Distinguished Scholarship Awards, IICD of NCA

Call for Nominations
2016 Distinguished Scholarship Awards
International and Intercultural Communication Division
National Communication Association

Nominations are invited for the 2016 International and Intercultural Communication Division (IICD) Distinguished Scholarship Awards for work copyrighted in 2015. Up to five awards will be given in the following categories:
· Best Book (single-authored or co-authored)
· Best Book (edited or co-edited)
· Best Article (or Book Chapter)
· Best Dissertation and/or Master’s Thesis

Submit all nomination materials via electronic submission to cheny3@ohio.edu and must include the following:
(a) A nomination letter outlining justification for the award
(b) For Article or Book Chapter submissions, send PDF copies only
(c) For Book submissions, send three (3) copies of the complete work (You may ask your publishers to send copies directly as part of their promo)
(d) For Dissertation or Thesis submissions, mail/send three (3) CD-ROM, flash drive, or PDF copies of the complete work.

Mail hard copies (for c & d) to the following address:
Dr. Yea-Wen Chen
School of Communication Studies
Ohio University
Schoonover Center 407
Athens, OH 45701-2979
The United States

Awards will be presented at the International and Intercultural Communication Division (IICD) Business Meeting in Philadelphia at the 2016 NCA Convention. Recipients of the awards will be notified by September 1, 2016 and are expected to be present for the award presentations. Self, peer, or advisor nominations are welcomed. The awards committee will not accept more than one submission of the same (co-)author, whether they are nominated or self-nominated, regardless of category. Works must have been copyrighted during the 2015 calendar year.

Nomination packets must be received by April 25, 2016.

NCA 2014 in Chicago

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The National Communication Association 100th convention was held in Chicago November 20-23, 2014. I organized a panel entitled “Intellectual Genealogy: Documenting Invisible Colleges in the Age of Digital Communication” with Theresa Castor, Robert Craig, Jay Leighter, Jefferson Pooley, Michelle Scollo and Leah Wingard. In addition, I presented two papers. “Taking a (Meta)Communication Perspective to Intercultural Dialogue” (discussing the Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue) was part of the panel organized by Richard Buttny resulting from the Macau conference in spring, with Todd Sandel and Sunny Lie (from that event) and the added participation of Don Ellis; Cynthia Gordon was chair. “Bringing Intercultural Dialogue to the Center” was part of a panel of past chairs of the International and Intercultural Communication Division, organized by Alberto Gonzalez, and titled “Past Challenges, Present Victories.” A photo from that event is attached; the participants were (bottom row, from left): Mary Jane Collier, Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Young Yun Kim, Yolanta Drzewiecka, and (top row, from left): Benjamin Broome, Carley Dodd, Donal Carbaugh, and Alberto Gonzalez.

In addition, I met with several of the CID advisory board members (Donal Carbaugh, Todd Sandel, and Charles Self). And, as is always the great benefit of large conventions such as this, I caught up with literally dozens of people I know. Far too many to name, this group included not only everyone on any of my panels, but graduate school peers and former colleagues; large numbers of professional colleagues from various contexts, including prior conferences large and small; NCA officers past, present, and future; and even a colleague met in China attending his first NCA. I also caught up with my Villanova University colleagues from  last year, this year’s Harron Chair (Raymie McKerrow), several people considering applying for next year, and a former graduate student who was presenting a paper prepared for my seminar in Social Construction Theory. Perhaps my favorite part of going to such conventions is that I also always meet lots of new people. Unfortunately, only one other photo will have to represent all these connections: the second photo above shows me with Jing Yin  and Yoshitaka Miike.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

