Programme

Keynote, Featured and Spotlight Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. This page provides details of presentations and other programming. For more information about presenters, please visit the Speakers page.


  • The Great Wall Story – The Way I Have Discovered It
    The Great Wall Story – The Way I Have Discovered It
    Keynote Presentation: William Lindesay OBE
  • Fake News and the Attack on America’s Freedom of the Press
    Fake News and the Attack on America’s Freedom of the Press
    Keynote Presentation: Professor Gary E. Swanson
  • History, Story, Narrative
    History, Story, Narrative
    Keynote Presentation: Professor Richard Roth
  • History, Story, Narrative: An Introduction to the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art
    History, Story, Narrative: An Introduction to the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art
    Special Address: Dr Yutaka Mino
  • The Disappearance of Silent Film and the Toy Movie Project
    The Disappearance of Silent Film and the Toy Movie Project
    Featured Presentation: Professor Yoneo Ota
  • Then with Now: A Rephotography Workshop at Nunobiki Waterfall, Kobe
    Then with Now: A Rephotography Workshop at Nunobiki Waterfall, Kobe
    Post Conference Featured Workshop: Dr Gary McLeod
  • Introduction of Osaka University’s Global News View Database
    Introduction of Osaka University’s Global News View Database
    Featured Address: Dr Virgil Hawkins
  • IAFOR Silk Road Initiative Information Session
    IAFOR Silk Road Initiative Information Session
  • IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 | Award Winners Screening
    IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 | Award Winners Screening
The Great Wall Story – The Way I Have Discovered It
Keynote Presentation: William Lindesay OBE

Between the late fourth century BC to 1644 AD at least 16 border-defence systems were intermittently built (or inherited and operated) by rulers of Chinese dynasties – all of them functioning as fortifications against nomadic cavalry from the north. These are known as “Great Walls of China”. Chinese chroniclers wrote a great library about their empires, including a history of each dynasty, but shy of rough work on imperial frontiers they seldom reference “Great Walls”. Today, their remnants comprise the largest system of related ancient ruins in the world, yet in spite of the urgent need to conserve these monuments their academic study and field research is ignored by university faculties – because “Great Wall Studies” transcends many fields.

By reviewing a series of personal Great Wall explorations, field-research foci, discoveries, advocacy and archive projects carried out and achieved in China between 1987 and 2017, as a geographer, author and film-maker I will show how diverse, personal, unconventional – and “foreign” – approaches have made significant contributions to the surprisingly narrow, Sino-centric and limited corpus of Great Wall knowledge, as well as popular understanding.

“The Great Wall”, the most famous building in the world, a bucket-list must-see, remains the least-known and most superficially protected of UNESCO world heritages, as continuing damage to it by nature and man shows. I hold that a better future for its protection, and rational, economic, educational and inspirational uses, rests with the development of “Great Wall Studies” as an integrated course at university level.

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Fake News and the Attack on America’s Freedom of the Press
Keynote Presentation: Professor Gary E. Swanson

Throughout time we have seen moments in American history when the press has been revered and honoured, and moments when its reputation has suffered. We have seen great and noble work by journalists in the United States and around the world, and we have seen embarrassing mistakes and lapses of judgment. But what we have never seen, until now, is an attack by a sitting US president on the press’s very role as a democratic institution.

For more than a year now, Donald Trump – first as a candidate, then as president – has waged a war against the press. He has attacked individual journalists and declared entire news organisations to be working against America’s interests.

President Trump’s attacks, despite the dishonesty at their core, are starting to have actual effects in the real world. His rhetoric and threats include loosened libel laws, a war against whistleblowers, and the banning of reporters he doesn’t like. But even scarier is the message that is trickling down to state and local elected officials, as well as to some of the president’s more extreme supporters. The message is: The press is the enemy; nothing it says should be believed; and there is no role or need for the press in American democracy.

Image | Reporters with various forms of "fake news" from an 1894 illustration by Frederick Burr Opper

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

History, Story, Narrative
Keynote Presentation: Professor Richard Roth

It is often said that there is no apprenticeship in journalism, and Richard Roth's “history, story and narrative” presentation will talk about his own experience as a rookie reporter coming of age in a foreboding American prison called Attica, one part of an American system that holds more than 2 million people captive, more than in any other nation. Roth was one of two newspaper reporters inside the prison yard at Attica during the September 9-13 riots in 1971, serving on the Select Observers Committee, and his subsequent writing about Attica earned him a 1972 nomination for the Pulitzer Prize.

