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OURMedia/NEUSTROSMedios is a "network and forum" made up of engaged
academics and also involving media practitioners, activists, artists
and policy-makers which supports the growth of what it terms the
"democratic potential of community, alternative and 'citizens' media".
1 In Sydney, network of 500
2 History and background
4 2007 panelists and invited speakers
5 Events during OM6
6 OURMedia, Australia
7 Others connected
8 Partners, sponsors, participants
9 External links
 In Sydney, network of 500
It organised its sixth international conference in Sydney, Australia
from April 9-13, 2007 at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)
and the theme of this conference was Sustainble Futures: Roles and
Challenges for Community, Alternate and Citizens' Media in the 21st
Some 70 participants from overseas attended the Sydney conference.
OURMedia 6 claimed to have 130 presentations from people in 35
countries, representing over one hundred organisations.
Currently OURMedia/NEUSTROSMedios claims to have a network of over 500
persons from some 50 countries globally. It says that its "purpose" is
to "connect scholars, practitionres, activists, artists, and
policy-makers to provide spaces for dialogue and exchange".
 History and background
OURMedia/NEUSTROSMedios focuses on forms of media that are beyond the
mainstream. These forms of the media have been variously labelled, and
also called the social focus media, citizens' media, community media,
independent media, alternative media, tactical media, or participatory
media. Some see the term citizen's media to be problematic, as it
wittingly or otherwise depends on identities created by the
This network and forum was founded in 2001. It argues that "the
intellectual and policy frameworks for citizens' media are often out
of touch with the on-the-ground reality".
OURMedia was born in 2000-01 in Mexico, at another communications
event. It was started when the academics present realised that in the
past couple of years, three books had been published on the
alternative media, including Professor John D.H. Downing's Radical
Media, another book on the alternative media, and a third by Clemencia
Founder members say that the idea behind it was to create a network
that would serve as a series of bridges -- between academics,
activists and practitioners. It was also intended to act as a bridge
between the "global North and the global South" and to serve as a
"bridge between different media technologies."
OURMedia says it does not consider itslef as having any "centre", and
it wants to balance off differences based on language, gender, race
and th elike.
OURMedia/NEUSTROSMedios has held its earlier conferences in the United
States (in 2001), in Spain (2002), in Columbia (2003), Brazil (2004),
and in Bangalore-India (in 2005).
During its conferences, there have been a mix of academic
presentations, media activism initiatives, policy workshops, community
cultural development round-tables, new media labs, research-led forums
and presentations by local media producers.
In 2001, the meet at Washington was held as a one-day pre-conference
attached to the meet of the International Communications Association
(ICA). In 2002, the meet at Barcelona in Spain was attached to the
meeting of the International Conference of Media and Research. 2003
say the meet being held for the first time in the southern hemisphere,
in the Latin American country of Colombia. This event was marked by
the participation of a number of young people and students.
In 2004, once again the event was held in Latin America, in the city
of Porto Alegre, known for hosting the World Social Forum meetings. It
was held again with the IMCR conference held there.
2005 saw OURMedia/NEUSTROSMedios being held for the first time in the
Asian continent, in the Indian city of Bangalore. For the first time
too, this conference was not attached to any other mainstream
conference. Likewise, its organisation was kept largely in the hands
of the host country. This time, the conference was held over a
In 2007, some of the conference themes were:
Participatory communication for social change
Community/alternative media research
Community/alternative media policy
Civil Society, Social Movements and Media Activism
New technologies and social action
Grassroots meda and youth
Some priority issues seen to be facing those concerned about the media
and building the alternative media include:
Problem of sustainability (of the alternative media)
Focus on children and young people
Building an inclusive and just peace
Strengthen women's and peace networks
Innovative uses of of community media for peace building and conflict
Solidifying the field of citizens' media scholarship
Linking between research and sustainability
Cross-ferlitization of sustainable participatory communications for
social change at a global scale.
