International media convention to visit GV

Lizzy Balboa

Grand Valley State University will play host to the Media Ecology Association’s 14th annual international convention June 20-23.

Sponsored by the School of Communications, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Provost’s Office, the conference is meant to stimulate academic conversation and raise awareness about the effects of media on human life.

“In some ways, it’s more a study of the evolution of human consciousness and the possibilities of human relations,” said communications professor and convention co-planner Corey Anton. He said the convention will look at the contributions of clocks, cell phones and all types of technology that “have shaped how humanity has become what it is today.”

The convention will feature panels, papers and various projects that highlight current research and academic thought in the field of media ecology. With an “unplugged” theme, it broadens the concept of media to include literacy, transportation, robots, neuroscience and more.

“It’s more than studying the media,” Anton said. “We’re really interested in environments as media and media as environments.”

He added that while the convention contributes to a wide spectrum of specific academic fields, it also illuminates the general concept of human life.

“It’s important because there are few areas of study that give us a better understanding of what it means to be human—what are the possibilities, obstacles and opportunities—than to understand the various technologies and the environments that affect us,” Anton said.

The professor said it has taken GVSU years to finally win the competitive bid to host the convention. The university submitted a proposal to host many years ago, but Anton said the president of the organization did not think the Allendale Campus was a good fit for the conference. The downtown campus ended up making the sale.

“I regularly attend many conferences and conventions annually, and there’re a lot of great groups out there, but of all the groups I would say this is my favorite group,” Anton said, adding that it’s the “most stimulating, most engaging and least pretentious” in that it’s not exclusive to high-level academics.

Students are invited to attend all sessions except the brunch for free.

“They’ll find the most amazing array of topics,” Anton said, adding that many scholars tie the topic of media into religion, sexuality, education and politics.

The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Amway Hotel in Grand Rapids.

To register or receive information on the Media Ecology Association, visit

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