Students, Culture and the Competence that needs to be gained-

The globalised society we live in today has allowed a multitude of new global connections and opportunities. These connections and opportunities have not only changed the face of finance, the media, and world ideas, but also education. Education expands on a global scale and globalisation has had a profound effect on the way it functions and how it is explored. One of these effects is the growing experience of international education.

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International education has grown in popularity, especially in Australia where 80% of international students are students from Asia, hoping to gain an Australian cultural experience. (Marginson 2012 p.1). However, the international experience gained is not always what is expected, with a number of international students stating the local students don’t seem interested in interacting. (Marginson 2012 p.2)

The stigma surrounding local Australian students is that they are too parochial in their views and in this perhaps need to expand their cultural competence. Cultural competence is an overarching idea that transcends across education, the workplace and the overall acceptance of ideas. Its includes a number of key behaviours that can be adopted in order to gain this so called cultural competence. These include flexibility, critical thinking, reflexivity, empathy, understanding divergent points of view, coping with ambiguity and uncertainty and cultural negotiation (Marginson 2012). However, there is also the point that international students don’t know how to interact local students and this also leads to a low rate of interaction between students. Whatever the case may be, it cannot be denied that international education is not reaching the limits and opportunities that it has the potential to.

I have been an international student in the past, and also did not find it reached my expectations of what I believed it could be. I didn’t experience any of the language barriers that others way have as I only lived in the United States. There was however a number of cultural differences that were not expected and cultural competence was needed.

Despite the exact cause of international education not reaching its overall possibilities, cultural competence is a factor that can be improved. Cultural competence is a notion explored across Australia in a number of fields and the Centre of Cultural Competence Australia is a site that explores just that. The Centre of Cultural Competence Australia is an online course which focuses solely on competence based Aboriginal and Tores Strait Islanders. Their site includes a range of resources, training outcomes and courses all with the outcome of cultural competence in Australia.

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Centre for Cultural Competence Australia 

The site aims to bridge the gap between non-Indigenous Australians and Indigenous Australians through the lack of knowledge, education and understanding that exists. Sustainable and lasting change cannot be delivered until Australians increase their cultural understanding and develop the kinds of skills to become culturally competent personally and professionally.

It is these kinds of sites and implementations for cultural competence that can be used to help bridge the gap between international and local students and to help make international education the experience that it can be. Not only this, but cultural competence may even be able to increase the opportunities in many of the aspects of globalisation that continue to be polarising in the eyes of society.

Reference list-

Centre for Cultural Competence Australia, viewed 10 August 2017,<https://www.ccca.com.au>.

Marginson, S 2012, ‘International as self-formation: Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience’ p.1-3

Studies in Australia, 2017, International Students in Australia, viewed 10 August 2017, <https://www.studiesinaustralia.com/studying-in-australia/why-study-in-australia/international-students-in-australia&gt;

The Global Village: An Idea or Reality?

“In the globalized world that is ours, maybe we are moving towards a global village, but that global village brings in a lot of different people, a lot of different ideas, lots of different backgrounds, lots of different aspirations” Lakhdar Brahimi  (Brahimi, 2005)

Globalisation. It is almost impossible to give a direct definition. This may be due to the fact that it affects a multitude of societal, political, economic and cultural factors. Or it could be due to the fact that the utopian belief of the idea cannot be decided. Whatever the case may be, and whatever the definition may be, globalisation affects every person in the world, in a myriad of ways.

There are many positive and negative views of globalisation that have shaped the way it is perceived. The utopian beliefs of ‘The Global Village’, a phrase encapsulated by Marshall McLuhan, is a positive view.

The utopian ‘Global Village’ is the belief in an ideal society, where people from all corners of the world, no matter how far, can be brought closer through the globalisation of communication. A global arena where everyone comes together as a community like a village would. It is an ideal image of the world, where media transcends separation and the distinguishing factors man have created, that instead gives everyone an equal voice and a chance to be heard. (O’Shaughnessy 2012, p. 459)

The ‘Global Village’, is the most positive and attractive view of globalisation and illustrates a multi-cultural world where all ideas and practices can be feely exchanged and appreciated. This idea can transcend across communication, transportation, media coverage and so on. It is in this way that globalisation, and specifically global communication is seen as a liberating and rewarding social movement, where the ‘Global Village’ is the end result.

