AoIR2021 Philadelphia, USA

collage pf photos of philadelphia

The Association of Internet Researchers is happy to announce that the AoIR2021 conference will be in Philadelphia, USA, 13-16 October 2021. It will be hosted by Temple University (TU) and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn).


About the event

The conference will be held at the Sonesta Hotel in Downtown Philadelphia, right in the middle of the city. It is just a 6-minute walk from City Hall Station, which is a central hub for subway, trolley, and bus lines in the city. It is also a 6-minute walk from Suburban Station if you are coming in via Amtrak or Regional Rail.

The Philadelphia International Airport is a 20-30 minute train or taxi ride away from the conference hotel, and a 1-2 hour train ride from Washington, D.C. and New York City area airports. We will also be having the on-site banquet at the historic Reading Terminal Market, a fifteen minute walk from the hotel. In less than half an hour, you can walk or take public transit from the hotel to many Philadelphia attractions and cultural centers including the Liberty Bell/Independence Park, Philadelphia Zoo, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia Museum of Art, African American Museum, Italian Market, Taller Puertorriqueño, and Chinatown, as well as any events held at the hosting universities (Temple and Penn).

In addition to local tour experiences, the committee is looking into virtual tours options for participants who will not be able to join us in Philadelphia. The conference reception will be held at

Image credit: Freddy Do

Reading Terminal Market featuring food from local vendors. The space is an over 120-year-old active market, featuring a wide array of restaurants, vendors, and local produce, crafts, and products.

Image provided by Reading Terminal Market



About Philadelphia

 Independence Hall, Philadelphia, USA, SeanPavonePhoto

Philadelphia (or Philly), Pennsylvania sits on the ancestral lands of the Lenni Lenape people. Visitors can learn more about the Lenape Nations ongoing activism and cultural revival activities at the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania’s cultural center just outside of the city. Historically, it is a city of many firsts including: First planned city in the US, First American University (Penn), First multi-year US capital. In more recent times, successive waves of immigration from all over the world as well as elsewhere in the United States (e.g., the Great Migration) have made Philadelphia a very diverse, though segregated, city. In Greater Philadelphia, African Americans make up the highest percentage (42.56%) of the population (the city has the third largest population of African Americans in the country), followed closely by whites (41.55%). Philadelphia also has the largest Puerto Rican community outside of Puerto Rico, the US’s second largest Irish-, Italian-, and Jamaican- American communities, and fourth largest Polish-American community. The current largest immigrant groups are coming to Philadelphia from Asia (especially China) and the Americas (primarily the Dominican Republic and Jamaica). Philadelphia is a sanctuary city, although the city officially uses the term “Welcoming City”, is home to diverse neighborhoods with unique histories/cultures of their own.

A little known fact, Philadelphia is the unofficial Mural capital of the world with nearly 3600 murals overseen by the Mural Arts Program alone. They offer regular walking tours of murals in different sections of the city, but also have a recorded drone tour for those wishing to experience them from afar. Philadelphia is also home to one of the largest urban parks in the US; Fairmount Park is five times the size of New York’s Central Park. There are also over 100 colleges and universities in the greater metropolitan area you might visit while you are here. Moreover, Philadelphia has been at the heart of several grassroots media organizations including the low power FM radio movement, the Media Mobilizing Project, and the Community Futures Lab.

The Hosts

Temple University, Raymond Boyd—Getty Images

Temple University is a public research university, founded in 1884 by minister and lawyer Russell Conwell in the basement of a North Philadelphia Baptist Temple. At its founding it was a night school for working adults. Since 1965 it has been Philadelphia’s only public (state-affiliated) university. Situated in one of the USA’s largest media markets and cities, Temple is home to the Lew Klein College of Media and Communication which itself is home to the departments of Media Studies and Production, Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations, and Communication and Social Influence. Students from the College are also active in a variety of community focused tracks of study, including our community journalism programs, honors-level research projects, and digital and emergent media production. Klein delivers undergraduate and masters programs across departments, an interdepartmental MS in Communication for Development and Social Change, as well as a doctoral program in Media and Communication. Moreover the university offers a Graduate Certificate in Cultural Analytics, an interdisciplinary digital humanities program awarded by Klein College and coordinated through Temple’s Charles Library. The newly opened Charles Library is also home to the Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars’ Studio, which houses an array of digital and analog maker tools, a VR and data visualization studio, and offers numerous workshops in digital research tools.

University of Pennsylvania, F11PHOTO

University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740, before the Declaration of Independence was signed. Considered the USA’s “First University” by many, Penn is home to the Annenberg School for Communication, where students may specialize in activism, communication and social justice, communication neuroscience, critical journalism studies, culture and communication, digital media and social networks, global and comparative communication, health communication, media and communication effects, media institutions and systems, political communication, and visual communication. Annenberg and Penn are also home to several research centers including the Media Inequality and Change Center, Center for Digital Culture and Society, Center for Media at Risk, and the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication.