Students From Around the World Travel to Salzburg for Eighth Media Academy

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Jun 30, 2014
by Julia Loewenthal
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Students From Around the World Travel to Salzburg for Eighth Media Academy

Largest ever cohort of students from 23 countries on five continents will come to learn about being global citizens in a digital age

This summer from July 20 to August 9, over 70 students and 20 faculty and scholars from around the world will join together in Austria to participate in the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change

This summer’s students come from Argentina, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Egypt, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK, and the USA. Providing voices and viewpoints from five continents, participants will engage in projects, lectures, and activities to better understand their role as a global citizen in the digital age. All the while, students will be living in the beautiful Schloss Leopoldskron, and experiencing the history of a beautiful building, city, and country.

Now in its eighth session, the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change has spent the better part of a decade bringing students together to work on innovative case studies to impact media dialogue and global change. Roughly 400 students have participated thus far, in addition to over 50 professors and faculty members. In addition, each year features noteworthy guest speakers and teachers, including the playwright Tom Stoppard, associate justice of the US Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy, author Richard Ford, and Washington Post reporter Dana Priest. 

Academy participants will focus on four major programs and activities. First, the Academy is excited to welcome staff from the United Nations Development Program’s Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity Group, who will be staging real world challenges they are working on around the world. The three main areas of focus are: poverty reduction, human rights, and the environment. Students will work in teams to develop media-oriented solutions to the challenges posed, and will present their prototypes at the conclusion of the three-week Academy period. This will involve written components, including defining the problem and relating it to Media Literacy, as well as visual components, including creating an infographic in addition to video and audio to amplify the issue. The UNDP will consider the top prototyped solutions in regional offices where the challenges are currently being addressed. This applied work gives students a chance to see their work in the context of real-world problem solving.

The second 2014 Academy project involves working in a multimedia production team. Noted filmmakers Sanjeev Chatterjee (Media for Change and University of Miami) and Rhys Daunic (The Media Spot) will serve as filmmakers-in-residence this summer, creating two short films with the help of eight competitively selected students. One video will focus on what media can change, and the other looks at how we can change media. 

Finally, students will engage in a weekly photo contest. Each week the students will be given a word, and will be tasked with capturing its meaning in a photograph. A winner is selected at the end of the week, in addition to second place, third place, and runners up. Prizes are given at the end of the summer to the first place winners. 

Accepted graduate students will be required to take on a research project as well, exploring media literacy, stereotypes and diversity in global digital culture. Students will work in teams, and these projects will tie in both with the other work being done at the Academy as well as the students’ area of study.

The three-week experience will of course include more than just work. Each Friday, students will be taken on a trip – the first week to the beautiful Gossau national park, and the second week to a concentration camp memorial. These trips provide meaningful experiences for students to explore areas outside of Salzburg, as well as to get to know each other outside of the Schloss grounds. Weekends are spent either traveling to other cities such as Munich, Vienna, and Venice, or exploring all that Salzburg has to offer. The city is host to the annual classical musical festival which takes place at the same time as the Academy, and students will be treated to private show in the Great Hall of the Schloss as part of their three-week stay.  Students will also have opportunity to hike in the surrounding mountains and partake in the unofficial tradition of braving the cold waters of the Almkanal to cool off in the Salzburg summer heat.

Overall, it is going to be a powerful three weeks. Students will learn a lot about the state of the world and their role in it, in addition to making friends from around the world and making once in a lifetime connections.