Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I've only been to one ICA (International Communications Association) conference before. My work, even my work as an academic, has not been writing research papers, but I thought I would attend this year's conference in San Francisco, partly to visit my sisters in the Bay Area, but mostly to try to generate some institutional sales for Deep Dish. Deep Dish has a tremendous library of DVDs that should be available in university libraries.
It was great to see the many contributions at ICA by colleagues from the Department of Communication at UCSD (where I taught for seventeen years!) Here I am with Lisa Marie Tripp, Katynka Martinez and Heide Solbrig. I also saw Mary Gray, Fred Turner, Ferruh Yilmaz, Dan Hallin, Regina Marchi, Ellen Seiter, Robert Horwitz and Vicki Mayer who organized the feminist track.This is Dan and his family at the opening reception.
Geert Lovink was part of a plenary on blogging. He showed some surprising statistics. Japanese now out polls English in the blogsphere.
One of the highlights was the terrific film series which Susana Kaiser and John Kim organized. Included was a presentation of some of Craig Baldwin's treasures and an amazing film by Kevin Epps.Kevin Epps' film is about Hunters Point, one the the biggest poluted sites in the world, a former naval base, where many black families still live. Kevin's film is a terrifying look at the destruction of a community: Straight Outta Hunters Point. The audience loved it so much, he and his colleague were able to sell many copies, looking like one of the scenes from the film!

A cheerful change from the academy's dreary pundits was a presentation by a group of young people from East Oakland. They are in a "Digital Storytelling" project.This is the first time ICA has had such young presenters!. A disappointment with the meeting was the total lack of any effort to acknowledge the wars and occupations that this country is perpetrating. I recall during the Vietnam War that any professional convention would have caucuses against the war and at the very least an anti-war declaration or some other form of protest. But at ICA here was barely a mention and certainly no organizing taking place. I was on a panel that Michael Griffith from Carlton College organized on "Creating Alternative Channels on Iraq." I spoke about the Shocking and Awful project. The panel was scheduled at the last possible slot--beginning at 12 noon, which was also the time that people had to check out of the hotel. One of the panelists didn't even show up! There were about eight people in the audience. One was the mother of Megan Boler, the panel discussant and two were my sisters and one was my brother-in-law. So that leaves an audience of four.
Some of the earlier panels were interesting: copyright and blogs were sexy topics.

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