Sure, the belief seems excellent in theory, however in practice it doesn’t always seem to be.

Many people believe the ‘Global Village’ to already be a reality today. Therefore, we must all have an equal voice in the world and our ideas and practices are feely exchanged and appreciated, right?

Despite the idea perhaps not get being a reality, and how it possibly may never be, we still love to idealize the idea of a ‘Global Village’. The idea of the ‘Global Village’ has been moulded and shaped into an aesthetically pleasing marketing campaign. This however does aid many campaigns and advertisements which want to inhabit the idea of bringing the world closer together.

‘Stand Together’ the 2016 Toyota USA Rio Olympics commercial did just that (Advert.ge,2016). A positive clip which highlighted how the Olympics bring the world closer together, and in a way, does highlight the ‘Global Village’. The phrase ‘let’s join hands’ is also used to also highlight this notion.

The omnipresent idea of the success or failure of the ‘Global Village’ still looms, and just like the vague definition of globalisation, it is difficult to be decided. Whether the ‘Global Village’ has occurred or not, a positive and negative view will continue to suffice and expectation and reality will doubtfully be met.

Reference list-

 

Advert.ge, 2016, Toyota-Stand Together, online video, 6 August, Viewed 7 August 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFHnemHXcIA&gt;.

Conversations With History University of California, Berkeley 2005 Conversations with Lakhdar Brahimi , Conversations With History, viewed 7 August 2017, <globetrotter.berkeley.edu/…i/brahimi-con6 >.

O’Shaughnessy, M 2012 ‘Globalisation’, in Media and Society, 5th ed, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Vic p. 459.

We all wear masks…metaphorically speaking

Commedia dell’arte is known as the first form of professional theatre. An ancient greek theatre practice, performed in an amphitheater which comprised of the same stock characters every performance. These stock characters were easily distinguishable, entertaining and known and loved by the audience.

They were distinguished by the use of masks, as many actors played them in many places across a long period of time. Each mask was vibrant and bold, noticeably portraying a different character.

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Commedia dell’arte character masks 

I know what you’re thinking, these masks are F***ing terrifying. I totally agree. That orange one will definitely give me nightmares tonight.

In case you’re wondering why I’m talking about ancient greek theatre, which most people probably are. In fact, you’re probably wondering that at the beginning of all my blog posts, let me explain.

These masks were a way of distinguishing a public persona, and making this persona known to the audience. Isn’t this in a way, similar to our online persona?

For our online persona is kind of like a mask, we may hide behind it or thrive with it. But it’s a form of ourselves we are purposely trying to convey. The persona we want everyone to see and know, just like a mask.

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I can Build a Phone???

There are many instances where people have built thier own phone. Doing this using parts bought and found from an array of sources. I have always seen these examples and figured this was something amazing tech genius’s could do. Not me, obviously, definitely not me.

I am possibly the furthest thing from a tech genius you will ever meet. It amazes me I have come this far in life only ever getting 2 viruses on my computer. And then someone told me just how easy it can be to build a phone, which I just thought was ridiculous, but it occurred to me, could I possibly build my own phone?

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Of course I didn’t actually try this myself, because not only am I the furthest thing from a tech genius I am also the furthest thing from a motivated human. However I got my lazy self moving and went researching.

I first stumbled upon a man who built his own iPhone using parts in China. This seemed miraculous. However when realizing how all the parts are made in China anyway, I realized he really wasn’t that amazing (funny joke) and continued my search.

My laziness then led me to a google project called Project Ara. This project lets people change and piece together their own phone using the parts provided. They call it the ‘modular phone’, stating its built to last and simple to mix, match and swap.

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What each of these technologies can do, and what building your own phone can do is create a generative platform. This generative platform is different from a locked appliance, which only lets you create and buy from one source. What all of these generative platforms are producing, are ways to create, code, and enhance technology yourself. But I still don’t think I could build a Phone.