CFP NCA IICD graduate seminar

NCA IICD HONORS GRADUATE STUDENT SEMINAR

The International and Intercultural Communication Division (IICD) of the National Communication Association, in partnership with Sage Publications, proudly announces the first IICD Honors Graduate Student Seminar to be held at the 2014 NCA conference in Chicago.  The theme of the seminar is Intercultural Communication and New Media and will feature competitively selected papers of currently enrolled MA and Ph.D  students in communication and allied fields.  Intercultural new media research is an emerging and important new area of intercultural communication  and  consists of multiple dimensions including ( but not limited to) how new media impact intercultural communication theory (i.e acculturation/dialogue/competence/identity), how culture influences the social uses of new media, and  in what ways new media affect culture.  Papers will be reviewed and selected by top scholars who will also serve as research respondents during the honors seminar.  The honors seminar will be conducted on Saturday, November 22. 2014 from 3:30-7:00 PM at the NCA conference in the Conrad Hilton, Chicago.  The seminar will be followed by an IICD reception honoring the  participants.  Graduate students selected for participation will receive a monetary award as well as IICD honors graduate student certificates.  To be considered, full papers (APA including 200 word abstract) are due no later than June 9, 2015.  Finalists will be contacted and announced by  August 29, 2014.  

Papers should be sent electronically to the Coordinator of the IICD Honors Graduate Student Seminar: Robert Shuter, Professor, Marquette University, Diederich College of Communication and Visiting Professor, Arizona State University, Hugh Downs School of Communication.

IICD NCA distinguished scholarship awards

Call For Nominations
International and Intercultural Communication Division
National Communication Association

Distinguished Scholarship Awards
Nominations are invited for the 2014 International and Intercultural Communication Division Distinguished Scholarship Annual Awards for work published/copyrighted in 2013.

Up to five awards will be given in the following categories:
*Best Book (single-authored or co-authored)
*Best Book (edited or co-edited)
*Best Article (or Book Chapter)
*Best Dissertation and/or Master’s Thesis

Unless otherwise specified, all nomination materials must be by electronic submission only to: sara.deturk@utsa.edu and must include the following:

(A) A nomination letter outlining justification for the award.

(B) For Article or Book Chapter submissions, send PDF copies only.

(C) For Book submissions, send three (3) copies of the complete work. (You may ask your publishers to send copies directly as part of their promo!)

(D) For Dissertation or Thesis submissions, mail three (3) CD-Rom copies of the complete work.

Mail hard copies (for C & D) to:
Dr. Sara DeTurk
Department of Communication
University of Texas at San Antonio
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249

Awards will be presented at the International and Intercultural Communication Division Business Meeting at the NCA 2014 Annual Convention this November in Chicago. Recipients of the awards will be notified by September 1, 2014 and are expected to be present for the award presentations. Self, peer, or advisor nominations accepted. The awards committee will not accept more than one submission of the same co-/author, whether they are nominated or self-nominated, regardless of category. Works must have been published and copyrighted during the 2013 calendar year.

Nomination packets must be received by April 25, 2014.

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US doctoral programs in intercultural

The following is an excerpt from the National Communication Association’s list of doctoral programs in the US with a specialization in Intercultural-International-Cultural Communication:

Arizona State University, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
Bowling Green State University, School of Media & Communication
Cornell University, Department of Communication
Michigan State University, Department of Communication
New York University, Department of Media, Culture, & Communication
The Pennsylvania State University, College of Communications
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Communication & Media
Southern Illinois University, Department of Speech Communication
Temple University, School of Media & Communication
University of Albany-SUNY, Department of Communication
University at Buffalo-SUNY, Department of Communication
University of California-San Diego, Department of Communication
University of Denver, Department of Communication Studies
University of Illinois, Department of Communication
University of Illinois, Institute of Communications Research
University of Illinois-Chicago, Department of Communication
University of Kansas, Department of Communication Studies
University of Maryland, Department of Communication
University of New Mexico, Department of Communication & Journalism
University of Oklahoma, Department of Communication
University of Oregon, School of Journalism & Communication
University of Pennsylvania, Annenberg School of Communication
University of Southern California, Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism
University of Washington, Department of Communication
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Department of Communication
Wayne State University, Department of Communication

CFP I remember NCA…

Request for Proposals
I REMEMBER…. NCA Centennial Video Project

The National Communication Association (NCA), with 8,000 members is the largest communication association worldwide representing communication professors, students and professionals.  NCA is 100 years old in 2014 and Communication students, classes, or student organizations are invited to submit a proposal to record memories of past NCA conventions at the 2013 NCA Convention in Washington DC and produce a video for display at the 2104 Centennial NCA in Chicago, IL.  Applications are due by September 2, 2013.

