Looking back, looking forward: IAMCR 2016 as a great experience

Publicado originalmente en IAMCR.


Leicester 2016 was not my first IAMCR Conference, it was the second one after Mexico 2009, and I think both were amazing experiences.

IAMCR is a vibrant community that reflects the production in the communication research field, but also the social engagement of a scholar community. I really admired the position of the association regarding the Turkish colleagues and their difficult situation.

And, of course, I celebrate the IAMCR’s support for emerging scholars from middle and low-income countries, through the travel grants. It contributes both to incorporate emerging scholars to a global discussion and to promote the diversity in IAMCR clearly as an international association.

Why does the incorporation of emerging scholars matter? International conferences are ideal opportunities to learn about ongoing studies and get to know researchers from all over the world, to discuss our studies/methods/perspectives/findings, to get feedback, to network… In sum, to be a community. But scholars need resources to participate in this kind of conferences. In middle and low-income countries, there are never enough resources. These conditions become more acute for younger scholars. My generation (born in the 80s) has experienced the job precariousness in the academic field. Yes, we are a global generation with more opportunities in terms of technology, mobility, and postgraduate education. But we are, simultaneously, a precarious generation in terms of job, family and financial stability. Thus, we need this kind of support.

And why does the support of middle and low-income scholars matter? We cannot be an international association only with scholars from high-income countries, it would imply to preserve the Anglo and Euro-centrism in communication studies as if these were the only possible perspectives. We need different voices and perspectives from all over the world, which in turn mean different theoretical and methodologial frameworks, different questions, different social and academic contexts, but also areas of convergence, in order to refresh the contemporary debates on communication studies.

This year, the travel grant let me participate in the IAMCR Conference. As an emerging scholar from a middle-income country and, at that moment, without a full-time academic position, I was not able to pay for my travel to Leicester. But I got the travel grant, went to Leicester and found people ready to engage in a vibrant discussion about my findings —in th Emerging Scholars Network and in the Community Communication Section— as well as other inspiring studies and scholars. Now I have new contacts, new ideas and a lot of work to do. Therefore, I want to express my gratitude. Thank you very much, IAMCR and, especially, the executive board, for the grant and for make us feel part of this community.

The travel grant is an invaluable support as well as an engagement to support other emerging scholars in the future. Looking forward, it could be interesting for IAMCR to find the way of sustain the dialogue among these scholars, about who we are and how can we collaborate.