Summary ECREA-ICSI 2019 Conference

Interpersonal Communication and Social Interaction Conference 2019

On October 14-16, the 6th bi-annual ECREA-ICSI 2019 conference took place at the department of Communication & Cognition, Tilburg University, the Netherlands. The ECREA-ICSI conference is the bi-annual meeting of the Interpersonal Communication and Social Interaction Division of ECREA, the European Communication Research and Education Association.

At our conference, we welcomed 45 participants from over 10 different countries. The main conference was spread over two days, in which we were treated to 35 interesting presentations and 2 wonderful keynotes. On Wednesday, we held a Young Scholar Workshop in which 11 PhDs discussed their current PhD projects under supervision of senior staff.

Monday, October 14, the conference started with a keynote by Marjolijn Antheunis, professor of Communication & Technology, Tilburg University, on personal communication with social chatbots. In her keynote, she explained her current research on self-disclosure and relationship formation with chatbots, including a longitudinal study in chatbots use and the use of chatbots as a confession device.

After lunch, the audience split up into parallel sessions. Sessions included ethical issues in interpersonal communication, strategic and relational communication, interpersonal health communication and mediated interpersonal interaction, with interesting talks ranging from colour use in intercultural advertising, multicommunication on social networks, and ethical issues in studying online interactions.

The day ended with a conference dinner at Tilburg’s City Brewery, who created a special four course dinner especially tailored to their locally brewed craft beers.

After some strong coffee, the second day of the conference started with two sessions on workplace communication and parasocial interaction with influencers and avatars, amongst others about employees’ use of social intranets, and avatar communication styles.

The second keynote was by Jeffrey Treem, associate professor of Communication Studies, Organizational Communication & Technology Group, University of Texas at Austin. In his keynote, Jeff put forward a novel and interesting view on communication visibility as a key construct in understanding modern communication and provided a theoretical vision and research agenda on the role visibility plays in organizational, professional, and institutional settings.

The final two sessions concerned boundary management and work-life balance, and non-verbal communication, again with many interesting presentations on, for example, job applicants’ self-disclosure on Facebook, and nonverbal behavior during speed dating sessions.

In sum, it was a great conference and we are proud that ECREA-ICSI 2019 was such a success. The conference showed ttje diversity of the interpersonal communication field but also showed the similarities in theories and approach we all have in our research. Moreover, the conference was a great mix between different methodological approaches, both quantitative and qualitative. If you are interested in the conference, the full conference program is available here.

Although this was the official end of the conference, on the Wednesday we continued with the young scholar workshop. 11 PhDs participated in the workshop led by Any Sivunen, Jeff Treem, and Alexander Schouten. In the workshop, we have feedback on the proposals the students send in and helped them on their way with our research (we hope).

I really hope to see all of you again at the ECREA conference in Braga, Portugal next year. Please consider submitting to our section. Follow us on Twitter!

Below are a few pictures of the conference.

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