Harry Potter and the Transmedia Experience

In 1997, J.k Rowling released a novel, titled ‘Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone’. A fantasy, youth fiction novel about witches and wizards and the life of one in particular. 20 years later, this novel has created a mass Transmedia enterprise that was not to be expected.

Throughout the course of 10 years, 6 more books were written as part of the Harry Potter series, each creating more success than the last. In 1999, Warner Bros. purchased the rights of the Harry potter series from Rowling. And in 2001, the first film ‘Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone’ was released.

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8 films were created over 10 years for the Harry Potter film series, this creating a multimedia franchise. However Rowling did not stop there.

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In 2012, Rowling founded the ‘Pottermore‘ website. An interactive website where fans of the series can interact with the books, get placed in houses and also read about the earlier happenings and backgrounds of characters and events which were not included in the books or films. This creating the start of the transmedia experience of Harry Potter.

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Throughout the course of the Harry Potter series, many books and ideas are introduced, such as ‘The Tales of Beedle and the Bard’ and ‘Fantastic beasts and where to find them’. These of which she not only released as books to the public, yet has also begun to create a whole new spin-off franchise.

The Fantastic Beasts series was introduced in 2016, as part of the Harry Potter universe. A spin-off franchise about one of the authors mentioned in the Harry Potter series set in 1920s New York. This series shows a different side of the Harry Potter universe and also includes many of the beloved characters, creatures and information the Harry Potter series introduced in the first place.

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To add another media form altogether, ‘The Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ play was then released in 2016. A brand new story created by Rowling set 19 years after the last Harry Potter book about the lives of the characters of the series and their children.

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Throughout all of these creations, a Transmedia enterprise has been created. Which brings together lovers of books, films, websites and plays, each to experience this Harry Potter Universe no matter where they start.

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Fangirl forever

I am a fan of many things and a part of many fandoms. Whether it be the incredible diverse fandom of Harry Potter, my own personal fan obsession of Jennifer Aniston, Friends obsession, and the previous early obsession of One Direction and Twilight… but we will just move past those ones.

I’ve always known I am quite a fan or quite obsessive with many things. Yet, I’ve also always known there are definitely people with stronger obsessions than mine. What I hadn’t yet realized was that everyone is a fan of something. No matter what it is or to what extent, everyone is a fan of something.

Not only this, but this idea of the ‘fan’ is not a new thing in any way. The fan life has been around for an exceeding amount of time whether it be the insane fans of The Beatles and Elvis or even earlier fans of I don’t know… Achilles?…

What perhaps can be viewed as more of a new notion however, is the idea of the ‘bad’ fan and anxieties about the obsessiveness of fandoms. This is seen from the anxieties about a perceived lack of distinction between fandom and reality, thus causing the ‘bad’ fan. And when thinking about these types of fans, we may stumble across things such as this.

 

We see images and videos of fans behaving like this, and the stereotypes surrounding them are hard to ignore. I know I for one jump straight to them being gullible, childlike and easily influenced. This is also the same as the perceptions and ideas around audiences and media audiences.

Despite these insane, diverse and somewhat erratic fandoms that exist. Those who want to change the world and have dramatic influence over the creation of what they are fans of itself, we are missing many representations of gender and race. There are these same key issues in fandoms that exist also in wider society.

There are many incidents occurring of sexual harassment towards female cosplayers, as well as general abuse towards women with these interests and opinions. Not only this but there is a lack of women, people of colour, different races in fan texts- most obviously in Hollywood. Fans are often at the forefront speaking out against these. An example of this is the Marvel superhero Black Widow and how she has never had her own solo movie, and rarely ever appears in any Avengers merchandise.

The world of the fan is so diverse and creative, and explains many ideas behind how people engage in the media.

Thanks Disney

I want to create something.

Something new and fresh.

Something that I love and want to share with everyone so they can see it, and experience it, and love it too.

Does that sound good?

Oh, and yeah I only want this exact 5% of western culture to be able to see it and anyone else who does has to be arrested, ok?

