Participatory Communication

Chewy tip:

Oscar Hemer and Thomas Tufte’s anthology is a great overview and introduction to the communication for development/communication for social change field. The book – Media & Glocal Change: Rethinking Communication for Development – has been around for a few years, and is a recommended read.  But at well over $100 with the Scandinavian publisher, it wasn’t an impulse buy.

So, great news that the whole book has now gone ‘open knowledge’ – via the Latin American publisher.  All the chapters for can be downloaded free! The chapters are all separate pdf’s, and they’re in English.

The anthology is well worth time as an introduction to what is still quite a new field.  Just five years ago there seemed far fewer institutions offering advanced degrees and specific training.

It’s an exciting area.  There are a number of people now brainstorming on or starting to create improved DevCom/C4D networks, which could be so valuable –  for bouncing specific project challenges off of other practitioners with similar training,  to build community, to share resources and new research,  or to improve measurement/ evaluation/outcomes.

The two authors of the now-online anthology are based in Scandinavia, but work and have lived all over the world.  Thomas Tufte is a really interesting thinker, and one of the global leaders in entertainment education – most recently doing research in Tanzania.  Oscar Hemer founded the Malmo, Sweden program that has certified so many  development communication practitioners worldwide since it began ten years ago, and has initiatied a real comdev community.  Oscar also continues to do interesting work exploring international examples of literature as a weapon/catalyst for social change (most recently in Chile).

Just a few highlights below, to tease you over to more on the whole anthology site.

There’s lots more to download to too, plenty of chewy chapters – including those by:

James Deane (connected to Consortium on Communication for Social Change)

Gordon Adam (of Media Support, who in addition to project-leading radio training in places like Cambodia and Afghanistan, has been doing some really interesting recent work in Pakistan creating communication strategies aimed at averting some of the  youth sign-on with Taliban).


See all the book chapters here.



The civil society leader & the absent media

[One of a series]

Asking them: Insider perspectives on immigration and integration

This is the full photo of the header image (the picture behind this blog’s title) – it’s from  the front of the Malmö section of Sweden’s national newspaper Sydsvenskan (March 29 2009).   Sydsvenskan is a broadsheet – it isn’t known for tabloid-style reporting, it calls its editorial stance ‘independent liberal’, and it seems to be fairly respected (within the spectrum of people’s feelings about media!).

The woman in the photo is not Taghrid, the woman I write about below.

The sign that this woman is holding says ‘Stop fighting, and ruining [/destroying] my Rosengard!’

Rosengård is a region within the city of Malmö in Skåne, Sweden – about half an hour over the bridge to Copenhagen, Denmark.  Malmö has a population of under 300,000 with immigrants from many different countries, including a high number from Iraq.

Many Swedes seem to have very strong opinions about Rosengård.   As a foreigner, it’s often difficult and very confusing trying to make sense of what is factual in the ways that people talk about it.    Often if I told someone I had a meeting in the area, they reacted with alarm.

Several  people told me that it is true that firefighters will not respond to calls in Rosengård unless they have police escort.

On another hand:   The things that I was told would happen to me if I went to Rosengård, didn’t happen. Some say that I was just naive/lucky.   Others, like some I interviewed at the municipality, said they’ve had hundreds of meetings there and never had any problems.

Rosengård citizens have become annoyed and frustrated about media sensationalizing of their neighbourhood .  When I was interviewing at Rosengårdsskolan, the Imam told me that they became fed up with negative-only stories.  Journalists are now forbidden anywhere at the school.

Sweden’s image in the world is that it is has an active civil society,  pretty strong multicultural tolerance, and is a very peaceful country where everyone gets along.  Inevitably when I tell people about some of the complexities around integration, and about the almost-daily stories about Rosengard in the news, inevitably the baffled response is, “in Sweden??!”