Redefining Televisuality: Programmes, Practices, Methods

ECREA Television Section Conference 2023

Datum / Dauer:
25. – 27.10.2023
Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF
Marlene-Dietrich-Allee 11
14482 Potsdam
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Dr. Karin van Es: "(Re)Claiming Television: Myths and Horseless Carriages"

Karin van Es is associate professor of Media and Culture Studies and project lead Humanities Data School at Utrecht University. Her research interests include the transformation of television and the datafication and algorithmization of culture and society.

John T. Caldwell: "Televisuality: Stylistic Exhibitionism or 21st Century Industrial Stress Behaviors."

John T. Caldwell, MFA, PhD, is Distinguished Research Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA. His awards include the career Outstanding Pedagogy Award from SCMS in 2018; NEA Fellowship (1979, 1985); Bauhaus University/Weimar Fellow (2012), and Annenberg Senior Fellow (2012).

Dr. Karin van Es: "(Re)Claiming Television: Myths and Horseless Carriages"

At Utrecht University Karin van Es is Associate Professor of Media and Culture Studies and project lead Humanities at Utrecht Data School and part of the steering committee of the focus area Governing the digital society. Her research focuses on the impact of datafication and algorithmization on culture and society. Karin is author of the book The Future of Live (Polity Press, 2016). She is co-editor of the volume The Datafied Society (Amsterdam University Press, 2017) and the special issue "Big Data Histories" (2018) for TMG- Journal for Media History . She has published in outlets such as Television and New Media, Media, Culture and Society, M/C Journal and First Monday. Karin was visiting fellow at London School of Economics in 2017 and 2018.

John T. Caldwell: "Televisuality: Stylistic Exhibitionism or 21st Century Industrial Stress Behaviors."

John T. Caldwell, MFA, PhD, is Distinguished Research Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA. His awards include the career Outstanding Pedagogy Award from SCMS in 2018; NEA Fellowship (1979, 1985); Bauhaus University/Weimar Fellow (2012), and Annenberg Senior Fellow (2012). He is author of numerous books, among them: Specworld:Folds, Faults, and Fractures in Embedded Creator Industries(Univ. of California Press, 2023); Production Culture: Industrial Reflexivity and Critical Practice in Film and Television(Duke, 2008), Televisuality: Style, Crisis and Authority in American Television(Rutgers, 1995). He is also the producer/director of the award winning feature documentaries: Land Hacks: Masculine Media Anxiety Disorder (2020), winner of Best Experimental Documentary Prize at "2020 DocLA Film Festival"; Freak Street to Goa: Immigrants on the Rajpath (1989), which premiered at the Margaret Mead Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, and Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam, and was broadcast on SBS-TV/Australia; and Rancho California (por favor), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002, and was featured at dozens of international film festivals 2002-2004.

Televisuality, as theorised by John T. Caldwell in 1995, allows for a holistic view on the unique properties of television as industrial product, technology, aesthetic form, and object of cultural discourse and audience engagement. The concept of televisuality designates a system of business conditions, styles, ideologies, cultural values, modes of production, programming and audience practices that make up television as a medium within a specific historical and geographical context.

The ECREA Television Studies section's 2023 conference will discuss how the term can be redefined within the contemporary context, where broadcast is transformed and complemented by streaming, where social networks are increasingly becoming video-based social media, where television texts are “unbound” and float as remixed cultural artefacts across channels, platforms, and media, and where the transnational interconnections of the television and audiovisual industry, the conditions of economic and social crisis, and the changing audience practices are thoroughly transforming the medium.

USA networks’ competition with cable and their fight for economic survival gave rise to Caldwell's original concept of televisuality as a strategy for the medium's resistance. Today, broadcast television competes with streaming and social media platforms in every country, which in turn make use of properties of televisuality in their aesthetics, economies, and production. At the same time, and in part propelled by this competition, serial narration, formerly a product of traditional television, experiences a golden age, with more high-end series produced than ever before. It can be argued that televisuality persists through the popularity of serial narration and production. But it is not only high-budget series that exhibit properties of televisuality. New forms of televisuality circulate transnationally in entertainment formats from UK, the Netherlands, Korea or Israel as well as in long-running serial fare from Nordic countries, European major continental markets, Turkey or Latin America. Entertainment, serial fiction, live broadcasts, news, sports and other televisual events as well as audiences’ modes of engaging with audiovisual content across geographical and platform borders, all work to redefine the essence of televisuality.

For Television Studies the concept of televisuality provides a rich and ever changing prism for the analysis of its objects of study, as well as a constant challenge to our definition of the essence of TV as a medium and the question of how we can approach it both theoretically and methodologically. Therefore, the ECREA Television Studies section's conference also seeks to engage with questions of theory and methodology that are unique to the field and apt for defining, understanding and exposing televisuality within contemporary digital screen media contexts.


