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OurMedia 9 Conference <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 27 May 2010 10:04:03 -0500
Dear colleagues, below and attached is the Call for Proposals (English only)
for the OurMedia 9 conference to be held next 4-9 October in Jamshoro,

Other language versions will be circulated as they come.



*Call for Proposals *

***OurMedia 9 | NuestrosMedios 9*

*Pakistan, October 4-9 2010*


The next international conference OurMedia 9 | NuestrosMedios 9 will take
place in Jamshoro, Pakistan, from 4 to 9 October 2010, and will be hosted by
the Center for Rural Development Communication, at the University of Sindh.*
*This University is well known for its multicultural environment in a safe
region south of the country, not far from Karachi, a major city with
international airport.

OurMedia* | *NuestrosMedios* *is a global and multicultural network of
scholars, artists media practitioners and activists related to communication
for social change. The first conference took place in Washington DC in 2001.
* *Since then, the network has expanded and strengthened over five
continents*, *with annual events in Barranquilla (Colombia), Porto Alegre
(Brazil), Bangalore (India), Sydney (Australia), Accra (Ghana) and Rio Negro


Among the objectives of OurMedia | NuestrosMedios are: to support the
strengthening of cultural identity, enhance participation in policy making
and processes of governance, make visible cultural and gender diversity,
promote arts for social change, as well as defend the right to communicate
of all peoples.

The website http://www.ourmedianetwork.org/ displays extensive information
on previous conferences as well as on the network, and it will shortly
provide details about the next conference in Pakistan.

The deadline for submission of abstracts (200 words) is June 30th 2010, and
if accepted, the deadline to submit papers (10 to 15 pages) and proposals
for panels is August 30th.

New Media and Emerging Democracies

 In accordance to the suggestion of our hosts at the University of Sindh,
this year’s main theme for papers, projects, shared experiences, exhibitions
and field visits will be: “New Media and Emerging Democracies.”

Few issues in contemporary world are so important and, at the same time, so
difficult to tackle, as democracy. Regardless of diverse approaches to
democracy in each region or context, it always means a certain lose of power
and control for those who detained hegemonic power.

The difficulty lies in the multiple meanings, representations and
experiences that the very notion of “democracy” has for peoples and
societies, for different cultures and periods of time.

We suggest a basic distinction between:

a)     Historical processes of “Democracies in consolidation”, where
national states are homogeneous and / or there is the hegemony* *of dominant
groups’ that have established, in time, an agenda that largely discusses and
decides on issues of participatory policy. In this context, pending issues
of democracy are related to identifying the necessities of segments of
population that are under represented, or whose interests are ignored. The
role of new media is to promote these issues and help identifying processes
that will allow the implementation of a true practice of democracy and
citizen participation in decision-making.

b)    “Emerging democracies” in a multi-national state context, whether or
not they are recognized nations. Democracy has different tasks, goals and
challenges in societies where it is confronted with religious, ethnic,
tribal and other cultural divergences of significance, and where integration
is difficult, much in political terms as in daily life. In these cases, not
only we find an absence of public policies capable to meet people’s needs
and desires, but usually there is an under representation and ignorance of
the needs of vast segments of population, as well as of minorities. New
Media have the responsibility of opening a difficult road, based mostly on
plural dialogue, and which is non-centered and multi-vocal. A dialogue that
will recognize all sorts of appeals, points of view and convergences and
that will promote a space for voices that are rarely listened to and yet,
are essential for the building of a plural democracy.

c)     Democracy requires identifying the necessities and voices of the
disenfranchised. In this sense, it is of great relevance to explore stories
of children (girls and boys), women, workers, peasants, indigenous, and
other minority members. Also, to analyze emerging ways of communication and
relation that fight against marginalization and ignorance and that
contribute to knowledge and to identity assertion.

Another theme for analysis and debate in OurMedia 9 | NuestrosMedios9 will
be the relevance of social and political processes related to the emergency
of citizen’s media or of new media.

Taking these ideas in consideration, we suggest some useful themes for a
gradual empowerment of different segments of population that have been, so
far, oppressed, marginalized or subordinated by reason of tradition, which
some societies consider natural practice.

We think of three scenarios for dissertations and collective debates.

1.     Industrial societies: What is happening with new media in highly
consolidated Western democracies? What are the debates taking place within
these contexts? What are the stakes and limits of new media in societies
under extreme cybernetic control?

2.     Democracies with opening spaces and citizen access to media: How did
they manage to have a growing presence in the media? What are the social and
economic processes related to their presence? To what extent new media
interact with preexisting dialogic media?

3.           Emerging democracies: What is the role of new media when access
is restricted to a minority of population? What role does it play in a
context of emergency democracy and political, religious and ideological
confrontation? Can new media make a contribution to intercultural dialogue?
What are the links of process of participatory communication with vast
social movements?

As in previous conferences, OurMedia 9 | NuestrosMedios 9 will have plenary
sessions in the mornings, and panels, working groups and workshops in the

The range of themes to discuss in panels* *and working teams is very wide.
These are some suggestions:

-       Participatory citizenship in new media.

-       Role of new technologies in the building of citizenship

-       Organized grassroot movements and new media

-       Technical and social limits and advantages in new media

-       New media and the building of democracy

-       Legal frame, censorship or legitimacy of new media

-       Global and local: role of new media.

Workshops on actual experiences may address methodological aspects, which
will allow for transcending the stage of mere descriptions:

 -       Methodologies of communication and democracy building

-       Experimenting new media in contexts of confrontation

-       Role of training in the consolidation of new media

 On the last day of the conference OurMedia 9 | NuestrosMedios 9, an open
debate will take place between all participants about the future of the
network, the future conferences and participants’ suggestions on future
activities and projects.

Participation & Logistics

An International Committee has been established to support the organization
of OurMedia 9 | NuestrosMedios 9, it includes colleagues that already
participated in previous conferences. There is also a Local Committee at the
University of Sindh that will be in charge of the main aspects for the
event’s organization.

Members of both committees participate in seven sub-committees that are in
charge of the following areas: 1) Call for Proposals and Methodology; 2)
Financing and Grants; 3) Travel and Visas; 4) Press and Media; 5)
Translation and Interpreters; 6) Video Screening and Field Visit; and 7)
Lodging and Food.

Proposals for panels, papers or workshops must be sent to:
[log in to unmask]

Those interested in participating in OurMedia 9 / NuestrosMedios 9, may
submit a resume of their papers and / or panel proposals before July 1st.  A
format for proposal submissions is available on our website.

All information related to the conference will be posted in due time at

(translated from Spanish by Natalia Diaz)