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by Aaron Stier-Cohen
Introducing Transformative Media Pedagogies, essays, and reflections from the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. Edited by Paul Mihailidis, Sangita Shresthova, and Megan Fromm, each essay features valuable insights and practical strategies from past Salzburg participants for building human connection, care, imagination, and agency, around students as storytellers focused on positive social change.
We here at the eLab are so proud of all the people in our immediate and extended community who contributed their work and ideas to this milestone publication. Last week, the editors and many of the authors gathered virtually to celebrate the official book launch and to discuss their contributions to the text.
“This is not simply a model curriculum you transport from place to place,” said Henry Jenkins, who wrote the forward to Transformative Media Pedagogies, “it’s a philosophy of learning that has to be embedded in the lives of the students in relation to the location they are at. Start by analyzing location and the students and where they are coming from. Know your student well.”
Place and specificity play a huge role in Transformative Media Pedagogies. Contributing author Carol Reese spoke about the hidden curriculum at Salzburg Media Academy, which takes place between classes in spontaneous encounters, conversations, and relationships that form when students and faculty inhabit the same space.
“Through those conversations and shared activities and informal settings,” Reese said, “it is natural that a stronger bond can form, and then the motivation for further learning can increase both in and out of the classroom….”
This proximity and specificity can also lead to conflict though. Contributing author Roman Gerodimos spoke about his experience managing the inevitable conflicts that arise when different people with different identities and experiences come to know one another and work together.
“So then it becomes about how can you coexist in a space with people who have radically different viewpoints from you,” Gerodimos said. Here is where practical tools like The Human Library or The Ties That Bind help scaffold conversations about difference and identity that created shared experiences and a literal common language amongst the learning community.
Author and editor Megan Fromm spoke about how this specificity of person and place is part of a foundational ethic of care that guides all learning at Salzburg Academy. From there, imagination and agency form the three main values of Transformative Media Pedagogies and the organizing sections of the book.
You can watch the book launch in its entirety here and see other authors Eric Gordon, Karen Fowler-Watt, Pablo Martínez-Zárate, Christopher S. Harris, Claudia Kozman, Stephen Reese, and Steven Sayler talk about their contributions to the imagination and agency sections of Transformative Media Pedagogies.