Downtown & Zoom
Global Platforms and Cultural Production: June 1-2, 2022
$50 in person; $25 online
This workshop features the first-ever gathering of international communication, media, platform, and cultural studies scholars, students, and faculty centered upon the study and teaching of both creator industries, social media entertainment and wanghong (Cunningham & Craig, 2019). Social media entertainment, or SME, refers to a nascent, if rapidly-emerging, creative industry distinguished by a vast and global-scaling wave of new cultural producers (creators, influencers, live streamers, vloggers, gamers, wanghong, KOLs, zhubo) harnessing social media platforms to aggregate communities for cultural and commercial value. Simultaneously, China’s own version of social media entertainment, Wanghong, has developed at an even more accelerated pace, marked by the global expansion of Bytedance/TikTok (Craig, Lin, & Cunningham, 2021). The concurrent and accelerated rise of both industries signal how these platform-based cultural entrepreneurs feature centrally in the advancement of and critical concerns surrounding digital capitalism and platform nationalism. While operating with distinction from legacy IP and distribution-controlled media industries, SME and wanghong pose a series of questions regarding the sustainability of creator labor, practices management and entrepreneurialism, as well as their role in platform innovation. This workshop will focus on strategies for research and teaching the commercial viability and/or cultural influence of creators and wanghong, whether Instagram beauty influencers, Taobao e-commerce streamers, Twitch and Douyu game players, YouTube, Douyin, and TikTok personalities, Only Fans hosts and Patreon subscribers, and more. The workshop maps the latest conceptual foundations, research methods, key topics, and pedagogy for studying and teaching social media entertainment, wanghong, and creator culture. Hosted by the international array of editors and contributors to the volume Creator Culture: An Introduction to Global Social Media Entertainment (Cunningham and Craig, eds, 2021), the workshop includes a series of breakout sessions to identify best practices for research and pedagogy across platform studies, cultural studies, digital ethnography, media management, autoethnography, globalization, production studies, policy frameworks, the future of work, and more. Outputs are to be determined but may include a special journal volume and/or online or published handbook for faculty, researchers, students, and instructors.
(10 minutes per presenter)
Lunch provided by Sterkstaaltje
(20 minutes per group)