The theme for the 2023 Media Education Summit is Media Edu-cologies, a construction that captures a complex set of ecological and environmental concerns now at the very centre of our field.
The first concern is that posed by the climate crisis and instability in the Anthropocene, which for our field raises profound questions of media and ‘living systems’ (Antonio Lopez), how media infrastructures operate in nature and influence the earth’s ecologies, and how these systems can be engaged through new research, new conceptual frameworks, and new practices and pedagogies that address the place of the ecologies across global mediated life.
Where the ecological is mediated, media constitute an environment, and thus the second concern is that posed by our new socio-technical digital order, the impact of which has changed how we live everyday life. Through datafication, algorithms, surveillance structures and social media, our media is now an ecology, an environment that we habitually live through and connect with and that in turn, watches us and weaves our behaviour into a data order.
Together these overlapping concerns demand understanding and action on an ecological scale, and in this context the traditions of media education, media and information literacy and youth media production have much to offer and have already proven to be powerful resources for responding to the rise of algorithmic cultures, disinformation and misinformation, information fog and warfare, and the representation of nature, race, ethnicity, indigeneity and various forms of difference. Indeed, amidst our new media order, communities are continuing to find creative ways to resist and counter the impact of biased algorithms and tech corporations in their lives.