Pause for Thought: Media Literacy in an Age of Incessant Change
Principle Investigator: Dr. Thomas Sutherland (School of Film and Media, University of Lincoln)
Co-Investigator: Dr. Scott Wark (Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick)
We live in an age of rapid technological change. The platforms, devices, apps, and other media forms that leave a mark on our everyday lives seem to emerge and then obsolesce with dizzying rapidity. This poses particular problems for those of us who study and teach media today. As hard as we might try to keep pace with such shifts, our theoretical concepts will always seem to 'lag' behind recent developments in media and communications technologies, as well as the everyday practices that arise from such developments. How are we to formulate a comprehensive curriculum of media education, when we cannot accurately foretell what media forms will predominate in two years' time and have no chance of predicting the social and cultural changes that will accompany these media?
Such challenges are not confined to media studies education, but are emblematic of much broader social and cultural transformations. The ever-greater pace of technological development affects all of us, and the consequence of this is that media literacy - and in particular, the question of how we as individuals can navigate the fluctuations of our hyper-mediated world - constitutes a broader public concern. In this context, we believe that rather than being hampered by the fast-paced cycles of contemporary media, media studies can actually help understand and challenge this obsession with contemporaneity.
Through two workshops and an academic symposium, the aim of this network is to discuss, formulate, and publish nascent strategies for negotiating and resisting the pressures, anxieties, and hindrances that are commonly faced in our high-speed society. Recognising that education does not occur solely within the classroom, but is an everyday feature of life in a world saturated by media technologies, this network will invite a range of participants from academic and non-academic backgrounds to contribute to resources that can be used to navigate a rapidly-changing media landscape.
We see this network as an opportunity to inspire provocative, creative proposals responding to our high-speed society. But we also see it as a means of emphasising the continuing importance of media theory, media practice (including, but not limited to, various forms of artistic practice), and media research methods for responding to and intervening in the present. Ultimately, our aim is to affirm that media studies provides a unique perspective on our technologically-mediated world that is grounded in the reflective, critical resources of the humanities.
This project is funded by an AHRC Research Networking Scheme grant.