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Visible Cities: International Media Portrayals of Cities in the Global South


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Speaker(s): Dr Shakuntala Banaji, Dr Vandana Desai, Jamal Osman, Susan Parnell, Dr Scott Rodgers, John Vidal
Chair: Suzanne Hall

Recorded on 16 May 2012 in Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building.

As the world population urbanises, it is crucial that we critically examine how the media invites us to ""see"" cities. Visible Cities will bring together academics and journalists to critically examine the ways in which cities in developing countries are currently portrayed and consider alternatives.

Dr Shakuntala Banaji is a lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at the LSE. Her research interests include the meaning, history and textual study of cinema, particularly South Asian media and Hindi films; the socio-political contexts of audiences, representations of gender and ethnicity; tensions between popular and elite media; internet cultures; online civic participation; young people and cultural identities. She is the editor of South Asian media cultures: audiences, representations, contexts (2010).

Dr Vandana Desai is a senior lecturer in the geography department at Royal Holloway. She conducts cross-disciplinary research on infrastructure and security of tenure in slums; aging, livelihoods and poverty; and gender and development, with a regional focus on South Asia.

Jamal Osman is an award-winning independent journalist and filmmaker focusing on East Africa, including extensive work in Somalia. He has produced stories for Channel 4 and the Guardian, and is the recipient of the Royal Television Society (RTS) Independent Award 2012, the Amnesty International Gaby Rado Memorial Award 2010, the news story of the year prize at the Foreign Press Association (FPA) Awards 2009. His work for the Guardian on Al-Qaida's aid distribution in Somalia was recently shortlisted for the 2012 Broadcast Digital Awards ""Best News of Current Affairs Content"".

Dr Susan Parnell is an urban geographer in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Cape Town and is the Director of the 'CityLab' at the African Centre for Cities. She is currently the Leverhulme Visiting Professor at UCL. Her research interests include contemporary urban policy research (local government, poverty reduction and urban environmental justice). Sue is also on the boards of several local NGOs concerned with poverty alleviation, sustainability and gender equity in post-apartheid South Africa.

Dr Scott Rodgers is a lecturer in Media Theory in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck. His research interests include the idea of a specifically 'urban' politics or public culture, and especially its constitution through media and processes of mediation and the ways in which urban life has been a longstanding focus for, as well as a milieu of, professional and amateur journalism. In 2008 he hosted a two day workshop on media practices and the political spaces of cities entitled ""Mediapolis"".

John Vidal is the environment editor at the Guardian, writing on environment and international development issues, focusing on cities in Africa, Bangladesh and Latin America . He is the author of McLibel: Burger Culture on Trial (1998) and has contributed chapters to books on topics such as the Gulf war, new Europe and development.

Dr Suzanne Hall is an urban ethnographer, and has practised as an architect and urban designer in South Africa. Her research and teaching interests include social and economic forms of inclusion and exclusion, urban multiculture, the imagination and design of the city, and ethnography and visual methods. She is a recipient of the Rome Scholarship in Architecture (1998-1999) and the LSE's Robert McKenzie Prize for outstanding Ph.D. research (2010). She co-edited (with Dinardi and Fernández) Writing Cities (2010, LSE), and her research monograph, City, street and citizen: The measure of the ordinary, is forthcoming.

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