Call for Abstracts: Nation Branding and the Creative Industries. What nation? What people? What synergies?

Call for Abstracts
International Colloquium
Aarhus University, 22 -­ 23 September 2016
What makes Danish TV drama travel? 2014-18, Danish Council for Independent Research Department of Business Communication, Aarhus University
School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University
Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University

Nation branding prevails as a contested research domain that challenges both practitioners and researchers to define, question and illustrate contemporary transformations in the reputation of a country and its people. Historically, governments have assumed control over nation branding in strategic partnerships with national companies and agencies. Acknowledging the significance of managerial approaches to branding – strategic planning, product development, image positioning and efficient marketing, we argue that these practices are increasingly transformed by and entangled with for example, demographic changes, market transformations and the global circulation of creative industrial resources. In particular, we are witnessing novel constellations of partnerships and collaborations resulting in creative products that act as symbolic ammunition in nation branding.

These novel constellations co-produce new dynamics and unpredictable modes of interaction across borders. What are the intended and the unintended consequences of these? Another area of change lies in the reconfigurations in the idea of the nation, which has historically assumed the singularity of ‘one nation, one people’. This issue is well recognized to be highly problematic in the context of global flows of capital, ideas and images, and large-scale transnational migration that disrupt ideal perceptions of the nation as a political and economic unity. It is no longer crystal clear what people or what symbols are embedded in (or excluded from) nation branding. So, what does it mean to brand a nation? And what does it take to brand a nation in a global context increasingly characterized by a crowding of new actors who are willingly or unwilling entangled in branding endeavors?

This international colloquium considers these two areas of transformation – new constellations of partnerships/collaborators and transnational flows – with specific focus on the role of the creative industries in the processes of nation branding. Creative industries are understood in their widest sense and cover for example, television and film, music, theatre, fashion, food, advertising, design and architecture. We welcome abstracts that reflect completed empirical and conceptual work as well as works and thoughts in progress. These could discuss the following (but are not limited to):

  • What novel forms of partnerships and collaborations are related to nation branding? What sorts of ideological, economic and organizational logics drive these partnerships?
  • What types of new symbols, products and events characterize contemporary nation branding? How are they produced and negotiated?
  • How has the role of the creative industries in nation branding changed through history?
  • How do locally embedded creative industries negotiate the tension of serving domestic as well as non-domestic stakeholders?
  • What are the similarities and differences between the related concepts of nation branding, state branding, place branding, city branding or destination branding?
  • How successful have recent developments in the idea of ‘country-of-origin’ been to address contemporary transformations in nation branding?

We welcome contributions from diverse perspectives such as media studies, brand management and destination marketing, intercultural and global communication studies, and tourism and travel studies.

Practical information:

This colloquium is designed to provide an exploratory space where practitioners and researchers can gather to map and talk about contemporary challenges and potential benefits in the practices and thinking of nation branding. The colloquium comprises lectures, coffee table talks and panel discussions. Publication opportunities are being explored.

There is no participation fee and all meals (dinner on Thursday and coffee/tea/lunch on both days) for presenters will be covered by the conveners. Participants will have to pay for their own travel and accommodation.

Please send a 500 word abstract to Iris Rittenhofer (, Ushma Chauhan Jacobsen (ucj@bcom and Szilvia Gyimóthy ( by 15th April 2016. Notification of acceptance will be sent by the end of May 2016.

Download the Call for Abstracts in PDF.

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