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Media Post-truth and Reality: debunking misinformation

by Veronika Spiegelova, on 07 August 2023 16:17:03 CEST

The Living Futures initiative at Prague City University aims to address pressing global challenges through interdisciplinary exploration. Each academic year, a central theme is chosen to guide projects, lectures, workshops, conferences, and exhibitions across various schools, fostering deeper understanding and inspiring positive action.

In the academic year 2022/2023, the university embraced the theme of "Media, Post-truth, and Reality." This theme held particular relevance in the context of ongoing global events, including the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath, the conflict in Ukraine, as well as the advancements in artificial intelligence.

Here is an overview of just some of the events and activities related to the theme which took place.

Adobe Photoshop Workshop

Run by the Dean of the School of Art and Design, George Allen, the workshop was conducted for Foundation Diploma in Art, Design & Media Practice students. The goal was to learn the tools and explore ways to manipulate and create images using Adobe Photoshop. Students learned about the visual alteration of images and its implications for truth and reality in media representation. Students were then asked to pick a song that they felt embodied the message of the annual theme and create a poster illustrating this connection.

In their works, the students discussed the current state of society in light of the theme, addressing topics such as the lack of understanding, connection and communication among people in the world of social media and fake news, dealing with depression, loneliness and addiction, as well as the topic of war and revolt against the societal rules and conventions.

Mini-Exhibition - AI-Generated Posters

A captivating mini-exhibition showcased posters created by 2nd year BA (Hons) Graphic Design students. These artworks were generated using AI image algorithms, sparking discussions on the interplay between human creativity and artificial intelligence. The exhibition took place as a part of the School of Media & IT conference, Reality.... Really?

Nimai Ajaysingh’s AI generated Poster

Media Post-Truth & Reality themed notepad

PCU marketing chose to select one of the AI-generated designs created by second-year graphic design students to represent the annual theme by applying it on to a range of notepads. The talented designer behind the chosen creation was Tuguldur Enkhtumur. You can find the notepad, along with other PCU merchandise, available for purchase at the City Centre Campus reception.

Tuguldur Enkhtumur’s AI generated design

Reality… Really? School of Media & IT Conference

One of the annual theme highlights of the year was a thought-provoking conference organised by the School of Media & IT. The conference featured a rich programme of special guest lectures and topics, workshops and film screenings which devolved into topics such as the historical context of post-truth in media, the rapidly developing advancements of AI and resulting ethical implications, greenwashing, digital hygiene, critical media literacy of children and youth in a post-truth society. Scholars and experts presented research highlighting how perceptions of truth and reality have evolved over time. The one day event was very popular with both students, academics and external visitors.

Occupy PCU: University Climate Strike

To draw attention to problems of the present, raise awareness about environmental issues and advocate for change, the students and staff of Prague City University joined other Czech universities in a Climate strike in November. Various events took place throughout the day including reading groups, the sharing plant-based snacks and the organisation of creative plenary sessions that presented the possibilities of a just transformation of the state and the society. A discussion on James Bridle’s thoughts on climate took place, as well as a creation of a manifesto.

Lectures related to the annual theme

Throughout the academic year, numerous lectures took place across schools which explored various aspects of the theme. These included the Neuromedia: BCI, Brainwaves & Biofeedback in Art and Science - lecture exploring the cutting-edge intersection of neuroscience, media, and technology from Pavel Smetana. Followed by Julie Dítětová who delivered a fascinating presentation on AI-generated patterns. She achieved new results by exploring historical pattern archives, selecting and then incorporating these into artificial intelligence algorithms, producing a multitude of new and unique patterns.

Final projects and exhibitions

Last but not least, the annual theme was incorporated into many of the student final projects and exhibitions, in particular the MA Future Design Graduate Exhibition: Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been? which (among other topics) explored the alternative futures with artificial intelligence alongside the humans it will impact.

In Summary

The annual theme initiative facilitated a deeper understanding of the complex relationship between media, post-truth, and reality by encouraging students, faculty, and the broader community to critically evaluate media narratives, technological advancements, and societal implications. Through engaging events and activities, participants gained new perspectives on the role of media in shaping perceptions and influencing decision-making.

It’s time to Adapt!

PCU faculty and staff selected a one-word theme “Adapt” for the upcoming academic year of 2023-24. "Adapt" will be incorporated into activities and events, both in and outside of the curriculum, exploring topics such as technological progress, global issues, evolving work dynamics, and mental strength. The word embodies a spirit of resilience, flexibility, and forward thinking. It also recognises that change is not only inevitable but also an opportunity for growth, innovation and success.

We look forward to seeing the results!

Topics:School of Media & ITLiving FuturesStudent LifeSchool of Art & Design