Visual studies of Immedia:

Exploring the postmodern immediacy of

mass media

 
Project summary

The project aimed at elaboratiing a model for the renewal of curricula and teaching methods in university programs on visual media, journalism and Communication Studies in post-Soviet countries. Visual and Cultural Studies as an interdisciplinary paradigm for studying visual images and their relation to social realities became a conceptual ground for the reflexive application of new methods of teaching and for the development of innovative didactic tools in this area.

At the same time it was important for the project team to identify and discuss the ways in which academia could become critical, “anti-monopolist” agency in relation to the monopolist role of media in contemporary society. Through the course of the project academia had been considered not as being an ‘ivory tower’ for academics and a self-sufficient institution, but as an agency actively involved in the interaction with other social institutions and media. Elaboration of some up-to-date models of systematic interaction between academia and media seemed to be an urgent step on the way of preventing a total assimilation of knowledge and cultural production by media formats - from docudrama and talk-show to Internet analytics whether its main function was infotainment or propaganda.

 

Theoretical and didactic goals of the projects:
  • to develop a conceptual and methodological ground for the analysis of contemporary media culture as a dominant cultural form in postmodern age;

  • to study within a framework of Visual and Cultural Studies how contemporary media (cinema, TV, Internet) re-configure the correlation of form and content of a message, narrative and the visual, global and local, private and public experience of individuals in the new space of global communications;

  • to encourage the introduction of innovative (in form and content) courses related to the studies of mass media into the University curricula with the application of digital technologies;

  • to promote a presence of academic thought in public sphere in order to stimulate discussion on the role of media and humanitarian knowledge in today’s society and to increase audience awareness of ideological and cultural codes of mediated messages;

  • to develop creative skills for production of multimedia products for didactic and other purposes by university faculty; to provide incentives for an interdisciplinary and international cooperation amongst academics in the region specializing in teaching and researching contemporary visual culture.

 

Project outcomes:
  • a collaborative network among project participants and participants of other HESP projects (for example, a project on Alternative cultures) was created. drawing on the most current international scholarship, the project participants have fostered a collaborative critical rethinking of scholarship and the state of the art in the fields related to studies of Visual Culture (including media culture and urban space) that resulted in development of new research projects and preparing publications on the issue.

  • project participants were engaged in a very intensive cooperation with different TV and radio channels (thus, making University knowledge more visible in public sphere). Some practitioners (TV managers and journalists, filmmakers, etc.) were invited to make presentations at our seminars, participate (as a group) in shooting of talk-shows on BelSAT channels and TV programs that were dedicated to media education and to the phenomenon of contemporary visual culture. One of the project participants, Natalia Sokolova, was an expert for BBC program about digital revolution in Russia, and Almira Ousmanova gave an interview for ARTE concerning EHU and “media war’ in the context of Belarusian politics.

 

Project team:

James Elkins (School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA), Lev Manovich (Visual Arts Department, University of California, USA), Janet Wolff (University of Manchester, UK), Scott Lash (Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK), Andrei Gornykh (Professor of the Faculty of Social Sciences, European Humanities University (Belarus – Lithuania)), Nerijus Milerius (Associate Professor of the Department of Philosophy, Vilnius University (Lithuania)), Jekaterina Lavrinec (Associate professor (Creative Industries programme) at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University), Almira Ousmanova (Professor of the Faculty of Social Sciences, European Humanities University (Belarus – Lithuania)), and others.

Project term – from 2007 till 2010

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

 

 
Project Summary
Outcomes