Cultures in disarray

A commentary from  Courtney McLaughlin,  a student on our MA Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship programme at Goldsmiths.


CMCI King’s College Conference – ‘Cultures in Disarray’

11-12 June 2015

ICCE Blog Post

‘Cultures in Disarray’ is a large and loaded theme to cover in a two-day conference. When I submitted my abstract for the King’s College Culture, Media and Creative Industries’ (CMCI) annual postgraduate conference I approached the subject with a certain amount of trepidation. How do you define a culture in disarray? Or perhaps more importantly, what culture isn’t in some sort of disarray? The subtitle of the conference – ‘Destruction/Reconstruction’ – immediately brought to mind one of my favourite cities and a place that I am lucky enough to have called home for part of my life, Berlin. Berlin, of course, has been built, destroyed, and rebuilt many times over and in the context of the creative industries and the idea of the ‘creative city’ it is an excellent departure point for talking about cultures in disarray. Luckily enough, the selection board at CMCI agreed and accepted my proposal for a paper presentation.

The conference began with a fascinating opening keynote from Dr. Peter Dahlgren of Lund University in Stockholm. Dr. Dahlgren discussed the role of the web in facilitating and deflecting political participation. The role of the Internet and digital technologies was a theme that was reflected in the research of many papers presented over the course of the conference and the presentation thus set the tone for the next two days of learning and sharing.

The presentation panels were well organised and covered a broad range of themes from ‘Culture and Memory’ to ‘Digital Politics’ and ‘Managing Creativity.’ I was particularly impressed with the selection of speakers for each panel and the interesting discussion stimulated by the apparently very different presentations that ended up having fascinating points of commonality.

The audience, which was primarily fellow presenters and composed of mostly PhD candidates and lecturers from both across the UK and around the world, was very supportive and created an environment which fostered good discussion and idea-sharing. Feedback was given constructively and many commented that the conference had stimulated ideas about how they might better approach their research. I was very thankful to have such a supportive audience for my first formal conference paper presentation. I was quite intimidated when I first read over the programme of paper abstracts, but after the first day of the conference I had a surge in confidence and very much enjoyed my fifteen minutes of presentation about creative city policies and urban regeneration in Berlin.

The conference was an overwhelmingly positive experience and an enlightening look into the world of postgraduate doctoral research in the field of the creative industries. I was proud to represent ICCE and Goldsmiths at this conference and I certainly would recommend this experience to any future ICCE-icles who are interested in digging deeper in the academic world and practicing their presentation skills. Thank you to CMCI for a great two days!


– Courtney McLaughlin