“If you ask me whether communication research in India has come of age, I’d say no,” stated Prof. Usha Vyasulu Reddi, adding that the field is undergoing a churning that is akin to adolescence. She made these remarks as she delivered the keynote address at Commclave 2013, a research symposium organised by Research Scholars of the Department of Communication, Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad.
Welcoming research scholars and students, Dr. Usha Raman, Head, Department of Communication, shared the department’s vision in propelling research in communication and related inter-disciplinary leanings. She was joined by Prof. E. Haribabu, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University, who stressed the need for an inter-disciplinary approach to communication research. The Dean of the School, Prof. B Ananthakrishnan traced the history of the School now celebrating its Silver Jubilee year, and deemed a student-led symposium of this sort to be fitting in that context.
With the theme ‘Contextualization and Conversations’, Commclave 2013 is an attempt by the research scholars of the department to augment the growing space for research in communication studies in the country. Three panels of papers were presented through the day, on areas like Indian media constructions of the Arab Spring, construction of identities in online gaming, niche areas in health communication, understanding the field of organizational communication research, community media, mobile technologies and social media in shaping social change and more. The symposium ended with the institution of an informal association of researchers working in areas related to communication.
The prestigious Department of Communication is part of the Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication, which also houses the departments of Fine Arts, Theatre Arts and Dance. The Department is among the frontrunners in the area of communication research in the country, with faculty and research scholars involved in cutting-edge research in the areas of communication for social change, health communication, political economy of the media, historiographies of the media, film studies and media policy. The department has well-established linkages in conducting research with renowned international and national bodies and is home to the UNESCO Chair on Community Media, which is the first of its kind in the world.