Project specifications:  Individual interviews are to be conducted by “roving” videographers at the 2013 NCA Convention in Washington, DC, screened for appropriate content, representation of diversity and edited into a looping video that may be displayed at the 2014 Centennial NCA Convention in Chicago, IL pending approval by the NCA Centennial Planning Committee.  Videographers will also be responsible for collecting informed consent signatures at the time of the interview.  The video should capture a diversity of voices and memories including but not limited to: “What was your most memorable experience at an NCA convention? What experience at an NCA convention/conference had the most impact on your career development? What would you tell a junior colleague about your experiences in NCA?”  The planners will work with the students and NCA National Office to find a prime location from which to record interviews.

Eligibility:  Applicants must 1) be current communication undergraduate or graduate students who have a knowledge of video production, 2) have access to appropriate recording and editing equipment that you can bring with you, 3) have at least two members of the team in attendance at the 2013, November 21-24 National Communication Association Conference in Washington DC, 4) complete an approximately 30 minute edited, video by March 30, 2014, and 5) have a faculty sponsor to oversee the project at the convention and in post-production.

Compensation:  Reimbursement for editing and production costs, travel, hotel accommodations, and student registration for up to four students for the 2013 NCA Convention not to exceed a total of $5,000.

Applications should be submitted to Paaige K. Turner at turnerp AT slu.edu by September 2, 2013.  Award to be made by September 16, 2013.

1)     Applicant Information
a.      Name of Institution
b.     Name of student organization or course (if relevant)
c.      Names of individual students including contact information and relevant education/experience;  identify primary contact
2)     Statement of Interest
a.      Rationale for completing the project and attending the NCA convention.
b.     Project management plan (how would work be accomplished)
c.      Description of available video, audio and editing technology or resources
d.     Interview protocol including key questions and demographics
3)     Statement of support and commitment by Faculty Sponsor (including name, title, contact information)
4)     Budget for student travel and expenses (travel costs, hotel accommodations, and student registration for up to four students)
5)     Other information as desired

Paaige K. Turner, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Communication
Saint Louis University
3733 W. Pine Mall Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63109

Grant for Comm in Emerging Democracies

Call for Grant Proposals for the Promotion of Communication in Emerging Democracies

Grant Funded by The Dale G. Leathers Memorial Fund to Promote Communication Studies in Emerging Democracies. Proposals are being solicited that promote scholarship and teaching of communication studies to benefit emerging democracies and their peoples. Any activity which contributes to this goal is potentially eligible for funding. Such activities include (but are not limited to) the following:
*International travel for residents of emerging democracies to attend conferences or advanced training in communication studies
*International travel for U.S. residents to disseminate communication scholarship or to conduct training in communication studies in emerging democracies
*Procuring and disseminating scholarly and instructional materials in communication studies for use by institutions within emerging democracies
*Research about various topics in communication conducted by residents of emerging democracies who would otherwise lack adequate support for such research
*Research about communication phenomena in emerging democracies, which may be conducted by U.S. scholars or by others, and which promises to directly or indirectly promote effective communication practices

General Procedures for Proposals

Proposals should not exceed 10 pages and shall include the following information:
(1) rational for considering the target nation an emerging democracy
(2) a clear statement of methods or listing of activities, depending on the nature of the proposal
(3) a clear statement of expected outcomes and their relationship to the purpose of the grant
(4) a clear statement of the intended use of monies provided by the grant
(5) an abbreviated, 3 page CV of applicant or principle investigator

Proposals will be reviewed and funded on an annual cycle. If the Trustees deem that no satisfactory proposals have been received in a particular cycle, or if the Trustees deem that available funds are insufficient to justify an award during a given cycle, no award need be made.

Deadline to submit proposal is October 1, 2013.

Grantees will be required to follow the National Communication Association’s Promotional Activities and Sponsorship Acknowledgement Policy for NCA-Funded Events and Projects.

Grant awards are funded by The Dale G. Leathers Memorial Fund to Promote Communication Studies in Emerging Democracies. For 2014, the total grant amount available is $500, and must be spent within the 2014 calendar year.

Please send proposals to: Brad Mello, bmello AT natcom.org
Proposals must be in English.

