From October 2020–October 2021, I stayed in Brussels for a study financed by Poland’s National Agency of Academic Exchange (Narodowa Agencja Wymiany Akademickiej – NAWA). The project “Media and Creative Cultures in the Neighbourhood” was funded by the 2019 Bekker Programme. COVID-19 postponed the observations and semi-structured interviews. However the one year stay at SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel turned out to be an excellent opportunity to deepen and broader results from the previous study with Lizzie – “Organisational Culture of Public Service Media: People, Values and Processes” (2015–2019).
“Media and Creative Cultures in the Neighbourhood” investigates the social and economic fabric of multi-cultural Brussels asking questions about community activism and urban regeneration. The study particularly looks at the significance of the physical space design in creating social organic collisions.
Photos: Molenbeek-Saint-Jean and Anderlecht – regeneration districts, Brussels area.
In the Spring and Summer of 2021, I conducted observations and interviews in a wide range of neighbourhoods (SeeU, Studio CityGate, Allee Du Kaai, Le Serre, The Manchester Quarter, ParckFarm) and cultural spaces (BOZAR, WIELS, Mima Museum, WeKonnekt Project). I also visited the Belgian media (RTBF, VRT, BX1 and BRUZZ) and this helped to understand the importance of social innovation and the cultural shift of public service media. Findings from the Brussels’ study have been integrated into the book I’m currently writing “The Cultural Shift: Public Service Media as an Entrepreneurial Organisation”. The “Media and Creative Cultures in the Neighbourhood” project will also produce articles on the societal and economic conditions necessary for a successful creative media neighbourhood.
Photos: BRUZZ, SeeU Square, historical media tower (RTBF and VRT).
Many thanks to Karen Donders (VRT) and Tim Raats (VUB) for supporting my stay in Brussels!
Many thanks also to other colleagues at SMIT; you all made the trip wonderful when there was little hope to achieve any outcomes at all during the pandemic.
In June 2019 both Lizzie and Michał disseminated project findings during the conference of the European Media Management Association 'Media Management and Actionable Knowledge: The Relationship Between Theory and Practice' in Limassol in Cyprus. Lizzie presented findings from the study at the German Media and Communication Association’s Policy Section conference, IIC 2019 in Dortmund on October 24–25, 2019. She is also presenting the findings at the InnoPSM – Research Network on Innovation in Public Service Media Policies Workshop at the University of Westminster organised by Alessandro D’Arma and Minna Aslama on November 12, 2019. Professor Jackson has submitted a 1.2m Euro bid with Ryerson University in Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC, The University of the Ruhr, and ZDF, the German public service media (PSM). If successful the project will run three Living Labs over three years, in Toronto, London and Bochum, Germany to concept eudaimonic media (media for the public good) with 14–16 year olds. The university researchers (Dr Christine Horz, Professor Charles Davis and Professor Lizzie Jackson) will work with the research and development and audience insight departments of each PSM.
Photos: Polish Communication Association, Paweł Brzeziński
Dr Glowacki presented key findings at the 5th Congress of the Polish Communication Association in Warsaw (September 19–21, 2019). The conference organised by the Faculty of Journalism, Information and Book Studies, University of Warsaw gathered more than 200 participants from Poland to discuss challenges for media research in line with the conference theme: ‘Media Power: People, Organisations, Technologies’. Keynote speeches were delivered by Des Freedman (UK), Karen Donders (Belgium), Mark Deuze (The Netherlands) and Svetlana Bodrunova (Russia) who all argued for challenging the status quo of contemporary media (and its research). Karen Donders emphasised the critical need for the internal re-organisation of PSM. Michal is currently working with Karen Donders on her book project related to the theory and practice of public service media as an expert on the Polish public service media. This collaboration will result in a joint research paper exploring the challenges for media reform in Central and Eastern Europe. Dr Glowacki has also started work on a monograph which will summarise the key findings from Glowacki and Jackson’s study.
Photos: Moscow Readings, Anna Pokareva
Michał also gave a keynote speech, ‘Entrepreneurial Cultures in Public Service Media and High Technology Clusters: Findings from 10 Cities in Europe and North America’ during the 11th ‘Moscow Readings’ conference at Moscow State University (October 17–18, 2019). Six key findings were introduced during the session with participation by Mark Deuze (The Netherlands) and Paolo Mancini (Italy), who critically examined existing theories, concepts and methodologies whilst also arguing for research on culture and examining media beyond traditional institutions. In addition Dr Glowacki delivered keynote speech at the Sofia Symposium “Technology and Regulation in a Convergent Environment. The Role of Social Media and Its Implications”, organised by the COMPACT project (November 11, 2019).
