NOIDA: The penultimate day of the international conference ICAN 5 began with an emphasis on culture as our intangible heritage, necessary for our present and our future, at the workshop titled Capturing Culture Online – From Podcasts to Vodcasts. Dr. Vikrant Kishore, Academic, Author, Filmmaker, and Fellow, Deakin University Melbourne, Australia was the resource person for this program.
Opening the session, Dr Ambrish Saxena, Professor and Dean, DME Media School and Convener, ICAN 5 said, “The more people get to know about the culture, more their appreciation for it and more appreciation leads to its longevity in the social parlance.”
Dr. Kishore carried on his workshop on the same note and discussed newer methods of cultural revival and promotion. He said, “Podcasts have made it possible for dying cultures to revive themselves with a new avatar and reach out to a younger demographic that was losing its touch and appreciation for their heritage.” He added that vodcasts are now furthering this cause with a more immersive audio-visual experience through YouTube and other digital media.
Moving ahead, he emphasized the role of data analysis that helps cultural podcasters and vodcasters to create content with relevant information and include a variety of narratives. He strongly suggested merging such podcasts and vodcasts with the mainstream media for increasing the reach amidst the masses.
During his interaction with the students, Dr. Kishore talked about the ways of engaging a larger number of audiences through multiple platforms and improving audience engagement. He recommended the students promote their “podcasts and vodcasts through communities of practitioners and then expand these groups by pooling the audiences of each.”
Some students asked the resource person to guide them about the process of creating digital cultural content. To this, Dr. Kishore responded with a roadmap founded in profound research at the grassroots level.
Dr. Susmita Bala, Professor and Head, DME Media School and Chief Associate Convener, ICAN 5 summed up the workshop and said, “Our culture is what keeps us rooted and we must use all means of the modern age to preserve and promote it.”
Technical Session VIII
The sixth day of ICAN 5 also witnessed intense discussion on ‘Films, Technology Supported Creativity, LGBTQ and Sexism in Media’. This session organised completely in the physical mode was chaired by Dr Ruhi Lal Thakur, Associate Professor, and Head, Amity School of Communication, Amity University, Uttar Pradesh Noida.
During the session, Dr Ambrish Saxena said that ICAN is a platform for knowledge sharing on diverse topics. “No conference in the world has such a broad range of themes for deliberations,” he added.
The session had presentations on topics like Mapping Sexism in Indian Advertising – A Qualitative Study, Understanding the Implications of Robot Models and Transformation of the Fashion Industry and AI Aesthetics, and Rise of OTT Platforms amongst others.
Dr Ruhi made some valuable suggestions for the researchers and appreciated their efforts. “ICAN is a conference for all as it incorporates themes of global concerns,” she added.
Mr Pramod Kumar Pandey, Assistant Professor, Media School, DME bagged the best paper presenter award for his paper titled ‘Assessing Community Perceptions Regarding Role of Faith-based NGOs in Societal Transformation’ co-authored by Dr Bandana Pandey, Professor, Dept of Media and Mass Communication Studies, Gautam Buddha University.
In concluding the session, Dr Susmita Bala said, “Creativity supported by technology produces exclusive content. It is good to see scholars presenting papers on a variety of themes.”
Technical Session IX
Researchers shed light on ‘Implications of OTT Content, Binge-Watching, and Censorship Issues’ at a virtual session chaired by Dr Florence Handique, Head of Electronic Media and Anchoring, Royal School of Communications & Media, Assam Royal Global University, Guwahati, Assam.
On a lighter note, Dr Ambrish Saxena shared his personal experiences with OTT content and admitted to binge-watching programs that can sometimes become too immersive.
This was followed by presentations from participants on a variety of sub-themes such as Psycho-Social implications of Netflix and Prime content, Indian Web Series and their Effects on Youth, Going back to cinema: A case study on the release of films on OTT and theatres, amongst others.
Dr Handique lauded the efforts of all the presenters and provided suggestions to further improve their studies. She said, “OTT platforms are relatively newer media and there is immense scope of research in this domain.”
The award for the best paper presenter of this session was bagged by Yassine Ben Abou, Research Scholar, Media Studies, Ibn Tofail University, Morocco for his paper titled ‘Binge-watching and academic achievement: A study of students of Liberal Arts University, USA.
Dr Susmita Bala summarily remarked, “OTT platforms have given rise to new trends in viewership and it is important to keep an eye on these trends for all the stakeholders.”
Panel Discussion IV
ICAN – known for its enriching sessions, called a global panel to discuss ‘Journalism and Media Education in the United States: Perspectives from International Graduate Students’ earlier on the eve of July 5. This panel discussion was moderated by Dr Jatin Srivastava, Director, Institute for International Journalism, E. W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University, USA.
Ms Debipreeta Rahut, Doctoral Student, Bowling Green State University; Ms Michelle Michael, Doctoral Student, Ohio University and Ms Pooja Ichplani, Doctoral Student, Florida State University joined the session as the panellists.
“Research temperaments often differ from country to country. We hope to provide a wider perspective to our audience today with this panel,” said Dr Ambrish Saxena while introducing the session.
Dr Srivastava initiated the discussion asking about the experiences of all three scholars and their perspectives on choosing research as the core domain in the United States. In response, Ms Debipreeta said that in India, there is a structural hierarchy that controls the creativity of research students. “I left my PhD in India and joined a doctoral programme in the US. Research is narrow and focused here,” she added.
Ms Pooja said, “In India, a lottery committee chooses students for professor but in the US, it is the student who decides which professor they want to work with.” Ms Michelle said, “Since I did my graduation from the US and started working as Research Associate. It is during this time, I developed interest in the doctoral programme.”
The panel also discussed in detail the scholarship, admission procedure, language accent and other challenges and opportunities in the US as a student.
Responding to one question by Dr Sumedha Dhasmana, Assistant Professor, DME Media School about the scholarship procedure and finance. Ms Michelle replied that university websites in the US are active and provide timely information. “Majority of the universities give scholarships but it is not uniform,” she said.
Ms Pooja informed that for her PhD funding she completely relied on the University. She said, “As an international student, you can even work here anywhere during summer holidays and on a regular basis you can work with certain restrictions.”
Dr Srivastava summed up the discussion with the broader points of discussion and expressed hope for improvements in media research for the shared benefit of all stakeholders.
In conclusion, Dr Susmita Bala stated, “There is a strong contrast in terms of facilities for the researchers; however, dedicated scholars make sure to produce quality work irrespective of such factors.”