Collaborating Communities: Practices and Productions for Human Service- Erliza’s Research

Communication strategies are continuously unfolding and augmenting. Social interactions, knowledge production and sharing are almost a routine, at least for those who have access to advanced technologies. What we have and how we make use of it is the underlying rationale of my project. Below is a characterisation of the different elements that I intend to work with in the coming years.

My doctoral research is within media and communication studies following the research area of new media, public spheres and forms of expression. It is therefore encouraged to engage in a creative or practical work alongside analytical applications. In addition to this, the research is directly anchored in the field of communication for development, thereby exploring the extents of communication as an instrument in furthering social change and development. The theme of this doctoral project is ‘Histories and Dynamics of Globalisation, Communication and Development’, offering three study schemes to choose from; I selected the abstractions of citizen-driven initiatives for transnational collective action.

To address the aforesaid frameworks, my project probes into the potentialities of the radio as a medium to inspire collective participations within and among the transnational Filipino community in the Nordic region and Spain.

With the advancements of information and communication technologies come opportunities for individuals and groups to claim their communication spaces. However, it is likewise investigated and proven that while communication tools are becoming more accessible, still its reach can be fairly limited. Having both arguments in consideration, my point of departure is to lay open the interconnectedness as well as disjuncture that come with a medium such as the radio.

The Filipino community in Europe has recently been enjoying access to music, programs, public service and news due to the services that the web-based radio affords. It should be noted however that the radio’s strength to mass communicate beyond borders has been acknowledged even before the breakthrough of web 2.0. Nevertheless, the continuing strength of the www is crucial to consider especially when this is seen from the perspectives of producers and consumers. With more than 800,000 Filipinos living and working in Europe, a communication medium such as the radio would be rather favourable. Why? I would argue that although the radio is a ubiquitous device, we are still oftentimes not sensible of its presence; therefore we lose the chance of knowing its capabilities. It is for this reason that I explore how the web- based radio can be utilised for participation, engagement, and knowledge creation for the purposes of human service within and beyond borders.

The radio has the competency to affect, to intervene, to change and challenge structures. In addition to these values, the radio can be a valuable tool for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. With the concept of globalisation in mind, it is argued that we are becoming similar; hence, the distinctive features of our cultures and identities are at risks, making it more relevant to discover new avenues to safeguard what the UN refers to as human treasures.

It has been expounded on research that women are key participants in the sustainability of cultures and traditions. This is based on the gender roles that women perform according to social constructions, but we know now that women have been a growing migrant force, rapidly catching up with the men. Does this mean that women’s migration is affecting these constructions? My interest in accommodating the concept of gender is to highlight the representations of Filipino women in migration studies. Our number is continuously increasing, but our roles are not necessarily changing. With the huge percentage of Filipino women migrant in Europe one can assume that there is certainly a considerable possibility to have Filipino women leaders. Hence the radio’s role, in this regard, will be to arm women leaders the space to communicate, share knowledge, and inspire others to react. The big question here, though, is the concept of participation. How can the Filipino civil society expand its relations and reach, and how can the radio function as a collaborator with the community; and this is how my role will be visible both as an embedded researcher and practitioner of communication for development.

My project plan is to collaborate with the radio network and the Filipino community to create radio programs that address local and transnational issues, to uncover how such citizen-driven initiatives for a transnational action develop and emerge in both the north and south of Europe. I have chosen these geographical spaces to highlight the different aspects present in the spectrum. The Filipino migrants in Spain are not the same as the ones in the Nordic countries. Moreover, the cultural attributes and religious orientations in these countries are very much distinct, hence the issues that are at hand are consequently different. Exactly what makes these differences significant is yet to be seen.

Of course, it is my strong desire that my research project will generate new knowledge in communication for development and to hopefully inspire future migration researchers.

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