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Walker Research Fellow at IAMCR & Rural Communication Working Group

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Earlier in the summer, Dr Sarah Cardey and Dr Grady Walker participated in the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) conference in Oregon USA. This annual conference held by IAMCR provides a forum for researchers, and others involved in media and communications, to present and discuss their projects. The central theme of this year’s conference was “Reimagining Sustainability: Communication and Media Research in a Changing World”.

“There is an immediate need to promote responsible and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems that incorporate local and global reflection and action

This ambition is currently under attack. In spite of overwhelming scientific evidence, climate change denial is used to build public support for unsustainable environmental practices.

We find it imperative in these times that IAMCR and its members expand and extend our understanding of current and emerging models of sustainability, the struggles that surround them, and their multiple relationships with communication and media.”

Dr Cardey chaired a Participatory Communication Research session and also worked with Loes Witteveen, of Wageningen University, to present “Visual Problem Appraisal and local approaches to managing the impacts of climate variability and change in indigenous communities in Aurora Province, Philippines”.

The Aurora Province is in a typhoon alley meaning that this area, and the population, is vulnerable to extreme weather events. The paper presents a window in to the ways Visual Problem Appraisal can be used in conjunction with other strategies, such as indigenous climate knowledge, to reduce the effects of extreme weather events.

Dr Walker presented on “Understanding conscientization through the lens of dialogical narrative analysis”

Conscientization involves the collective self-raising of awareness through processes of self-inquiry and reflection. 

Often participatory approaches within action-research and education pay tribute to Freire and his theories of social change, but depart from processes that enable the generation and advancement of authentic self-knowledge. This can be a result of methodological constraints imposed by formal research, or outsider agendas driven by donor organizations

This paper will highlight a methodological approach toward analysing Freire’s “conscientization” within the context of a participatory communication activity, and propose a way forward that may be useful for empirical researchers who seek to reduce their outsider influence over an activity, thereby making it more sustainable in context.
                Dr Grady Walker


An additional outcome from the conference included the formation of the Rural Communication Working Group. Spearheaded by members of Global Research Initiative on Rural Communication (GRI-RC), which includes Dr Sarah Cardey. The Walker Institute is working closely as one of the institutions supporting the creation of this group.

It provides a space for people working in the field of rural communications to address the specifics. The working group aims to go further than the basic provision of services by instead taking a deeper understanding of rural communication including; rural radio, agricultural extension services and others. The GRI-RC, which spearheaded the working group, believe that communication is key to targeting issues related to agriculture, food and health. 

For more information on the rural communication working group take a read of Dr Sarah Cardey's piece on IAMCR.

The working group was successfully established under the IAMCR conference after a vote of the general assembly. The next IAMCR conference will be held in Madrid next year and we look forward to attending this to establish deeper links and participate in growing this working group.