Andrew Spieldenner-Microgrant report

NCA Microgrant Report
Andrew R. Spieldenner, Hofstra University

ARSpieldenner at Sigma
I applied for one of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue‘s microgrants funded by the National Communication Association  to explore the possibilities of meeting with researchers in London. Currently, I am looking at using communication methods to better implement and evaluate the roll out, implementation and uptake of HIV biomedical interventions among gay and bisexual men in the United States. Because of the disproportionate impact of HIV in the United States on certain groups, my work focuses on African American, Latino and HIV-positive gay men – all populations that experience persistent structural barriers in the healthcare system.

Matching funds
The Hofstra University School of Communication supported this project with a faculty research support grant. The matching funds covered the costs of housing and food while at the host institution.

Local host
The Global Forum on Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) hosted a Pre-Conference focused on gay and bisexual men at the International AIDS Conference 2012 in Washington, DC. I chaired the panel on HIV, community mobilization and immigrant MSM. On the panel, Ibidun Fakoya, Research Fellow at University College London presented her formative assessment of African gay men living with HIV in London. Ibidun Fakoya works with Dr. Fiona Burns on the advancing Migrant Access to health Services in Europe (aMASE). aMASE uses a multi-site Community Advisory Group to assess clinical and health care access for migrants in Europe with some focus on MSM and substance users. As such, aMASE is constructing a framework for effectively working with mobile and marginalized populations in assessing healthcare. In follow up conversations and through social media, a relationship emerged on common research interests. Through these conversations, the project emerged and additional meetings were made through Ibidun Fakoya and social media. In the past few years, I have developed a network of other advocates and researchers who are active on twitter and whose specialty is health disparities and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

Ibidun Fakoya, Andrew Spieldenner
Ibidun Fakoya, Andrew Spieldenner

Trip itinerary
My colleagues were generous with their time. I visited University College London, Birkbeck College and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Each meeting opened up other doors to consider – with other researchers, community groups, medical providers, and health policy institutions.

Uni College London

Ibidun “Ibi” Fakoya and Dr. Fiona Burns of University of College London aMASE project were my primary hosts. Ibi and I met with the Community Mobilization Coordinator to discuss the Community Advisory Group and the implementation of the research survey in multiple countries in clinic and community settings.  We brainstormed on possible community partners to achieve the target survey populations in the United Kingdom (UK), Germany, Spain and Italy. I was able to review the processes that aMASE has implemented to get a shared research tool and protocols across all partner sites. In addition, Ibi and I reviewed social marketing and health messaging in order to develop marketing materials. Ibi was instrumental in coordinating with the other researchers for my trip.

At the University College London, I met with Professor Graham Hart on HIV and gay men in the London and New York City, focusing on the vastly different healthcare systems in the two countries. Professor Hart is Dean of the School, and he has extensively researched HIV and gay men. Professor Hart was interested in how the differing healthcare systems and social attitudes about health impact the treatment and service environment for gay men of varied racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. He gave several referrals to visit community groups and health policy institutions.

Professor Matthew Weait of Birkbeck College is an expert on HIV criminalization laws. We discussed the ways that HIV criminalization laws operate in various countries, and how cultural views frame the laws. We also examined the concurrent passage of gay marriage legislation in Maryland alongside an enhancement of the state’s HIV criminalization law. We discussed the importance of translating research and policy into accessible language in order to mobilize community members.

Matt Weait, Andrew Spieldenner
Matt Weait, Andrew Spieldenner

Dr. Catherine Dodds and Dr. Ford Hickson of the Sigma Research Group are currently housed at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The Sigma Research Group has been on the forefront of research in the UK on gay men and HIV. They have conducted surveys at gay prides in the UK for over a decade, and have implemented several Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) projects alongside community partners. We had an intense discussion about harm reduction in HIV, the limits to current public health discourse on gay men and HIV, methods of conducting CBPR projects (including the use of Skype), and how communication – as a field – can be used in public health research.

Further activities
There are several future activities possible in the future. Many of these involve future correspondence and research support. We acknowledged that there were several meetings about HIV and our respective fields that may be of interest to the others. Dr. Hickson, Dr. Dodds  and Professor Weait committed to ongoing communication about projects and possible next dates for meetings when we happened to be in the same event (such as the International AIDS Conference 2014).

