Communication and the City: Voices, Spaces, Media

About the Conference

The Communication and the City Conference hosted by the Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds, is an international two-day event. The aim of the conference is to bring together researchers and practitioners from a variety of national contexts and institutional and professional fields, to discuss questions of urban communication across academic disciplines and professional fields.


By middle of this century 7 out of 10 people in the world will live in cities, and it is in cities that we find major centres of political, economic, creative and ideological power. For these reasons, in recent decades an increasing number of scholars have come to see cities as powerful texts and contexts for communication research. Drawing from across the humanities, the social sciences and the arts, urban communication has become established as an interdisciplinary field in its own right. Within communication studies, scholars have adopted a variety of approaches to the study of the urban environment. These include social interaction and organizational outlooks, rhetorical and discursive frameworks, and technology and media studies. While it remains vital to keep pursuing distinct lines of inquiry about the city within and beyond communication studies, we believe that it is also crucial to foster a sustained dialogue among the various perspectives that inform scholarly, practice-based, institutional, and professional endeavours in the field of urban communication.

Conference themes

We invite submissions that address one or any combination of these three broad questions:

1) What are the ‘voices’ that animate contemporary cities? How do different identities, groups, cultures, and constituencies interact, intersect and/or compete in mediated and non-mediated urban contexts?

2) What are the communicative dimensions of urban ‘spaces’ in their own right? How does space mediate specific ideologies and subjectivities, and how is urban space constructed and communicated as place?

3) What is the role of the ‘media’ in relation to both the symbolic and material existence of cities? How do both traditional and new media contribute to representing and experiencing, but also financing and structuring the urban environment?

We are interested in submissions that address these questions through various lenses, including technology, policy, aesthetics, and social/cultural/artistic/professional/political practices. In this regard, we welcome a range of theoretical, critical, empirical, and practice-based papers on any of the following topics:

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