I finally arrived in Goroka this afternoon for my Keynote Presentation on Social Media tomorrow. Unfortunately I’ve missed out on the first 3 days of the Conference so am keen to catch up with the discussions and people. But happy to report that my arrival has already seen me chatting over beers at the Pacific Gardens Hotel (which has FREE WiFi) with a Helen from Cairns who’s looking at doing touch screens to compliment TIPNG’s Open Parliament Project and Dot West a very important person in the Indigenous Australian media scene and a Board Director of SBS Australia.
So the 10th OURMedia Conference in Goroka brings together academics, activists, practitioners, artists, and policy experts working in community media and media for social change. From national to international participants this important gathering of the OURMedia Network brings attention to issues around participation in media to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific region.
The University of Goroka and the Vice-Chancellor Dr Gairo Onagi and his team have been very progressive in growing this conference and with international committee members and supporters such as the likes of: Prof Clemencia Rodriguez, Dr Juan Salazar, Dr Nazan Haydari, Mr Alphonso Gumucio-Dagron, Dr Evangelia Papoutsaki, Dr Heather Horst, and Dr. Salvatore Scifo things can only grow bigger.
It also helps to have a dynamic and energetic local team, such as: Dr Verena Thomas, Dr Michael Mel, Dr Sam Kari, Ms Joys Eggins, Ms Cynthia Vetunawa, Mr Donald Gumbis, Mr Mark Eby, Ms Janet Munaup, Ms Klinit Barry, Ms Lenders Suming, Ms Lucy Wakai, Mr Reilly Teteh, Ms Llane Munau, Ms Mandi Burns, Ms Grace Taruna, Ms Lilly Samuel, Mr. Arthur Hane- Nou, Dr Apoi Yarapea, Dr Fraser MacDonald, Mr. Milan Boie, Ms Gabriella Ova, Mr Dilen Doiki and Mr Richard Mogu.
This year’s theme is DIVERSE COMMUNITIES, DIVERSE MEDIA. The theme, with PNG being one of the most culturally diverse place in the world, supports the idea of the OURMedia network which seeks to promote diversity in media recognising that all communities need to communicate, to express themselves, to inform and be informed, to dialogue with others, and to network.
The OURMedia conference provides a space for collaboration in which needs and alternatives can be identified in the areas of communication and information infrastructure, policy, and research. Ultimately, the goal of OURMedia is to design and develop initiatives that can strengthen citizens’ media, community media, and alternative media in national and international arenas.
The conference includes over 70 presenters from over a dozen different countries. All conference submissions have been peer-reviewed. From the initial conference themes that were provided in the call for abstracts the following themes for each day were developed:
Day 1: Diverse Communities, Diverse Media Day 1 introduces the overall theme of the conference and showcases examples of media initiatives and critical thinking in the field of alternative and community media.
Day 2: Indigenous Values and Communication for Development Day 2 discusses participation of indigenous communities in the media, with a critical discussion around issues of development and communication for development initiatives.
Day 3: Field Trips Day 3 provides participants with an opportunity to spend time outside the conference venue and get to know people working for community organizations in and around Goroka.
Day 4: Social media, technology and mobile phones – opportunities and challenges for citizen participation The theme of day 4 is around technology, social media and mobile phones and how these can be used as a tools to provide individuals and communities with access to communication.
Day 5: Shaping OURMedia – Bridging Community and stakeholder Day 5 of the conference will discuss how we can actively shape OURMedia in recommending policies and processes for engaging stakeholders from organisations and institutions.