In this issue (December 2014)
Six months have passed since the publication of Issue No. 20 of Glocal Times. In the meantime there has been plenty of activity within the field, including the Voice & Matter conference, held in September of this year by the Ørecomm Centre for Communication and Glocal Change. Issue No. 21 of Glocal Times brings us four reports of other fora across the world where communication for development was both practiced and debated in recent months.
To begin with, expert practitioners Birgitte Jallov and Sofie Jannusch share rich details about a worldwide two-week debate on community participation for radio sustainability that took place in April 2014 through the online networking tool LinkedIn. Organized by the Catholic Media Council (CAMECO), and facilitated by Jallov and Jannusch, the online debate was a pilot experience for gathering, sharing and discussing experiences on the matter from around the world. The authors reflect on the communicational aspects of the experience, on what worked and what didn’t work according to plan and on the themes that emerged, and advance ways forward for the conversation to continue.
Next, scholars Verena Thomas and Clemencia Rodríguez give us a thorough account of the 10th OURMedia conference, held in July 2014 at the University of Goroka (UOG) in Papua New Guinea. Organized by the Centre for Social and Creative Media, which is a media research center of UOG, the conference was important for rendering visible and analyzing the situation of community and alternative media in the Pacific. The ideas put forward by the participating scholars, activists, and community media practitioners call our attention to the potential of media-bound efforts undertaken on the margins of institutionally-driven development, and to the challenges they face.
Then, two articles contributed by Ph.D. candidates introduce us to discussions of (or around) communication for development in recent events in which they participated. Paola Sartoretto, based at Karlstad University in Sweden, tells us about the conference “Media and Governance in Latin America – Exploring the role of communication for development”, organized in May 2014 by the University of Sheffield and the Sheffield Institute for International Development in the UK. Mery Perez, based at the University of Guelph in Canada, refers to the newly-created network “Redecambio”, a network of graduate programs with a focus on communication, development and social change convened in August 2014 in Colombia by the tertiary education institution Uniminuto.
Last but not least, two recent graduates from Malmö University’s Master’s program in Communication for Development introduce us to the main features of their respective theses. Sofia Hafdell investigates the potential and limitations of activist use of social media to report on the Gezi Park protests in Turkey in 2013 in the absence of mainstream news coverage. Based on critical discourse analysis of alternative media texts and qualitative semi-structured interviews to activists, Hafdell analyzes the complicated relationship between media and the state and its consequences for open, democratic debate in Turkey. YeeYin Yap enquires into how modern ethnography museums, and certain exhibitions in particular, frame their messages about Self and Others. Based on on-site observation, textual analysis and interviews to museum visitors, Yap discusses the importance of contextualization in order to engage audiences in ways that acknowledge past inequalities, allow bottom-up views of history and bridge differences.
We hope that you will find this new issue of Glocal Times both informative and thought-provoking, and we welcome your views on the matters raised here, and your suggestions for future issues.