Keynote Speakers

Lance Bennett (University of Washington, USA)
Natalie Fenton (Goldsmith College, University of London, UK)
Zizi Papacharissi (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA)
Bev Skeggs (Goldsmith College, University of London, UK)

Lance Bennett is Professor of Political Science and Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication at the University of Washington. He is founder and Director of the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement (, Department of Communication and Department of Political Science, University of Washington). The Center is dedicated to understanding how communication processes and technologies can enhance citizen engagement with social life, politics, and global affairs. Bennett has lectured internationally on the importance of media and information systems in civic life. His current research interests include: press-government relations and the quality of public information; communication and the organization of social movements; transnational activism; citizenship and youth civic engagement, digital media and political participation, and modeling the organization of technology enabled crowds. He is author or editor of 12 books, including “The Logic of Connective Action: Digital Media and the Personalization of Contentious Politics” (Cambridge, with Alexandra Segerberg). His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Spencer Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Annenberg Policy Foundation, Belgian Science Policy Foundation, The MacArthur Foundation, Fulbright Commission, and Microsoft, among others.

Natalie Fenton is Professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths College (University of London). Her research addresses the role the media play in the formation of collective identities and democracy and the manner in which people seek to change the world for socially progressive ends. Fenton is Co-Director of the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre which examines the ways in which technological, economic and social change is reconfiguring news journalism and shaping the dynamics of the public sphere and public culture. She is also Co-Director of the new Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy, where she is studying the relationship between the media and resistance. She is author of “Misunderstanding the Internet” (London: Routledge 2012), with James Curran and Des Freedman.

Zizi Papacharissi is professor and head of the Communication Department at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Her work focuses on the social and political consequences of online media. Her books include A Private Sphere: Democracy in a Digital Age (Polity Press, 2010),  A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites (Routledge, 2010),  and Journalism and Citizenship: New Agendas (Taylor & Francis, 2009). She has also authored over 40 journal articles, book chapters or reviews, and serves on the editorial board of eleven journals, including the Journal of Communication, Human Communication Research, and New Media and Society. Zizi is the editor of the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, and the new open access Sage journal Social Media and Society. Her fourth book, titled Affective Publics: Sentiment, Technology and Politics is out in November 2014 with Oxford University Press.

Bev Skeggs is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths College (University of London). She has worked at the Worcester College of Higher Education and the Universities of Keele, York, Lancaster and Manchester before joining Goldsmiths. Her research has concentrated in the areas of Women’s Studies and Cultural Studies as well as the sociology of class, distinction and the media. She is the joint managing editor of the journal “The Sociological Review”, a major journal which has just celebrated its centenary. She is author of “Reacting to Reality Television: Performance, Audience and Value” (Abingdon: Routledge 2012, with Helen Wood).