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Student Spotlight: Sydney Angove on winning the Transformative Media Literacy Award, Media Literacy, & Community Impact

July 30, 2021

The Transformative Media Literacy award is given to a current student for exceptional work at the intersection of social justice and equity. The award was conceptualized to honor the memory of the late Moses Shumow who worked tirelessly to make media more impactful and accessible to disadvantaged communities. We sat down with this year’s award winner Sydney Angove to discuss what it meant to her as a Media Design cohort member both personally and professionally.

Has your work and experience in the Media Design program been relevant to this award? If so, how?

My experience as a graduate student in the Media Design program at Emerson College has been incredibly influential in motivating and preparing me for work at the intersection of media, technology, and civic engagement. Within the program, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as research assistant alongside the Mapping Impactful Media Literacy team. This team is a diverse group of researchers, educators, activists, and graduate students committed to interrogating the question, “How can impactful media literacy practices support more just, equitable, and inclusive futures?” Working alongside each of these team members has been incredibly rewarding and inspiring for media literacy work.

What does winning this award mean to you personally and professionally?

Understanding the quality of character and robust work represented in the namesake of the Moses Shumow Transformative Media Literacy award makes receiving it an incredible honor. Before serving as an educator at Emerson, Moses Shumow worked tirelessly to tell stories of transnational and underserved communities. He remains a powerful representation of an individual’s ability to shift perspectives, challenge stereotypes, and create powerful narratives. Knowing the impact Moses had as a media maker, scholar, activist, and educator who was passionate about the role of media in supporting those marginalized in the world, my hope is that obtaining this award will allow me to do the same.

Why do you think this award is important?

I think this award is important because of the topics that it represents. I believe that exploring the relationship between media literacy interventions and civic participation is necessary for building equitable futures. It is becoming increasingly significant to build competencies that result in opportunities for people to use their voice and understand subjectivity in media messages. The distribution of this award calls attention to these themes, creating a social awareness that has the potential to drive positive change. We believe that media literacies are central to a society that demands accountability from public institutions, equity for marginalized and underserved communities, and robust opportunities for people to use their voice to advocate for more inclusive futures. This project will research how we have defined impact in media literacy, and advocate for indicators that support the needs of communities and youth at the margins of society.

The Transformative Media Literacy award gives recipients the opportunity to make their socially equitable media dreams a reality while honoring a great practitioner in the field of social justice. It’s presented at the Social Justice & Media Symposium, which was created to honor Moses Shumow’s memory and legacy. Symposium host and Media Design Graduate Program Director Paul Mihailidis had this to say about the award and Sydney’s accomplishments:

“The Transformative Media Literacy award is given to an emerging media maker, activist, scholar, and practitioner, who demonstrates a commitment to using media to build more equitable and just futures. The award is special in that it honors the life and work of Moses Shumow, who tirelessly devoted his life to creating media messages and research about communities that were oppressed, marginalized, and left behind. Moses believed that media narratives could change the world, and held that true in the most positive of ways, in his work, and his life. This award honors his work and carries his legacy forward. Sydney Angove is committed to research and practice that supports equity and justice with and through media. Her work with The Message in Boston, and on the national Mapping Impactful Media Literacy research project places her in a position to be an emerging leader in transformative media literacies. It’s an honor for her to receive this inaugural award in honor of Moses Shumow, and to be supported in her work moving forward.”

Though this award is relatively new, it gives students like Sydney the chance to take what they’ve learned in a professional setting and expand on their personal projects. The impact of this award will be felt for years to come and it’s one of the more important initiatives to come in the field of Media Design as of late. It’ll be interesting to see what possibilities and projects will come out of an award such as this, and only time will tell what’s to come.

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