Any students interested in protest, activism and creativity might be interested in this ‘teach out’ even on Monday in the SU. All welcome!
Any students interested in protest, activism and creativity might be interested in this ‘teach out’ even on Monday in the SU. All welcome!
We’re always really keen to get student feedback about our programmes – whether that’s more formally via your student reps and our regular Student Voice meetings, or through speaking to staff members about issues. Your thoughts do make a big difference to what we do on both the Media, Communication and Culture and Film Studies programmes – so please makes sure you keep on feeding your thoughts back to your reps and to us. For instance, last year we made the following changes in response to issues raised by our student community:
|You said…||And we …|
|… that you would like the marking criteria to be clearer in advance||… have incorporated assessment sessions on most of our modules which include attending to marking criteria. This is also available in handbooks and on the KLE. Film and Media are piloting a reflexive feedback scheme which will encourage you to take active approaches in understanding criteria and identifying how your work and feedback relates to this criteria|
|… You would like feedback to be more timely
|… are making feedback deadlines clear to you by adding dates for this in assessment papers and calendars which will be available to you. Feedback will always be available in the three week period (excluding holidays) although this does not always include the module mark. So that you can make better sense of feedback, we have developed a feedback glossary which we will make available to you this year.|
|… You would like to feel part of a community||…have introduced a social programme with two events a semester as well as a Screening programme. We have also introduced Crewing to our practical ISP module so you can work across levels.|
|…would like to know how student’s feedback has been acted upon||…have made more effort to get your feedback by introducing a wider range of methods to notify you of opportunities to give feedback. For example, we are advertising the Student Voice meeting more widely and asking for comments via our feedback box. Following these meetings we will send a You said …we did style report. We will adopt a similar approach to module feedback at the end of each Semester.|
|…would like advice to be available at the time of making module choices||…will make our module choice meetings at the end of the first and second year compulsory and advertise the opportunity to speak to module tutors more widely.|
In February there’s a fantastic event for any students interested in film-making and sound. Our colleague Dr Fiorella Montero-Diaz has organised a film-screening of They Will Have to Kill Us first, followed by a Q&A with directors. This will be a really good chance for students to have the opportunity to speak with directors about the challenges of representing an important and complex cultural story.
Further information and registration details can be found here.
Description of the film: Continue reading
This week Dr Deirdre McKay and I wrote a short piece for the Conversation about what we learned from a series of creative workshops with members of the public, which were focused on issues surrounding waste plastic – an issue gaining increasing levels of media attention.
The launch of Blue Planet II in October 2017 was notable not only for its spectacular imagery, but in making a longstanding environmental issue the focus of public attention: the problem of plastic waste. Since the documentary was screened, over 500 newspaper articles have been published that refer to the series’ dramatic depictions of sea creatures entangled in ocean-borne plastic. These stories include everything from regional newspapers that propose local bans on plastic straws, to national news columns that point to Blue Planet II as evidence of heightened public concern with waste. Even the documentary’s production team noted their horror about the waste plastics they encountered, with the crew describing how they ‘collected every piece of plastic they came across while filming’.
Human activities in places like the UK can affect animals in some of the most isolated parts of the world. However, the lives and deaths of these animals are often invisible. In order to overcome this problem a number of academics have argued for the importance of telling stories – like those in Blue Planet – that help to make the lives of species that are near-extinction more visible. These stories can help us to understand the consequences of issues such as plastic waste, and recognise what could be lost if these problems continue. For instance, there has been growing concern with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a collection of plastic waste the size of Texas that has gathered in one of the most isolated parts of the Pacific Ocean. Thom van Dooren’s work has described how young birds who live amongst this waste often die because their stomachs are so full of plastic that they cannot eat or drink enough to survive. This point is brought home by Chris Jordan’s haunting images of albatross skeletons filled with colourful bottle-tops, cigarette lighters and other such debris that led to their death.
All of this media attention and academic work has been enhanced by a number of social media awareness-raising campaigns and online petitions that lobby for change. However, banning plastic raises some complicated political issues and it is easy to feel helpless about how to tackle such a complex environmental problem. In our own research, therefore, we felt that it was important not just to tell people about the problem of plastic or to make its effects visible, but work with members of the local community to explore possible solutions.
For instance, during November last year, I was involved in some workshops as part of the Being Human festival. Facilitated by Dr Deirdre McKay, the workshops encouraged people to ‘play with plastic’ in order to gain a sense of the environmental issues it poses. In addition to craft-making activities with local artists, in the first workshop I presented research by scholars in the Environmental Humanities that links plastic pollution to the extinction of species such as albatrosses. In the second workshop, Dr Ceri Morgan engaged in more participatory modes of storytelling – where people composed their own stories about the role of plastic in everyday life. The below images offer some examples of what people created in the workshops.
The piece in the Conversation includes further reflections on what we’ve learned from these workshops, here.
We’re very pleased to be part of two events in November, which are run as part of the Being Human festival. Hosted at B-Arts, we’ll be exploring some creative ways we can deal with the problem of plastic waste – which has been in the newspaper headlines recently, with the discovery of a new plastic garbage patch in the Pacific that is the size of Mexico.
One of the difficulties about dealing with plastic is that we often think we’re disposing of it responsibly when we recycle, but this isn’t necessarily the case. The problem with plastic is that it’s not just harmful when it’s discarded (as with famous images of it harming wildlife, such as the below image), because plastic is equally problematic when it breaks down. Frictions caused by ocean waves make an ideal environment for it to break down into tiny particles, which we might not be able to see but – as Thom van Dooren has described – can lead to the slow death of species such as albatrosses. These workshops are, we hope, the start of a series of initiatives where we can use a range of creative approaches to re-think our relationship with a material that is simultaneously so everyday and so fraught with problems. More about the project can be found here.
