Seattle welcomes the annual ICA Conference in May

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This year, Seattle will be home to the annual International Communication Association (ICA) Conference, with events taking place from May 22 to 26 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel and on the University of Washington campus.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Communication and ‘the Good Life’,” which Communication Director of ICA John Paul Gutierrez says ties perfectly with Seattle as the home of cutting edge technology.

“We are looking at how communication technologies have helped or hindered our quest for the ‘Good Life’,” Gutierrez said. “Whether being constantly connected is a good thing or bad, exploring this theme in Seattle is the perfect fit. Also, our members are global and having a city that has charm, public transportation, and good food are main draws of a conference city.”

Gutierrez said Seattle will end up being one of the largest conferences to date in terms of participants. With 26 pre-conferences overall, seven will be held on the UW campus, many involving Department of Communication faculty. Assistant Professor Matthew Powers, who is helping organize the sold out “Qualitative Political Communication Research” preconference featuring Lance Bennett, Kirsten Foot and several graduate students, says he attends ICA annually and having it in Seattle makes it possible to have a strong departmental presence.

“It’s one of the top association conferences in the field of communication and as a result features a diverse array of research topics and approaches,” Powers said. “It’s also consistently great fun, as it provides opportunities to reconnect with old friends, make new ones and exchange ideas with scholars around the world.”

The conference has been held across the globe (last year in London and next year in Puerto Rico) with more than 4,500 members in ICA from over 80 countries. Assistant Professor Katy Pearce said she will miss traveling to a new city this year, but is excited to “host” her friends and colleagues.

“I have been involved with the mobile communication pre-conference for about five years now,” Pearce said. “The pre-conference has become an intellectual home for me. We are all friendly, support each other’s scholarship, and work together to make our collective work stronger.”

Pearce is co-chairing the 11th Annual ICA Mobile Pre-conference Workshop “Mobile Research for Building a Better World” with Brett Oppegaard of WSU. She is also the official social media person for the Communication and Technology division and will be tweeting about special panels, highlighting research, and promoting scholars.

Some big names at the conference will be video game designer Ian Bogost, and Microsoft Research’s danah boyd, who visited the Department in March. Gutierrez extends a special thanks to the UW and the Department of Communication:

“They have generously offered their facilities for multiple pre-conferences. Also, the faculty is strong and committed to ICA. People like Mac Parks, Patricia Moy, and Katy Pearce have been contributing to our planning and our Association; we don’t know how we could get this done without them.”

Click here for a complete list of pre-conferences. Below are all of the pre-conferences hosted by the UW:

o   11th Annual ICA Mobile Preconference Workshop: Mobile Research for Building a Better World with Katy Pearce (5/21-5/22/14)

o   Technologies of Sex and Gender: Queer Theories and Subjects with Travers Scott (5/22/14)

o   Political Communication Graduate Student Workshop with Patricia Moy (5/22/14) – closed reservation

o   Communication Policy: from Local Ecology to National Agenda with Lew Friedland and Lance Bennett (5/22/14)

o   Qualitative Political Communication Research with Matthew Powers (5/22/14) – sold out

o   The Cultural Politics of Protest: Confronting Social Justice and Inequality in Communication Studies with LeiLani Nishime (5/22/14)

o   Sharing: A Keyword for the Digital Age with Nik John and Gina Neff (5/22/14)

UPDATE: Come celebrate two former UW Communication professors Kurt and Gladys Lang, whose contributions to the study of communication are extensive. They each wrote path-breaking dissertations on the new world of televised politics and have written several books together. The reception will take place on Saturday, May 24 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. in the Ballard Room at the Seattle Sheraton. Remarks, including one by Professor Lance Bennett, will begin at 6:45 p.m. For more info, click here.