Keynote speakers



Natalie Fenton

Goldsmiths College, University of London

I teach the following course: Critical Perspectives in Political Communications on the MA Political Communications.

My research is concerned to address one of the most complex and vital issues of our age – the role the media play in the formation of identities and democracies and why and how people seek to change the world for socially progressive ends.

I begin from the standpoint that we still live in deeply unequal capitalist societies, driven by profit and competition operating on a global scale. We also live in a media dominated world with many different ideas and identities in circulation at any one time. We need to understand the former to appreciate the latter – the relation between individual autonomy, freedom and rational action on the one hand and the social construction of identity and behaviour on the other. To explore these themes and issues I am currently involved in two main strands of research:

  • As former Co-Director of the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre, my work focused on the ways in which technological, economic and social change is reconfiguring news journalism and shaping the dynamics of the public sphere and public culture. This research led to my involvement as a founding member of the Media Reform Coalition and as vice-chair of the Board of Directors for the campaign group Hacked Off – both of which campaign for a free, plural and accountable media.
  • I am Co-Director of the new Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy. In this forum I seek to interrogate the relationship between the media and resistance – either as a dominant social force which through uniformity of representation encourages digression, or as a means of forging other identities and developing alternative political projects. I am particularly interested in notions of new media, networks and progressive politics; notions of political hope and rethinking our understanding of public culture, public sphere and democracy.

Areas of supervision

I am interested in supervising students in the following broadly defined areas: the media and democracy; the political economy of media and cultural industries; media power; media and political resistance; new media and radical politics; voluntary sector, civil society and the media.

Investigating the Echo Chamber, Portland’s Deirdre Livingston interviews me about the effects on the world from our everyday lives to democracy.

You can hear me talking about some of the things that interest me here.

You can pre-order my new book Digital Political Radical published by Polity, ISBN: 978-0-7456-5087-6

book cover of Digital Political Radical by Natalie Fenton

Source: Goldsmiths College, University of London




Alice Mattoni

University of Bologna

Associate Professor in Sociology of Cultural and Communicative Processes, I carry out research on the way in which media – digital and otherwise – intersect with street protests and social movements. I am currently Principal Investigator of the BIT-ACT research project, which has received funding from the Starting Grant 2018 programme of the European Research Council. As part of the BIT-ACT project I investigate the creation and use of digital media by civil society actors to fight corruption. For more info on this research project, please visit the BIT-ACT website.

Current Research Interests and Projects

  • I am currently working as Principal Investigator, based at the University of Bologna, of the ERC Starting Grant research project BIT-ACT Bottom-up initiatives and anti-corruption technologies: how citizens use ICTs to fight corruption funded by the European Research Council, from 2019 to 2024.
  • Since 2015, I have been involved as a collaborator expert on social movements in the research project Oil-Tourism Interface and Social-Ecological Change in the North Atlantic funded by the Insight Grant, Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Past Research Interests and Projects

  • From 2015 to 2019, I worked at the Scuola Normale Superiore as the Principal Investigator of the research project PiCME – Political participation in Complex Media Environments: A Multi-Level and Multi-Method Approach funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research through the grant S.I.R. – Scientific Independence of young Researchers.
  • From 2015 to 2017, I have been the co-investigator of the Social Movements and Media Technologies Seminar Series, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and jointly organised by the Centre for Global Media and Democracy (CGMD) at Goldsmiths University of London and the Centre on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS), Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence.
  • From 2015 to 2017, I worked as co-investigator in the Protest Media Protest Media Ecologies: Communicative Affordances for Social Change in the Digital Era funded by the Insight Development Grant, Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
  • From 2013 to 2015, I have conducted research on social movement and civil society actors struggling against corruption and organized crime in Italy and other European countries, in the framework of the ANTICORRP project, funded by the European Commission and with the WP11 research team Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute.

Source: University of Bologna