Communication Policy and Invisibilities (Inaugural Lecture: Prof. Maria Michalis)

20 June 2024 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
University of Westminster (Fyvie Hall)
309 Regent St.
London W1B 2HW
Communication Policy and Invisibilities (Inaugural Lecture: Prof. Maria Michalis) @ University of Westminster (Fyvie Hall) | England | United Kingdom

In her inaugural lecture, Professor Maria Michalis will reflect on her academic journey and how she has navigated the balance between academic research and attempts to intervene in policy.

She asks: what are the invisible communication policy issues and stakeholders, and what can we do about them?

Maria’s normative starting point is that communication policy should promote the public interest, understood primarily as democratic values, as her work on public service media illustrates. For Maria, policy is a way to explore ideas, discourses and power. Policy, like power, can be visible but also invisible. ‘Invisibilities’ refers to many things. For instance: the policy process itself can seem like a black box; policymakers prioritise certain issues and stakeholders, making these visible, whilst at the same time they overlook other issues and stakeholders, making these less visible or even invisible.

Maria’s contribution to communication policy lies mainly in researching and raising awareness of aspects that are less visible, yet central to our potential for empowerment and active citizenship. Her focus has been on the infrastructure of media and communication, on what goes on inside and behind the devices we use. What can broadly be termed as infrastructural governance (e.g., infrastructure, platforms, standards, artificial intelligence, value chains, business models and so on) is neither neutral nor merely technical but is fundamental to the cultural and informational content that we access, create and consume. Infrastructural governance has a very concrete impact on visibility, speech, democracy, and ultimately the character of our societies.

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception, to close by 7pm.