Sunday, March 29, 2009

OURMedia 8 - Call for Papers


OURMedia/NUESTROSMedios is a global network that from the local, has become a movement that advocates and pushes to extend the subjects, the spaces, the themes/problems, the thinking and the practices of communication. In this way it searches for an equitable and ethical world in which there is a place and opportunity for a vast multiplicity of deeply different expressions and the right to materialize them. It thinks that to exert the "right to the word" in all forms, it is vital to reach a sustainable world that will have to arise from the different crises that humanity faces today.

In that context, the Conference OM/NM 8 taking place in Colombia in late July 2009 will take advantage of the knowledge and experience that has been developed on this field in Colombia and in Latin America, to exchange it internally, as well as with participants of other regions.

Jesus Martin Barbero, our professor of communication in Latin America, proposed in the 70's, to move communication studies from the objects (the means and the effects) to the processes (the experiences to make communication). He argued that "it is necessary to lose the object (of study) to gain the process from which this arises", a proposal that redirected the research and the practice and its role in the construction of the society. In the 80's he raised another important rupture, proposing to scholars and practitioners to move the attention "from the media to the mediations". This meant a focus less on the media and more on the cultural, the political and the popular.

In the 90's, he put forward another revitalising idea when inviting to think the subjectivities and technicalities as keys for creative resistance: " there is a need to go beyond the media and the mediations to look into the subjectivities". And beyond communication itself, but from and towards it, it is necessary to analyze and to consider what comes and leaves a country.

This map documents how communication studies and practices are re-invented in Latin America giving an account of our complex and diverse social, cultural and political realities. Thus, communication has always been at the center of the political, democracy and citizenships. Colombia and Latin America are a rich region in experiences of community and citizen communication, of narrative, community and citizen journalism, independent cinema, television, video and blogs, cultural mobilizations and peace events of networks and media activists.

In line with this popular, radical and activist view of communication in Latin America we offer in this Conference the opportunity to continue the dialogue initiated by OM/NM in 2000 and which has continued from then on, taking into account the two main transformations of our time: the proliferation of technologies of communication and the celebration of the individual subject. Thus we want to think about society in which the individual permeates, the expression of the self, the effervescence of communication as such. We propose to jointly analyze the present conditions of the alternative, community and citizen communication in a global technified and individualistic world.

We propose for this OM, to consider that the new conditions and possibilities that the communication technologies offer tend to fragment and to disperse the encounters and the creation of collective spaces of communication, community and interests. But at the same time consider in ours discussions, that there are emerging new modalities of the collective that communication brings together and that must be carefully analyzed.

Consequently the questions that we suggest are: Is our society one of the multiple public spheres where no encounter or dialogue takes place? We inhabit the excessive fragmentation of the public, in as much as we remained without a public? How do ICT's fragment and personalize the processes? Or, Are new interests and sensitivities being created ? In the field of blogs, for example, the world being shown is "my public" or, are we constructing "our public"? Or, will it be that in addition impersonal publics are being constructed but with potential to construct new spaces? Aren't the "I's" (academics, producers, creators) the ones inventing an artificial collective "we"?; what is the role of communication in this?While we walk toward a society ever more fragmented, aren't we creating the illusion that we are building networks from the grassroots and common visions? Is it the case the Our Media are really collective? Are we moving from Our Media to My Media?

What we hope for in this OM 8 Conference is that whoever participates can question its own work from this perspective, and besides bringing the results of their own investigations and productions and developments, can also show ways to generate new answers and new questions.


1. Mornings
a. Motivating initial keynote speaker who orients and lead in these questionings
b. Engaged panels chaired by a person who relates the thematic presented displayed by four speakers - participants.

2. Afternoons
a. production workshops
b. research workshops
c. Panels with research outcomes
d. Other suggested activities

3. A day for field visits

Depending on the number of participants we will distribute in maximum of 25 people and we will take routes that will allow us to know two experiences - with dialogues with the community - in each one.

4. We will have special sessions to watch and discuss videos and AV material, which must be submitted in anticipation

5. We will have special spaces for book presentation and printed materials that generate dialogues, favor to register.

6. For the international guests a visit of field of 2 is offered - before and/or after the Conference - to 3 days in other zones of country where famous experiences of average citizens exist, like Cali, Santa Marta, San Gil, Bethlehem of the Andaquíes, Carmen de Bolivar, Barrancabermeja, etc.

There will be Spanish - English translations every day

Proposals are received until 30 of March of 2009. The conference takes place from 27-31 July 2009 and will be held in Rionegro, Antioquia, a region located 40 minutes from Medellín, in a strategic location for our purposes as it is a very beautiful region surrounded by experiences of community media and communication. The conference will be hosted at the Recinto Quirama, ( a historical site for the community radio movement in Colombia where in july 1989 (exactly 20 years ago) the "Communication and Development Group" was born which initiated the most important communication movement in our history which lead to the inclusion of 6 articles on communication rights in the new Colombian Constitution of 1991.

Organizing committee
Bogota, February of 2009

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