Preliminary Program

Wednesday, October 25

  • 17:00-17:30 Welcome speeches
  • 17:30-18:15 Keynote 1: John T. Caldwell
  • 18:15-19:00 Reception with drinks


Thursday, October 26

  • 09:15-10:15 Keynote 2: Karin van Es
  • 10:30-12:00 Parallel panels
  • 12:00-13:00 Lunch
  • 13:00-14:30 Parallel panels
  • 15:00-16:30 Parallel panels
  • 17:00-18:30 Industry roundtable
  • 19:30 Conference dinner


Friday, October 27

  • 09:15-10:45 Parallel panels
  • 11:00-12:30 Methods exchange / Panel
  • 12:30-13:30 Lunch
  • 13:30-15:00 Parallel panels
  • 15:15-16:45 Parallel panels
  • 16:45 Coffee, cake and goodbye


Please register for the conference via our conference management tool conftoolThe registration deadline is September 1st

  • You will be able to access the registration conformation via conftool once the payment is registered - this can take up to a few days. Until then, you are able to download a pro forma invoice via your account. If you have questions or problems with the registration process please contact us: tv.conference(at)
  • Co-authors need to register with their own account via conftool
  • The regular conference fee is 85,00 EURO which includes the conference reception, coffee & tea, water, snacks and lunches
  • We offer a reduced fee for participants from low income countries and PhD candidates with low or no income. Please apply by simply sending a mail to, briefly explaining your situation until August 31. We will get back to you as soon as we processed all requests
  • We will keep you informed about the conference dinner (not included in the fees)


Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF

Marlene-Dietrich-Allee 11, 14482 Potsdam

The Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF is a lively place of independent research, teaching and art.  Founded in 1954 in the former GDR, it is now Germany's largest film school with an international reputation. In July 2014, it became the first German film school to achieve university status. With its unique interdisciplinary educational profile, successful productions and innovative research projects, the film university makes a decisive contribution to the future of moving image.  Knowledge and insights, innovative audiovisual formats, but also services, technologies, ideas and experiences are transferred to companies and society.

Research at the Film University focuses on the entirety of audiovisual media - from cinema to television and video to installations and VR experiences. It is the only German film university that promotes research with, in and about film. Scientific, artistic and applied research are in dialogue with each other. The university's research profile focuses on seven main fields: 1. aesthetics and narration, 2. production and industry, 3. technology and innovation, 4. reception and appropriation, 5. society, knowledge and social intervention, 6. history and cultural heritage, and 7. gender and diversity.

Plan your trip


  • By train

The nearest station is Potsdam Griebnitzsee with an approximate walking distance of 15 minutes to our venue.

coming from Berlin you can take the S7 towards Potsdam Hauptbahnhof or the RB23 towards Golm

coming from Potsdam main station you can take the S7 towards Ahrensfelde or the RB23 towards Flughafen BER - Terminal 1-2

  • By car

You can reach us via the A115: Exit Potsdam-Babelsberg in direction of Potsdam Zentrum, Nuthestraße, Wetzlarer Straße

  • By plane

The nearest airport is Berlin Brandenburg (BER), from there you can take the RB23 towards Potsdam Griebnitzsee or the bus BER2 towards Potsdam main station.

approximate ride duration: 1 hour


Where to stay

within walking distance

Stahnsdorfer Str. 68, 14482 Potsdam

5 minutes walking distance

limited contingent of reduced double rooms available when booking via mail and mentioning "TV Conference"

double room 120€ p.n.


Rudolf-Breitscheid-Str. 63, 14482 Potsdam

10 minutes walking distance

limited contingent of reduced rooms available when booking via mail and mentioning "TV Conference"

rooms starting at 130€, reduced 99€ p.n.


Rudolf-Breitscheid-Straße 190, 14482 Potsdam

15 minutes walking distance

rooms ranging from 137-177€ p.n.


Weberplatz 17, 14482 Potsdam

15 minutes walking distance

rooms ranging from 90-110€ p.n.


Großbeerenstraße 75, 14482 Potsdam

15 minutes walking distance

rooms starting from 100€ p.n.


near Potsdam main station via public transport

(5 minutes to S Griebnitzsee)

Leipziger Str. 1/Block J, 14473 Potsdam

rooms ranging from 80-110€ p.n.


Lange Brücke, 14467 Potsdam

rooms starting at 110€ p.n.


Babelsberger Straße 24 , 14473 Potsdam

rooms starting at 80€ p.n.


near Wannsee via public transport

(5 minutes to S Griebnitzsee)

Königstr. 10, 14109 Berlin

Call for papers

The Deadline for submission of abstracts ended on 21 May 2023, 23.59 CET.

    Submission details

    • Abstracts should be up to 450 words excluding bibliography. Abstracts should include a biographical note max. 50 words per author. Evaluation will focus on relevance to the conference topic, selection of research objects and clarity in use of methodology.
    • Co-authored abstracts need to state the first author. Only one abstract per first-author can be submitted.
    • Submission via conftool

    We particularly encourage contributions on the following topics:

    • Televisuality and contemporary practices of television production and distribution;
    • Methodologies for studying televisuality within Television and Media Studies;
    • Televisuality and screen media audience practices;
    • Styles, narratives and aesthetics of televisual programmes across genres and forms (scripted and unscripted);
    • Live broadcasting, live streaming, and their connections;
    • Scheduling, flow, interfaces, libraries and programming strategies;
    • Intersections, similarities and differentiations of television, social media, social TV;
    • Transformations in the global flows of television, and different ideas of televisuality;
    • Ideological paradigms of TV and their resistance in contemporary media systems;
    • Transnational aesthetics, production, distribution, and audience practices.

    Organisation & Contact

    The conference is jointly organised by the ECREA Television Section’s management team, Catherine Bengesser, Deborah Castro & Luca Barra and the local hosts Susanne Eichner and Lisa Plumeier at Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF.

    With the kind support of ZeM - Brandenburgisches Zentrum für Medienwissenschaften