Communication Governance Observatory (CGO) and the Centre for Networked Media and Performance (CNMAP)

Communication & Cultural Policy
in the Age of the Platform

McMaster University,
Hamilton, ON, Canada
May 3-7, 2021

A video archive of the conference is available.

A conference presented by the Communication Governance Observatory (CGO) and the Centre for Networked Media and Performance (CNMAP).

Algorithms and digital platforms play increasingly important roles in governing how we communicate and how we discover and engage with media and culture. The ‘platform turn’ in dominant media systems has significant implications for life opportunities, employment, participation in the digital economy (whose content is distributed and prioritized?), the star system (who is promoted and how? what counts as success?), politics (which and whose perspective is dominant? how has political deliberation and debate been re-mediatized?), international relations (whose view of the world is dominant?) and social relations (how are inequities in representation reproduced and transformed?).

The Communication & Cultural Policy in the Age of the Platform conference drew together researchers in Canada and beyond to explore the intersections between media/communications/cultural policy and platforms. Sessions addressed arts policy, broadcasting policy, communication rights, Indigenous communication and cultural policy, competition policy, cultural industries policy, heritage policy, internet policy, media policy, speech regulation, privacy, smart city regulation, and platform regulation.

Confirmed keynote speakers included Jesse Wente (Indigenous Screen Office), Sharon McGowan and Susan Brinton (Women in Film and Television-Vancouver), Joan Jenkinson (Black Screen Office), and Edward Greenspon (Public Policy Forum).

The conference considers the following key questions:

  1. How can Canadian media systems respond simultaneously to the challenge of digital platforms and to calls for a greater diversity of on-screen and off-screen voices?
  2. How are platforms taking on, or failing to take on, regulatory roles in the fields of communication and culture?
  3. How does the international political economy of platforms play out in media/communications/cultural policy?
  4. How does algorithmic governance function as regulation and policy setting in these fields?
  5. How are regulatory bodies in the field of communication and culture reconceptualizing their work in light of platforms?
  6. What relationships and interactions do regulators, as well as arts, media, and cultural organizations, have with platforms?
  7. How are regulatory bodies in the field of communication and culture incorporating platforms to conduct their work?
  8. How do advocacy, activist, and social justice initiatives intercede in the relationships between platforms and media/communications/cultural policy?
  9. How do comparative political cultures influence national regulatory agendas? What criteria may enable new comparative research?

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