Thursday, 28 November 2013

New project with the Media department

During our time at Birzeit University we have been exploring different avenues for new projects. After almost two months, we seem to have struck gold with the Media faculty. After arranging a meeting with the Head of the Department, we discussed possibilities for collaboration that would enhance relations between the Birzeit students and ourselves. The concluding idea was a public lecture followed by a series of seminars that would delve into the world of British media and its representation of Palestine.

Just one sign of the Ramallah bubble
For the public lecture we were asked to reflect upon our previous knowledge and expectations of Palestine and think about how this may have changed during our time here.  We were all keen to express how much we enjoyed living in Ramallah despite some original reservations from friends and family. However, our comments were soon challenged as students wanted to remind us of the ‘Ramallah bubble’ and the on-going Palestinian struggle against the occupation. This is a prime example of how a misuse of words can lead to a misunderstanding, just as it does in the media. We later described our visits to small villages like Budras and Bil’in that lie right next to the Annexation Wall and explained how we were moved by the strength of the Palestinian people. Generally, the students were enthusiastic, unafraid to ask questions and make their point. This interaction was not only thought provoking, but also practical as we discussed ways in which to further engage the wider international community via social and alternative media.

We discussed key British media 

So far, the seminars have been just as successful. We opened with an overview of British media including newspapers like The Sun and The Guardian. This provided the students with a foundation of knowledge to analyse various articles and perspectives on the Israel-Palestine situation. The students are clearly politically motivated and realise the importance of maintaining a focus on Palestine, whilst pursuing their ambitions of journalism, documentary making or film production. Already, it seems evident that this exchange of opinion and information has been beneficial for both parties. We are inspired by a unique insight into the minds of the students and in turn we have been able to offer them an insight into British media.

As we approach our final couple of weeks, we hope to further our discussion on the use of alternative media and build upon an increasingly strong relationship with the Media department - we’ll let you know how we get on…

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