Can Art Really Make A Difference?

Can Art Really Make A Difference?

Can art really make a difference? In this article republished from The Conversation, Associate Professor Joanna Mendelssohn argues that in the creation of art, we can challenge assumed knowledge and power and “awaken the conscience of the world”, acting as witnesses to crimes against people and the environment, and enabling others to view the world differently.
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How Do You Solve A Problem Like Analytica?

The extraordinary revelations from the Observer/Channel 4 investigation into the practices of the digital marketing firm Cambridge Analytica have, like many a great internet controversy, produced great outrage but few answers or ways forward. People are rightly horrified at the prospect of such comprehensive personal information being used to manipulate them by the million, but also daunted by the task of correcting it.

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Lost In The Numbers: The Missing Politics Of Big Data

Everyone encounters big data: via social media, financial transactions and public transport. Although all of these things are useful and fascinating, they simultaneously arouse feelings of discomfort: how far does the – largely invisible – influence of all of these data collections reach? In this article republished from Green European Journal, they interview Marleen Stikker, an expert who has been following developments in this sphere since the beginning of the digital era.

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Turned Upside Down: Fake News And The Future Of The Media

A revolution is taking place in our communication. Across the world, structures have collapsed because of their dependence on a funding model that no longer works. This has allowed new digital platforms to expand their reach ever further, and to tighten their grip on the information we circulate and are exposed to. Fake news is thriving in this new media environment – presenting a threat to our democratic societies which we underestimate at our peril. In this article republished from the Green European Journal, they sat down with Aidan White from the Ethical Journalism Network to discuss what fake news means for our society.

Green European Journal: How would you describe the media landscape today, and the main changes which have been occurring?

Aidan White: The landscape has been transformed by technology, essentially by the internet, in a way that allows us as individuals to have more choice and access to faster information from a greater range of sources. But this has come at a high price – that of our privacy and protection, and our access to pluralist and reliable information.

The capacity of social networks to provide rapid information has meant that the role of journalism to inform people about news events has become less important. But what has not changed is the need for reliable and accurate information to help us better understand the impact and consequences of events, and that also provides context – not just reporting a series of facts but explaining why things are happening. While social media can provide us with instantaneous coverage of an incident or disaster, we often miss the filter that journalism provides, for instance to provide news while sheltering others, especially vulnerable people such as children, from views or images that can be damaging. There is no moderation because the tech companies have always said they leave the content generation to users without interfering with it. This has left the door open to unscrupulous communication, such as special interest groups who are only interested in pursuing their own narrow agenda, not the public interest.

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Confronting Advertising: the elephant in the bus shelter

This is an edited version of a presentation to the UNSW / Australian Earth Laws Alliance conference, Building the New Economy, Sydney, August 15. It is also the first stage in a larger research paper being prepared for the Green Institute. Comment, feedback and ideas are welcome.

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Confronting Advertising: The elephant in the bus shelter

Here is how Nancy Shaley, president of the Shaley Agency, describes her profession: “Advertising at its best is making people feel that, without their product, you’re a loser.” Continue reading →

World in Transition

The world is rapidly changing around us. It always has done. Change is one thing that is constant.

Although with global warming, rising sea levels, growing inequality, the digital revolution there is force behind the notion that we are living through a period of significant transition – both a time of fear and opportunity.

Transitions happen at a global, community and personal level. They can make the world, societies, the land and environment along with people healthier, happier and more sustainable. Or they can move us towards an ugly society and barren world.

A film festival occurring in Melbourne and Adelaide is dedicated to exploring the idea of transitions in the world through documentaries. Continue reading →

Art and Activism

Green Agenda is very pleased to be publishing the following speech Alex Kelly gave on 27 June 2015 to the 2970 Degrees conference held on the Gold Coast. 

Radically Re-Imagining the World as our Climate Changes

Good afternoon. It’s an honour to be here at such a dynamic event. And what a pleasure to be in such a beautiful and creative region of the country. Continue reading →

Response by Russell Edwards to “It’s the culture, stupid!”

Tim Hollo’s essay was a delight to find. What a relief to see such important truths voiced in a prominent arena. To point out that the cause of the ecological crisis is culture, not choices; that the crisis will only be averted by undermining and ultimately replacing the dominant culture; that making a tactical choice to endorse the existing culture, in any instance, harms the crucial long-term project of deep cultural change; that among the most damaging aspects of existing culture are its tendencies towards hyper-individualist self-maximising dominion; that this culture is actively created and maintained by those who benefit from it, by marketing and political messaging — these are insights that ecologically aware people commonly hold. But, especially in this era of so-called pragmatism, rarely are they set out explicitly and systematically, as Tim has done. Hopefully Tim’s essay can serve as a reminder for the green movement to step back from time to time and refocus on our underlying task. Continue reading →

Response by David Holyoake to “It’s the culture, stupid!”

While not a direct response to Tim’s essay, the following article from David Holyoake, from a new UK arts activist collective, Forever Swarm, explores similar themes from a UK perspective. The article was first published in Voices, Global Call for Climate Action 7 April 2015.

Arts and culture – the missing link to winning the climate fight  Continue reading →