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Ordinary people explored in Media Symposium
Added by Victoria University

When:21 October 2010
Venue:77 Fairlie Terrace, Room 305
Location: Wellington City, Wellington Region, New Zealand


A symposium hosted by Victoria's Media Studies programme this week will examine the various ways in which the "ordinary person" appears in contemporary media culture.

Entitled "Ordinary People, Public Selves", the symposium responds to what organiser Minette Hillyer describes as the "huge presence" of the ordinary person in today's media.

"Whole genres of programming are devoted to looking at ordinary people and we're encouraged to participate in news and social media via blogs or comment functions as 'ordinary people' ourselves. But we spend relatively little time thinking about what it means to be ordinary under these circumstances," says Dr Hillyer.

In the one-day event academics from Australia and New Zealand will present a range of papers that address this feature of the contemporary media landscape, and that consider its significance.

John Frow (University of Melbourne) will examine the history of the public 'person', and discuss the relationship between the radio and television 'personality' and the celebrity; Misha Kavka (University of Auckland) will discuss reality television and the production of selfhood; Jo Smith (Victoria University) will address 'ordinary indigenity" through an analysis of Maori Television; Graeme Turner (University of Queensland) will draw on his recent book, Ordinary People and the Media: The demotic turn (Sage, 2010), to examine the increased presence of the ordinary person as media content; and Annie Goldson (University of Auckland) will discuss the subjects of her documentaries - ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary and often traumatic circumstances, and who exhibit what she describes as a "generosity in their suffering" in response.

The symposium will also feature a screening of excerpts from Brother Number One, Annie Goldson's documentary work-in-progress. The film follows Rob Hamill's journey to Cambodia to retrace the steps of his brother, Kerry, who was tortured and killed by the Khmer Rouge.

What: "Ordinary People, Public Selves" – Media Studies Symposium
When: Thursday October 21, 2010
Where: 77 Fairlie Terrace, Room 305