UCSB Rupe Conference: Communicating about COVID-19, May 6 2021

by Department of Communication

Online Webinar

Thu, May 6, 2021

10:45 AM – 6:30 PM PDT (GMT-7)

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Sessions at 11-12:15, 12:30-1:45, 2:00-3:15, 3:30-4:45, 5:00-6:15.

Online Event




The theme of the 2021 Rupe Biannual Conference is Communicating about COVID-19. The COVID pandemic has become a devastating global phenomenon. The virus and its associated effects have killed millions of people and damaged the health and capabilities of countless more survivors for both the short and long term. Every aspect of life has been upended, from agriculture to zoos, science to religion, individuals to international, or eating to socializing. Thus the pandemic has heightened our need to understand (among many other things) how all aspects of life are interconnected.

Nearly all professions and academic disciplines have been devoting extraordinary efforts to managing, studying, preparing for, responding to, and publishing or posting about this threat. COVID-19 is a contagious disease – spread through interactions, direct or indirect, known or unknown. So one of the many lenses we may apply to understand the nature, meaning, and consequences of this crisis is through communication. Yet even this particular lens is more of a prism, revealing a broad spectrum of communicative processes associated with the disease and its implications. This brief conference can only cover a few of those processes.

We are very fortunate to have an outstanding group of communication researchers and practitioners participate in the conference. The first session provides strategic public health and institutional perspectives. The next four sessions move through central areas of communication research and practice. The second considers several interpersonal implications, including mediated, romantic, and even rejected relationships. The third session considers message aspects of communicating about COVID-19, such as through masks, cultural values, and blame.  The fourth focuses on media, from how individuals and nonprofit organizations use media to respond to the crisis, to how the language of online news coverage varies by regional factors. The fifth and final session looks at how media professionals report on the topic, what happens to the meaning of work when professions are suddenly categorized by health policies as essential or not, and how organizations communicate internally with their employees.

Each session will offer about 20 minutes for each presenter, and about 15 minutes for discussion and Q&A. Each session will be recorded, and available on this website. In these extremely unfortunate and challenging times, we hope that the Rupe Conference on Communicating about COVID-19 provides a bit of understanding and insight.

See https://www.comm.ucsb.edu/news/annual/arthur-n-rupe#2021 for program, sessions, presentation titles and abstracts, and presenter bios and photos.

File Attachments: RupeConferenceCommunicatingAboutCovidMay62021Program, RupeConferenceCommunicatingAboutCovidMay62021AbstractsBiosPhotos


Ronald Rice's profile photo

Ronald Rice

Arthur N. Rupe Professor in the Social Effects of Mass Communication, Dept. of Communication

UC Santa Barbara

Gavin Kirkwood's profile photo

Gavin Kirkwood

Graduate student in the Department of Communication, UC Santa Barbara

Charles Hale's profile photo

Charles Hale

SAGE Sara Miller McCune Dean of Social Sciences as well as a professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Global Studies

UC Santa Barbara

Van Do-Reynoso's profile photo

Van Do-Reynoso

Director of the Public Health

Santa Barbara County Public Health Department

John Longbrake's profile photo

John Longbrake

Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs and Communications

UC Santa Barbara

Joseph Walther's profile photo

Joseph Walther

Distinguished Professor in Communication, the Mark and Susan Bertelsen Presidential Chair in Technology and Society, and the Director of the Center for Information Technology and Society

UC Santa Barbara

Tamara Afifi's profile photo

Tamara Afifi


UC Santa Barbara

Norah Dunbar's profile photo

Norah Dunbar

Professor of Communication, and current Department Chair

UC Santa Barbara

Claude Miller's profile photo

Claude Miller

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Communication at the University of Oklahoma

U. Oklahoma

Haijing Ma's profile photo

Haijing Ma

Ph. D. candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Oklahoma

U. Oklahoma

Heejung Kim's profile photo

Heejung Kim

Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

UC Santa Barbara

Robin Nabi's profile photo

Robin Nabi

Professor of Communication

UC Santa Barbara

Musa Malik's profile photo

Musa Malik

Graduate student in the Department of Communication, and a researcher in the Media Neuroscience Lab

UC Santa Barbara

Justine Miller's profile photo

Justine Miller


News 12, New York City; Jetset Journalists

Jamie Morgan's profile photo

Jamie Morgan

Head of Technical Recruiting



Provides Endowment Funds for Professor Rice and the Rupe Conference Sponsors

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