I am very honored to have the opportunity to stand for election as the President of the International Communication Association (ICA). The ICA has been a very important part of my life as a scholar, and has enabled me to develop networks of friends and colleagues across the globe. I am deeply aware of the high esteem with which the ICA is held, as the oldest and most globally prestigious communication body, and many of the most significant presentations I have attended have been at ICA conferences.
My vision for the ICA is informed by the various roles that I have had in the organization. I was Board Member-at-Large for the Africa & Oceania region from 2012-14, and Vice-Chair (2013-15) and Chair (2015-17) of the Global Communication & Social Change Division. I have been actively involved with the Membership and Internationalization Committee (2016-17) and the Nominations Committee (2015-16).
I also convened a highly successful ICA regional conference in October 2014 in Brisbane, Australia, which delegates from 20 countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region attended. More recently, I played a central role in leading the bid team for the 2020 ICA Annual Conference to be held in The Gold Coast, Australia—particularly in securing the participation of the leading universities in the South-East Queensland region.
I have attended all ICA annual conferences since 2008, as well as regional conferences in Melbourne and Shanghai. I was also involved in establishing an affiliate relationship between the Australian and New Zealand Communication (ANZCA) and the ICA.
Priorities for the ICA
A global organization
Until recently, the internationalization of the ICA was measured in terms of U.S./non-U.S. membership. What has become apparent, however, is that a growth in non-U.S. membership is not synonymous with internationalization, as there are well-represented and underrepresented nations within regions. There is a keenly felt need to grow membership in Africa and Latin America in particular, where very active local groups have begun forging important communities of scholars with a growing engagement with ICA. There are also regions such as China where ICA membership has grown rapidly, but there is not Executive Board membership.
As ICA President, I will further advance the successful initiative around ICA regional conferences, helping to ensure that events held in a particular nation draw upon scholarship around the region, as well as further grow and diversify ICA membership. I will also clarify guidelines around Board membership for “underrepresented regions.” I will also aim to further diversify the range of cities and nations where the ICA annual conference is held, noting that in many parts of the world the “one size fits all” approach of the large international hotel is not the most appropriate one. In particular, more attention needs to be given to conference options in Asia and Latin America. We also need to be aware as an Association of any implications arising from U.S. government policies for the participation of scholars globally in ICA conferences.
Advancing the public role of communication scholarship
In these times of alleged “fake news” and “posttruth” politics, the public contribution of communications scholars is of the utmost importance. I will work closely with the ICA staff and with members on how best to communicate the research findings of our membership across multiple media and digital platforms.
I will also endeavor to identify those communication debates where a global dialogue is required, and develop administrative processes that help to facilitate ICA researchers’ abilities to play a key role in this. Among topics that are of significance in this regard are the social responsibilities of global digital platforms, Net Neutrality and the future of Internet governance, and dealing with online abuse and harassment based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, or religious affiliation. This will include submissions to public enquiries, participation in relevant international forums, and online initiatives to engage ICA members.
Promoting interdisciplinary dialogue among Divisions and Interest Groups
The ICA has recently experienced significant growth in the number of Divisions and Interest Groups. This has been an important part of the overall growth of ICA membership, as it has encouraged those who may not have seen their own research as being within the broad ICA umbrella to join as they identify with these emergent groups. At the same time, this growth has presented challenges for conference organizers in scheduling a diverse array of papers and panels, as well as governance issues for the Association (e.g. how big should the Board of Directors be?).
The intellectual challenge that I am particularly keen to address is that of how to promote interdisciplinary dialogue across the 23 Divisions and nine Interest Groups now in existence. We know that there is considerable overlap between Division and Interest Group membership, and that there are topics of shared concern that would benefit from cross-Divisional/Interest Group dialogue. I will work towards ensuring that there are both spaces within the ICA conference program for such interdisciplinary events, and that discussions take place with ICA journal editors about the possibility of special themed issues that capture these dialogues.
Research and publications innovation
The new opportunities presented by the ICA’s publishing agreement with Oxford University Press are considerable, and if elected I look forward to working with the ICA journal editors on how to best disseminate the excellent academic work that is associated with our journals. I am also interested in further exploration of online, open-access publishing models, along the lines of the highly successful International Journal of Communication.
Awards and prizes
There have been great initiatives in ICA awards and prizes in recent years, particularly around diversifying the pool of recipients of ICA Fellows to better reflect the diversity of the ICA membership. But there is scope to develop new awards that are particularly focused on early career scholars, who would benefit from such awards in their tenure applications. I will actively promote new awards focused on early career scholars, aiming to ensure that they also reflect the diversity of the ICA membership.
I am Professor of Media and Communication and Assistant Dean (Research) in the Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. My work has been focused on both global media and digital media, with a strong interest in the dynamics of media industries, the political economy of media, and media policy. More recently, this work has also extended into research into the creative industries, as well as digital transformations in journalism.
I am the author or coauthor of eight books, including New Media: An Introduction (now in its Fourth Edition) and Understanding Global Media, as well as three edited books, including Global Media and National Policies: The Return of the State. I am the author of 83 journal articles and 49 book chapters; my work has been translated into Chinese, Polish and Arabic. I have been engaged with research projects in Australia and internationally that have received very significant government and industry funding.
I have been strongly engaged with international networks as both a researcher and as a teacher. I have been a keynote speaker in China, Japan, Russia, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Austria, Portugal, the US, the UK, and New Zealand. I am an Academic Expert of the China Institute for Cultural Trade Research at the Beijing International Studies University, and a Member of the Consortium Board for the EU Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degree in Digital Communication Leadership. I have convened and taught courses in Hong Kong and China, and have advised on communications curriculum to five universities, including the University of Colorado.
My service activities have included service to the discipline, engagement in public policy, advising on national research policy, and editing academic journals. I have been on the Executive of ANZCA since 2002, and was President in 2009-10. I chaired the Australian Law Reform Commission Review of the Media Content Classification Scheme in 2011-12, appointed by the Attorney General of Australia. I have advised leading Australian and international organizations, including Cisco Systems, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Fairfax Media, Telstra, and the Special Broadcasting Service.
I was a member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts from 2013-15, and on the review panel for the 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia research evaluation exercise. I am on the Editorial Board of 13 academic journals, and was the founding editor of Communication Research and Practice, established as a new academic journal in the field in 2015 and published by Taylor & Francis.
My full academic profile, including all publications, can be viewed at http://staff.qut.edu.au/staff/flew/.