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Social representations in action and construction in Media and Society: European Ph.D. on social representations and communication international lab Meetings

Final Activity Report Summary - SORECOMEDIA AND SOCIETY (Social representations in action and construction in Media and Society: European PhD on social representations and communication Meetings)

The European PhD on Social Representations and Communication International Lab Meetings, successor to the decade of International Summer Schools, have provided an important opportunity for young researchers to obtain advanced academic and technical skills needed to conduct state-of-the-art research. Twelve 9-10 day-long courses have been organised around the theme of Social Representations in Action and Construction in Media and Society and focused on advanced practical training for 25 participants. The first two events of each year integrated virtual and face-to-face sessions, aimed at training doctoral students in meta-theoretical analysis of the literature. The third event was a face-to-face intensive training course requiring the physical mobility of participants and open to long-term dissemination via web.

These events shared common objectives and had a didactic structure with multiple training opportunities for critical analysis of the link between multi-media communication systems and social representations. The methods, techniques, software packages and related method theory guiding applications in research design, have provided the unifying theme for each event of the proposed advanced courses. The topics developed in the participants's; research projects presented and discussed during the workshops have provided a variety of societal issues mediated and constructed via traditional and new media. The program's originality has been in its training methods, integrating face-to-face interaction (workshops, lectures, presentations) with mediated virtual interaction (Internet forum discussion, web-videoconferencing, streaming videos). Key lectures expanded the horizon to other communication fields (semiotics, linguistics, sociology, mass communications, media studies etc.). The phenomena we have covered (information society, new socialisation and communication strategies and applications for politics, health, the environment, social minorities, gender, etc.) are clearly relevant to EU policy.

The worldwide dissemination of the scientific events has been extremely successful. This is confirmed by the presence of 77 invited international experts (from 18 different countries in Europe, North and Latin America) in the field of Social Representations and Communication coming from as many different academic contexts as possible, and by the participation of 300 researchers coming from 35 different countries (in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and Latin America) and, since the 8th Int. Lab Meeting upon agreement of the EC, of 131 extra participants coming from 25 countries (in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and Latin America).

This worldwide diffusion brought a notable advantage to special target groups, such as women and researchers from less-favoured EU regions, who otherwise had access difficulties and have profited from the network's multimedia products and the ODL training system accessible for long term dissemination on the web after the event. These scientific events also enhanced co-operation between the more advanced scientific communities working in Europe, the United States and Canada and research groups working in under-developed regions, in Eastern European countries, Latin America and Asia.

In order to guarantee the long-term diffusion of the 12 International Lab Meetings, all the didactic materials are on free access on the European PhD website http://www.europhd.eu/IntLabMeetings. These include all presentations by research trainees and key lecturers, as well as the reading materials suggested by each key lecturer.

Furthermore, video recording of the on-line sessions realised via EuroPhD web auditorium and digitalised videos of key lectures provide an extra long-term acquisition of scientific events.