Meccsa 2019 Roundtables

Roundtable 1: Media and Nations in Transition

Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 17.15 – 18.15

Chair: Neil Blain


  • Kirsty Hughes, Scottish Centre on European Relations
  • Michael Higgins, University of Strathclyde
  • Mariola Tarrega, Nesta
  • Irena Reifova, Charles University, Prague
  • Cesar Jimenez-Martinez, Loughborough University

The roundtable Media and Nations in Transition aims to address the variety and complexity of issues faced within the media-nation relationship in times of accelerated political and social change. The panellists will address the topic from perspectives on a variety of current developments. These include the Brexit impasse in the UK; independence and self-determination movements in stateless nations – particularly in Scotland and Catalonia; the rise of right-wing politics potentially reversing the trend of democratic transitions in Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America; and the recent rise of populism. The roundtable will reflect on how, within various social and political contexts, a growing range of media platforms represents these developments, often serving interests either advocating or challenging the status quo.

Roundtable 2: Women in Media and Politics

Wednesday, 9 January, 17.15 – 18.15

Chair: Karen Ross


  • Alys Mumford, Engender
  • Talat Yaqoob, Director Equate Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Fiona McKay, Robert Gordon University
  • Michele Paule, Oxford Brooks University
  • Nathalie Weidhase, Birmingham City University  

The Women in Media and Politics roundtable will discuss the challenges that many women face when they act publicly in the media and political domains. Although women hold up half the sky, their relatively low participation and under-representation in media and politics is a global issue, which has been fairly constant over several decades, albeit with modest incremental improvements. Women who take up an active role in public life, including as activists and politicians inhabit an environment, which is institutionally and historically hostile, and experience discrimination, harassment, gender-based violence and abuse on- and offline as highlighted by a number of high-profile cases which have hit the headlines. However, what recent campaigns such as #MeToo and #TimesUp signal is the growing confidence of individual women and groups to call out sexism, using social media as a powerful tool for voice and advocacy. The roundtable participants will consider what these trends mean, both the continuing challenges which women experience as well as the strategies and campaigns which have been initiated as pushback, and focus particularly on why key institutions such as the media and politics seem so resistant to change and what needs to happen in order to change the picture.

Roundtable 3: Media Production in Scotland

Thursday, 10 January, 17.45 – 18.45

Chairs: Sarah Neely, Susan Berridge


  • Lisa Kelly (University of Glasgow)
  • Katherine Champion (University of Stirling)
  • Raymond Boyle (University of Glasgow)
  • Susan Kemp (University of Edinburgh)
  • Inge Sorensen (University of Glasgow)

In the last few years, Scotland’s screen industry has been a cause for both celebration and despair. The success of the TV drama Outlander (2014-), filmed in Scotland, and reported to have brought £300 million of investment to Scotland, was praised while also reflected on as a missed opportunity. The sector has been criticised for its lack of infrastructure and leadership, with a lack of sufficient studio space often cited as a particular source of blame for the perceived crisis. In the last couple of years, there have been significant developments which may serve to address some of these issues, such as the establishment of Screen Scotland (a new agency dedicated to developing opportunities for film and TV production and exhibition across Scotland), the announcement of plans for Channel 4 to locate a new ‘creative hub’ in Glasgow, a new BBC Scotland channel set to launch in February 2019, and the recent announcement of plans to construct a new major film studio, in Port of Leith, in Edinburgh.

Roundtable participants will consider the potential impact of these recent developments, considering the implications for a wide-range of stakeholders, including producers, programme makers, exhibitors, broadcasters, educators, audiences, funders, commissioners, talent managers, etc, while also taking into account equalities, diversity and inclusion in the Scottish context.

Roundtable 4: ‘Poachers and Gamekeepers’ - The Intersections of Journalism and Public Relations

Thursday, 10 January, 17.45 – 18.45

Chairs: Richard Haynes, Alenka Jelen


  • Anne Cronin, University of Lancaster
  • Magda Pieczka, Queen Margaret University
  • Tom Collins, University of Stirling
  • Samantha Groessler, Scottish Government
  • Iain Macwhirter, Herald Scotland

The ‘Poachers and Gamekeepers’ - The Intersections of Journalism and Public Relations roundtable will shed a light on a dynamic and complex relationship between the two fields, ranging from hostility to cosiness, from love-hate to sweetheart relationships, from detachment to encroachment in academia and practice. The roundtable will interrogate problematic (or not) intersections between public relations and journalism and reflect on similarities as well as differences between the two as a professional practice and a social force. The participants will particularly reflect on changing dynamics in both areas brought by social media and digital cultures and implications these have had for relationships between public relations practitioners and journalists.