake media literacy activities. As part of the policy, the BAI committed to the development of a Media Literacy Network. The goal of the Irish Media Literacy Network is to help empower people with the skills and knowledge to make informed choices about the media content and services that they consume, create and disseminate.

The Network first met last July, and an Interim Steering Group has now been established. The Steering Group has 12 members, representative of a range of stakeholders, including audiovisual providers, online platforms, public entities/agencies, and academia. The first meeting will be in late October, with meetings of the larger group expected early next year.

Funding children’s television

I have a letter in today’s Irish Times tying together a recent controversy regarding children’s television at RTÉ with broader concerns about funding our national broadcaster.