Intimacy and New Media: A Symposium

Lecture Room 4 - Arts Building
Friday 30 June 2017 (10:00-17:30)

This one-day symposium will explore the links between narrative, intimacy, and new media technology.

Queer and feminist thinking have long suggested that intimacy is always a publicly mediated script - intimacy orients bodies toward and away from certain objects, lives, possibilities, and desires. In Lauren Berlant’s words, ‘intimacy builds worlds’ (1998), and in Sara Ahmed’s, narratives of intimacy ‘shape bodies and lives’ (2004). This symposium aims to build on this foundational work to consider the different ways the relationship between intimacy and new media technology might be conceptualized - inviting participants to consider not intimacy and technology, but perhaps intimacy as technology. Bringing together scholars of both contemporary literature and new media, the day will consider contemporary stories of intimacy as they overlap with representations and narratives of new media technology; the re-configuration of intimacy via new media through the construction of intimacy online, or via the affective flows of networked communication; and the emergent intimate subject positions that become possible via new media technology.


10:00-11:30 Opening Keynote: Tobias Raun (Roskilde), ‘Capitalizing Intimacy: New Subcultural Forms of Micro-Celebrity Strategies and Affective Labor on YouTube’

11:30-11:45 Coffee Break

11:45-12:45 Panel 1: Intimate Devices

  • Tanya Horeck (Anglia Ruskin), ‘Screening Affect: Rape Culture and the Digital Interface in Transnational TV Crime Drama’
  • Sam McBean (Queen Mary), ‘Anachronistic Technology in Contemporary Intimate Narratives’

12:45-13:30 Lunch

13:30-14:30 Panel 2: Narrative Hook Ups

  • Tory Young (Anglia Ruskin), ‘The endless deferral of the “infinite swipe”’
  • Rob Gallagher (KCL), ‘This Could Be Us But U Playin: Networked Intimacy in Narrative Videogames’

14:30-14:45 Coffee Break

14:45-15:45 Panel 3: Too Much Information/Intimacy

  • Rachel Sykes (Birmingham), ‘Excessive Responsiveness: Online Sharing and the Politics of Self-Disclosure’
  • Jennifer Cooke (Loughborough), ‘Digital Intimacy: Marie Calloway’s Experiments with Men’

15:45-16:00 Break

16:00-17:30 Closing Keynote: Anna Poletti (Utrecht), ‘Confessional entrepreneurs: crowdsourcing intimate publics’

This event is free to attend and all are welcome. To book a place please register here.

This event is organised by Dr Sam McBean (Queen Mary University of London), and Dr Zara Dinnen (University of Birmingham), and supported by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant as part of the project "Mediating Contemporary Literature".


This event will be held in the Arts Building; in a large flat-floor seminar room with movable seating, off the lobby on the first floor. This area is accessible by lift from the Arts main lobby. There are toilets on most corridors in the Arts Building. The ones nearest the event are located on corridors off the foyer. There are accessible toilets on the ground floor, down the corridor to the right of the main lobby.

The entrance to the Arts Building has 3 steps and there is also a ramp. The building itself is a 5-10 minute walk across campus from University train station. It is downhill from the station. There are steps built into the hill, but ramps run alongside. There are cobble stones near the station around the base of the statue of Faraday but a flat path runs round them leading to the ramp side of the steps down into the centre of campus. The train station has lifts up from the platforms.

This information addresses mobility. If you have any hearing or visual needs, please get in touch with Zara at

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