Pandemic as a Catalyst for Change in Audiovisual Cultures: Teaching, Producing, and Living in the Time of Crisis

Teet Teinemaa's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
August 31, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Communication, Digital Humanities, Film and Film History, Journalism and Media Studies, Educational Technology
Call for Short Papers: Baltic Screen Media Review (Special Focus). 

See about BSMR, a free to publish open access journal here: https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/bsmr/bsmr-overview.xml

The Covid-19 pandemic has functioned as a ‘perfect storm’ – there is a concurrence of diverse factors possibly changing the futures of audiovisual cultures and industries for good. It has brought some social, economic, and cultural spheres to an unprecedented halt presenting an array of challenges, but also facilitated the emergence of new forms and practices, even institutions elsewhere. We therefore launch a Call for Short Papers discussing the ongoing pandemic as a catalyst for change in audiovisual cultures and industries. These short ‘thinkpiece’ type of academic essays could observe the Covid-19 pandemic as a proxy for possible future crises and how these may affect how we teach and produce audiovisual cultures.

Let us start with the reflexive layer – the scholarship of audiovisual cultures and our practices. The “new normal” is rapidly redefining our experiences and practices by colliding our virtual and actual lived worlds and turning our private domiciles into workplaces. Finding a healthy work-life balance in the lockdown creates a paradox when the two have become nearly indistinguishable. The overnight switch to online teaching presumed the willingness to create online courses and to have one’s intellectual labour digitised and mediatised, potentially furthering the ongoing neoliberalisation of higher education. Teaching and academic exchanges are getting platformised in a rapid pace, undermining the autonomy of both academics as well as universities. Yet, also counterpractices as well as new forms of teaching emerge – there are examples of lecturing becoming itself an audiovisual practice that may include elements of complex storytelling and there are signs of genre differences evolving for video lectures.

Yet, while digitisation allowed academia to keep operating under new conditions, filmmakers found themselves in a complete standstill with shooting, location scouting, and casting entirely prohibited. With narrative settings, budgets, and state and private funding often tied to exact shooting schedules and frequently including locations abroad, filmmakers have entered the most stressful phase of their careers. Exhibition at the same time became prone for disruption. With cinemas closed and most film festivals postponed, the streaming platforms have stolen the show. Much of innovation is currently taking place in screening online. Yet, it is not clear how does it affect independent cinema and cinemas of small countries around the Baltic Sea. While there is a risk of concentration in global streaming markets, during the pandemic there has also been an unexpected emergence of multiple new specialised streaming platforms. These are creating possibly a momentum for local varieties in film and audiovisual content production.

Similar has been the fate of television. It too did not escape challenges, with the gathering of live audiences forbidden, leaving talk show hosts to having to resort to producing programmes from home and via digital means. This, too, has broken many pre-existing boundaries, increasing the reliance of media industry on the affordance of global digital platforms, but also enforced convergence of television with networked media and enabled much innovation in terms of the publicness created by television and by the mediatization of previously private spaces.

Baltic Screen Media Review calls for short articles and commentaries, between 1500–2500 words, reflecting and exploring a range of issues concerning teaching, producing and consuming media, and our mediated experiences in the time of the Covid-19 crisis. We invite articles focusing on the Baltic Sea region (incl. Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Poland, Germany, Finland, etc), but analyses of similar issues elsewhere, especially in countries of similar sizes or circumstances are also welcome.

- Platformisation of teaching, film and television – their inherent similarities and differences
- The critical shifts in media markets during the crisis
- The new political economies media markets during the crisis
- Emergence of new forms of audiovisual cultures
- The challenges and opportunities of teaching new media, film, and/or television online
- Filmmaking and exhibition under lockdown
- Televised reporting and entertainment during the Covid-19 crisis
- Inclusivity and diversity of digital strategies
- Questions about data and self
- Managing fears and anxieties via digital audiovisual means

Abstracts of 200–300 words are to be received by Monday 7 June 2020, and full manuscripts of 1500-2500 words, excluding refs, by Monday 31 August 2020 in order to be sent out for review. The special section of BSMR will appear in issue vol 8:1 published both online and in print in late 2020. As BSMR is a very visual journal we invite authors to use photos and other illustrations as part of the essays.

Contact Info: 

All submissions should be sent via email attachment to Indrek Ibrus (ibrus@tlu.ee) and Teet Teinemaa (teinemaa@tlu.ee).

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