Pramana 2021, SCMC’s first international research conference resulted in a grand exchange of ideas, opinions, and a series of back-to-back interactive sessions on how media has changed in the post-pandemic world. Held on October 9th 2021, the event witnessed more than 350 attendees, the presentation of several papers, faculty presentations, and two special sessions. As proposed, the conference aptly captured the tectonic shifts in media post-COVID. The Day started with a welcome address by Dr. Sreeram Goplakrishnan, Director SCMC, who spoke about the location of Pramana in the world of research. A very warm and encouraging special address by Dr. Ruchi Kher Jaggi, Dean, Faculty of Media and Communication, Symbiosis International (Deemed University) flagged off the day with best wishes. The inaugural address by Dr. Rajani Gupte, Vice-Chancellor, Symbiosis International Deemed University promised continuous patronage and support to the current and future editions of the conference.
The first Conference Spotlight commenced with a brilliant keynote address by Dr. Nico Carpentier on ‘The Academic Researcher as a Contemporary Media Subject: Using Arts-based Research to Strengthen our Academic Voices.’ where Dr. Carpentier spoke about the possibilities of Arts-Based Research in Social Sciences and Humanities. The keynote speech that followed was on ‘Open Internet and the Threat of National Internets,’ delivered by Mr. Apar Gupta, Executive Director, Internet Freedom Foundation, addressing the challenges of data privacy and consumer rights. Students’ inquisitiveness was quite evident post an interesting session by Dr. Preeti Raghunath on ‘Datafication and Policymaking: Understanding Deliberative Democracy’.
A short break marked the beginning of the paper presentation sessions for the conference, with three tracks covering different facets of media. The first track on ‘Creativity and Communication in Digital Media’ was chaired by Dr. Sagar Gokhale. The second track delved into ‘Identities and the Digital’ chaired by Dr. Sunil Belladi. In the third track chaired by Professor Kavitha Iyer papers on ‘Media Miscellany’ were presented. Each track saw the presentation of many papers from authors across the country. This was followed by faculty presentations chaired by Dr. Baidurya Chakrabarti and Dr. Aviini Ashinko.
Students from all batches of SCMC were enraptured by the plethora of rich discussions that took place throughout the conference. “Pramana allowed me to understand the different sides of the media. The presentations during the same helped me get a broader understanding of the complex issues portrayed through the new media and how such issues can be handled in a creative yet practical manner. I found Mr. Apar Gupta’s address and the presentation regarding ‘Philosopher’s Lounge’’ highly informative and interesting.” said P.S. Niranjana (Batch ’24).
The penultimate session of the conference, i.e. Spotlight Session 2, was chaired by Dr. Sunil Belladi. It had insightful discussions and presentations from professionals across the globe. The session commenced with ‘Mapping Digital Hate: The Coronavirus, Anti-Asian Violence and Social Stigmatization in the United States’ by Dr. Joseph G Bock and Dr. Zia Haque from the Kennesaw State University, USA. It was followed by a discussion on ‘Philosophical Assumptions underlying Quantitative and Qualitative Research Approaches: Comparison of their Epistemologies’ by Professor Shrinivas Melkote from the Bowling Green State University, USA.
“Each speaker, out of their experience and research, had new information to offer that helped me expand the horizon of my knowledge. It was structured very well and organized efficiently. It was a very great and informative experience for the listeners.” said Pratishtha Bagai (Batch ‘23) about the conference.
The highlight of the conference was that it also awarded authors from each track. The awardee for Track 1 was Hazeena T whose paper was on the topic ‘Science, Philosophy, and the Clubhouse: A Case Study of ‘Philosopher’s Lounge’ ’. From Track 2, Manisha Madapathi took the award for her paper on ‘The Threat of National Internets’. Lastly, Trisha Welde took the award for Track 3 for her paper ‘Evolution of brand-consumer Relationships in the Social Media Landscape’.
The conference concluded with a valedictory address by Ms. Liji Ravindran, Deputy Director, SCMC. SCMC Pramana 2021 was a great success and received grand appreciation. “Pramana was a rare opportunity provided by the college for undergraduate students to present scholarly work,” said Vijay and Hannah (Batch ’22). The SCMC family can’t wait to host the next edition of the conference and promote international research.
Atharv Unhale and Maansi Anand