Bridging gaps between participatory development and alternative media
to build common ground
Legitimise community media, alternate media, participatory
communication research within universities
Legitimsise indigenous knowledge and reinforce traditional knowledge systems.
 2007 panelists and invited speakers
Among those taking part in the Sydney conference as keynote panelists
and invited speakers were John D.H.Downing, professor of inernational
communication and founding director of the Global Media Research
Centre at the Southern Illinois University in the USA; Sharon Bhagwan
Rolls, founding directore of ]]femLINKPACIFIC: Media Initiatives for
Women]] in Fiji; Luis Evaristo dos Santos Soares of the Community
Radio Centre in Timor Leste; Stuart Allan who is professor of cultural
studies at the University of the West of England, UK.
Others included Suman Basnet, regional coordinator for Asia and
Pacific of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters; Faye
Ginsburg, professor of Anthropology and director of the Centre for
Media, Culture & History at the New York University; Helen Molnar,
executive director of MC Media & Associates; Clemencia Rodriguez of
Oklahoma Universit and OURMedia Network, Columbia; Alfonso
Gumucio-Dagron of the Communication for Social Change Consortium in
Guatemala and the OURMedia Network, Bolivia; Robert A. Hackett of
Somon Fraser University and NewsWatch Canada; Dorothy Kidd of the
University of San Francisco and the Media Alliance, USA; Andrew Garton
of the Association for Progressive Communications, Australia (unable
to participate); Barry Melville, general manager of the Community
Broadcasting Association of Australia; Nalaka Gunawardene, director
and CEO of the Television for Evnrionment Asia Pacific in Sri Lanka;
Kosala Keerthirathne of the Kothmale Community Media Centre also in
Sri Lanka; Raghu Mainali, director of the Community Radio Support
Centre of NEFEJ, the Nepal Federation of Environmental Journalists in
Kathmandu; and representatives of hi8us of the United Kingdom.
 Events during OM6
Sydney's international conference in April 2007 featured a
main-conference held between April 10-12 at the Guthrie Theatre of the
University of Technology, Sydney on its Broadway Campus on Harris
Street. Before the event there was also a pre-conference on tactical
and community media on-screen, held on the Afternoon of April 9 at the
Sidetrack Theatre at Sydney's Marrickville locality on its Addison
Road Community Centre locality.
During the 'community and tactical video ONscreen' event, the films
screened were Rise up Maubere People! FRETILIN Today (Lucia Salinas,
Australia-Timor Leste (36 minutes); Aboriginal Youth Media in Central
Australia (Lisa Stefanoff, Leo Ortega and Wiriya Sati); Voices of the
Magdalena (Alfonso Gumucio and Amparo Cadavid of Colombia, 35
minutes); Surviving the Street & METINI (The Life and Death of an Afar
Woman), by GEM TV of Ethiopia (Deborah Kingsland, Australia-UK); Our
December, Bitter but Beautiful/WTO in Hong Kong/Video Activism in Hong
Kong; a selection of alternative videos from Japan; selection of
tactical videos from Melbourne; and Redfern Waterloo Tour of Beauty
(SquatSpace), 45 minutes.
On April 13, there was a full-day visit to the Information Cultural
Exchange centre located on the outskirts of the city. This was
intended to act as a space for sharing and exchanging ideas through
"hands-on community media training workshops lead by international and
local community media organisations", and to showcase recent ICE
projects covering diverse communities in Sydney.
Information & Cultural Exchange is housed at the Australian
Manufacturing Workers' Union. Presenters during this day-long event
included Uncle Greg who offered a welcome to country; Australian
Manufacturing Workers' Union secretary Doug Cameron; Lena Nahlous of
ICE; Ben Hoh speaking on weblogs; Voice of the Nile presenters of
Sudanese radio programmes; Sierra Lieonian journalist Edison who has
been involved in the Darkness Over Paradise television documentary in
that violence-hit land; and MC Trey on urban music and outh cultures.
