Participant Survey on ICA 2018 Annual Conference in Prague, Czech Republic
We have received 996 responses to the participant survey on the ICA Annual Conference held in Prague, Czech Republic, from 24-28 May, 2018. Almost half (48%) of respondents identified as students or junior faculty, and 32.8% of responses were from graduate student members of ICA. As an sign that we are in a time of membership flux, with a considerable number of new conference attendees, 28% of respondents indicated that this was their first ICA conference.
The overall conference experience was considered very good or excellent by 73.7% of respondents, and there was a 3.95 weighted average on a 5-point scale. Paper and panel sessions were the most highly regarded activities, with strong positive feedback towards theme sessions, roundtables and extended sessions among those who attended. The provision of childcare facilities and morning yoga classes were also welcomed by those who participated. Attendance at the Opening Plenary was lower among respondents than might be expected.
Looking forward to the ICA 2019 Conference in Washington, DC, a majority of respondents (75%) would definitely attend or were likely to attend this conference who were in Prague in May. Of the 15.43% (146 respondents) who were not likely to attend, or who would definitely not attend, the following responses were given (see pie chart).
About 40 respondents (2.5%) identified Location and/or Trump as reasons for not attending an ICA conference in Washington. These are a mix of responses specifically related to the city (AEJMC being hosted there in 2018, been there before, “not a fan of the city” etc.), and reasons specifically related to the political climate in the United States and/or concerns about immigration restrictions and travel visas.
The conference organizing team intends to the 2019 ICA conference to engage strongly with political questions relating to the Trump Administration at the conference. The opening plenary will be engaged with the changing global geopolitical climate, the rise of populist nationalism in the US, Europe and elsewhere, and its implications for international institutions. The closing plenary will specifically address the challenges facing the media in the current US political climate. We will advise on keynote speakers shortly.
The 2018-2019 Urban Issues Planning Committee is strongly focused upon promoting awareness of the diversity of voices and activist initiatives taking place in Washington DC itself. Nikki Layser Usher (George Washington U) and Aram Sinnreich (American U) have been engaged with initiatives around bringing activists and those engaged with community media and organizing to the conference. We note that Washington is itself a diverse and relatively liberal city, which faces challenges from its popular association with being the seat of Federal power in the United States.
The ICA headquarters plans to engage with attendees on a number of levels surrounding visa issues and any difficulties associated with egress into the United States. As with every ICA conference, you will be able to download a visa invitation letter mentioning your specific paper acceptances on the program as soon as you receive word of acceptance (modifications to this letter or special circumstances will be handled on a case by case basis by the ICA office). If needed due to the situation on the ground at the time of travel, we will implement our "ICA travel buddy" program again, we will offer alternative presentation arrangements for visa holders from any nations determined at the time of travel to be on the "travel advisory" list by the current administration, and we will once again, as with the San Diego conference, offer free consultation with ICA's retained visa-expertise legal counsel via our Executive Director. Please note that the vast majority of those who wanted to go to San Diego made it there, and we anticipate the situation will be no different for Washington, DC, although we are alert to any sudden policy changes.
People were asked what conference programming activities did they want from the ICA 2019 Washington DC conference, and the question received 160 responses. The largest set of answers related to politics (34), followed by tours (19), intensive workshops (9), more student-oriented sessions (8), mentoring sessions (6), activities involving ICA Fellows (3), and job fairs (3).
A sample of responses is provided below:
Perhaps something related to teaching & activism - how to help our students engage with politics and make their voices heard - both from the perspective that some are apathetic, to the other end of the spectrum where some could create movements. We are their mentors, their teachers - we need to take action to help guide this generation to take responsibility and get involved.
More roundtable discussions, more visibility for international/ global scholarship and also scholarship on race, gender & LGBTQ issues, more discussion of academic culture and labor.
We need a session focused on the impact of communication studies upon our society and politics. How can communication studies researchers become better influencers beyond the academic context?
Hope to have some DC-specific programming events. Visiting media/research organizations. Visiting advertising agencies and/or public relations firms.
It would be great if there were any events for younger students or undergraduates like myself. I think the experience of learning research techniques from the researchers would be an excellent opportunity.
Guest speakers from policy/government organizations and/or think tanks who work in DC
Workshops on digital methods would be so helpful to us doctoral students!
Offsite tours to visit places of interest that tie into divisions' interests
Panels that engage policy and policy makers
Two possible areas come to mind: a) something related to nationalism and authoritarianism being on the rise, maybe including resistance to these forces? and b) some things highlighting or capitalizing on the international, multicultural aspects of DC as a city.
I would like to see ICA encourage more senior scholars to engage in professional development and networking with early career and student scholars (eg attending student panels and poster sessions).
Meet the Fellows Reception
Any event that offers mentorship to early career scholars.
Group walks, runs, or yoga
You may wish to incorporate site visits into the plans you develop for the conference. The headquarters office is currently planning to offer yoga and childcare once again (more information on that to come) and is putting together a curated tours package that includes, above and beyond the basic sightseeing one often encounters, specially-curated behind-the-scenes tours of facilities like the Library of Congress, the Newseum, the Smithsonian Museums, and the Supreme Court. Over and above the usual suspects and the iconic architecture, Washington, DC, lovingly referred to as "The District" by its inhabitants, has a vibrant food and arts culture, with hundreds of distinct neighborhoods, each known for certain cuisines. DC is not only one of the most international cities in the world, it is also the home of the ICA headquarters, just a short walk from the conference hotel (more information to come on a headquarters "open house" for those who arrive early to the conference!). For more information on DC's culinary and cultural highlights, visit https://washington.org/.
We are looking forward to seeing you in May.