This year I had the pleasure to be invited to join the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change as a visiting scholar. Organized by the Salburg Global Media Seminar and hosted at the stunningly beautiful Schloss Leopoldskron, the academy describes itself as a “multidimensional initiative that provides curricular materials, more about training and support for journalism schools, programs and classrooms across the world”. This year’s theme was focused on “Civic Voices: Justice, Rights, and Social Change” and participating students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, from all corners of the world were asked to identify emerging challenges to civic rights and justice in their respective communities and analyze how digital culture and media supporting social progress in a more globally connected world.
As a visiting scholar to the Academy I played an observer role. I also joined the seminars, faculty meetings and student group work meetings where I used my digital media strategy insight and experience to provide feedback and help inform their projects. It was an extraordinary experience. I had the opportunity to listen to inspiring lectures but also to see the students working together on live briefs requiring them to create campaigns to raise awareness or change perceptions about corruption in education, human rights or specific environmental issues. These not only challenged their knowledge but also stretched their comfort zone and required them to gain new skills. In doing so, I have seen them asking and tackling questions related to their knowledge of the world and perception of others, media literacy but also to privacy, policy and online communication strategy.
I left before I could see the students’ final work however, having seen them at work and having seen how the faculty supported them in their journey, I am confident we’ll see some of their campaigns online and offline.