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Media Research Conference 2023 at Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart

The Visual Media Lab proudly presents the Media Research Conference 2023, a pivotal event embedded within the Innovation Day as part of the esteemed International Week at Stuttgart Media University. Curated by Prof. Katja Schmid, the Media Research Conference 2023 is designed to be a crucible for educators and researchers in the dynamic field of visual media. Addressing the pressing challenges of our time this symposium is designed to explore innovative strategies to prepare the next generation of media professionals.

Focusing on topics such as narration, visual aesthetics, innovative teaching methods, and the evolution of teaching content, the conference aims to catalyze collaborative efforts and explore avenues for joint research projects.

Key Highlights

Date: November 29, 2023 from 9 am - 6pm, and November 30, from 10 am - 1pm
Location: Room S105 (Nov 29) and M030 (Nov 30), Stuttgart Media University

Program Overview

Wednesday, November 29

All-day lectures in Room S105, offered by fourteen speakers from seven countries to provide in-depth insights into the latest developments in media research. All speakers are educators and researchers from HdM partner universites.

Thursday, November 30

Moderated discussions on "Re-Thinking Visual Narratives in Higher Education and Media Research," providing a platform for thought-provoking exchanges among participants, students, and guests.

Presentation of research projects by Master students enrolled in the newly inaugurated Master program, Audiovisual Media Creation and Technology (M.Sc.). These students will pitch their projects slated for 2024, seeking guidance and feedback from esteemed conference participants and guests attending the International Week.

Who Should Attend

The Media Research Conference 2023 is an invaluable opportunity for educators, researchers, and students interested in the multifaceted world of visual media. Whether you are looking to stay abreast of the latest trends, collaborate on research projects, or engage in stimulating discussions, this conference is tailored for you.


November 29, 2023 (Room S105)

Welcome and Keynote, Research for Visual Storytelling at HdM, Color Studies, HDR, HFR, Virtual Production

In her keynote Katja Schmid will talk about the role that practice-based research plays in education at the HdM and what ideas have been put forward so far for using it to master the challenges of the future in teaching creative media professions. She will show examples of studies from recent years on aesthetics for visual storytelling. Prof. Stefan Grandinetti will give a brief overview of his research in the field at HdM in applied sciences of cinematography investigating in aesthetics and technical relations. High Dynamic Range - how much contrast do we need? High Frame Rates - higher temporal resolutions in acquisition and display can improve to avoid artifacts in today's moving images in cinema or TV, but are still a fundamental challenge in aesthetics of fictional motion pictures. Virtual Production - international collaboration in a BIP-ERASMUS+ at HdM.

Prof. Katja Schmid, Prof. Stefan Grandinetti, Prof. Jan Adamczyk (HdM)

Prof. Katja Schmid is Professor for Visual Effects and Post Production. She teaches Color Theory and Design, Montage Theory and Editing and supervises various Media Production courses. Her fields of research is color and visual storytelling. Katja is co-founder of the Visual Media Lab, coordinator of the english-taught Minor Program Media Arts and Experimental Film, and board member of the peer-reviewed journal Colour Turn and Cinematography in Progress (CITO). Prof. Stefan Grandinetti (BVK, IMAGO) teaches cinematography in "Audiovisual Media" in Bachelor and Masters programs at HdM. He is co-founder of the Visual Media Lab.

Spread of populist narratives in the comment sections of the social network Facebook

Populist narratives have spread in the comment sections of Facebook in diverse ways, making them battlegrounds for competing political opinions and a breeding ground for fake news, misinformation, and propaganda.Political parties employ similar narratives to those used by their supporters and members during campaign appearances, interviews, and on posters. Jørn Precht takes a closer look on this delevopment in the light of the rise of rightwing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

Prof. Jørn Precht (HdM)

Professor Jørn Precht is an accomplished writer of novels and screenplays. Since 2012, he has been teaching transmedia storytelling, dramaturgy, and content development for audiovisual and online media at HdM. Additionally, he co-founded the Institute for Applied Narrative Research there (IANA).