Yes, a pretty intense and exaggerated example, however, to some extent is this not what copyright is? A way of securely censoring what we create and intended to share in the first place?

There are many ways this censoring is done, and many confusing rules and regulations around it which continue to baffle me even further.

The current US copyright law states that a monopoly exists on the creation 70 years after the authors death. For corporate authorship, the monopoly exists 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication. And who do we have to thank for these monopolies? 

Disney.

Corporations these days…

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Help! I’m panicking morally!

I panic about a whole range of things. I guess you could say I’m a ‘panicker’ (not a word but it felt right). I panic about having to drive to new places. I panic about parking (especially at uni). I panic about whether or not I’m going to panic.  So when I read the topic for this week was ‘Moral Panic’, I thought yes! I’ll totally understand this!

And then I panicked I wouldn’t understand this…

In all seriousness, ‘moral panic’ is a concept or theory that depicts an idea about societies. This ‘moral panic’ begins with a group of persons who emerge as a ‘threat’ to societal values and interests. The mass media portrays this group in a stylized and stereotypical manner, while the moral barricades are started usually by right thinking individuals.

An example of a ‘moral panic’ throughout time could even be the youth of the time. Specifically the Millennials in this current time.

We are constantly worrying about Millennials and their rudeness, their disrespect for older generations and their entitlement. And a majority of the times they are portrayed in the media, its is done so in a negative way and in a stereotypical manner.

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This video for example depicts millennials obsession with social media and external gratification. Despite this fear behind technology, the media seems to always portray it in a way of the moral panic with millennials. How they are the ones with this awful obsession and idea of technology, just because they grew up with it and actually know how to use it.

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This article however in a way depicts both sides the argument, stating we need to stop this moral panic about millennials and why.

Another example of a group at the centre of a ‘moral panic’, and perhaps a more historical example, are the Salem Witch Trials. This is the a perfect example of a moral panic and the implications of one. Women were accused of witchcraft due to ‘crazy’ or ‘hysterical’ behavior or targeted towards women who were social outcasts. This ‘moral panic’ reinforced and strengthened the authority of religious leaders, as witchcraft was seen as a direct threat to to Christian values.

This concept of ‘moral panic’ is not a new ideal, and I don’t believe it will be one ending anytime soon either. There are always people who break social norms and they are always feared by others incapable of breaking the norms themselves.

Now excuse me while I go panic about this blog being wrong.

What do you mean this new movie isn’t new?!?!

I’m not even going to attempt to explain the idea of ‘Remix Culture‘ in terms of Hip Hop and Rap music, which is how it was explained to me. I didn’t understand one part of it. Despite being unsure I understood this idea of ‘Remix Culture’, I am going to attempt to explain it in a way I do understand, through film.

Anything can be remixed. You can remix music which is perhaps the most obvious example. However you can also remix films, or more specifically, film ideas.

This is a more abstract term, but when you think about it, most films these days aren’t from original ideas. They are prequels, sequels, origin stories, adaptations of books and comic books, remakes of the films themselves, reimagining’s and the list goes on.

In fact, of the 5 highest grossing films if 2016, 4 out of the 5 were ‘remixed’ in some way.

  1. Finding Dory‘: A sequel

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2. ‘Rogue one: A star wars story’: A reimagining of a world already created

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3. ‘Captain America: Civil War’: An adaptation of a comic book

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4. ‘The Jungle Book’: A remake of an old film

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Each of these films is in some way ‘remixed’, and I struggle to think of any films that haven’t been ‘remixed’ in some way.

Instead of trying to ‘remix’ my own film in some way, which I don’t even know is possible with my skill level, I have decided to instead remix a wonderful and heartfelt speech from my favorite film (pure sarcasm intended).

Meme Warfare: A serious statement???

Not once in my life have I ever taken a meme seriously. Not ever. Like ever, ever. Sure, I see them as entertainment, a source of humor, a lighthearted image to make my hours spent scrolling Facebook seem worth it. And I’m sure there are a lot of people that agree and feel the same. I definitely have favorite memes, and ones I will always find funny, like this guy:

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But taken him seriously??? Nah

Not only have I never taken them seriously, but I’ve never seen them as a source of propaganda. That just sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? A meme as propaganda!?!? It’s an outrage! A scandal! (Yaaas first Harry Potter quote)  However, yesterday, I learnt that a meme can be just that.

