The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies, UWA – Bridging Gaps: National Identity in Persona, Branding, and Activism

The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies is proud to announce Associate Professor Sean Redmond as the keynote speaker for our 6th international conference “Bridging Gaps: National Identity in Persona, Branding, and Activism in Perth, Australia this December. Guest registration and program for the conference are now available at Details of the conference are below.

Bridging Gaps: National Identity in Persona, Branding, and Activism

University of Western Australia
Perth, Western Australia
December 8-10, 2017
With 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:

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