On October 8, 2019 we presented findings at the Accelerating European Media Innovation conference run by the European Broadcasting Union in Brussels. The one-day event was the closing conference of the two-year ‘MediaRoad’ project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The audience included media producers, researchers, policy makers, and commissioners from the EU. The aim of ‘MediaRoad’ has been to support ongoing debate and practice-based experimentation of new forms of media and communications in the public good. Participants included public service media, independent producers, creative from the wider creative and cultural industries, and SMEs specialising in high technology. We were invited to present results from ‘Organisational Culture of Public Service Media: People, Values and Processes’ (2015–2019) by Agata Patecka, Project Manager of MediaRoad.
The event was opened by Antonio Arcidiacono, EBU Director Technology & Innovation, and Maryia Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. Both speakers noted that innovation in the media sector requires coordinated actions and synergies in policy-making at the European level. Challenges for contemporary media policy were further addressed by Professor Karen Donders, Head of the Media Unit at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels. In her keynote speech she underlined the urgency of bridging the gap between technology and content. Professor Donders concluded by stating that media is about culture and social innovation, something that has been a strong finding in our own three-year study.
A round-table discussion on the priorities of the media sector was followed by a vision paper ‘Future and Emerging Technologies for the Media Sector’ by Luciano Morganti (imec, Brussels). Sarah Geeroms presented the gestation of the Sandbox Hub, one of the principle development methods used by participants within the Media Road programme. The Sandbox Hub acts as an accelerator supporting collaboration between established media companies with entrepreneurs, startups and high-tech SMEs. In our study we looked at VRT’s Sandbox that was the first to develop the Sandbox model. VRT – public service media in Flanders is one of the most innovative PSM globally. There are now sandboxes across 18 media organisations in Europe including France, Germany, Greece, Sweden and Portugal. Findings from our project were presented during the session on future media research by PSMs, NGOs and the EBU, receiving a highly positive reception from the audience.
Photo credits: MediaRoad.
Watch "Highlights: Accelerating European Media Innovation conference" (source: MediaRoad):
Professor Jackson was nominated President of RIPE (Re-envisioning the Public Interest In Media) in October, 2018. RIPE is a ten year initiative founded by Professor Gregory Ferrell Lowe and others to draw together scholars researching public service media, establishing a new field of media studies from 2002 to date. The founders of RIPE also nominated an executive team to work towards the formalisation of RIPE into an Association. Dr Christine Horz (Deputy President), Dr Minna Aslama Horowitz (Media and Communications), Dr Roberto Suarez-Candel (Industry Liaison) and Dr Jonathon Hutchinson (Secretary) will be Incorporating the new International Association of Public Media Researchers (IAPMR) in the winter of 2019 in Germany. The new Association will launch at the RIPE@2020 Conference in Geneva (October 28–30 2020). The conference will be jointly hosted by the University of Fribourg and the European Broadcasting Union. The Call for Papers can be downloaded here.
The RIPE Initiative will publish its RIPE@2020 Reader in the Spring of 2020. The Reader draws together state of the art research into public service media for scholars and industry bi-annually. Professor Jackson has contributed a chapter for the Reader “Datafication, Fluidity, and Organisational Change: Towards A Universal ‘PSM 3.0’’. The paper explores how co-working structures and agile production methods might assist PSM to adapt to working with data flows. PSM increasingly need to be able to work with data and database-driven platforms.
On October 19-22, 2017 we met again in Warsaw to discuss our initial impressions from 150 semi-structured interviews collected from our ten cities in North America and Europe. There’s also over 400 photographs from exploratory walks and visits to organisations to look at as well. We’re analysing the culture of each cluster, the organisational structure, partnerships, and networking. We are also looking at the people, location and the technology they are using to help them organise their work.
Face to face meetings have a very different function to online working. Physical meetings build trust between leaders and producers whereas social networking online helps the formation of a global workforce. Larger co-working spaces such as WeWork and Techstars offer contact with creative talent internationally. It’s possible to work in a city in North America, then move to a European city and have a very similar work experience. This assists a global flow of talent. At a more granular level the use of project management software such as Slack (just being adopted as we began our interviews at Boston’s Cambridge Innovation Centre in the US) has rapidly become one of the key tools for remote working on projects.
Our meetings took place in cafes and restaurants located next to the Palace of Culture and Science (Café Kulturalna, Bar Studio) in the centre of Warsaw and in cafes in the Savior Square area. This also served as preparation for two important conferences that we will organise in Warsaw. Firstly, the annual conference of the European Media Management Association (emma) will be hosted by the University of Warsaw June 14-15, 2018. This will be preceded by an experimental ‘Unconference’, ‘Creative Cultures for Media Progression’ which will be held June 13, 2018. If we are critically investigating the organisational culture of organisations and clusters, then we believe we need to look at our own knowledge exchange practices as scholars and try new forms of knowledge building.
We will present findings from our study at the unconference which is free to attend and open to all, whether you are just coming to take a look, presenting ideas at the PechaKucha or organising a session. We hope to see you either at the EMMA conference or the Unconference, or both, in June, 2018 at the University of Warsaw.