ICA Pre-conference

Call For PapersMedia, War and Conflict Journal Conference

  • Abstracts, indicating which type of participation is requested (paper or poster), should be emailed to Katy Parry: .
  • The deadline for receipt of abstracts is 31 January, 2023.
  • Accepted participants will be notified by 28 February 2023.
  • Registration will be via the ICA website and will open in March 2023


This is the ideal time to assess how new actors, technologies, and global power struggles have challenged the relationship between media and conflict in the 15 years since our first issue was published in April 2008. Disinformation and propaganda studies have moved into the sphere of mainstream media and politics, where extant research in the field of war and media has not always been acknowledged. Journalistic institutions face continued pressures on their authority as the leading interpreters of unfolding events, while reporters on-the-ground are threatened, jailed or murdered with apparent impunity. The images and videos captured on ever-present smart devices not only serve as ‘weapons’ in the legitimation of military and political actions, they also transform the aesthetic and moral understandings of war for observing citizens. Notions of ‘participative war’ (Merrin 2018) and ‘radical war’ (Ford and Hoskins 2022) proffer new characterizations of the current era, understanding digital connectivity as intertwined with the conduct of war, and the precarity of security (human, food, climate, national, transnational).

It is important to remember the human lives at the center of these broader technological and conceptual shifts, raising questions regarding how (dis)information mobilizes and impacts the communities involved. Human rights organizations and open source investigation teams employ forensic techniques with a diverse range of imaging and computational technologies to expose war crimes and advocate for those seeking justice (Ristovska 2021; Smith and Watson 2022). Documentaries and creative research methods can bring activists, filmmakers and scholars together to raise awareness and generate solidarity for those facing insecurity and violence. But whose voices are being mobilized in processes such as these, why and how? Ordinary people are also using new technologies in unprecedented ways, bringing to question the relationship between agency and power, and yet inequalities persist. We encourage critical questions about the inequalities of war including the gendered nature of war, intersections of body and space, and the limitations and discriminations for expressions of voice and visibility enabled by supposedly democratizing communication technologies. Does accessibility to diverse ‘voices’ and counter-narratives actually have any discernable impact on decision-making and accountability in war planning and conduct?

This pre-conference intentionally does not refer to specific wars or locations, and encourages research from regions that traditionally receive less scholarly and media attention.

The Media, War and Conflict journal has a thriving community of contributors, many of whom participated in a 5th anniversary conference in London, a 10th anniversary conference in Florence, and we would use this 15th anniversary conference in Toronto to expand this community by bringing in new and early career scholars. ICA 2023 will be a milestone in this continuing journey.

Potential subjects for papers could include:

  • The visual economy of war, photojournalism, and emergent digital visual cultures
  • Mediated forensics (Smith and Watson 2022), open-source intelligence (OSINT), surveillant technologies, and crowdsourcing in the visualization of war
  • Grassroots and alternative media challenges to official narratives of war and peace
  • The gendered and/or ethnocentric nature of war reporting
  • Frameworks for understanding the new ecologies of war: ‘everywhere war’ (Gregory 2011), ‘participative war’ (Merrin 2018), ‘radical war’ (Ford and Hoskins 2022)
  • Disinformation, ‘fake news’ or falsified imagery in war and conflict situations
  • How the climate crisis is associated with conflicts around the world in media discourse
  • How media platforms (TikTok, Telegram) are reimagining the way citizens encounter war experiences
  • Creative, narrative and visual methods in war and peace research
  • Artistic, film, performance and practice projects
  • Decolonizing the field of war and media
  • Witnessing, ethics and spectatorship
  • Memory, commemoration and archives
  • Strategic narratives and legitimation of war/peace
  • Media coverage of political violence, uprisings, riots and terrorism
  • Reporting of military scandals, abuse, and war crimes

We intend this pre-conference to be a welcoming space to forge new interdisciplinary collaborations across visual communication, journalism studies, digital culture, international studies, and beyond. We are keen to hear about artistic, film, performance and practice projects in addition to news and social media studies, and encourage research on conflicts and political violence from regions that traditionally receive less scholarly and media attention.

Two types of in-person participation are invited:

10 minute paper or practice presentation: We are interested in scholarly and practice contributions that speak to the above themes. Prospective presenters should submit an abstract of up to 300 words. Submissions will be selected by the conference committee on the basis of originality and relevance to the conference theme, and to ensure a diversity of viewpoints and geographic origins. Presentation submissions are open to people at any stage of career. Due to time constraints, practice-based submissions should primarily be spoken presentations about the practice (with possible clips or images). We hope to further promote practice work through our associated preconference website.

Poster presentation: PhD researchers and early career scholars are also invited to submit an abstract of up to 300 words for a poster presentation addressing the preconference themes. This can be ‘work in progress’. The poster session will allow for feedback from an assigned mentor and other pre-conference participants and organisers.

We will be prioritizing in-person participation but can look into remote options if needed.

Abstracts, indicating which type of participation is requested (paper or poster), should be emailed to the organisers at: . The deadline for receipt of abstracts is 31 January, 2023. Accepted participants will be notified by 28 February 2023.

Five travel bursaries of up to $120 will be available to qualifying participants. Bursaries will be available for participants from Tier B and C countries and ECRs to encourage a diversity of experience and expertise. Priority will be given to those from Tier B and C countries, before ECRs from Tier A. The Media, War and Conflict Journal, and the ICA Visual Communication Studies Division sponsor these bursaries. Details of how to apply for a travel bursary will be provided to accepted poster or paper presenters upon notification of acceptance. Bursary recipients will have to pay for registration, and the bursary will act as a waiver retrospectively. If this causes any problems, we can discuss with recipients.    

Provisionally, all presentations will be considered for inclusion in a special anniversary issue of Media, War & Conflict.

Registration will be via the ICA website and will open in March 2023. Non-participating delegates will be accepted within the capacity limitations of the venue. Registration fee will be $120 to cover the two refreshment breaks and lunch provided by the on-site conference hotel.

Note: you do not have to be an ICA member to attend a pre-conference, nor do you need to register for the main conference. Attendees will need to create an ICA profile to register.


  • Katy Parry, University of Leeds (lead contact)
  • Piotr Cieplak, University of Sussex
  • Sarah Maltby, University of Sussex
  • Dina Matar, SOAS, London
  • Tanner Mirrlees, Ontario Tech University
  • Ben O’Loughlin, Royal Holloway, London
  • Holly Steel, University of Leeds

Sponsors: This pre-conference is sponsored by the Media, War & Conflict Journal (SAGE) and the ICA Visual Communication Studies Division. It is also affiliated with the ICA Journalism Studies division.