Bridging Gaps: National Identity in Persona, Branding, and Activism
University of Western Australia
Perth, Western Australia
December 8-10, 2017With the rise of Web 2.0, people brand themselves through social media as a singular person. The online visibility of their brand often takes precedence over social contributions. Their online presentation, however, is a reflection of how they want to be perceived in a collective setting. How does this kind of branding differ to a local business service or an international celebrity who also brands themselves online? What impact is persona branding having on society and the way people view themselves?
A focus on the persona of activists shows the particular impact of branding in society. An activist’s voice, like that of a political leader, is often heard if they have a strong brand. Yet, the perception is often specific to their national contexts. How are socialist actions in North Korea viewed in the Western world? How does having a female political leader change the perception of a country? How are immigrants seen around the world? What role does media play in creating these constructed views in national and transnational contexts?
We encourage scholars and industry practitioners to question, explore, and problematize the notion of national identity in persona, branding, and activism. We ask: how is a country reflected through its celebrities, popular history, stereotypes and myths? Often one individual can have global fame, which can result in branding a nation or city and develop a country’s cause as well. Their persona becomes the basis of how a place is perceived internationally. For example, American born icon Elvis Presley is used to represent Las Vegas and Memphis, while George Clooney has attached himself to Darfur through his activism. Similarly, Steve Irwin became a symbol of Australian culture through his philanthropy and his fame as “The Crocodile Hunter.” A decade since his death people still create the association between him and the nation’s identity, while overlooking how race, gender and class affect one’s overall brand identity. Myths surrounding national identity are also evident in beauty pageants and the Olympics. How do these stereotypes affect our understanding of culture?
The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS) Bridging Gaps conference, in association with sponsors Centre for Ecological, Social, and Informatics Cognitive Research (ESI.CORE) and WaterHill Publishing, invites papers and films that explore the relationship among four key themes – persona, branding, activism, and national identity. We invite academics, filmmakers, journalists, publicists, designers, advertisers, marketing specialists, charity organizers, and guests to explore and connect themes from a range of interdisciplinary fields and generate a valuable discussion and practice that will inspire change.
Attendees may present papers, take part in a workshop or create a roundtable discussion on the themes of persona, branding, activism and national identity. We recommend roundtables on Heath Ledger but open to discussions on other stars in national contexts of Australia and abroad.
Extended versions of selected papers will be published in an edited book by WaterHill Publishing, while others will be invited for the opportunity to publish work in the CrossBridge Journal.
We also invite people to send in videos for the Celebrity Chat Award. The idea for Celebrity Chat was born in Melbourne and the first recording took place in Perth. We are proud to be bringing it back home. The best video/documentary will be selected based on its ability to draw attention to a significant matter, be relevant to the conference theme and/or inspire change.
Registration includes: Your printed conference package, catered lunch, coffee / tea breaks, evening drinks, professional development workshop, and access to evening receptions.
Conference Chairs: Dr Jackie Raphael and Dr Celia Lam
Conference URL: http://cmc-centre.com/