Image | Attica Correctional Facility, New York, USA

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History, Story, Narrative: An Introduction to the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art
Special Address: Dr Yutaka Mino

This address will introduce the venue of the MediAsia plenary session, designed by world famous architect, Tadao Ando. It will talk about the art museum as a part of the city of Kobe, and how the director has attempted to better write the museum into the city, through a number of communicative and outreach projects.

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The Disappearance of Silent Film and the Toy Movie Project
Featured Presentation: Professor Yoneo Ota

The percentage of silent film works remaining in the US is only 15%. However, the situation in Japan is even more distressing, with only 0.2% of the works from the 1910s, 4.1% from the 1920s, and 11.7% from the 1930s preserved at Japan’s sole film archive, the Tokyo National Film Center (NFC). With the rise in popularity of talkies in the 1930s, it is likely that barely 5% of the works from this period forward remain.

Almost all of Japan’s silent film works have been lost. This is the current state of Japanese cinema. Why were these films lost? Was it due to war, fire, or by accident? The special circumstances facing Japan come into focus through investigation. We also explore the possibility that these circumstances are the same internationally.

Through this process we came to realize that short fragments of lost silent films were once sold generally for household toy film projectors. The “Toy Film (Restoration) Project” was initiated in response to this discovery.

Over 10 years, this project has been responsible for the collection and restoration of almost 900 films.

Additionally, we proposed a series of film restoration and preservation related workshops in 2006 aimed at conveying the current situation facing silent films to as many people as possible and at lobbying for the education of the next generation of film preservationists and restorers. This year we will hold our 12th workshop.

Also, to make sure that the films we unearth are not simply stored away, we opened the Toy Film Museum in 2015.

These initiatives will be introduced in the presentation.

Image | Screenshot from Roningai (浪人街 第一話、第二話 Roningai Daiichiwa Dainiwa), also known as Samurai Town: Story 1 and Story 2, are respectively 1928 and 1929 black and white Japanese silent films directed by Masahiro Makino.


「無声映画の散逸と玩具映画プロジェクト」

アメリカでの無声映画は15%しか残っていないそうですが、
日本の場合は、もっと悲惨で、日本国唯一のフィルム・アーカイブである
東京国立近代美術館フィルムセンター(NFC)でも、残存率は1910年代0.2%、1920年代4.1%、
1930年代11.7%。1930年代からトーキー化が始まりますから5%もないでしょう。
無声映画はほとんど残っていない。
これが、日本映画の現状です。どうして映画がなくなったのでしょうか?
戦争?火災?事故?・・・これらを究明する時、日本での特殊な事情が見えてきます。
もしかすると世界的にも同じ状況だったかもしれません。それらを探ります。
そして、失われた無声映画の短い断片が家庭用の玩具映写機の為に、
一般に売られていたことが判り、始めたのが「玩具映画(復元)プロジェクトです。
10年ほどの間に900本ほど映像を発掘し、復元しました。
また、多くの人たちに無声映画の現状を伝え、
また映画保存や復元に携わる次代の人たちの育成をアピールするために、
2006年に「映画の復元と保存に関するワークショップ」を提案し、今年で12回になります。
また、2015年に発掘した映像を死蔵させないために「おもちゃ映画ミュージアム」をオープンしました。
これらの取り組みについて、ご紹介いたします。

Then with Now: A Rephotography Workshop at Nunobiki Waterfall, Kobe
Post Conference Featured Workshop: Dr Gary McLeod

Revisiting locations in existing photographs and making new images from the same vantage points is a kind of picture-making often called ‘rephotography’. As an expanding set of visual practices, it is increasingly being used to illustrate change through juxtaposition of previous and present images. However, it is also common to make use of historical/archival images, often not in colour, to emphasise what we have become and what we have lost. As the number of digitally stored photographs is expected to rise to 4.7 trillion this year, why is there such a preference for older images? Combining rephotography with the popular format of a photo walk, this two-part workshop invites delegates to join the author in (re)visiting the Nunobiki area local to the conference venue (within 10 mins walk). Following introductions and a short overview of rephotography, the first part comprises participants locating and rephotographing vantage points in a collection of pre-selected old and recent images from archives and social media platforms. Having gathered a range of visual materials, the second part explores the recombination of that material to address the question of whether significance in rephotography predominately stems from use of a historical image or taking part in the process.

