Military and the Media symposium

2nd June, University of Leeds

We are delighted to announce a one-day symposium on Military and the Media at the University of Leeds on Tuesday 2 June 2015, bringing together researchers interested in the military, media, communications and popular culture.

The symposium is organised as part of a British Academy funded project on ‘Representations of contemporary soldiering in digital and visual cultures’ which asks how mediated discourses of ‘war’ and ‘the end of war’ might work to facilitate, complicate or obstruct the wider cultural and political understandings which occur both within the armed forces, and between them, their families and the wider public. The British soldier has become a regular focus of mainstream media attention, but also the producer or co-producer of digital materials disseminated via various media forms and museum displays. Whilst the UK military provides a focus for our own research, we are also interested in the representations of the military and soldiering in other national and international contexts.

We already have a number of fantastic speakers, including:

  • Neil Jenkings (Newcastle University), on (mis-)representations of ‘friendly fire’ incidents
  • Adi Kuntsman (Manchester Metropolitan University), co-author of ‘Digital Militarism: Israel’s Occupation in the Social Media Age’
  • Katharine Millar (Oxford University) on the ‘support the troops’ discourse
  • Debra Ramsey (Glasgow University), on archives of war, memory and self-representation
  • Nick Robinson (Leeds University), on Military games and militarism
  • Chris Terrill (Uppercut Films) documentary film-maker, including ‘Marine A: Criminal or Casualty of War?’ (BBC)
  • Sarah Maltby & Helen Thornham (Leeds University) from the ‘DUN Project: Defence, Uncertainty and ‘Now Media’: Mapping Social Media in Strategic Communications’

We now invite further contributions. The idea is that one conversation develops across the day – hence there will be no separate, parallel, sessions.

Overlapping themes for possible contributions:

  • Social media use by military institutions or serving personnel
  • The military and sports events (London Olympics, Invictus Games)
  • (In)visibility of military operations overseas
  • Concern of militarisation (troops into schools, cadets, OTC)
  • Recruitment campaigns
  • Photographic practices (cameras in the battlefield, Combat Camera teams)
  • Military blogging, online profiles and personal safety
  • ‘YouTube wars’ and perception management
  • The murders of Lee Rigby (UK) and Nathan Cirillo (Canada)
  • Scandals and alleged cover-ups
  • PTSD and mental health (drinking culture, suicide)
  • Self-representations, memoirs and life-writing
  • Violence, criminality and killing
  • Commemoration and memories of war
  • Robots, drones and drone operators
  • Interactions with cultural institutions and/or the defence industry

The suggested themes may encompass diverse media forms and genres, as well as addressing issues such as gender, ethnicity, class, able-bodiedness, masculinity and military identity.

Titles and abstracts for presentations (250 words max) are invited by Friday 24 April 2015. Please send submissions, along with any queries, to symposium organiser Katy Parry ( with the subject line ‘Military and Media symposium’. For submissions please include the full title, abstract, and your name and professional affiliation attached in a word document. Speakers will be notified of acceptance by Tuesday 5 May 2015.

If you are interested in attending but not presenting a paper, please email Ysabel Gerrard ( with you name and affiliation before 24 April 2015. We will let you know if you have a place by 5 May 2015. Attendance is free but numbers are strictly limited.