Hacking the Narrative: Storytelling & Transformation

There is a growing narrative scholarship concerned with the effects and affects of storytelling, focusing on critically analyzing storytelling practices. Which focuses on conveying the possible downsides of today’s story economy and the instrumentalization and uncritical celebration of storytelling (Makela et.al., 2018). The gap between this critical narrative scholarship and the use of narrative by storytelling professionals underpins the need for further development of the concept of narrative literacy for (future) storytelling professionals; to critically reflect on how narratives are constructed, how stories could be used for persuasion, how stories negotiate values and develop the skill to actively resist storytelling (Moenandar, 2018). I will share the concept of narrative hacking as a method to develop narrative literacy and the insights we have gathered in applying the method with students Creative Business at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and storytelling professionals in the creative industries in Amsterdam.

Dr. Silvana Beerends-Pavlovic (Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Silvana Beerends-Pavlović, Challenge Storyhackers @Communication & Creative Business. Department of Digital Media & Creative Industries. Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

Coffee Break

Narrative Environments

Combining Cróna's MA in Narrative Environments and her current research into the significance of the pedagogic studio in tertiary design education, this presentation will explore the narrative, pedagogic, and spatial theories this enduring typology embodies. Applying Henri Lefebvre's position that space is never neutral but is constructed through multiple interrelated social and political dynamics, the presentation will explore how these spheres combine with cultural perceptions of the studio space. Reflecting Cróna’s participatory and student-centred approach to education the presentation will encourage audience interaction.

Cróna O'Donoghue (ATU Letterkenny Ireland)

Cróna O'Donoghue is a Lecturer in the Department of Design and Creative Media at Atlantic Technological University, Donegal Ireland, and a PhD Researcher at CSM, UAL.

Influence of iconic material on the Assessment of utterances

In this project, we present research results inspired by an experiment published in the Psychology Development journal in the article Stable Truthiness Effect Across the Lifespan, examining the truth effect based on photographic material. The subject of the presented study is how communication offers interact at the verbal and visual levels and whether and to what extent the linkability of oral statements differs from statements updating two channels of reception (verbal and visual). In the study, the respondents were presented with a questionnaire to be filled in by themselves, containing 21 statements with a request to evaluate them - true/false. The study was conducted in two stages: once, presenting only the text of the theorem, and once, the theorem with a photo placed above it. The data obtained empirically show that the presence of a photo next to a given statement does not affect the respondents' negation or acceptance of the statement.

Dr. Mariusz Wszołek (SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities Wroclaw, Poland)

Mariusz Wszolek, PhD, is Assiciate Professor at SWPS University Wroclaw, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Institute of Graphics

Diving into Fluidity: Animations of Water

What do water and animation have in common? While researching this topic for my PhD thesis with a methodical mix from film studies, production studies and animation studies, one of my main interests was the interplay between the story, its visual narration with animation and film strategies, and the animated materiality. Using a humanities approach identified a number of similarities between water and animation: Animation dissolves visual structures as water dissolves substances, animated images can flow in a wave-like rhythm which connects to the visceral sensations of the viewers, animation can, like water, resists the attribution of fixed meanings.

Dr. Tina Ohnmacht (Hochschule Luzern, Schweiz)

Dr. Tina Ohnmacht works as lecturer for animation theory, she is the coordinator of the MA Animation and researcher at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Department Film, Art, Design.

Voices vs noises: Collaborative authorship in Stanley Kubrick’s films

My talk is based on my PhD thesis and continuous research on collaborative authorship in filmmaking practice. My research set out to challenge the mythology surrounding Kubrick’s filmmaking practice, arguing against the autonomous auteur approach. The working process in Kubrick’s crews is shown to exhibit strong collaborative features and to encourage individual creative input. My findings lead to an alternative perspective on film history. The outcomes of the research reveal other ways in which Kubrick collaborated. These alternative perspectives are used to build an argument around collaboration in Kubrick’s films, representing an important original contribution to the field of Kubrick studies.

Dr. Manca Perko (University of Bristol, UK)

Dr Manca Perko, film practitioner and academic, Lecturer in Film and TV Practice at University of Bristol, UK.

Lunch Break

The "Armenia Effect": Tracing Personal Transformation in University Filmmakers

"In a screen-dominated and AI-driven world where information, content, and people are a single click away, do pedagogies and learning methodologies still serve the contemporary college student? What remedies and antidotes to this technological deluge can educators offer to budding artists? To replant the “human” into the Humanities, mentors must foster real-life bonding among classmates, encourage in-the-world connections, and motivate exchanges of ideas between cultures. Accompanying six talented students to Armenia to film a documentary, I witnessed the remarkable impact and transformative power of work travel on the eager identity formation of this future generation of media creators."

