Political Studies Association Media and Politics Group

Annual Conference

Media, Persuasion and Human Rights

Hosted by Network for Media & Persuasive Communication, Bangor University

Monday 10th & Tuesday 11th November 2014

While human rights may appear inalienable in international law and covenants, in fact they are sites of contestation, conflict and redefinition, variably implemented across the globe.

Reflecting our theme, our confirmed keynote speakers are:

  • Prof. Sue Clayton (Goldsmiths University), an award-winning film-maker whose practice interrogates alternative forms of media presentation of human rights, asylum and identity issues.
  • Prof. Jon Silverman (University of Bedfordshire), an award-winning former BBC Home Affairs Correspondent, who is currently working on the influence of the media's reporting of war crimes trials in West African civil society.


* We welcome papers on any aspect of Media and Politics, or on this year's conference theme of Media Persuasion and Human Rights.*

**Deadline Extension for Abstracts - 29 August 2014**

For more information please email: mediapoliticsconference@bangor.ac.uk

If you are a non-academic organisation interested in human rights, persuasion and the media, and would like to attend the conference, please contact us.

The conference is supported by BBC Monitoring.

BBC Monitoring observes, understands and explains media throughout the world. Human rights is just one of the many topics we focus on. The combination of our expertise, ability to identify relevant sources, our regional knowledge and presence on the ground ensures we support you in understanding the issues, media environments and locations key to you.

BBC Monitoring Library: Emerging and archive news reports; Sophisticated discoverability; Clarity through the chaos of today’s media.

Click here for more details.

We seek papers on any of the following themes.


  1. Media and Politics - any aspect.

  2. Media, Persuasion and Human Rights, including:

a) Mediating Norms.

Jeremy Bentham once called human rights ‘nonsense upon stilts’. What is the philosophical status of human rights and how are deontic norms complicated, challenged and threatened by current geo-political events and their mediation? Are liberal social aspirations being redefined and eroded? Did they ever exist? What betterment do we have to aim for today?

b) Communicating Trade-offs.

When governments balance rights against each other (e.g. trading-off the right to privacy or freedom from torture in exchange for national security), how do the media respond? How does the complexity of decision-making and trade-offs get communicated? What are decision-makers’ insights on balancing and communicating rights.

c) Contestation and Articulation.

What human rights are privileged by, and contested through, the media? How have these changed over time? How do articulatory struggles play out across the media, and via what persuasive ‘actants’, including NGOs, investigative journalists, the public, lawyers, companies, corporations, governments, and international governmental bodies.

d) Media Forms.

How does the struggle over articulation vary across different media forms and genres? How do minority media and the rise of mass self-broadcasting enable perverted viewing and production (eg torture porn, tour of duty war mementos), and with what implications for the normalization of abnormal situations (too taboo for mass view), and for the social enactment of human rights?

e) New Media, New Rights?

What novel opportunities and challenges do new media technologies present for human rights that intrinsically rely on the media, such as the right to privacy and freedom of speech?

f) Mobilisation.

In what ways do media inform and mobilise the public regarding their human rights? This may range from the practices of bearing witness (eg sousveillant communication); to the generation of empathy, intimacy, and a new solidarity through media forms that invoke engagement, identification and pleasure (eg Twitter, film, reality TV, comedy, music)?

g) Gender.

Is there such as thing as 'gendered' human rights? How does gender impact and influence mediated construction of human rights around the globe? How has the media engaged in the representation of gendered and sexualised human rights abuses (for example, mass rape, comfort women, sex trafficking and enforced prostitution)?

h) Cultural Imperialism?

What are non-western insights on human rights liberal discourse, and how are these dealt with in various national and trans-national institutions ranging from satellite TV to the International Criminal Court?

We encourage diverse responses to the theme, but are especially interested ininterdisciplinary responses, not least from policy-makers, activists, philosophers,information-management specialists, computer scientists, journalists, security analysts, and those with expertise in law or politics.

Abstract Submission

All proposals should please include the following: title and name, institutional affiliation and address, and email address; together with, a paper title, an abstract of not more than 300 words, an indication of which theme(s) you are addressing, and up to five key words about your paper. Please also state whether or not you are a postgraduate student.

Please state which section you wish your proposal to be considered under:

  1. 10-15 minute panel presentation, or
  2. Practice-based work (15 mins - comprising showing of practice-based piece (or an extract) plus any accompanying discussion/context). 

