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ICA Popular Communication Division Business Meeting

5 – 6.15 PM, Saturday, 25 May 2019

Washington DC


Devon Powers, Chair of the PopComm division, called the meeting to order at 5 PM. Members present introduced themselves and stated how many ICAs they had attended. Other officers of the division – Vice Chair Melissa Aronczyk, incoming Secretary Sriram Mohan, and incoming Student Representative Evanthe Psarras – introduced themselves. Outgoing Student Representative Jennifer Carlberg was also introduced and applauded for her service.


Vice Chair Election Announcement

Powers announced that there would be elections in September for the position of Vice Chair, with Melissa Aronczyk transitioning to become the Chair of the division. Key aspects of the position – the four-year term, transition to the position of Chair, seat on the board of ICA as Chair – were discussed. Powers also explained how the Vice Chair becomes the division’s planner in the second year of the four-year term and encouraged members to apply for the position. 


Updates from ICA 2019


Powers noted the range of accommodations made available at ICA 2019, including those related to accessibility, nursing, gender neutral restrooms and preferred pronouns on badges. She also mentioned the daily AA meeting during the conference and the setting up of a quiet room. 


She acknowledged the issues with the transition to ScholarOne as the conference submission management system, especially in relation to submitters not being to see their reviews. She assured the membership that these issues were being ironed out and encouraged them to offer feedback.

Updates to ICA’s Code of Ethics and Mission

Powers informed members that ICA’s code of ethics and mission statement were being updated to more closely match the values of the association, by a task force designated for this purpose.

New Rule about Number of Submissions

Powers announced that starting with ICA 2020, members will be limited to 3 submissions as first author across presentation formats (paper, poster, panel, blue sky workshop etc). There would be no limit on the number of times a member can participate as a non-first author. Powers mentioned that the current limit was 5 submissions and that it was reduced to 3 to enable more participation. There was a brief but inconclusive discussion when she noted that divisions were allowed to set stricter rules for themselves. Members were encouraged to get in touch with officers over the next few months to offer suggestions/feedback on the new policy.

New Interest Group

Powers told members that a new interest group on Human Computer Interaction (HCI) was being set up at ICA, based on the abiding popularity of the preconference run by Steve Jones over the last few years.


Regional Conference

Powers announced that the ICA regional conference would be held in Bali later this year. The conference dates are 16-18 October 2019 and submissions are open till 21 June 2019.


ICA Committees

Members were informed that calls would go out in Fall 2019 seeking volunteers for various positions on ICA-wide committees. Power encouraged members to apply for these positions.


Division Report

Powers presented the division report, highlighting key statistics across ICA and in the PopComm division, noting that there were:

-        3681 pre-registered attendees from 67 countries in a conference with an acceptance rate of 39%

-        130 paper submissions and 26 panel proposals in the PopComm division, with 70 papers and 12 panels eventually accepted from members across 16 countries


New Presentation Formats

Members were asked to suggest new presentation formats that could be considered by the PopComm division for ICA 2020. Suggestions included:

-        High-density sessions where a) presenters speak for three minutes and the audience is encouraged to break off into smaller group discussions with the presenters, or b) where presenters take 5 minutes each to respond to a set of pre-circulated questions

-        Sessions where 3 or 4 presenters perform a scripted talk that they collaborate on, in advance

-        PechaKucha sessions, where a presenter shows 20 slides with a strictly enforced 20 seconds of commentary on each slide (6 minutes and 40 seconds total)

In the discussion that followed, members highlighted the need for division officers to think carefully about matching people and formats, ensuring that some formats do not get associated with, say, early career scholars. There were also calls for greater autonomy for presenters to choose how time is split between presentation and discussion in high-density sessions.


Division Identity

Powers highlighted the rise in the number of divisions and interest groups at ICA and noted how PopComm’s remit has shrunk, compelling the division to think more carefully about its identity and relevance. Members were informed that there would be a session to address this in the next conference and that there would be a survey sent out to open up this conversation. A couple of members also suggested that the division reach out to intellectual communities intervening in discussions about popular communication, but not currently seeing themselves as doing so (eg. in business schools).



Powers informed members that the division’s awards system was being streamlined and that there would be a form sent out to members annually to seek nominations for the awards.

The Top Paper prize was awarded to Yupei Zhao and Jiayin Lu of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. The Top Student Paper prize was awarded to Kristin Fitzsimmons, a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota, USA. The Young Scholar prize (soon to be known as the Early Career Scholar prize) was awarded to Elizabeth Ellcessor, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia, USA.


Update about ICA 2020 (by President-Elect Terry Flew)

ICA President-Elect Terry Flew stepped in to provide some updates about ICA 2020. He announced that:

-        The conference theme would be “Open Communication”, playing off on the salience of themes like open science, open access, open data etc.

-        There would be a focus on interdisciplinarity, with efforts to bring together other intellectual communities such as activists etc.

-        The conference would be at the Gold Coast Convention Centre and the Star hotel near it, giving participants a number of accommodation options near these venues

-        Every registrant would get a G:link card allowing them to use public transport to shuttle between venues and/or their hotels

-        Participants would be best served if they flew to Sydney or Brisbane and then caught a low-cost local carrier flight to the Gold Coast (negotiations underway to organize buses)

-        There would be a number of food options catering to a range of dietary preferences

-        The Yugambeh language people were the traditional custodians of the land in the Gold Coast, running a number of initiatives to promote cultural and educational exchange

-        The conference would be a key opportunity to engage with communication scholars in the Asia Pacific region, offering the example of there being over 230 communications programs in Indonesia alone

-        It is anticipated that Australian visas would be easier to procure than it was for the 2019 conference in the US

In response to a question from a member about whether the venue meant lower acceptance rates and lower attendance, Flew suggested that the current acceptance rate would likely hold and that while attendance from the US and EU may be down, attendees from the Asia Pacific region may make up for this shortfall. He noted that they anticipate a higher attendance rate than ICA Fukuoka and spoke about how very few places in the world have hotels with the capacity of, say, the Washington Hilton in the heart of a major city.


Forthcoming ICA conferences

Flew also announced the venues for the next few ICA annual conferences:

-        ICA 2020: Gold Coast, Australia

-        ICA 2021: Denver, USA

-        ICA 2022: Paris, France

-        ICA 2023: Toronto, Canada

-        ICA 2024: Asia (Thailand, possibly; yet to be finalized)

-        ICA 2025: Hawaii, USA