“The more we see of the work being done in media literacy, the more work we realize there is to do.”
—Allison Butler, Mass Media Literacy
On November 20 and 21, The Centre for Excellence in Media Practice, based at Bournemouth University in England, held its 2015 international media summit at Emerson College in Boston. The Action Coalition for Media Education was well represented, with all but one of its board members attending, along with partners from Sacred Heart University’s graduate program in Media Literacy and Digital Culture and Mass Media Literacy, a media education and advocacy organization based in Massachusetts.
The event featured a variety of presentations, including roundtables, paper presentations, and a day of youth workshops, as well as keynotes by a range of educators and researchers. Presentations by ACME members and partners included the following:
⇒ success of ban on marketing to children (paper): Jacques Brodeur
⇒ Media Education for a Digital Generation (roundtable): ACME’s Ben Boyington, Julie Frechette, and Rob Williams, Sacred Heart’s Bill Yousman and Lori Bindig, and summit organizers Julian McDougall and Paul Mihailidis, among other media educators and researchers
⇒ paper presentations by Allison Butler
This was an exciting opportunity for media educators and activists to gather for learning, discussion, and networking. We were able to see old friends and colleagues, make new connections, and enjoy the stimulation of one of America’s greatest cities. We were reminded once again that a great deal of exciting work is going on in the fields of media education and activism.
The challenge lies in the kind of work being done. We at ACME believe that media literacy education must challenge power structures, deeply question consumerism, and examine the increasingly substantial impact of media saturation in the 21st century. We must critique our political economy and the elite power structures that feed and are fed by it. But we need to go further and deeper than digital literacy, beyond the use of technology and media in education. Media educators need to work through a truly critical lens; we need to engage in actions and assignments, pedagogy and heutagogy, that question societal paradigms and spur civic engagement at multiple levels. These include non-commercial media production and reputable journalism, as well as projects that expose the damage done to children’s health when the marketing industry’s public relations efforts are disguised as media literacy education.
ACME exists to meet this challenge, building a coalition of organizations devoted to creating solutions to the range of media problems in the digital age. What we do, we must do together. See you in April at Sacred Heart University!