Over the last three days, six of UKZN’s MECS students, along with their lecturer and mentor, Dr Nicola Jones, presented their research at the South African Communication Association Conference in Potchefstroom. Of the six students, five were presenting the findings of their Honours projects as part of SACOMM’s emerging scholars’ stream, while the only PhD student, Sandra Pitcher, presented a competitive paper, based on her thesis, which she hopes to be published after the conference.
All students’ work has been well-received, with both Merusha Naidoo and Claire Keyworth featured in the SACOMM 40th anniversary newsletter as key up-and-coming academics. Keyworth was excited that her work on Disney princesses was appreciated, while Naidoo was humble in the admiration garnered by her controversial paper on Oscar Pistorius.
The response from the audience to Mellisa Muchena’s paper, on students’ use of news on Facebook, generated some of the most interesting discussions from the emerging scholars section, and was approached afterwards by several students and lecturers to continue learning about her project; while Amil Umraw’s cool and professional approach to one of the most serious issues of the conference, the representation of domestic violence, was a mature and elegant presentation.
However, the most entertaining of all the students’ presentations was saved for last when Warwick Jones presented his paper on the representation of masculinity on the dating site Only Lads. Jones, not only impressed the audience with his deep theoretical approach and understanding, but also his amusing oratory performance.
Overall, MECS UKZN have been a resounding success at the 40th anniversary of South Africa’s most pretigious academic communication conference.