SACOMM 2017: CFMS postgrads leave inspired and connected

12 Sep 2017 - 08:45


This year’s SACOMM conference entitled "Locating the power of communication in a time of radical change", was hosted in conjunction with the Highway Africa conference, at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, 30 August-2 September. The aim was to encourage collaboration between media and communication researchers and practitioners.

CFMS postgraduates – honours, masters and doctorates – attended and successfully presented their current research to the attendees which came all the way from University of Limpopo to University of KwaZulu-Natal. CFMS staff Tando Ntunja, Alexia Smit, Ron Irwin and Musa Ndlovu also attended. Dr Ndlovu’s new book #Feesmustfall: Reform or Revolution? was also launched at the conference. The book looks at the Fees Must Fall protest and its impact on universities, the country and the South African political landscape.

Most of the CFMS students were attending their first SACOMM, and here is some feedback on their experiences:

Emmy Tither: Going to SACOMM 2017 was my first time attending a conference as an academic and it was a positive experience. Though I find conferences very mentally and physically taxing, I am very glad I went to this one. I enjoyed presenting, but even more so I enjoyed watching my UCT colleagues present and shine. I left tired, but excited to continue my research and make connections with fellow academics near and far.

Sophie Patch: SACOMM was an incredible experience. It was fantastic to meet so many likeminded people with such interesting and diverse research. It has given me so much inspiration for further studies and reignited the spark within me for academia. #wouldgoagain

Miki Redelinghuys: My first SACOMM experience was a good one. I don’t have anything to compare it to, so I could just enjoy it with the wide-eyed wonder of a first-timer. The highlight for me was definitely chairing the session on gender and representation: Interesting papers, well presented and an engaged audience that shared in a Q & A that crept well into lunchtime. I hope that the sparks ignited in this session will grow and that SACOMM allows for a much longer session on this theme in the future. Thank you to the organisers from SACOMM and UCT for this opportunity. It was good to be in the company of fellow students and have the time to engage on a variety of topics.

Vanessa Clark: I left SACOMM with my brain buzzing and pretty much at capacity. It was such a great opportunity to see what research and work is being done at other media departments around the country, and to get feedback on the research I am doing. I also loved spending time with and getting to know the rest of my cohort and other members of the department at UCT. Oh, by the way, when Tanja Bosch tells you in March that you’ll have work you can present at SACOMM in August, believe her!

Chikezie Uzuegbunam: This year's SACOMM conference was especially memorable. Not only did it avail me the opportunity to reconnect with scholars whom I met at last year's edition but also others I've met elsewhere. What's more, having to chair a special panel and to have my research received well, were highlights of a conference that was both exciting and rewarding on all fronts! Thanks to CFMS for financial and every support that enabled my attendance.

Willemien Calitz: I’ve attended many academic conferences locally and abroad, but this was my first SACOMM. What I liked most about it is that the topics were directly related to current South African or African issues, and the role the media or communication can play in addressing them. The topics were incredibly relevant to our context – from the representation of black South African women, to the use of ICTs in addressing unemployment, to the effect of the media’s financial crunch on our newsrooms. The combination of SACOMM and Highway Africa was an interesting addition, and even though the conference could not have been made possible without corporate sponsorships, I personally felt some conflict of interest in this aspect. But overall, this was a fantastic bonding experience with fellow researchers – old and new to academia.

View our Facebook photo album of the conference here.