Cultures of Authenticity: An Interdisciplinary Webinar Series

A new webinar series launched by Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Communications and Culture is set to explore the topic of authenticity with high profile researchers, generating interest around the globe.

The series will aim to answer what is meant by authenticity, and why debates surrounding authenticity have grown so dramatically in the last two decades. This will see the covering of topics such as ‘Cities and Urban Culture’, ‘Place & Heritage’, ‘Social Media & Digital Communication’, and ‘Gender & Identity’.

Each webinar will include a Keynote speaker, with high-profile scholars such as Professor Sharon Uzkin of City University, New York, and Professor Sarah Banet-Weiser of London School of Economics. There will also be a panel of three to four research presentations and the opportunity for questions and discussion.

The webinar series will take place each Thursday, from the 29th of October to the 19th of November. Registration is free and can be done through this link to an article providing further information.

In a joint statement, event organisers Dr Michael Skey and Dr Thomas Thurnell-Read said: “The concept of authenticity has a long history, having first emerged as a response to the processes of homogenisation, rationalisation and standardisation at the heart of modernity.

“In recent years, authenticity has again come to the fore where social, political, cultural and technological upheavals give rise to feelings of distrust, detachment and alienation against which supposedly authentic people, places and things are sought out for their reassuring certainty and value.

“Yet, there are huge contradictions and inequalities in who can make claim to authenticity and its construction and communication invariably involves competing narratives and oppositional assertions about what is authentic and how and why the authentic gains its value.

“The purpose of the webinars – and of an edited book planned to follow the series – is to provide a space for scholars interested in the culture, politics and ethics of authenticity to share their research and insights and together examine the continued salience of this concept to understanding of contemporary social, cultural and political life.”