Ibidun Fakoya and I sketched out two different research projects to advance, and we are looking to collaborate over the next two years on these projects.

Finally, I plan to return to Europe summer of 2014 on another project, where I will be renewing my relationships with these researchers.

[NOTE: Andrew Spieldenner’s original project proposal is available here.]

Renee Cowan-Microgrant report

NCA Microgrant Report
Renee Cowan, University of Texas at San Antonio

HOW DO I KNOW IF IT’S WORKPLACE BULLYING? CULTURE MATTERS
Project Description

 

The National Communication Association micro grant provided through the Center for Intercultural Dialogue allowed me to begin a very productive conversation and collaboration with renowned European workplace bullying researcher, Dr. Denise Salin (Hanken School of Economics, Finland). I first connect Dr. Salin after reading her extensive research on workplace bullying and the organization from the European perspective.  Dr. Salin and I, along with our project partner, Dr. Suzy Fox (Professor, Loyola University, Chicago) are in the planning stage of a large multi-national research study on conceptions of workplace bullying.  Our conversations allowed me to better understand workplace bullying from a European perspective and helped shed light on pertinent issues when investigating bullying from a culture perspective.  In order to begin this effort, I needed to raise research funds to allow attendance at the planning meeting in Helsinki, Finland.

Renee_Denise-sm
Renee Cowan, Denise Salin

Raising Funds for the Trip
To fund this international collaboration trip, I estimated I would need $2,400 for airfare and hotel arrangements.  I was granted $900 from the National Communication Association through the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and $1200 in a Faculty Research Grant from the University of Texas at San Antonio.  This covered the majority of costs associated with the trip and I personally supplemented the remaining sum.  Our meeting was highly successful and because of the trip we are advancing through Phase 1 of the project.

The Project
During our meeting we discussed and finalized a three-phase international workplace bullying project.  From a U.S. human resources perspective, workplace bullying (WB) is defined as “Actions and practices that a ‘reasonable person’ would find abusive, occur repeatedly or persistently, harm or are intended to harm the target, and result in economic, psychological, or physical harm to the target and/or create a hostile work environment” (Fox, Cowan & Lykkebak, 2012, p. 10). While WB is a universal phenomenon, there are institutional, legal, organizational, and cultural factors that necessitate different approaches to bullying in different parts of the world.  We determined our guiding research question: based on the assumption that the violation of national, gendered, or other cultural norms will be perceived as rude, crude, or bullying behavior, to what extent will national differences in cultural values and communication norms be associated with differences in behaviors perceived to constitute workplace bullying?

The Center for Intercultural Dialogue grant allowed me to meet with Drs. Salin and Fox to discuss and refine our three-phase intercultural bullying research project.  We held this meeting during the week of June 1-8, 2013.  During this week-long meeting we were able to discuss important logistics of our international project including securing grants, our project schedule, securing country partners, and specifics of data collection.  The meeting was very productive and we are now able to move forward with data collection for Phase 1 in Summer 2013. We hope to complete the full project by Fall 2015.  We have secured collaboration from country partners in Argentina, Poland, Bahrain, Turkey, India, Australia, Austria, China, Greece, Mexico, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and we have collaborators who have expressed interest in the United Kingdom and Israel.  What follows are more details on the project:

Phase 1. In this phase we have determined the participating countries and collaborators, gained commitment and alignment of the team members, developed the collaboration protocols and project guidelines, and began creating the interview and survey measures. The two main clusters of materials will be common measures of cultural characteristics and communication norms, an initial set of bullying items based on popular Workplace Bullying measures and semi-structured interview protocols. Focus groups in the U.S. and Finland will be conducted.  We have largely completed Phase one and plan to conduct most focus groups by the end of Summer 2013.

Phase 2. Focus group, interview and survey materials will be translated and back-translated, supplemented by culture-specific questions contributed by our country researchers. Each collaborator will conduct interviews with a minimum of 15 respondents, and will include Human Resource professionals, managers who have handled bullying incidents, and union leaders or other employee representatives.

