This full-day preconference will provide a space for those studying audiences through interviews, focus groups, ethnography, and other human-based qualitative approaches to share both findings and methodological tips and interrogations. Excited advertising rhetoric tells us that everything has changed, and certainly at industrial and textual levels, much has already been done and said to chart the shifting landscape. But we know little of how viewers, readers, and listeners that are spread across more content and more forms of media than ever before are experiencing these changes. Media content now travels more freely across national borders, remains relevant as long as it is accessible (which is far longer than in the past), and legacy media providers persist and adapt to an increasingly multifaceted field of creators and content. How do audiences use media now that they have greater choice and control? Are the streaming audiences of 2024 comparable to their earlier equivalents? Or, rather, how are they comparable, and how are they not?

Qualitative, audience research blossomed in the eighties, with numerous projects exploring the gendered, racialized, national, and class politics of viewing, the sociocultural uses of television and other media, and hence the place of media consumption in everyday life. Though audience studies has survived, and even thrived, since then in the service of examining fans, diasporas, and several other specific communities, we hope that this preconference will contribute to another wave of broad exploration of varying modes of consumption, of the politics of viewing, listening, and using, and the uses of media of all kinds.

We invite scholars working on any medium (television, music, film, streaming, games, podcasts, print; entertainment or news; social or legacy media) and/or with any audience, who are interested in discussing the state of audience research and in designing its future. Papers (20 minutes max.) may focus more on findings, on methods (especially methodological innovations), or consider both. Work in progress can also be presented (please indicate in your abstract).

Please submit a title and 400-word abstract about the work you will present and its level of completion. Submit to Jonathan Gray at no later than 1 December 2023; please title your email “ICA preconference submission.” Potential submitters are welcome to contact the conference convenors (via the same email) to discuss ideas in advance. Notifications of acceptance will be circulated prior to release of the ICA schedule (ie, no later than 10 January 2024).

(Note that attendance at the ICA main conference in the Gold Coast from June 20-24 is not required to attend this preconference. For those who are attending the main conference, though, Brisbane is just under 2h away from the Gold Coast by train, with plenty of trains running daily. International visitors will likely find it more convenient to fly directly into Brisbane rather than the Gold Coast, since the latter requires transfer from elsewhere in Australia.)