I was at a great conference this week, Science in Public. The conference draws together people from fields such as Science & Technology Studies, Science Communication, and the History of Science & Medicine, amongst others. Its focus also meant I had the rare opportunity to bring together the two main strands of my research: Animals and Social Media! I felt really lucky to have the chance, amongst other things, to be a discussant on a panel about Noortje Marres’s provocative and engaging new book Digital Sociology, co-convene and speak at a panel about post-truth, and present collaborative work (with Greg Hollin) on cultural responses to the resurgence of bedbugs in the US & North Europe. I also helped to co-organise a stream called Animals in Public that involved fantastic speakers (on topics as varied as the modernist penguin enclosure at London Zoo; attempts to commodify the charisma of giant pandas; different understandings of care in bovine TB controversies; and dilemmas about how to meaningfully communicate veterinary science to people in the face of the rise of dog breeds such as French Bulldogs). A busy, but fantastic, couple of days all-in-all, where I had the chance to catch-up with some great colleagues from different institutions.
I also ended up taking part in this ‘threaded-questions’ video, where I had to answer a colleague’s question then ‘pass one one’…
27th June, 2017
FREE EVENT, but due to limited space please register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-new-abnormal-the-cultural-politics-of-the-new-authoritarianism-tickets-34906353844 if you’d like to attend as space is limited!
Keele University, Chancellors Building, CBA1.021
(Though please keep an eye out on here for the venue, as it will change to a different room if attendance rises further)
10am – 10.30am: Coffee
10.30am – 11.00am: Mark Featherstone (Keele University, Sociology) – Introduction: ‘The New (Ab)Normal: Sociology in Extremis’
11.00am – 11.30am: Ronnie Lippens (Keele University, Criminology) – ‘Rothko’s Chapel in Houston, Texas (1970): Luciferian Notes on the Age of Light’
11.30am – 12.00pm: Eva Giraud (Keele University, Media) and Sarah-Nicole Aghassi-Isfahani (Keele University, Sociology) – ‘Has Critique run out of Memes? Interrogating the ‘Post-Truth’ Media Landscape’
12.00pm – 1.00pm: Deborah Frizzell (Art, William Patterson University, USA) – ‘Trajectories of Aesthetics and Ethics in the Chthulucene: A Case Study of “Outcast” Women Artists’
1.00pm – 2.00pm: Lunch
2.00pm – 2.30pm: Kirsten Forkert (Media, Birmingham City University) – ‘Austerity, Right Populism and the Public Mood’
2.30pm -3.00pm: Seb Franklin (Kings College, London) and Penny Newell (Kings College, London) – ‘The Economics of Abnormality’
3.00pm – 4.00pm: Steve Hall (Criminology, Teeside University) – ‘System Reboot: Steve Bannon’s Dream as the Restoration of the Pseudo-Pacification Process’
4.00pm – 4.30pm: Coffee
4.30pm – 5.45pm: Doug Kellner (Education, UCLA, USA) – ‘Donald Trump, Media Spectacle, and Authoritarian Populism’
6.00pm – 7.00pm: Arthur Kroker (Political Science, University of Victoria, Canada) – ‘Fake Futures’
Registration is now open for our one-day symposium on Ethnicities, Counterpublics, Appropriation and Social Media on June 8th 2017 at Keele University.
This symposium aims to explore the dynamics of minority representation and self-representation in social media.
Attendance is free but spaces are limited so please register below at your earliest convenience and by the latest on 25th May 2017 using the link below:
The programme is as follows:
9.00 am: Welcome coffee
9.30 am: Opening remarks
9.45 am: Speakers: Ed de Quincey, Eva Giraud and Elizabeth Poole, Keele University: ‘Who speaks for Muslims? Political frictions and the politics of appropriation in social media’
10.30 am: short break
10.45 am: Panel 1 – Examining Populist and Nationalist discourse on social media
12.15 pm: Lunch (provided)
1.15 – 2.15 Speaker: Pollyanna Ruiz, University of Sussex, ‘Protest, power and social media; The dynamics of masking in offline and online public spaces’.
2:15 -3.45 pm: Panel 2 – Self-representation and counter-discourse online
. Beth Johnson, University of Leeds, ‘#MoreInCommon: Empathy, Emotion and Intervention’
3.45 – 4pm short break
4-5pm Speaker 2: Dima Saber, Birmingham City University, ‘Winning the fake news battle amidst chaos: How Arab activists are taking back the narratives of their wars and revolutions’
5-5.15 pm: Concluding remarks
More information is available @ https://www.keele.ac.uk//counterpublics2017/
Please e-mail any further questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to seeing you there!
Last week I spend 3 fantastic days at Lund University, in Sweden, as part of an Erasmus exchange. I mostly taught on the module Critical Animal Studies: Animals in the Media, Culture & Society, but also had the opportunity for some tutorials with postgraduate students working on fantastic projects about online environmental activism.
The morning session was a more formal research-led lecture and workshop , which was focused on activism surrounding animals (see here for a sense of the subject matter I engaged with specifically). I worked with some fantastic scholar-activists with expertise in areas including animal ethology and the politics of civil disobedience, and a range of issues were covered – from corporate ‘greenwashing’ to theoretical debates surrounding animal ethics.
The afternoon was taken up with a seminar (also open to members of the public, as well as those enrolled on the course) that was focused on the politics of animal research. I presented work along with Nuria Almiron (from Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona). Although I enjoyed the whole day, I found the questions and discussion surrounding the afternoon seminar especially provocative – so many thanks to all who attended. Thanks also needs to go to the Lund University Critical Animal Studies Network – especially the teaching team Tobias, Jana, Kurt and Ally, for making me feel so welcome!
Here are a few photos from the week, more can be found here: