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From the Knowledge of Media to the Medialization of Knowledge

Project summary

Digital culture and visual media have profoundly affected research practices and learning environment in the Universities. The global processes of medicalization have not bypassed the educational practices: on the contrary, the universities and media have been so close to each other as they are nowadays. Digital landscape, media convergence, the growing impact of social media, the development of web-based technologies of distance learning, virtual libraries, e-publishing, easy access to the massive of digital information, virtualization of archives, forms of scientific collaboration, - these and other new realities have challenged the traditional methods and forms of interaction in the classroom, professional competences of academics and the modes of knowledge production within the University.

For many centuries University teachers (at least, in humanities) could have observed the world of “media” and technologies in slightly condescending manner. That seemed to be irrelevant to the learning process based on oral communication in the class, reading books and writing. Everything has changed, if not overnight, then at least in the course of last ten years. The University seems to be unable to cope with the pace of development of educational software technologies, and the lecturers in Humanities, facing the imperative of “going digital”, have to keep an eye on the IT-driven landscape, to be constantly up-dated and themselves being prepared for constant change, but also to think of the new was of delivering knowledge – to the generation of students, which is often referred to as the “generation M”, or as “digital aborigines” - those who never knew any other reality (except e-reality). However, what is missing in Post-Soviet universities it is a critical theoretical reflection towards this new situation.


Thus, the most important issues which can be identified as primary areas of inquiry for the given project, are the following:

· Visual literacy and visual competences of both teachers and students in the age of new media and digital culture;

· application of visual methods in social sciences and humanities, both in teaching

· “Teaching in a world full of images”: the use of visual images in the class - what for, when and with what effects?

· knowledge production in the digital media age (how humanities goes digital).

· the genealogical roots and historically specific forms of the medialization of knowledge


This project, accordingly, has a twofold goal: to explore the effects and forms of medialization of knowledge in scholarly and learning practices in Post-Soviet context, and to elaborate the innovative formats for new generation of teaching resources in the field of Visual and Cultural Studies.

Theoretical and practical outcomes

The project was structured along the following collaborative strategies and events:

- theoretical discussions of the most relevant issues during the workshops;

- joint pilot research between the “teams” from different institutions presented by the participants of the group (aimed at the exploration of the forms, methods and effects of medialization of knowledge in Post-Soviet universities);

- creation of several core course “packages” in the field of Visual, Cultural and Media Studies,

- elaboration of the innovative educational materials (such as “visual concepts” and “visual conspectus”).

By “medialization of knowledge” (media+visualization+knowledge production) was understood:

· the transformation of the very content and architecture of traditional teaching which affects perceptual habits, cognitive competences, visual and virtual skills of the young generation;

· the employment of various audio-visual formats for representation, communication and popularization of scientific ideas and educational content, including:

· elaboration of academic content for audio-visual formats (adaptable for distance learning education as well as for teaching in the class);

· visual documentation of lectures and academic events;

· employment of audio-visual formats for representation of academic activities for media and larger audience (outside of the university);

· creation of visual teaching materials for the courses, preparation of the multimedia handbooks (audiobooks, multimedia editions, e-books, etc.), educational films.


Key questions:

a) Which technologies of audiovisual production and transmission are most appropriate for simple and non-expensive modes of instruction and student’s research work (be it in the class room or through distance learning program) ;

b) Which didactic strategies and “tricks’ can be used by the University teachers for more efficient studying process (engaging, interactive, etc.), what kind of creative assignments would be particularly useful for teaching the subjects related to Visual Culture (film studies, TV culture, art history, media theory, etc.);

c) Which formats of medialization of knowledge are most appropriate for the purposes of the popularization of scholarly ideas outside of the University?

This project is a continuation of several successive HESP projects, implemented in the European Humanities University (Vilnius, Lithuania) in between 2004 and 2010, dedicated to the development of Visual and Cultural Studies as a new interdisciplinary field in the Post-Soviet Universities.

Project term – from 2014 till 2015

Project directors: Almira Ousmanova, Andrei Gornykh (European Humanities University)

Project coordinator: Natallia Nenarokomova


Project Summary
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