Taryn Walker

RSS student brings in speakers to raise media awareness

A local teenager is bringing two guest speakers to Revelstoke on May 11 to speak to high school students and parents in two talks about the role of media in today’s society.

A local teenager is bringing two guest speakers to Revelstoke on May 11 to speak to high school students and parents in two talks about the role of media in today’s society.

“I think media affects everybody, it isn’t just youth,” said 15-year-old Taryn Walker, who received a Columbia Basin Trust youth grant to bring in the speakers “It really will make you look at media in a different light and allow you to approach media in a better way.”

The two workshops, which will be led by Liz Schultze and Wendy Chen of Vancouver-based media company Pacific Cinematheque, deal with how media is constructed and how it impacts our lives.

In the morning, from 8:45-11:30 a.m at Revelstoke Secondary School, they will lead a workshop called Consciousness in a Consumer Society.

“It’s about making it real, helping students to see and discuss for themselves and find their own meanings in the media that they’re watching and to become more conscious in a society that’s aimed at them,” said Schultze. “This is a society that’s very much targeting them as consumers. They’re a prime target market and if that’s the case they should be conscious of all the things that are going on – not just levels of manipulation but all the things that they too can influence and be empowered by.”

At night, from 7-9 p.m., Schultze and Chen will lead a workshop for parents called Youth, Parents and the New Media Landscape. The focus on that one is about ways parents can engage their kids to talk about media

The workshops, which kick off Screen Smart Week in Revelstoke, look at all forms of media, from advertising to movies to video games to music videos.

“There are psychologists and high-level marketing experts that are all there controlling every little element behind the scenes,” said Schultze. “Whether someone’s wearing red or blue has been analysed and often passed by a test audience.

“Students don’t think about things at that level and it is a hard thing to accept that that much of your world is that controlled. The more you know the more empowered you can be and the better decision you make.”

Walker, who estimates she spends about 1.5 hours per day engaged with the media (“probably more,” she added), decided to bring in the two speakers out of her interest in design and media.

“I’m really excited about how they’re going to deconstruct advertising and really make you look at media from a different angle,” she said. “When we go out into society, the media is thrown at us from every direction. It’s really up to us how we deal with it and perceive.”