Halfway through her two-year term as president of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR), Associate Professor Lori Kendall has been busy making plans for the group’s annual conference, which will be held October 22-24 in Daegu, South Korea.
Internet Research 15 (IR15): Boundaries and Intersections will draw academics, students, and other researchers from around the world to this multidisciplinary meeting. During her leadership term, Kendall is working to expand the organization’s interdisciplinary membership to include increasing numbers of researchers from the arts and humanities, as well as a larger contingent of members from Asia, where AoIR will hold its annual meeting for the first time in the association's fifteen-year history.
“That’s one of the reasons we decided to hold the conference in Asia this year. We want to attract more scholars from the global south and from Asia, and so far that seems to be successful,” Kendall reported.
Preparations for the 2014 meeting have been anything but typical. Initially slated for Bangkok, Thailand, political events there forced Kendall and IR15 Program Chair Erika Pearson to move the event to Daegu. The two visited the new host city in July, where they found the town’s mayor and visitor’s bureau to be more than accommodating. They had opportunities to visit the conference venue and hotels where the three hundred or so conference attendees will stay.
A major focus of AoIR and a goal of their annual meetings is not only to connect the world’s top internet researchers but also to provide a forum for support of graduate students working in the field. A preconference doctoral colloquium will be held in which senior scholars will provide mentorship to students. GSLIS is sponsoring the keynote address, “Social Media on the Picket Line,” given by Jack Linchuan Qiu, an associate professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Though much of Kendall’s time so far as AoIR president has been dedicated to planning and then replanning IR15, she hasn’t lost sight of the other objectives she set out to reach during her term. AoIR.org has gotten a face-lift, association leaders have formulated a new statement of inclusivity, and efforts have been made to ease the annual transitions between conferences.
“I came in with several things that I wanted to do, and I think they’re going well,” said Kendall. “We’re continuing to make the organization run more smoothly.”