NECS 2018: Media Tactics and Engagement

CALL FOR PAPERS. The University of Amsterdam, the Free University of Amsterdam and the University of Utrecht are happy to present the NECS 2018 Conference: Media Tactics and Engagement, 27-29 June 2018. Hosted by the University of Amsterdam and the Free University of Amsterdam Pre-Conference, 26 June 2018. Hosted by the University of Utrecht. Deadline for submissions: 31st of January 2017

Please note that the membership fee must be paid before submission (see for more details). Pay the fee in January to get access for the full calendar year.

Please submit all proposals using the submission form available at:

The changing media landscape requires continuous (re)invention of the ways in which film, television, digital media, news media, and the arts are produced, distributed, accessed, and consumed. In the contemporary context, where large corporations provide platforms and services that foster the desired behaviour of the average media viewer/user/consumer and produ(c/s)er, the question of media tactics and engagement becomes crucial once more. The 2018 NECS conference will explore the various – both intended and/or subversive − ways in which media are currently developed, deployed and distorted.

The conference welcomes a wide range of approaches to thinking about the notions of tactics and engagement across all forms of media. Firstly, this could include thinking of tactics as the means to an overarching strategic end. Thus the term can draw attention to larger trends within the media industries and its practices. Why and to what effect do film and media distributors like Youtube, Netflix, retailers like Amazon, and social media platforms like Facebook order and/or produce original content? What are the aesthetic consequences of this, both for artistic content as well as for the audience experience? What role do shifts in platform interfaces, or modes of address, and new exhibition spaces play? And what are the new potentials and constraints for content producers that arise from this? Taking the recent complex debate about Netflix original films at the Cannes Film Festival as an example, one may also explore how the industry itself strategically responds to these kinds of developments.

Secondly, following Michel de Certeau, the political consequences of the relation between strategy and tactics can be investigated. Strategy as a long-term modus operandi of the prevalent political, economic and scientific rationality is opposed to tactics as the improvisational, context-specific techniques developed by individuals or collectives to better navigate strategically shaped spaces. Tactics in this sense oftentimes insert themselves into strategic environments without disrupting them - for instance when novelists develop new writing techniques in response to Amazon’s arguably exploitative pay-per-page model. Through this conceptual pair, one may thus ask to what different strategic and tactical uses various media enter political discourse, and again, what the consequences of this could be for industrial and artistic media practices.

The notion of engagement opens up a third and more general dimension of the conference theme, pointing towards the various ways in which viewers and users engage with the media of their choice, both in the past and today. How have individuals or collectives (tactically) engaged the cinema, television, photography, radio, the arts, the archive, the news, the internet, and so on? And what are important changes in such practices? This could include, for example, the emergence of engaging fan practices such as cosplay, and how they have expanded and evolved in recent years (for instance in response to many new large scale fan conventions, now also part of European culture). One may also think of alternative media economies, as proposed by crowdfunding platforms, such as Patreon, Kickstarter or HitRecord. Furthermore, we invite submissions that discuss forms of disengagement, such as “media fasting” or “going off the grid”.

The 2018 NECS conference will tackle the issue of media tactics and engagement while including the many different research perspectives pursued by the members of our community.

Submissions may include but are not limited to the following topics:

  • New and old media industry practices
  • Histories of media tactics and engagement
  • Activist media and media activism (including politics and celebrity)
  • Studies of subversive narratives in film and cross-media
  • Political cinema, documentary, art and television
  • Avant-garde and new wave tactics
  • Ecocritical media and the Anthropocene
  • Ethnographic film
  • Infrastructures of engagement
  • Articulations of identity politics or power dynamics through media
  • Practices of self-performance (including viral participatory / selfie activism)
  • Materialities of media engagement
  • Culture jamming, remixing, mashing, and other fan practices (from cosplay to conventions)
  • Strategic aesthetic practices (e.g. satire, horror, melodrama, tragicomedy)
  • Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding initiatives
  • (New) Sound and music tactics and engagement
  • The development of (online) distribution models and original content production
  • Contemporary news media practices in a post-truth world (citizen journalism, database journalism, fake news, etc.)
  • Economies and ecologies of attention, including slacktivism, boredom and various forms of disengagement such as “media fasting” or “going off the grid”
  • Viral or spreadable media, as well as hacking tactics
  • Curatorial engagement and programming practices
  • Transmedia practices
  • Academic engagement
  • Teaching and research as media tactics

Scholars from all areas of cinema and media studies, whether previously affiliated with NECS or new to the network, are invited to submit proposals, but NECS membership is a requirement.


Individual papers

Individual presenters wishing to submit a proposal for a paper presentation of max. 20 minutes are required to provide their name, email address, the title of the paper, an abstract, key biographical references, and a short bio of the speaker.

Pre-constituted panels

We support the submission of proposals for pre-constituted panels with 3 or 4 papers (3 papers only if there is a respondent) in order to strengthen the thematic coherence of panels. Furthermore, several thematically related panels may form larger clusters. We would like to strongly encourage members of the NECS workgroups to put together pre-constituted panels, but we also welcome submissions from academic research project teams, museums, archives, and other institutions. We highly recommend no more than two speakers from the same institution with a maximum of 20 minutes speaking time each. Panel organizers are asked to submit panel proposals that include a panel title, a short description of the panel and information on all of the individual papers of the panel, as described above.


Events such as workshops, roundtables or seminars – both pre-conference and conference – concentrating on more practical aspects of our field, e.g. teaching, research methods, publishing, or networking with the media industry are also welcome. Speaking time should be limited to 10 minutes per participant. Organizers are asked to submit workshop proposals that include a title and a short description.


There will be opportunity for the NECS workgroups to meet during the conference. Please notify the conference organizers if you wish to held a workgroup meeting:

Please note that individuals may submit only one paper proposal, either as individual presenters or as part of a pre-constituted panel or workshop. Please submit all proposals before the 31st of January 2018 using the submission form available at:

Participants will have to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. Travel information, a list of local hotels and information on further events will be posted on the NECS conference website in Spring 2018.

See also:

Please email all inquiries to:


The NECS Graduate Workshop

The NECS Graduate Workshop has been designed to give scholars at the beginning of their career a platform for networking with established European film and media scholars. The 16th NECS Graduate Workshop in Utrecht (25 June 2018, University of Utrecht) is dedicated to the topic of 'To Prefer Not To: Media Inoperativities'.

You will find the CfP online at: Please send your submission with an abstract (max. 200 words) and a short bio (max. 150 words) to:

Organisers of Graduate Workshop:

Christian Sancto (University Utrecht), Alba Gimenez (University of South Wales) and Jiyu Zhang (Leiden University)

Pre-Conference workshops and activities



NECS Steering Committee: Sophie Einwächter, Judith Keilbach, Skadi Loist, Michał Pabiś-Orzeszyna, Francesco Pitassio, Antonio Somaini, Alena Strohmaier

NECS Conference Committee: Luca Barra, Ruggero Eugeni, Jesko Jockenhövel, Rahma Khazam, Daniel Kulle, Raphaëlle Moine, Michał Pabiś-Orzeszyna, Antonio Somaini

Local organizing team

Jaap Kooijman, Toni Pape, Maryn Wilkinson, Carolyn Birdsall,  Patricia Pisters, Halbe Kuipers, Marie Aude Baronian, Sudeep Dasgupta (UvA); Sebastian Scholz, Ivo Blom (VU), Judith Keilbach, Hanna Surma, Laura Copier, Nanna Verhoeff, Marijke de Valck, Anne Kustritz, Clara Pavoort-Overduin, Christian Sancto (UU)


Published by  ASCA

14 November 2017