Marcel Giwargis (CalState LA, USA)

Marcel Giwargis is a Lecturer in the Television, Film, and Media Department at California State University, Los Angeles, where he has taught courses in Intro to TVFM, Cinematography, Film History, and Portfolio.

Decolonising cinematography education: experimenting with lighting ratios and textures for Black and Asian skin tones

Painting is often referred to for inspiration as practitioners learn to compose and represent light and shadow in an aesthetically considered manner. In this respect, it is noteworthy that the painters generally studied by film-making students are mostly from Renaissance traditions and produced work featuring predominantly White models. This gap of racial representation in cinematographic pedagogy is stark and has long been overlooked. This article mounts an enquiry into the lack of diversity in cinematography education, examining how different aesthetic traditions, such as Asian ink paintings, could pave new ways for decolonising the conventional conceptions of lighting ratios. Drawing on qualitative and quantitative case studies undertaken in university workshops, I discuss how students respond to Black and Asian artwork as visual references when they are tasked with lighting models with non-White skin tones to accommodate the different reflectance of their skins.

Sung, Yu-Lun (London South Bank University, UK)

Yu-Lun (Luc) Sung is a professional cinematographer and a Senior Lecturer at London South Bank University. As a researcher, he investigates decolonisation in cinematography, the intersection of neuroscience and Virtual Reality through dyslexia, artificial intelligence for Virtual Production workflow, and cultural differences in international co-productions. He is a board member of Cinematography in Progress, the first peer-reviewed online journal with a focus on cinematography in the world.

The Interrelationship of Actor Performance and Camera Movement in Narrative Film: A New Approach to Teaching Directing and Cinematography

The traditional approach to pre-visualization involves arriving at a visual style before ever working with the actors. This means filmmakers often put secondary movement (movement of the camera) ahead of primary movement (movement of the actor). Students often have little understanding of the process of the actor, and how physicalization determines the quality of performance. I will discuss how camera movement can work in tandem with actor performance to enhance emotional context and my former HdM students will share their experience.

Dalila Droege (CalState LA, USA)

Dalila Droege, Assistant Professor and Area Head of Directing and Producing, Department of Television, Film, and Media Studies, California State University Los Angeles. (Subjects: Film Production, Directing, Producing)

Coffee Break

Voices from the Community - Community Impact Media Project at Cal State LA

The Community Impact Media program started as an extension of the work Professor Heather Fipps was doing with the International Gallery Hauser and Wirth. It’s an educational program that bridges the gap to professional experiences for our students at Cal State LA while also creating community partnerships. Students pair with local non-profits to create short documentaries. They are mentored through the documentary production process, while also gaining the experience of working with an outside client. Our grant from Hauser and Wirth was recently extended because of our students’ excellent work. We’re excited to share more details about the program and its benefits.

Rachel Pearl, Dalila Droege (CalState LA, USA)

Rachel Pearl is Assistant Professor in the Department of Television, Film and Media Studies at California State University, Los Angeles

Is it Really Empathy? Emotional & Cognitive Responses to the Metaverse

Is Virtual Reality really an “empathy machine?” Do the heightened emotional responses that are experienced in virtual reality narratives lead to greater empathy and understanding for disadvantaged groups and individuals? This mixed-methods study uses biometric responses and interview data to examine people’s responses to immersive narratives concerning issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.

Tamara Makana Chock, Ph.D. (Syracuse University)

T. Makana Chock is the David J. Levidow Professor and Director of the Extended Reality Lab at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University (https://newhouse.syracuse.edu/research/research-spaces/extended-reality-lab/).

wrap up & follow-ups

Prof. Katja Schmid

Networking Dinner

Thursday, November 30 (Room M030)

Re-Thinking Visual Narratives in Higher Education and Media Research

Workshop with conference participants and guests of the International Week on potential joint teaching and research projects

moderated by Prof. Katja Schmid (HdM), Dr. phil Tina Ohnmacht (Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Design & Art), Prof. Tilmann Kohlhaase (University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt, Animation and Game Production)

Master students AV3 (VMC) present their planned research projects

Master Students of the Visual Media Creation program present their ideas on their planned research projects

Master students of the AV3 program, conference speakers, international guests

Brain storming on Master Projects

group consultations of the presented Master projects

Master students of the AV3 program, conference speakers, international guests