Dimensions of Intercultural Dialogue: Catalyzing the Exchange of Diverse Narratives in the Digital Age
Linder, Mindy Ann
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Linder, Mindy Ann
As of 2011, the European Union (EU) is comprised of 27 member states with 23 official languages; this does not include the roughly 20 neighboring countries, many of which share significant geographic and cultural ties. As such, the EU faces both great opportunity and challenge in seeking a delicate balance of the promotion of plurality while resisting homogenization. The literature reflects the suggestion that a paradigm shift is necessary, summarized as cosmopolitan integration – a system of reciprocal, fluid intercultural exchange. As humans, we use a variety of methods and tools, complemented by our senses to exchange thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Advances in technology have impacted this exchange, giving rise to complex networks of interactivity that transcend geographic, lingual and cultural borders. These globalized multivalent connections, many digital, influence new forms of narrative exchange. The convergence of communication, culture and technology has the opportunity to play a significant role in building Europe, creating new spaces for dialogue and interaction. This master’s research project explores how cultural organizations engage new media technology to catalyze cultural expression and interaction to support the exchange of diverse narratives. Further, what are the policy frameworks of support (or hindrance)? And, how does this relate to contemporary thinking on cultural diplomacy and intercultural dialogue? This exploration is served through an extensive literature review and the rich investigation of two case studies. The two case studies purposively selected are the LabforCulture (LAB) and the StrangerFestival. Each program was founded by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF), an international nongovernmental organization, that serves to provide advocacy and focus for cultural policy research initiatives. Each program was developed to address communication capability, engaging publics in technological and cultural literacy to realize and share collective creativity and the exchange of diverse narratives. A growing body of scholarship and civic research suggests that literacy – the capacity of actors to engage in the global environment onsite and online – is key to this collective exchange process. Each study provides a unique perspective for my research questions: while the LAB seeks to provide an ongoing macro platform for transnational, multi-‐lateral exchange across disciplines, the StrangerFestival is a micro discipline specific project targeted at youth to catalyze the exchange of narratives through video media.