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African Women in the Media symposium happening on 27 July

A WOMEN'S Network Event Funded by the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies (MeCCSA) Women’s Media Studies Network and Birmingham Centre for Media and Culture Research is taking place on Thursday 27 July at Birmingham City University.

Proposals are invited for the one-day symposium, which aims to bring together African women working in the media in the UK and academics in the field of media and communications which are concerned with media, diaspora, race, gender, and representation.

Objectives include:

1. Engaging in debates on issues affecting African women in the media

2. Providing an opportunity for the exchange of ideas between academia and industry

3. Offering opportunities for networking.

With a focus on news media, the central questions the symposium will seek to answer are:

1. What challenges do African women working in the British media face?

2. How are these challenges being addressed? How might they be?

The symposium is timely in Brexit Britain, which has bought about a resurgence of right-wing populist politics, particularly in relation to debates around the representation of race and immigration in the news.

Along with racial disparity, several studies have demonstrated a lack of gender equality and diversity in the journalism industry in the UK. The International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) produced a Global Report of the Status of Women in News Media, which found that although female journalists made up 45% of the UK’s news media industry, “women face a glass ceiling that seems fixed at the junior professional level”.

A 2016 report by City University London also found that only 0.2% of journalists in the UK are black.

Academics and anecdotal accounts support the notion that ethnic, diasporic and transnational media can and are helping to address issues around the alienation of ethnic groups in the mainstream media, however, the representation of women is still limited.

Organisers of the symposium on 27 July welcome proposals for papers from both academic and industry speakers as well as practice presentations.

Perspectives may include, but are not limited to:

- News, gender and power

- Intersectionality

- Diaspora

- Representation

- Race

- African feminism

- Gender politics and production practices

- Equality and diversity in the news media

- Identity

- Transnational and ethnic media

- Media entrepreneurship

- Fame.

Keynote speaker on the day will be Minna Salami, founder of MsAfropolitan, a journalist, writer and speaker on African, diaspora and feminist issues.

For PhD students wishing to attend, there are a small number of travel bursaries (up to a maximum of £50 available). If you would like to be considered for the bursary and/or would like to submit some proposals as detailed above, email by Wednesday 31 May.

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