Guyana’s 50th anniversary of independence in May 2016 provided an opportunity for Ohio University’s School of Media Arts & Studies to consolidate its engagement with Guyana and to reaffirm its commitment to an internationalized curriculum. In 1984, Dr. Maisha Hazzard, a professor in the School of Telecommunications (now the School of Media Arts & Studies) visited Guyana to participate in an international conference to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the English-speaking Caribbean.
Since her visit, relations between Ohio University and Guyanna have steadily increased. More than a dozen Guyanese have completed graduate degrees at OHIO; three memoranda of understanding have been signed with the University of Guyana; and a USAID-funded program to upgrade mass communication and journalism education in Guyana was conducted between 2009 and 2013.
Since 2008, graduate students, undergraduate students, and alumni from the School of Media Arts & Studies and the wider Scripps College of Communication have joined counterparts and media professionals in Guyana on a number of production and related experiences. These include the coverage of Carifesta X in 2008 (led by Associate Professor Frederick Lewis); the 2010 Pepper Pot documentary series (led by Associate Professor Eric Williams); and the 2011 short narrative film program (led by Brian Zahm, MFA ‘11).
In 2009, Associate Professor Mary Rogus (E.W. Scripps School of Journalism) delivered a training program in television news production. In 2012, Associate Professor Yusuf Kalyango (E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and Institute of International Journalism) launched a series of workshops on investigative journalism and media ethics. In 2013, Associate Professor Eddie Ashworth led a team to conduct an 1804 Foundation-funded field trip to assess the condition of Guyana’s audio archives as a precursor to a digitization program.
The content on the 50th Anniversary Webpage was produced by students in MDIA 4176/5176: Technology, Communication and Culture (Professor Vibert Cambridge) and MDIA 1020: Media and the Creative Process (Associate Professor Eric Williams) for Guyana’s 50th anniversary of independence and are current examples of the ongoing relations. Reflecting on one of these products during a recent preview in Georgetown, Dr. James Rose, Guyana’s director of culture wrote:
“The tent has overwhelming implications for research activities and as it grows and expands to include new nodes of knowledge it can become indispensable to the education system … it was a brilliant idea executed with distinction.”
These creations by students working in on-campus groups and collaborating with counterparts in Guyana help to showcase a curriculum committed to internationalization and demonstrate the possibilities of cross-cultural collaboration. These creations also contribute to the theme that informs Guyana’s 50th anniversary — “Reflect, Celebrate, Inspire.”
Original article by Scripps College Staff