Image | Waterfall, Kobe (1875–2015) by Gary McLeod & 14 Others. Original photograph ©Trustees of the Natural History Museum London.

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Introduction of Osaka University’s Global News View Database
Featured Address: Dr Virgil Hawkins

Globalisation continues at a rapid pace. While the positive impacts of this process are evident, so too are the negative impacts, which can only be properly addressed at a global level. The causes and outcomes of such issues, including inequality, poverty, armed conflicts, the environment and public health, are inextricably linked at a global level. Events and phenomena that are distant and that initially appear to have little bearing on our lives may well be connected to us in some way. In this day and age, anyone has the potential to be a part of the problem, or a victim of its consequences. If we choose to take action, we can also become a part of the solution. In order to exist in this world, and in order to make it a better place, it is increasingly necessary for us to maintain a broad and multifaceted perspective of the world, and thus deepen our understanding of it.

This short presentation will introduce the Global News View (GNV) research centre at Osaka University, dedicated to working towards the realisation of an information environment in which people can comprehensively and objectively view the world and the issues it faces. It focuses on the Japanese-language media, and its works are published primarily in Japanese.

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IAFOR Silk Road Initiative Information Session

As an organization, IAFOR’s mission is to promote international exchange, facilitate intercultural awareness, encourage interdisciplinary discussion, and generate and share new knowledge. In 2018, we are excited to launch a major new and ambitious international, intercultural and interdisciplinary research initiative which uses the silk road trade routes as a lens through which to study some of the world’s largest historical and contemporary geopolitical trends, shifts and exchanges.

IAFOR is headquartered in Japan, and the 2018 inauguration of this project aligns with the 150th Anniversary of the Meiji Restoration of 1868, when Japan opened its doors to the trade and ideas that would precipitate its rapid modernisation and its emergence as a global power. At a time when global trends can seem unpredictable, and futures fearful, the IAFOR Silk Road Initiative gives the opportunity to revisit the question of the impact of international relations from a long-term perspective.

This ambitious initiative will encourage individuals and institutions working across the world to support and undertake research centring on the contact between countries and regions in Europe and Asia – from Gibraltar to Japan – and the maritime routes that went beyond, into the South-East Continent and the Philippines, and later out into the Pacific Islands and the United States. The IAFOR Silk Road Initiative will be concerned with all aspects of this contact, and will examine both material and intellectual traces, as well as consequences.

For more information about the IAFOR Silk Road Initiative, click here.

IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 | Award Winners Screening

The IAFOR Documentary Photography Award was launched by The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) in 2015 as an international photography award that seeks to promote and assist in the professional development of emerging documentary photographers and photojournalists. The award has benefitted since the outset from the expertise of an outstanding panel of internationally renowned photographers, including Dr Paul Lowe as the Founding Judge, and Ed Kashi, Monica Allende, Simon Roberts, Jocelyn Bain Hogg, Simon Norfolk and Emma Bowkett as Guest Judges. Now in its third year, the award has already been widely recognised by those in the industry and has been supported by World Press Photo, Metro Imaging, MediaStorm, Think Tank Photo, University of the Arts London, RMIT University, British Journal of Photography, The Centre for Documentary Practice, and the Medill School of Journalism.

As an organisation, IAFOR’s mission is to promote international exchange, facilitate intercultural awareness, encourage interdisciplinary discussion, and generate and share new knowledge. In keeping with this mission, in appreciation of the great value of photography as a medium that can be shared across borders of language, culture and nation, and to influence and inform our academic work and programmes, the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award was launched as a competition that would help underline the importance of the organisation’s aims, and would promote and recognise best practice and excellence.

Winners of the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 were announced at The European Conference on Media, Communication & Film 2017 (EuroMedia2017) in Brighton, UK. The award follows the theme of the EuroMedia conference, with 2017’s theme being “History, Story, Narrative”. In support of up-and-coming talent, the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award is free to enter.

Access to the Award Winners Screening is included in the conference registration fee. For more information about the award, click here.

Image | From the project Single Mothers of Afghanistan by IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 Grand Prize Winner, Kiana Hayeri.