The focus groups and interviews will seek to uncover underlying cultural assumptions, values, norms, and perceptions that contribute to judgments of workplace bullying behaviors. For each culture, we will work with the collaborators to develop a comprehensive and specific set of behaviors that employees in that culture would consider to be workplace bullying. This will be the starting point for the next phase, the survey.

Suzy, Renee, Denise-sm
Suzy Fox, Renee Cowan, Denise Salin

The project will produce strong intellectual significance by attending to the question: To what extent are national differences in cultural values, communication norms and gender roles associated with differences in a) behaviors perceived to constitute workplace bullying, b) how individuals and organizations respond to perceived workplace bullying, and c) preferences for organizational and public policies, including specific roles assigned to HR professionals in efforts to counter workplace bullying?

This research will result in several direct outputs that will be beneficial for both U.S.-based and global HR departments: 1) specific guidelines for what should be effective practice in addressing WB from a training standpoint, 2) specific guidelines for anti-bullying policy for global and U.S.-based organizations, 3) guidelines for identifying and addressing WB in both local and multicultural contexts, 4) dispute resolution guidelines and procedures and 5) suggestions for incorporating anti-bullying considerations into organizations’ formal performance management and disciplinary systems.  The project’s potential broader impacts are to offer guidance to Human Resource Professionals (HRPs) and managers in defining, recognizing and responding to workplace bullying complaints and situations, and to help multinational corporations develop guidelines that enable people from diverse national backgrounds to work together.

REFERENCE
Fox, S., Cowan, R. & Lykkebak, K. (2012). Revision of the workplace bullying-checklist: workplace bullying policy survey for HR professionals. Proceedings, Academy of Business Research, New Orleans, March 15, 2012.

[NOTE: Renee Cowan’s original project proposal is available here.]

Louisa Edgerly-Microgrant Report

NCA Micro Grant Report
Louisa Edgerly, Independent Scholar

This report details my travel to the Republic of Congo to begin fieldwork on a collaborative research project with the International Conservation and Education Fund (INCEF), a US-Congolese nonprofit organization that produces educational films on topics related to public health and environmental conservation. The aim of my research is to develop descriptive accounts and interpretations of the intercultural communication that takes place between INCEF, their audience of rural Congolese villagers, and the global health workers and environmentalists who also work on the issues of human health and environmental conservation in Congo.

Identifying local partners
I learned about INCEF’s work – and its relevance to theories of intercultural communication – through conversation with an INCEF board member. Following this initial conversation in May of 2011, I drafted a project proposal outlining a possible collaboration between INCEF and the University of Washington’s Center for Local Strategies Research (UWCLSR) to study INCEF’s methods of communication and their process of project design through the lens of speech codes theory.

I sent the draft proposal to INCEF’s Executive Director, Cynthia Moses, and to UWCLSR. When all parties expressed interest in moving forward with the project, I then began to discuss possible dates for an initial research trip to Congo to observe INCEF’s work in place. Based on INCEF’s planned activities for 2012, Cynthia and I determined that November and December, 2012 would be a good time for my visit. I estimated that I could raise funds to cover a two-month stay in Congo, and to pay for travel of about a week to a remote location outside the capital city to observe INCEF’s project implementation.

Sunrise-smRaising research funds
Once I had chosen the dates for my research trip, I began by setting up an account on a crowd-funding web site called Petridish. I had done quite a lot of research on possible sources of funding for research, but as an independent scholar there were not many options available. The National Communication Association‘s Travel Microgrant was one notable exception, and I applied for this in addition to my other fund-raising efforts.

Crowd-funding offered the best – and fastest – mechanism to raise the $7,000 I estimated I would need to cover the costs of the entire trip. I created a short video to put on the Petridish web site, chose the different donation levels and the rewards for each level (a photograph from the trip, subscription to the trip’s blog, etc.), and set up the crowd-funding platform. In fifty days I raised just over $7,000 through my personal network of friends and family, using social media tools and email appeals. Petridish charged 4% of the total raised for providing the web site, and Amazon Payments also took a transaction fee from each donation made online. I was able to use the remainder to cover my direct research costs, including air fare, food, housing, and local transportation in Congo.

The timing of my travel depended to a great extent on INCEF’s schedule, and thus I had to depart for Congo before the decision about the NCA microgrants was announced. I crossed my fingers and booked my ticket for Brazzaville, Congo.

