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GPS400 is launching an expert resource in visual media and information literacy

Media and information literacy (MIL) is central in the new strategic plan of the University of Gothenburg (UGOT). As part of UGOT’s expanded MIL-initiatives, GPS400 is launching the VIMIK-group – an interdisciplinary expert resource for audiovisual research and pedagogy. The group aims to enhance the regional competence and to function as an accessible arena in the local environment. The VIMIK-group will collaborate on visual MIL-issues with, among others, Region Västra Götaland, The Gothenburg Region, Visual Arena as well as with local schools, institutions, organizations, companies, and individuals.

UNESCO and the EU have established that MIL is one of the key democratic resources that enables us to be better equipped to critically approach media's ever-increasing flow of information. The MIL-issues of today concern, among other things, sense making, effects, and consequences of AI and other digital tools as well as how we, with the help of new technology, can reduce differences in MIL between nations, institutions, groups and individuals.

Knowledge overviews and research reports presented by UGOT during the past decade have helped to introduce MIL to a Swedish context and have also contributed to several politically important decisions at both national and global level. The UNESCO professorship in freedom of speech at UGOT has been of great importance for this development and with the establishment of the VIMIK-group within GPS400 a new phase of UGOT’s MIL-activities is launched.

– Since GPS400 has the local perspective as its basic approach and research focus, the new VIMIK-group will offer solutions to MIL-issues through collaborative and digital initiatives in the local environment says Mats Jönsson, the head of the centre.  – The main goal is to increase people's skills to read, interpret, understand, and work with images and image media both practically and theoretically as well as historically and prognostically.

Together with other UGOT initiatives in the MIL area, the VIMIK-group will also ensure that collaborative knowledge development and democratic knowledge exchanges are regularly carried out and made available via digital technology and in the public space. The group's educational and research activities will take place via targeted initiatives, workshops, and webinars within the school system and teacher training initiatives, as well as through competence development courses and commissioned training for staff at schools, archives, libraries, museums, companies and authorities.

The competences offered by the VIMIK-group can also be applied within higher education in, for example, journalism, communication, film, photography, art, design, culture, IT and technology. Together with representatives from civil society, the group will also test and develop routines for MIL-related digital citizen science research in close dialogue with the local community.

– We look forward to working with questions regarding visuality in MIL and offering our competencies to the surrounding society, and through concrete initiatives in the region we hope to increase the media and information litercay of professionals and private persons in all ages alike, says the VIMIK groups coordinator Stefan Jensen.