International Conference Literacy and Society, Culture, Media, & Education Ghent University, EMPATIC & EMSOC 9-‐11 February 2012 This project has been funded with support from the European Commission
International Conference Literacy and Society, Culture, Media, & Education Ghent University, EMPATIC & EMSOC 9-‐11 February 2012 Brief report 1. Background Following the political unrest and uncertainty in Greece, the PMB took a unanimous decision to look for a new host country for the EMPATIC Final Conference. Using the stakeholders database, two possibilities emerged: an international conference Literacy and Society, Culture, Media, & Education being hosted by Ghent University and an event entitled European Meeting on Media and Information Literacy Education, an idea and proposed joint initiative on a number of European bodies but at the time had not focussed directly on preparing a programme. EMPATIC was able to bring substance to both organisers at the same time as opening both events to EMPATIC stakeholders. Carol Priestley, Manager, EMPATIC travelled to Ghent to meet with the Ghent University, discuss ideas of mutual interest and offer a first draft outline programme. 2. Management and Organisation Ghent University was pleased to share both administrative and programme roles and also introduce EMPATIC to another interesting partner – EMSOC (User Empowerment in a Social Media Culture) http://emsoc.be/ 3. Programme In an age of digitality and mass media, perceptions about and practices of culture, pedagogy and educational systems are undergoing rapid changes and debate. Among other issues and developments, the impact of digitality results in new perspectives on literacy(ies). A copy of the full programme is attached at Appendix 1. Participants in the conference were invited to explore theories, practices, and applications for the study of the interrelations of digitality and contemporary society, culture, and pedagogy in thematic sections of 1) Media and Society, 2) Media and Culture, 3) Media and Education, and 4) Media and Information Literacy. The final day of the programme (Saturday 11 February) was devoted to verifying EMPATIC recommendations. 4. Participants Wide publicity was undertaken to try to ensure a fully represented participation. A list of attendees is attached at Appendix 2. Regrettably there were additionally a number of regrets because of a viral infection sweeping Belgium. 5. Conclusions From the point of view of EMPATIC the conference was highly successful. Each sector of EMPATIC was represented and discussion was extremely lively. Participants were both interested in the overall aims of the project and also keen to be activity engaged in discussing the recommendations and being involved in any follow-‐up.
Recommendations to Policy Makers by the Ghent conference participants included: 1. The participants agreed that Information Literacy is vital for the today’s society in Europe and as such should be developed and promoted in different contexts and by various means. They also pointed out that there exist a few IL related projects going on in local communities in Europe under the names of “media literacy” or even “media wisdom”. 2. The importance of Information Literacy needs to be publicized not only to governments, ministries and policy makers on the national or EU levels but also to local authorities, businesses, small social groups and all citizens. 3. The strategy of IL development should encompass two main lines of action: IL awareness building among authorities and governments on the national and European levels 4. Substantial, real work, “step by step”, “project by project” on the local level by particular schools, universities, libraries, etc. 5. The most of participants expressed the feeling that “slow” strategy, based on “small projects” addressed to different target groups, communities, professions, etc. would be more effective than having a central EU body responsible for the IL development or the formal European IL policy directives. 6. Thus, the “IL awareness building” and “central goals” approach clearly prevailed over the “central steering” one. Also, having clearly stated Information Literacy goals (national, European) may help anyone wanting to convince/influence local authorities to support IL development programmes. 7. One of the tactical observations has been that “incentives work better than orders”, meaning that IL development policy based on incentives for those who introduce IL (teachers, librarians, businesses, local authorities) would be the effective one.
http://empat-ic.eu/eng/ Project funded by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot beheld responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. 1