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Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

Borderless Radio: The Politics of Canadian Cultures

Dr. Miglena Todorova, Assistant Professor, Social Justice Education, OISE/UT


Borderless Radio: The Politics of Canadian Cultures
 is a radio-based project created by Prof. Miglena Todorova in the Department of Social Justice Education at OICE in 2011. In the project,  OISE graduate students in the courses “Education and Popular Culture” and “Social Relations in Cultural Production” study the principles, theoretical foundations and pedagogical and social objectives of critical media literacy education by producing media/cultural content that challenges, subverts or undermines dominant media messages and popular culture. More specifically, students learn radio production using digital audio technologies and utilizing a constellation of social and cultural theories pertaining to power, difference, knowledge production, ideology, and education for social justice. The major challenge faced by students in the project is to construct and produce 6-10 minute radio programs that are mindful of stereotypes, power relations between participants, the politics of representation (i.e. who speaks for whom) and how the medium and genre shape the possibilities of new and alternative ‘messages’ and stories conducive to non-oppressive identifications and relations. Thus, at the heart of the project is the idea that the point of critical media literacy education in teachers’ education and beyond is not to only to gain skills in critiquing and identifying what has been wrong with mass media and popular culture but to create, i.e. to attempt and produce something that is different. More than 120 OISE graduate students have participated in the project since 2011 and their radio programs illuminate the joys yet tremendous challenges in rupturing 
existing media and cultural practices, not mimicking genres we have internalized and creating new media and social forms. Selected radio programs produced in the project were broadcast on the Bulgarian National Radio. Group radio productions of panels addressing topics selected by students were produced in collaboration with CIUT 89.5 Toronto. The following journal article features the project.

Todorova, Miglena. 2015. “Dusty but Mighty: Using Radio in the Critical Media Literacy Classroom.” Journal of Media Literacy Education, Volume 6, Issue 3. Available at http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/jmle/vol6/iss3/4/

Long live radio!

Bulgarian National radio building on a clear sunny day.  Students standing in front of CIUT Radio sign

    (Bulgarian National Radio)                (Students recording at CIUT 89.5 Toronto)