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Social Justice and Media Symposium, 2020 Theme: Persistence

The inaugural symposium on Social Justice and Media will convene for one day in Boston to explore the intersection of social justice and media as it relates to community and pedagogy in daily life.

The inaugural symposium on Social Justice and Media will convene for one day in Boston to explore the intersection of social justice and media as it relates to community and pedagogy in daily life.

In our abundant media environment, where our technologies ask for more and more of our fleeting attention, it seems challenging to stay committed to an idea, an issue, a moment. Connective technologies have succeeded in disconnecting us. They have splintered our communities, polarized our politics, and normalized spectacle in our information feeds. The same online networks that once touted their collaborative potential now provide sensational content to like-minded groups, and seed distrust in the very institutions we rely on for functioning civic societies. The core functions of information systems are now under attack, and the weaponization of fake news by political and public leaders has further eroded such trust. Journalists, meanwhile, are losing the trust of communities who find refuge and solace in the validation of information by peers online.

It is within this context that the symposium will convene activists, scholars, students, and storytellers to explore how media pedagogy and practice can persist in the face of our increasingly transactional, shallow and fractured media infrastructure. The symposium will provide time for dialog, engagement, deliberation and reflection on how we can best prepared young storytellers to advocate for the media and civic systems that best reflect equitable and vibrant societies.

The symposium is in memory of the work and life of Professor Moses Shumow. On October 22, 2019, mediamaker and activist Moses Shumow passed away tragically in a train accident outside of Boston, MA. Moses was a firm believer in the power of story to reframe narratives of the marginalized. He worked tirelessly in the classroom and community, to help people use media to advocate for their rights. His classrooms were reflections of this work, and his students gravitated towards his commitment, passion and energy. This symposium will gather students, colleagues, friends and loved ones to continue the dialog that was so important to Moses’s work, and to communities around the world.

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