CCPR Research Seminar with Guest Speaker Professor Devon Powers

Issued: Mon, 08 Mar 2021 15:29:00 GMT

CCPR Research Seminar

On Trend: The Business of Forecasting the Future with Guest Speaker, Professor Devon Powers, Temple University.

Time: Mar 24, 2021 03:30 PM London

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In contemporary parlance, “trending” indicates right now relevance and has become a prominent feature of social media platforms. Yet before there was trending, there were trends: broad dynamics that redirect culture, traceable shifts in dress, language, beliefs, and ways of doing and being. For businesses, the ability to identify, understand, and anticipate trends brings enormous benefits. Since trends suggest the direction that culture might go, they have given rise to an industry dedicated to finding them, interpreting them, and turning them in to corporate products that help steer the future.  

This talk will tell the story of that industry, exploring how and why the trends business came to be. I will discuss some of the methods and strategies trend forecasters use to do their work, how these strategies came to be understood as “futurism,” and why forecasters are adamant that their work will never be automated—even as trend companies experiment with machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data science. The talk draws from my recent book On Trend: The Business of Forecasting the Future (2019).  

Devon Powers is Associate Professor of Advertising, Temple University. She is the author of On Trend: The Business of Forecasting the Future (2019) and Writing the Record: The Village Voice and the Birth of Rock Criticism (2013)and co-editor of Blowing Up the Brand: Critical Perspectives on Promotional Culture (2010). Her research explores consumer culture, cultural circulation, and promotion. Her work has appeared in Journal of Consumer CultureNew Media & Society, Critical Studies in Media and Communication, and Popular Communication, among other venues. 

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