12555 CE: Stories for Change: Media Literacy & Civic Engagement through Political Remix
Organizer: Benjamin Thevenin, Andrew Walker, Brittany Vance
The Stories for Change project is a media literacy education initiative that uses political remix to help young people become more critical and active citizens, consumers and producers of media. The workshop will introduce some of the theoretical and pedagogical foundations of the project, present some student work produced as a part of the project, and then assist participants in producing their own political remix as a means of fostering critical media literacy.
Since ancient times, communities have used storytelling—from epic poetry to folk tales and songs to zines and fan-vids—to express their values, voice their anxieties, and promote positive social change. While since the advent of mass media and the cultural industries, the most popular stories are those produced by large corporations, some stories are still told by communities in order to address issues and struggles they face. Political remix works within this tradition—using digital media to appropriate and reinterpret narratives and characters from popular culture in order to raise awareness about challenges facing contemporary society.
Given the new ways younger generations understand civic engagement—oftentimes using digital media to engage in issue-oriented politics—it is necessary that media and civic education assist these new citizens in developing and expressing their political perspectives and enacting social change in ways that make sense to them. The Stories for Change project involves undergraduate students from Brigham Young University teaching 10- week critical media literacy workshops in public school classrooms. In creating their Stories for Change—which have ranged from a Transformers/Lorax fan-vid addressing deforestation to a Batman comic about drunk-driving to a Plants vs. Pesticides video game—the K-12 students are learning about issues that affect their community, understanding media’s relationship to these issues, and then expressing their perspectives about these issues through the creative production of alternative media.
The workshop will include 3 segments:
– Benjamin Thevenin will introduce some fundamental theoretical and pedagogical concepts that inform the creation of the Stories for Change project.
– BYU undergraduate students Andrew Walker and Brittany Vance will conduct a mini- Stories for Change workshop in which participants will conduct some research on a social issue, make a small political remix project, and then share their work.
– Participants will reflect on the workshop, discuss the affordances/limitations of using political remix in media & civic education, and give the presenters feedback on how the project might be improved.