Due to our constant open source media outlet of the internet, and all the ways we are in fact no longer the audience, I guess this can’t come as too much of a shock. We use the internet to influence a multitude of happenings and issues, and one of the ways we are seen doing this is through memes.

We all hate Trump, yes? However, due to the way we were all made to think of him during the election, and still today, I began to wonder if things like this were becoming propaganda and influencing people:

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Because the internet started looking like this:

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So, are memes more than just a source of hilarity? Are they propaganda?

Leave it on the Dance floor

What is ‘Dance Moms‘?

When I ask this I’m not asking for an analysis on Abbey Lee and her love for Maddy, or how addictive this show is, or how annoying Cathy from Candy Apples is (OMG!!! so annoying though). Instead, what I’m asking is what this show, and others of the sort, really are, and mean in society?

For those who have no idea what I am talking about or what (literally) ‘Dance Moms’ is (have you been living under a rock??) let me explain: ‘Dance moms’ is a reality TV program that follows an elite group of dancers at Abbey Lee Dance Studio. The girls are freakishly talented, the moms are insane and Abbey is basically the devil. Sounds amazing right? Despite all of the controversy its faced, it still carries a popular impact in todays society, and this is due to ‘The Public Sphere’.

‘The Public Sphere’ cannot really be defined by one concrete example, for in todays society it amalgamates itself in many forms. The news, a reality TV show, a talk show, or even Facebook. We all may forget, or not realize, its there, but it is the basis of discussion. To put it simply, it is an area of social life where people come together to discuss social problems and influence political action.

Despite this idea obviously being partaken in much of societies history, the ‘theory’ wasn’t made known until 1962 by Jürgen Habermas in ‘The Structural Transformation of Public Sphere’. Habermas explained the theory as a kind of 18th century coffee house, where men would meet and discuss issues. This has faced much backlash and retaliation today due to the exclusion of women, the lower classes, and all other minorities. However, it was the first general idea.

Today it is no longer likened to a coffee house, as for us, it is everywhere. Now, as soon as you comment or share a post on Facebook you are interacting in ‘The Public Sphere’.

Taking it back to ‘Dance Moms’, this isn’t just a ‘Public Sphere’, but a Mediated Public Sphere’. Which is basically the same thing but you could describe is as a controlled production of a ‘Public Sphere’. In this ‘Public Sphere’, the participants are the dancers, the moms and Abbey. There is always a debate sparked with the participants due to an issue being discussed in the show. And more often than not, this debate can reach the viewers, creating a wider discussion in ‘The Public Sphere’.

Take this episode linked above for example, the girls are partaking in a dance about texting and driving and its implications. This is a terrible and real issue in todays society. It could have easily sparked debate in viewers, and the moms, about the issue and how real and dangerous it is, most likely through the sphere of social media.

Not just the specific issues discussed, but the ones implied, such as the strain on the dancers, or Abbeys influence, in the show itself allows viewers to discuss the series. This creates debate and political action. Take this for example.

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As we can see, ‘Dance Moms’ is just a minuscule example of ‘The Public Sphere’, and how we all interact in it. Despite this series being part of the ‘Mediated Public Sphere’, it is still ‘The Public Sphere’ none the less.

Formerly known as the audience

Lets take a trip back in time boys and girls. Back to when time was simpler and food was cheaper. Now in this time, news was not what it is today. In fact, it was a completely different system, where news came from one source and thats all everyone read. News was just news.

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Now lets jump forward to today. News is not just news. It is an endless stream that comes from anywhere. We are the people formerly known as the audience. We can choose to be passive consumers or active makers through the internet, social media and every other form of communication available. This is due to the beauty of our now ongoing  internet which is dialogic by design. Something that cannot be controlled and anyone can broadcast any message.

This shift of the audiences participation has created a whole new spectrum of news and just what audience can really mean. As the audience is no longer passive observers, but anything they want to be.

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