Beds Talks kicks off with ‘Information, disinformation and anxiety’

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The new academic year sees another series of Beds Talks events about to kick off at the University of Bedfordshire.

Now in its third year, Bedfordshire’s Beds Talks series are a programme of community-facing events that are issues-driven.

Information, disinformation and anxiety: media education and digital literacy today’ is the first Beds Talks of the academic year and takes place on 26 November.

Organised by Dr Carlota Larrea, Head of School of Culture and Communications at the University of Bedfordshire, this Beds Talk responds to current concerns about our intensely mediated society.

Discussions about information overload, fake news, the pressures of social media, the overwhelming pace of digital innovation and the need to up-skill the population are all around us, and at the same time, media education has almost disappeared from secondary education curricula, and is sometimes viewed with suspicion as an  academic subject.  

This Beds Talks speaks to this contradiction by presenting a case for digital media literacy with concrete suggestions and examples.

Dr Larrea said: “This is an important topic for everybody – most of us use and consume media a large amount of time every day, and the rate of digital media growth is truly mind blowing.  Some examples from this week: the election campaign is happening to a large extent online, as British parties can’t advertise on TV. 

"It’s cheaper, faster, and ‘personalised’, but it is de-regulated. There have been news about the high street being in increasing trouble, even in the run up to Christmas, as shopping is quickly moving online and people worry about their jobs. These developments have a major impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.”

Dr Larrea continues: “At the School of Culture and Communications, we teach our students to use media technology. This is an essential employability skill. But we also teach them about the ethical, financial and social aspects of digital media.

“The focus of the event is on education and literacy – with presentations by three experts who research and work in this area. We will present a case for the importance of a well-rounded digital media education, illustrate this with an example of how you assess news content for accuracy and reliability, and show strategies to cope with the psychological pressures that hit people because of the obsession with image in social media.”

Guest speakers include Professor David Buckingham, Dr Mark Margaretten, and Damien Massias.

Book your free place for ‘Information, disinformation and anxiety: media education and digital literacy today’ here.

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