Welcome to Flow, Volume 25
Special Issue: FLOW Conference 2018 Recap
Selena Dickey and Kate Cronin / The University of Texas at Austin
For those of you who are new to Flow, we are an online journal of media studies organized and edited by graduate students in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin. In its 14-year history, Flow has published over 1,500 columns written by more than 700 authors from across the U.S. and around the world. Our mission is to provide a space where researchers, teachers, students, and the public can read about and discuss the changing landscape of contemporary media. Last year, managing editors Cameron Lindsey and Lesley Willard curated a timely and generative relaunch of Flow to encompass both “scholarship that explores the histories and complexities of ‘television’ as an evolving media format,” while also taking advantage of the journal’s multimedia format and acknowledging “its broadening focus to more actively seek media, approaches, foci, and conversations that don’t easily lend themselves to categorization.” 
Following up on this valuable expansion of what Flow looks at, in this year’s volume, we aim to expand who we reach. To this end, we are particularly concerned with how media is preserved and accessed, how we teach media, and how we do media (praxis). Furthermore, we are concerned with the increasing ephemerality of media formats and the precarious labor of those who produce, distribute, exhibit, and teach media.
If this sounds familiar, it is! These are the same themes that guided this year’s FLOW Conference on media preservation, praxis, and precarity. The biennial FLOW Conference is hosted by UT’s RTF graduate students and faculty and aims to promote conversation amongst scholars, members of the media industries, media activists, fans, and policymakers over crucial issues related to television and new/digital media.
We decided to make this inaugural issue of Flow Journal, Volume 25, a special issue focused on the conference to spotlight the themes that pervaded the three days of rich conversation and to continue and provide wider access to some of the liveliest roundtable conversations that occurred. This issue’s coverage of FLOW 2018: Preservation, Praxis, and Precarity features:
A video recording of our plenary roundtable, Praxis in Practice. Drs. AJ Christian, Lori Morimoto, Randolph Lewis, and Christine Becker shared their insights and experience incorporating praxis into their research, scholarship, teaching, and activism.
“Field Notes” written by RTF grad student correspondents. These abbreviated pieces synthesize key takeaways and offer insights on themes running throughout various panels. Live tweeting of specific panels can be found by searching twitter for #flow2018 and the roundtable’s specific session number and letter, all of which can be found in the conference program if you click the above image.
Significant Findings and Further Questions. To push the questions and responses offered during this conference into practicable solutions and answers and to model the conference’s call for more practical applications within the field of media studies, we are publishing several critical reflections from participating scholars. We asked them to reflect on the answers, next steps, and/or further questions that emerged during their FLOW roundtable.
- Considering Contemporary Television’s Ideological Power – Isabel Molina-Guzmán
- The Political Economy of Digital Platforms – Samantha Close
- Flowing Forms – Jennifer Lynn Jones
- Media(ted) Archives – Lamiyah Bahrainwala
- The Cultural Forum of School Shootings – Michael Rennett
- Preserving Pornographic Media – Desirae Embree
- Latinx Representation in Hollywood – Arcelia Gutiérrez
Tailored Twitter Coverage. Besides a brand new Twitter widget (check it out on the right!), we’ve embedded the live tweet coverage for each of the above corresponding panels when available.
Many thanks to the FLOW Conference Coordinating Committee, FLOW conference participants, and especially to field note contributors and roundtable conveners who shared their time, insight, and labor to help us make FLOW 2018: Preservation, Praxis, and Precarity more accessible to those who were not able to attend. We encourage you to help us keep these conversations going with any comments or questions on twitter using this volume’s hashtag #flowjournal25. And we look forward to how these conversations and themes are carried forward in multifaceted ways in our upcoming issues! Happy reading!
1. You are in the good place.
- “Lindsey, Cameron and Lesley Willard. “Welcome to Flow: A Critical Forum on Media and Culture .” 2017. https://www.flowjournal.org/2017/10/welcome/” [↩]