During the event, an OMSix Polymedia Lab was also hosted, as an
attempt in "skill-sharing, knowledge-sharing, and the exchange of
experiences between media groups, projects, organisations, and
activists". This was an open space where anyone interested could share
information about experiments, or collaborations.
Besides the plenary session, other parallel sessions held during
OURMedia 6 included special focus events on:
Participatory communication for social change
Community/alternative media research
Local cultures/media diversity
Community cultural diversity
Civil society/media activism
Community media policy
New technologies and social action
Youth and grassroots media
New media/community media
Panels, presentations and discussions were also held on themes that looked at:
Open spectrum: digital television opportunities
Community media interventions in Western Sydney
Women and community media
The future and sustainability of youth media in the 21st century
Arab self-representations and community media
Grassroots online video distribution workshop
Working group meetings were held to discuss the future of
OURMedia/NEUSTROSMedios, with a focus on themes of governance and
financing, communication infrastructure, and plans for the next
conference. Two proposals for holding the next event have come up from
Ghana, and from Athens, Iowa in the United States.
 OURMedia, Australia
This event was hosted in a part of the globe which is seen as having a
long and strong tradition of citizen engagement, experimental arts and
Australia's community broadcasting sector is over three decades old.
In 2005, Australia was estimated to have 341 community radio stations,
54 stations holding or seeking temporary licenses, 76 remote
indigenous community TV licensees, and six generalist community TV
Besides catering to diverse language groups, the alternative media
here has also been seen as catering to specific interests --
indigenous broadcasting, gay and lesbian groups, religious people,
independent producers, social activists, artists, educational
institutions, seniors, youth.
 Others connected
Other academics and persons involved as part of the organising
committee for the OM6 event were Juan Francisco Salazar of the
University of Western Sydney, Australia; Ellie Rennie of Swinburne
University of Technology in Australia; Tanya Notley of the Queensland
University of Technology in Australia; Lena Nahious and Caitlin
Vaughan of the not-for-profit organisation Information and Cultural
Exchange in New South Wales, Australia; Clemencia Rodriguez of the
University of Oklahoma; Alfonso Gumucio-Dagron of the Guatemala-based
Communication for Social Change Consortium; Penny O'Donnell of the
University of Technology, Sydney; Gabi Hadl of Tokyo University;
Michael Meadows, Griffith University, Australia; Jethro Pettit of the
Institute for Development Studies at Sussex University; Elvira Truglia
of the Social Justice Committee, Montreal; Leo Berkeley of the Royal
Melbourne Institute of Technology; Stefania Milan of the European
University Institute, Italy; Antonio Castilio, University of Western
Sydney; Hart Cohen, Univeristy of Western Sydney; Rachel Morley,
University of Western Sydney; Tanja Draher, University of Technology,
Sydney, and Lucia Salinas.
 Partners, sponsors, participants
Partners and sponsors for this event included the University of
Western Sydney, University of Technology, Sydney, Information and
Cultural Exchange, AusAID, Institute of Development Studies, Channel
Foundation, Search Foundation, RMIT University, the Australian
National Commission for UNESCO, Sidetrack and the British Council.
Participants for this event came from Australia, Argentina,
Bangladesh, the Basque Country, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica,
Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Ethiopia, Fiji Islands, France, Germany,
Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan,
Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand (Aotearoa), Nigeria, Pakistan,
Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Sri
Lanka, Timor Leste, Turkey, UK, Uruguay, USA.
 External links
OURMedia/NEUSTROSMedios main site
OURMedia/NEUSTROSMedios 2007 conference
OURMedia/NEUSTROSMedios 2007 wiki
OM6 photo group on Flickr.com
Some photos from OM6, Sydney
Engagemedia, website for video about social justice and environmental issues
Handbook of Coding cultures
Sliced Bread Attracton, creative opportunities for all abilities
CITIZENSHIFT, online media for social change, Canada
Creative Commons Australia
Communications for Social Change Consortium, Guatemala
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