Abstracts should be sent by 29 August to mediapoliticsconference@bangor.ac.uk .

All abstracts will undergo peer review and decisions on papers will be given within 3 weeks of the submission deadline.

Postgraduates & James Thomas Memorial Prize

Postgraduate students are invited to submit a full paper that will be entered into the James Thomas Memorial Prize.

This annual award is presented to the most outstanding paper by a postgraduate student at the Media and Politics Group Annual Conference.

While , abstracts must be submitted by 1st July, full papers must be submitted by October 1st 2014, to allow time for them to be reviewed by the MPG conveners.


Postgraduate Travel Bursaries

There are 3 travel bursaries of £100 each to support the travel expenses of postgraduate students (who must be PSA members to be eligible) to the November conference. This will be awarded competitively based on quality of submitted abstracts.


Should you require any further information, please contact us.

You will find a downloadable version of the Call for Papers here.

About the Organisers

Dr. Vian Bakir is Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Bangor University, where she co-directs the network for Media and Persuasive Communications. She is author of Torture, Intelligence and Sousveillance in the War on Terror: Agenda–Building Struggles (2013) and Sousveillance, Media and Strategic Political Communication: Iraq, USA, UK (2010); and co-editor of Communication in the Age of Suspicion: Trust and the Media (2007). She writes on agenda-building regarding war, terrorism, intelligence and risk.

Dr. Martina Feilzer is Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Bangor University. She has a particular interest in the relationship between the media and public opinion of criminal justice, and the development of penal policy with reference to human rights and its public representation. Publications include: (a) Feilzer, M.Y. (2009). The importance of telling a good story - an experiment in public criminology, Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 48, Special Issue on Communicating Criminal Justice: Public Confidence, Agency Strategies And Media Narratives; and (b) Roberts, J., Feilzer, M. & Hough, M. (2011). Measuring public attitudes to criminal justice. In D. Gadd et al. (Eds) The Sage Handbook of Criminological Research Methods.

Dyfrig Jones lectures in Media at Bangor University. A former TV producer and editor of Barn, his current research interests are public service broadcasting and media policy.

Dr. Yvonne McDermott is a Lecturer in Law at Bangor University, where she teaches International Criminal Law, Tort Law, International Law of Armed Conflict and Research Methods. She holds a PhD in Law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights and law degrees from the National University of Ireland, Galway and Leiden University.

Dr. Andrew McStay lectures in Media Culture at Bangor University where he directs the network for Media and Persuasive Communications. He is author of Digital Advertising (2009); The Mood of Information - A Critique of Online Behavioural Advertising (2011); Creativity and Advertising -Affect, Events and Process (2013); and most recently Privacy and Philosophy - New Media and Affective Protocol (in press). The latter assesses privacy as an affective principle of interaction between human and non-human actors, and re-evaluates privacy rights in light of pragmatist critique of deontology.

Dr. Kate Taylor-Jones is Senior Lecturer in Visual Culture at Bangor University, She has published on topics including colonial Japanese and Korean cinema, cinema and landscape in East Asia, and domestic violence and the sex trade. She is author of Rising Sun, Divided Land: Japanese and South Korean Filmmakers (2013); and editor-in-chief of the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture (Intellect Press).

We are supported by:

Please download the Conference Schedule here. You can also download the Abstracts for all papers here.







If you would like to book a place you can download the relevant registration form here:

Please return completed registration forms by 13 October 2014  to:

Events Administrator, 'Media, Persuasion and Human Rights Conference’, College of Arts & Humanities, Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2DG

Or by email to: mediapoliticsconference@bangor.ac.uk

All payments should be made via the Bangor University Online Shop facility, which can be found here.

For more information, or should you have any questions please email: mediapoliticsconference@bangor.ac.uk


Staying in Bangor

You can book accommodation by downloading and completing the form below. Please send the completed booking form to Ffion Lisk.  

Downloadable Accommodation Booking Form

The Management Centre is graded as Visit Wales 4 star Guest Accommodation and offers 57 en-suite guest bedrooms that have achieved the Visit Wales Business Class Gold Standard.


For alternative accommodation there is also a range of Hotels and Guest Houses in the Bangor area.

Getting to Bangor

You will find location maps, maps of Bangor University and travel directions here.