Media students learn about the art of conspiracy in New York

Unpicking conspiracy theories and delving into media archives is how some students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) spent their first full day in New York.

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Thanks to #DMUglobal, the final-year Media and Communications and Journalism and Media students are part of the university’s latest 1,000-strong trip to the Big Apple.

They visited Everything Is Connected: Art and Conspiracy at The Met Breuer, a provocative exhibition exploring hidden operations of power and the mutual suspicion between governments and its citizens.

Students took their time to browse the 70 pieces by 30 artists, which range from paintings and sculptures to photographs and installations, spanning from 1969 to 2016.

Rebecca Dale, a 20-year-old Media and Communications student from Leicester, said: “It was a really interesting exhibition. I recently did a paranormal media module on my course, so what we saw linked nicely to that.”

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This was followed by a visit to The Paley Center for Media, dedicated to the preservation of television and radio programmes dating as far back as the 1920s.

After a screening of news bulletins reporting the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, the group was free to peruse nearly 160,000 TV shows, adverts and radio programmes available in the Paley Center's library, which they could watch and listen to through individual consoles.

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Media and Journalism student Yousuf Ali, a 22-year-old from Portsmouth, said: “As a journalist, looking at conspiracy theories and media archives gives you a different perspective. If I was studying in New York, I’m sure I would be visiting the Paley Center all the time.

“#DMUglobal is one of the most amazing things the university has to offer. There’s nothing else quite like it, with something for everyone between the course-specific and mass trips.

“I’m particularly impressed with DMU’s global partners and industry links, which are an added bonus, and I’m hoping to carry on going on #DMUglobal trips after graduating through #DMUforlife.”

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Rebecca added: “I got to see archive, footage I would never have seen otherwise. It’s been really interesting to compare how the media portrays things with the alternative theories out there.

“This is my first #DMUglobal trip and it’s turning out to be absolutely incredible. It was a last-minute decision to apply and I’m so happy I did – I’m learning lots of new things, making new friends and enjoying the balance between the academic and cultural activities.”

Trip lead and senior lecturer at DMU Dr Alastair Gordon said: “Media and communications is a vital discipline with critical thinking at its heart.

“Whether misfired or not, conspiracy theory is what happens when people are ignored and disenchanted, so seeing that form of expression in art at The Met Breuer was great.

“The stock footage of Kennedy’s assassination, a massive historical event that changed the world, was also valuable for the students. Seeing the news bulletin and official moments unfold during a politically fraught yet hopeful time was very interesting.”

Posted on Sunday 6th January 2019

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