Welcome to MES

The Global Media Education Summit (MES) brings together an international network of researchers, educators, and practitioners across all aspects of media education, media and digital literacies, youth media production and media and technology in education. As the leading global showcase for research, pedagogy, and innovation, MES explores the changing currents across media education and media literacy communities around the world.

Now in its fourteenth year, MES is convened by the UK’s Centre for Excellence in Media Practice, in collaboration with a leading media education space in a different country each year. The Summit is a vital part of CEMP’s work. It serves as a convergence of our international research work and networking and it demonstrates our mission to foster collaborative work in the related fields of media education and media literacy. In 2023, we are hosted by the School of Communication and the Community Engaged Research Initiative at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, in partnership with the McLuhan Foundation. Simon Fraser University is located on the unceded and unsurrendered territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), q̓íc̓əy̓ (Katzie), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Qayqayt, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen peoples.

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.

Antonio Lopez, a pioneering voice in this critical intersection, will be with us for all of MES as our critical discussant. 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’ (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.

Our programme includes a rich and diverse set of keynotes and panels from and with thought leaders and critical agents in the fields of media literacy, education and activism. Claudia Magallanes Blanco will present on media activism for self determination by and with indigenous communities and organisations. Mark Surman will pose the critical challenge – what does it mean to think critically about media now, and for media activism in a world of AI? Wendy Hui Kyong Chun and Amy Harris bring our conference theme to centre stage by thinking about global climate change and media edu-cologies. Lissa Soep will join our MES discussant Antonio Lopez to reflect on how our days together and online take us forward in thinking about these significant challenges.

We will also convene two panels sharing work at the intersection of media literacy, arts and activism in the Global South, Middle East and North Africa, including a launch of Andrea Medrado and Isabella Rega’s new book Media Activism, Artivism and the Fight Against Marginalisation in the Global South: South-to-South Communication.

The MES Conversation strand consists of more discursive exchanges with the presenters’ research and projects as a starting point, and for the first time at MES, a full virtual panel strand of presentations is offered from colleagues who are unable to be here in person, running alongside the in-person event. This strand follows the success of the fully virtual MES ‘at’ the University of Leeds during the Covid restrictions, and keeps environmental factors in mind along with the challenges our colleagues from the Global South and some MENA regions find in travelling out to these events.

The Youth Media Education Summit (YMES) will once again feature young people from across the local region working in a context of youth media production with educators and media creators from partner organizations. The 2023 YMES is in partnership with the Climate Disaster Project and participating young people will record their own stories based on their personal encounters with climate disaster events and write “as-told-to” articles to be  shared with the Climate Disaster Project’s news media partners and added to the Project’s story collection.

Stuart Poyntz and co-authors will launch their new book Youthsites: Histories of Creativity, Care and Learning in the City and our partnership with the McLuhan Foundation is further manifested in Paolo Granata’s playtest workshop where he will share The MediuM, a game based on the thinking of Marshall McLuhan.

Of course, this is a list of all of the exciting and field-shaping inputs we can expect from keynotes and whole summit panels, launches and workshops, but MES is also, and most importantly, about the sharing of current research by and between delegates, both in-person and virtual, from our global community. The thirty panels and conversations in the programme will be rich spaces for knowledge exchange, shared interests and diverse perspectives.  To make a lasting contribution to our community of scholarship and practice after and beyond the event, presenters at MES will be invited to submit their research to the Journal of Media Literacy Education, to contribute their work to the McLuhan Foundation's Global Village Square, a hub for sharing best practice and research, or to propose a new title in the Routledge Research in Media Literacy and Education book series. Our programme includes an introduction to the Global Village Square with Carolyn Wilson and a panel where authors who have published in the Routledge series will share their work, with MES discussant Antonio Lopez offering perspectives from Ecomedia Literacy, such an important text in relation to our MES theme this year. 

MES is also a huge team effort, across a partnership of several organisations, the integration of YMES and a virtual strand and the complexities of our differentiated registration offers to try to retain some of the inclusivity we were afforded as an unexpected product of ‘Covid times’. Isa, Karen, Laura and I on the UK side worked with Stuart, Layla, Carolyn and David in Canada, and none of this event would have been possible without the contributions of this collective. We are grateful to Isa’s daughter, Olivia, for working on the programme with her Mum, to the Canadian team for all the early morning meetings and to Dani Yates for early work on the MES site.

So, to conclude - after ‘coming home’ (to the UK) in 2020 after five overseas events, and losing a year through pandemic postponement, we are now back out on tour and thrilled to be getting together in person and in very good company in a region with such a vibrant community in our field. We are also in the early planning stages for the first MES to be held in the Global South, in 2025, so watch this space for more information about that. 

We hope you enjoy your time in Vancouver or with us online and that you find MES enriching and supportive. Have a great MES, everyone!

Julian McDougall, Head of the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice, Bournemouth University, UK

The MES team

Headshot images of the MES conference organisers

Stuart Poyntz and Layla Cameron, Simon Fraser University

Karen Fowler-Watt, Julian McDougall and Isabella Rega, CEMP, Bournemouth University

David Nostbakken and Carolyn Wilson, McLuhan Foundation

Laura Hampshaw, Bournemouth University

Abstracts for the keynotes can be found on the MES site homepage.

All panel abstracts for all strands are in the MES programme.

MES 23: More Information and MES Offers