Democracy at risk? Reflecting on the future of higher education and media in a “post-truth” world
The 2019 Worldviews on Media and Higher Education Conference brought together hundreds of academics, students, higher education leaders, communications professionals, and journalists from around the globe to explore the conference’s theme: Democracy at risk? Reflecting on the future of higher education and media in a “post-truth” world.
Proceedings kicked off with a special screening of the documentary The Corporate Coup D’etat followed by a panel discussion moderated by Rick Salutin, and featuring Maude Barlow, John Ralston Saul, and David Altheide.
Over the next two days, a series of keynote talks, panel discussions, interviews, and interactive exhibits examined democracy and the changing power relations of higher education and the media in the global north and south – specifically the concept of expertise in a “post-truth” world and the types of voices amplified by emerging technologies.
The conference included 26 fascinating sessions focused around four major themes: – Communicating in a “post-truth” world – Technological change in higher education and the media: Impact, implications and future directions – Democratization and the recognition of multiple voices in media and higher education – Directions in media and higher education collaboration now and in the future.
The conference featured over 70 speakers showcasing an inspiring mixture of experiences, insights, and opinions. They included:
- Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians
- Michael Ignatieff, President and Rector of the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary
- Nermeen Shaikh, Co-Host and News Producer at Democracy Now! and author of The Present as History: Critical Perspectives on Global Power
- Maria Ressa, CEO and Executive Editor of Rappler.com and former CNN Bureau Chief in Manilla, Philippines
- Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia and author of Anti-Social Media
- Sophia Rosenfeld, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Truth and Democracy
- Tom Nichols, Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College and author of The Death of Expertise
- Nana aba Duncan, Host of CBC’s Fresh Air and Media Girlfriends podcast
- Cam Gordon, Head of Communications at Twitter Canada
- Shree Paradkar, Race and Gender Columnist at the Toronto Star
- Janice Stein, Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management at the University of Toronto
Throughout the conference, participants discussed the challenges and opportunities presented by the democratization of higher education and the media, engaged in a lively exchange of ideas both in and outside of sessions, and met new colleagues with whom they could explore innovative possibilities for future partnerships.