On 25th November 2019, 193 countries unanimously proclaimed the Global Media and Information Literacy Week as official, during the UNESCO General Conference. This is a milestone, signalling a new era for Media and Information Literacy.
According to Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information of UNESCO, “UNESCO’s message to the world is that media and information literacy are the key to empowering all people. This decision now puts media and information literacy firmly on the international development agenda.”
Only 9 years ago, the first Global MIL Week was launched by UNESCO and partners as a tool to draw attention to the fast-rising issue of Media & Information Literacy, linking it to social inclusion and intercultural dialogue. But the real drill dates way back, over 30 years ago, when in 1982 the UNESCO Grünwald Declaration on Media Education paved the way for a holistic, policy-oriented and lifelong learning approach to media literacy.
The proclamation of the Global MIL Week comes right after the 2019 Global MIL Week which saw over 200 celebratory events in over 100 countries. EKOME representative and UNESCO GAPMIL ISC Co-Secretary Irene Andriopoulou explains: “MIL and especially film literacy educate the viewer to not only watch a film but to read behind the screen messages, offering a fulfilling aesthetic and learning media experience. This is the driving force behind the new UNESCO initiative ‘Creative Cities of Film’, where Bristol, Bradford and Belfast in the UK launched “Film for Learning”, a 4 year school development initiative devised by UK film education charity (and ECFA member) Into Film. The programme aims at supporting teachers and educators to use film as a tool for learning, with the aim of improving young peoples’ attainment in literacy and participation. It targets 10 primary schools in each city to enhance learning by developing innovative methods to include film in educational curricula.” The three UK cities will deliver the programme simultaneously, and its impact will be measured at a national level, aiming to build a network of teachers, creative practitioners and urban actors using film and culture as a means for learning.
Text: Irene Andriopoulou