Gautam Bose is a Kolkata based filmmaker and serves on the mediaforchange.org board of directors.He is currently collaborating with New York based Tricke Up that is committed to breaking the cycle of extreme poverty. In this project Mr. Bose is training rural women in West Bengal India to make and share the stories of domestic violence in their lives. If successful, the effort will help make the hidden issue of domestic violence more visible. Visual storytelling will be the thread to connect women\\\’s experiences, giving them the confidence to stand up against gender violence. The project is supported by the Ford Foundation.
For Moushumi, Shakuntala or Golapi the highest technology they ever used was sickles – carved blades essential for harvesting paddy, until, in March they got video cameras from Trickle Up.
Purulia, in West Bengal state is one of the chronically poor districts of \\\’emerging\\\’ India. Here people are poorly fed, remain poorly educated, they generally have poor health. Women in Purulia are even poorer compared to their male counterparts in every aspect of their lives.
Women here often get married at an early age – before they are eighteen. They become mothers while still in their teens. Women are expected to work hard at home and in the field. Culturally they are accustomed to a life defined by hard work. But women have no voice when it comes to issues like domestic violence.
Trickle Up, a US based non-profit has given the women of Purulia 3 video cameras. These cameras have suddenly given Moushumi and her friends a new tool for articulation and communication. They are recording their own stories on video and looking at themselves as groups, discussing, debating and sometimes confronting their own men who perpetrate domestic violence.
Moushumi, Shakuntala, Golapi and her friends, who were shy and quiet, have started to experience the power of visual storytelling in a community setting. The video cameras and their users may change the gender equations in parts of Purulia permanently.
Every summer, for the past 8 years, the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change attracts students and faculty from 5 continents to explore 2 principal questions: “How do news media affect our understanding of ourselves, our cultures, our politics?” and “How can we use media to better cover global problems and to better report on possible solutions?”
mediaforchange.org founder Sanjeev Chatterjee has served on the faculty of the Academy since 2008 and this year worked with colleague Rhys Daunic of themediaspot.org to mentor the production 2 short videos by students. The videos give us a glimpse into the workings of the Academy and look into the central question that drives mediaforchange.org – what can media change?
Video editor Rachel Smilan-Goldstein provides some context for the videos below.
The eighth annual Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change brought together students and faculty from 23 countries and 16 universities for three weeks in 2014. Participants not only took a critical look at how media is used around the world, but also focused on how individuals and teams of media makers and citizens can use myriad forms of media as a tool for positive change. They worked to overcome initial cultural challenges and barriers, challenging personal assumptions about diverse cultures and types of media. Nearly every day for three weeks, participants lived, worked, ate, socialized and traveled together, developing meaningful international relationships. The work produced at the Academy was student-driven, with faculty working with students primarily as facilitators. To conclude the program, teams of students presented their media solutions to the United Nations Development Program. These projects used a variety of media to propose ways to tackle specific parts of big problems in the world today. Problems addressed by participants included climate change, sustainability, poverty, human rights and corruption.
For better or worse, media makes change. Media can foster prejudice and perpetuate stereotypes. However, it can also improve accountability of governments and connect people with much-needed resources and information. Participants in the eight annual Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change delved into how to use media as a tool to promote small, positive and sustainable changes. Taking into account social responsibility and accountability, students and faculty engaged critically with media topics and sought the best ways to mobilize ideas for change through mediated platforms. Students are urged to reproduce the process of the academy and continue using media to work toward social changes, even if small, after returning to their home countries and universities.
- Sanjeev ChatterjeeFounder & Director
Sanjeev Chatterjee founded mediaforchange.org to create a global platform for media change makers to come together and share their stories. Decades of field experience and interactions with media makers around the world have allowed Sanjeev to shape the organization’s unique vision and values.
- Paul MihailidisMedia Literacy Scholar, USA
Paul Mihailidis is an assistant professor in the school of communication at Emerson College in Boston, MA, where he teaches media literacy and interactive media. His research focuses on the nexus of media, education, and civic voices. His forthcoming books, Media Literacy and the Emerging Citizen (2014, Peter Lang) and Media Literacy Education in Action (2014, Routledge), outline effective practices for participatory citizenship and engagement in digital culture. Mihailidis, who directs the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, and sits on the board of directors for the National Association of Media Literacy Education, was recently named associate director of the newly formed Engagement Labs at Emerson College.