Community Media?

Many people are practising it, even without knowing – more people disagree on what it is.

Why community media? A bit more context and references

Community media are therefore key locations of democracy, for a number of reasons. Earlier research (see Carpentier, Lie and Servaes, 2003; see also Bailey, Cammaerts and Carpentier, 2007; Carpentier, 2011) has shown that community media are characterised by high levels diversity, but that they also share a number of key defining elements, which make them different from commercial media, and from public media. In particular, it is their integration into the community, the civil society and their commitment to (media) democracy and participation make them stand out.

This renders community media critical knowledge centres in relation to participatory practices and democratic principles.

Because of their rhizomatic nature, community media are more than media organisations. With diversity, contingency and fluidity as key characteristics, community media act as crossroads of civil society (Santana and Carpentier, 2010), bringing together a wide variety of people: educators, experts, activists, visual artists, sound artists and musicians, journalists, and many more. Their alternativity allows community media to transgress fixed borders, and to shift into areas that are not traditionally associated with (mainstream) media organisations, including the arts.

This project aims to tap into community media’s artistic dimension, and community media’s relationships with the artistic field, in order to have the people that are closely -or only peripherally- connected to these community media explore, expose, construct, deconstruct, visualise, represent, and critically reflect upon the relationships between media, democracy and participation.


Bailey, Olga, Cammaerts, Bart, Carpentier, Nico (2007) Understanding Alternative Media. Maidenhead: Open University Press/McGraw and Hill.

Carpentier, Nico (2011) Media and Participation: A Site of Ideological-Democratic Struggle. Bristol, UK: Intellect.

Carpentier, Nico (2017) The Discursive-Material Knot: Cyprus in Conflict and Community Media Participation. New York: Peter Lang.

Carpentier, Nico, Lie, Rico and Servaes, Jan (2003) ‘Community Media – Muting the Democratic Media Discourse?’, Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 51–68.

Santana, Maaika, Carpentier, Nico (2010) Mapping the rhizome. Organizational and informational networks of two Brussels alternative radio stations, Community media, Telematics and Informatics, 27(2): 162-174.