Amplifying Civic Voices




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Jul 06, 2016
by Patrick Wilson
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Amplifying Civic Voices

Each summer, more than 70 students from over a dozen different countries and universities on five continents converge on Schloss Leopoldskron for the three weeks. Together with a world class faculty of academics and expert guest lecturers, this international cohort examines the role of the media in our increasingly connected world. Students and faculty of the 2015 Salzburg Academy on Media and Global ChangeAt the 2015 Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, under the theme Civic Voices: Justice, Rights, and Social Change, students created media tools to improve media literacy and find diverse and innovative solutions to issues such as gender inequality within the media industry, the marginalization of minority communities online, and community resilience in the face of climate change. They presented their plans to experts from program partner organizations, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, and Global Voices.  Research InnovationsDocumentary Shorts Win International AwardsIn 2015, Roman Gerodimos, a faculty member the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, with assistance from two alumni of the Academy, Auguste Janutaite and Ana Alania, released two filmic essays looking at urban coexistence, public space, digital media, and young people. The films At the Edge of the Present and A Certain Type of Freedom premièred at the ninth Salzburg Academy (2015), and Gerodimos credited the Academy’s influence on the projects. “I was thrilled to premiere the films at the Academy,” said Gerodimos. “The Academy and all the projects, partnerships, and friendships we have established in Salzburg over the last decade were a key driver of the conceptual and creative process that led to the production of these movies.”The films have since been screened at international events such as the European Youth Centre in Budapest, Hungary, the Media Education Summit in Boston, MA, USA, and the 9th Thin Line Film Fest in Denton, TX, USA, winning awards including the Award of Merit: Special Mention in the categories of Experimental and Public Service Programming at the Best Shorts Competition 2015, as well as multiple awards for best documentary short and narration at the International Independent Film Awards (IIFA) and the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards (HIIDA).  

Students’ Projects

Gender equity is a problem that affects communities worldwide. Academy students proposed #EmpoweredByArt, a global art project designed to make the public aware of culturally constructed gender stereotypes and build collective action aimed at reforming harmful gender stereotypes. #ICreateaChange
To help encourage the online participation of marginalized communities, students designed #ICreateaChange, an online platform that will collect and report art produced by various communities from all around the world through the systematic Global Voices scheme already implemented to report news.Floods in Europe & US
Floods in Europe & US takes a strategic media approach to reduce the impact of floods. The students’ proposed screening informative videos that demonstrate preventive measures and helpful responses in case of a flood in commonly-frequented locations outside the home, such as supermarket registers. Books on Board: Bringing Education to Girls
To tackle illiteracy in rural Yemen and the major gender gap on schooling, Books on Board: Bringing Education to Girls proposes providing marginalized girls a chance at a secondary level education by applying the philosophy that if the girls cannot go to school, the school will come to them. 

Students’ Testimonials

Basma Tabaja, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
“There are so many things back home that we know are a problem and we try to address, but most of the time, our approach doesn’t work, and you are feeling very frustrated. Just being here and learning so many things: you have to be smart in your campaign, how to be more user friendly, to be more strategic in messages. All these things will really help us reflect on some of our own actions we take back home.”Alexis Fernandez, Iberoamericana University, Mexico
“I wanted to meet people from different cultures, and I think the program also had a lot to bring to me in a theoretical way and also in a practical way. I cherished meeting new people and making friends. I would definitely recommend this program to other students.”Michael Griessler, St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences, Austria
“The whole system of this Academy just sounded like a great idea and I can say it was a good decision to attend. The trip to Mauthausen Memorial was a life changing experience and a lecture we had on Social Media and Conflict was inspiring. It is a unique experience that you don’t get at your home university. You can learn a lot about different cultures and people here.”Hio Tong Tam, Chinese University of Hong Kong 
“You get the opportunity to talk to people from all over the world. Some of them might be journalists in the future, and I think it is really interesting for me to talk to them and exchange experience. In Macau, citizens don’t really have the right to express their voice and their opinions. I really want to change that situation in my hometown.”
FIND OUT MOREVideos, curricula resources, and media action plans (MAPs) from students and faculty of the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change are available online to watch, use, and share.SEE ONLINE: 
This article has been updated to correct the attribution of the students' testimonials. The quote belonging to Hio Tong Tam had been erroneously attributed to Michael Griessler. We apologize for this error and any inconvenience caused.