We are pleased to announce the 2023 edition of Intersections|Cross-Sections, an annual graduate student conference & art symposium hosted by the joint graduate program in Communication & Culture at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) & York University.

Saturday March 11th 2023
This year’s programming will be presented in-person at TMU campus (with options for remote participation).

The deadline to submit your application is Tuesday, December 20th, 2022.

Entitled “Becoming You(th),” IS|CS 2023 revolves around the multifaceted topic of contemporary youth identity and culture. The field of cultural studies has had much to say about youth, identity and culture since the founding of the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies in the 1960s. This can be largely attributed to the influence of Stuart Hall’s seminal work on Marxist theory and the dialectics of culture and communication. Notably, his reconception of cultures as “ways of struggle,” rather than “ways of life”1 led to theories of subculture that viewed the collective cultural expressions of youth as primary sites of resistance against the hegemonic workings of the dominant class.

Despite the importance of subcultural theory in the development of youth studies, ideas about youth culture have shifted away from this approach in more recent decades as globalization and the networked communication of the Internet have restructured how we think about class dynamics, community and cultural identity. In the twenty-first century, a post-subcultural paradigm in youth studies has emerged, bringing with it new concepts such as “scene thinking” and “neo-tribes” to describe the postmodern fragmentation of youth cultures and identities.2

Yet, today, there seems to be even deeper layers of ambiguity and complexity surrounding the status of youth culture, prompting us to reconsider the fundamental question: “what are the relations between youth as a chronological and generational marker, a measure of historical differences, and an affective state or attitude?”3 This question remains highly relevant to a notion of youth today and its increasingly equivocal position within public imagination.

While the affective and aesthetic qualities of youthfulness are perpetually romanticized throughout the media landscape, over the last decade we have seen a concerning rise in ageist attitudes towards the younger generations of millennials, Gen Z and Gen Alpha. Compounded with the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on young persons’ quality of life and the growing economic and environmental uncertainty of the future, it is evident that the lived realities of youth today are urgently in need of greater attention. Heeding the words of youth media researchers Stuart Poyntz and Jacqueline Kennelly who state that “risk and precarity have
long been associated with what it means to be young (…) to be young seems tied to experiences of transition and flux, which in turn gives shape to the identities, sexualities, bodies and dreams of youthful subjects,”4 IS|CS 2023 invites reflection on those transitory states of in-betweenness and modes of becoming that orient today’s youth towards the futures that await them.
Potential topics and themes for presentations include:

  • Subculture/post-subculture theory & alternative community networks
  • Youth media production & digital literacy
  • Fan cultures & audience studies
  • Game cultures, virtual identity play & world-building
  • Disability, neurodiversity & mental health
  • Diasporic narratives & intersectional identities
  • Ageism & generational politics
  • Environmentalism/climate activism
  • Critical approaches to pedagogy, co-creation & youth research
  • Labour conditions, employment opportunities & economic precarity

We welcome graduate students, emerging scholars and artists from a diverse array of backgrounds to submit proposals.


If you are interested in participating in IS|CS 2023, please fill out this Google form and attach an abstract (for essays) or project description (for artwork/research-creation) of no more than 300 words, including a title and brief biography.

The deadline to submit your application is Tuesday, December 20th, 2022.
IS|CS values a wide range of perspectives and accordingly, we hope to provide an inclusive and comfortable forum for people from all walks of life to engage in cross-disciplinary discussion. To note, our scope is not strictly limited to applicants who fall into youth age groups. While young, early-career scholars and artists are highly encouraged to submit proposals, all submissions with relevance to youth studies will be considered. If you have any questions/concerns about the conference’s format or accessibility, do not hesitate to reach out via email @iscs.conference@gmail.com. Thank you to all those who apply!