Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

AT&T New Media Fellows Selected; Call for Content Issued for New 'Global Conversation' Website

April 23, 2010

People’s lives shaped by violence on the US-Mexico border. Poor kids in Mali, finding an outlet in dance at a local community center. Indian mothers resorting to starting a school of their own. These are some of the people around the world whose stories will be shared online by the University’s first cohort of AT&T New Media Fellows this summer – through documentary films, podcast series, photography, and other media.

The fellowships are part of the Institute's planned launch of a new Global Conversation website, where all Brown students, faculty, and alumni are invited to submit their content on global issues and join the Conversation. The site is being developed by the Watson Institute under a grant from the AT&T Foundation and AT&T Corp.

“Information and communication technologies can connect conversations globally in ways that were never possible before,” says Institute Deputy Director Geoffrey S. Kirkman. “Online audio and video put into a social media context can create communities of conversation that bring attention to challenging global problems and direct discussion to possible solutions.”

The Global Conversation website will be launched this summer as an outlet for Brown students' growing use of new media in pursuit of social change.

To help launch the site, 11 AT&T New Media Fellows have now been selected to conduct research on a range of issues – from health, education, and poverty to politics and culture – in several world regions. The fellows will blog on the Global Conversation site and contribute audio and video feeds from their research projects in the field.

As New Media Fellows help launch the site, other summer fellows, faculty members, and alums are also being invited to join the Global Conversation, by adding comments and posting their own documentaries, podcasts, blogs, and other global interest media.

The 2010 AT&T New Media Fellows are:
• Chantal Berman ’10 and Evan Pulvers ’10, an international relations/Middle East studies concentrator and a development studies concentrator, respectively, spending the summer in Rwanda aiding community radio stations;
• Colleen Brogan ’10 and Zachary McCune ‘10, an art history/French semiotics concentrator and modern culture and media concentrator, respectively, who will travel to Ireland this summer to document traditional Gaelic games and examine their wider cultural implications;
• Sarah Coghlan Grad., a global health scholar who will travel to El Salvador to research sustainable alternatives to international food aid in the form of community gardens;
• Steven Ellis ’10.5, an applied psychology concentrator traveling to Croatia this summer to produce a documentary examining the EU accession process and its globalizing effects on a young democracy;
• Matthew Garza ’11, an education studies/anthropology concentrator who will use music and video to document children’s education through performance in Mali;
• Sarah Gibson ’10.5; a history concentrator traveling to Georgia to document and share the nation’s iconic traditional music and dance;
• Sarah Kay ’10, a modern culture and media concentrator who will travel to Gurgaon, India, to document the story of Pragati, a grass-roots public school for underserved children;
• Quyen Ngo ’12, a development studies concentrator who will travel to Vietnam this summer to explore the strengths and weaknesses of its educational system; and
• Hannah Olson ’10, an economic development/comparative literature concentrator who will explore the impact of Mexico/US border regulations on those whose lives depend upon it.

Fellow Hannah Creek Olson captured the intent of the Conversation, saying: “This is an opportunity for me to engage in an issue I believe to be critical to the United States’ understanding of itself and our place in the world and contribute to a project I believe in.”