elplacebo asked: How someone with a media studies background but not affiliated with an academic institution get involved teaching media / information literacy?
Wow, I missed this question, which was probably asked a long time ago! I haven’t been blogging much recently, so this is a good way to dip my toes back into the online content production waters…
A lot of folks who teach media and information literacy don’t have conventional backgrounds in academia. The media literacy community as “big tent” includes practitioners, scholars, researchers, enrichment educators who tend to identify somewhere between media studies (and media arts practice, which happens to be my background — the intersection between media studies and media arts) — and education, along with an assortment of other professions — medicine, law, psychology.
I had a lot of help from collaborations with academic institutions — especially Temple University and the University of Rhode Island through the field-building work of my fearless leader and co-author Renee Hobbs — but there are lots of examples of folks who operate outside of academia who do fantastic work in media literacy enrichment, professional development, and field-building. My friends and colleagues Rhys Daunic of the Media Spot and D.C. Vito and Emily Long of the LAMP (both in NYC) are two examples.
The best way to dive in is to figure out where folks are doing work that is either formally or informally MIL-related locally, and to work, volunteer, or at least get in touch. In Philadelphia, we have some great resources for collaboration in the media literacy field. One of the best is the Philadelphia Youth Media Collaborative, which is a consortium of youth media enrichment providers, and runs the gamut from public media institutions to smaller arts organizations. (There are similar consortiums, some formal and some informal, in Chicago, the Bay Area, New York, and the Twin Cities, to name a few big centers for youth media and media literacy work. The re-launched Youth Media Reporter and the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture are both good places to learn more about these organizations — NAMAC’s job bank is also useful for browsing paid positions in the youth media and media literacy field.)
If you’re interested in working with K-12 schools, a lot of times making connections with individual teachers who are passionate about media and information literacy, either “officially” or in terms of their practice (without necessarily calling it MIL) can get your foot in the door. I do lots of guest visits to K-12 classrooms, for instance, and these can be just as beneficial as formal partnerships.
And finally, I can provide a shameless plug for the National Association for Media Literacy Education, of which I’m a board member. We have a student leadership council and committee work that connects media literacy practitioners with larger initiatives, networks, and organizations. The important thing to remember is that the media literacy field doubles as a movement that is fundamentally populist and interdisciplinary in its approach, so there are lots of points of entry.