Echo is devoted to the study of meaning across media, culture and politics, and their intersections. The group is home to an international group of scholars working on how meaning circulates, fluctuates, and resonates in society. Echo's aim is to produce a critical and nuanced understanding of how the reproduction and contestation of meaning contributes to social, cultural and political change and continuity.
Echo is involved in fundamental research projects funded by national and international research bodies as well in more policy-oriented projects.
Across Echo’s research projects, the following key thematic areas stand out:
- Media, the climate and environmental politics and policy.
- Populist, nationalist and radical right discourses;
- The role of the media for minorities, social movements and activism;
- The role of the media in the context of migration, nationalism, and conflict;
- Visual culture and film studies;
- Young people, media literacy and media education;
Networks and collaborations
Echo is one of the partners in DESIRE, the Center for the Study of Democracy, Signification and Resistance, a VUB-funded international joint research group that brings together interdisciplinary group of researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), Univerza v Ljubljani (Slovenia), Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic), University of Essex (United Kingdom), and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece).
Several members of Echo are part of BIRMM, the Brussels Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Migration and Minorities, which gathers over 100 VUB-based researchers working on migration, minorities and diversity related topics.
At a European level, Joke Bauwens is a long-time Belgian team member of the multinational research network EU Kids Online. Katia Segers was also part of the network. Since 2020, Joke Bauwens is together with Freija Poot involved in the pan-European knowledge platform CO:RE (Children Online: Research and Evidence), funded within the EU framework of DT-TRANSFORMATIONS.