The NCA microgrant for $1,000 covered one third of the total round trip airfare from Seattle to Brazzaville, and thus allowed me to use other funds raised to cover unexpected expenses that arose during my field work, including several extra days spent in the northern town of Impfondo due to canceled flights, and the wildly unpredictable cost of gasoline, which increased travel costs within Congo.

Research Activities in Congo
The aim of my research in Congo was to study the communication methods used by INCEF, and to assess the degree to which they constituted a dialogic and participatory approach to intercultural communication. This field trip also aimed to allow me to see whether further academic collaboration might be able to offer some real benefits to INCEF, by offering a theoretical approach to intercultural dialogue that was compatible with their overall goals and experience, as well as helping them make connections with other organizations doing similar work.

In Brazzaville, I stayed in a guest room at INCEF’s headquarters, located in the Centreville neighborhood. The experience of studying human beings in their natural settings almost never goes completely smoothly, and this trip was no exception. INCEF’s Executive Director had intended in be in Brazzaville to meet me, but she was delayed several weeks and did not arrive until I had been there almost four weeks. The project that I had planned to observe was on hold due to lack of funds, and many of the activities that I had hoped to observe were likewise delayed or suspended. All of this provided me with the chance to explore Brazzaville and observe daily life there, to have longer conversations with INCEF’s staff, and to study their library of public health and conservation films in greater detail. The realities of living and working in a developing country, with inconsistent electrical supply, running water, and internet service also provided important background context to help me understand the structural barriers INCEF faces in their work every day.

My first weeks of observations and interviews with INCEF staff, and with individuals from other organizations such as the Wildlife Conservation Society that partner with INCEF in Brazzaville, provided me with a preliminary set of data to analyze, and important context for my later observations in the field. After four weeks in Brazzaville, I traveled north to the town of Impfondo, where I met with two of INCEF’s educators to prepare for a trip out to the village of Makolongoulou to screen several INCEF films as part of their work on violence prevention and public health with UNICEF. I conducted observations at a number of INCEF film screenings and at the facilitated discussions that followed, both in the village and in Impfondo. This trip gave me the opportunity to see INCEF’s communication methodology in practice, and added a great deal of information to the data I had collected through earlier interviews. From Impfondo, I returned to Brazzaville to conduct a few final interviews and prepare to return to Seattle.

Louisa & Mika-sm

Further research activities
Back in Seattle, I have continued to pursue new contacts and find connections with researchers doing similar work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have found that many more people are interested in talking with me now that I have completed an initial field study, and I have begun to develop several promising contacts at the University of Washington in the departments of Anthropology and Computer Science and Engineering. I have written a paper based on my preliminary research findings, and submitted it to the NCA conference. I am also developing a project in collaboration with Public Health-Seattle & King County and the Masters of Communication in Communities & Networks program at UW. I will lead a year-long graduate student practicum to apply some of the communication methodologies used by INCEF – video, facilitated discussion, local perspectives and languages – to the task of reaching the many different cultural and language communities around King County, Washington with public health messages.

I remain in touch with INCEF’s Executive Director and I am actively pursuing ways to return to Congo to conduct more field research with INCEF staff. My research experience thus far has shown that there is a very clear connection to theories of intercultural dialogue in INCEF’s practice, and that engaging with these theories could enhance INCEF’s work on future projects. It has also become clear that continued involvement in scholarly research will benefit INCEF by raising their profile among possible donor organizations and academic institutions. In addition, this collaboration will offer them access to new technologies to assist in the dissemination of their films and educational tools. Another possibility that has opened up would involve INCEF in training local people in Congo to produce their own videos on public health and environmental topics, thus creating a more participatory process of two-way communication between citizens and policy makers in Congo. This methodological shift has emerged from the research connections I have begun to build as a result of my initial fieldwork.

The NCA travel microgrant played a very important part in the successful completion of my field trip to Congo. Completing this initial pilot study has given me a foundation of preliminary data and access to a whole new network of connections that would not have been possible without the travel grant.

[NOTE: Louisa Edgerly’s original project description is available here; further information about her project in a report to the Center for Local Strategies Research is here.]