Utrecht 2010

StoryNet Symposium: Audience Experiences and Effects

IGEL conference (Utrecht University, The Netherlands, July 7-11, 2010) 

StoryNet will co-host a symposium at the IGEL conference 2010. In accordance with the conference’s overall aim, the symposium will focus on the social relevance of the empirical study of stories. Social relevance is present in different aspects of audience experience and effects of stories:

First, stories, fictional and non-fictional, are major sources of the audience’s construction of social reality: We learn facts about our world from television, internalize norms and values from novels and films, and acquire social stereotypes from computer games.

Second, stories are known to be excellent vehicles for persuasive, educational lessons. Audiences are attuned to processing facts from a narrative context, organize their memories in narrative format and use narrative structure to interact with others. Thus, messages that are made to educate about health and risks, norms and values, ethics, or consumer goods, often take the form of stories (e.g., advertisement, public service announcements, entertainment-education drama).

Third, regular, non-educational stories such as fictional motion pictures are often used as educational material in university or school contexts. They provide vivid cases of illnesses, forensic procedures, or ethical dilemmas, which all may serve as a starting point for teaching and critical discussion.

The symposium invites papers that deal with socially relevant uses of stories and their effects on audiences. The submission guidelines for the IGEL conference apply for symposium submissions as well; please state clearly that your submission is intended for the StoryNet Symposium. The symposium will contain several paper sessions, and integrate the inaugural business meeting of StoryNet. Members and non-members are welcome to join both activities. Submissions to the StoryNet Symposium will be subject to a separate (but also blinded) reviewing procedure.


Deadlines for conference papers and posters, as well as applications for the Summer Institute (3-7 July) are set at 1 February 2010. Please submit proposals in English using the submission system that will be launched shortly at the conference website: http://www2.hum.uu.nl/congres/igel/

Proposals should include the following information:

1. The title of the presentation

2. Name of the symposium

3. Names and institutional affiliations, including email addresses, of all authors

4. Contact address of the presenting author

5. Presentation Preference (“Poster”, “Paper” or “Either”)

6. A 75-word abstract of the presentation, for publication in the abstracts booklet.

7. A summary of the presentation with a title but no author information (max. 1000 words, including bibliographic references).

Please contact Helena Bilandzic (helena@bilandzic.de) or Frank Hakemulder (F.Hakemulder@uu.nl) with questions regarding the StoryNet Symposium. 

Symposium organizers:

Helena Bilandzic (University of Erfurt, Department for Media und Communication) and

Frank Hakemulder (Institute for Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University)