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Social media campaign on diversity launched with students

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The diversity discourse at Erasmus University Rotterdam has been polarizing and is now tremendously heated. While these discussions go ahead, few students appear to be participating or driving these conversations. Hence, my organization Catalyst Lab alongside a group of highly driven masters students from the Erasmus Faculty of History Culture and Communication (ESHCC) have come up with a social media campaign to engage students on this very topic, supported by the faculty.

After all, we know so little about what diversity means to the youth. Working closely with young student film makers, comedians and with targeted mentoring and guidance by professional media people,this week ‘Diversify,’ this student led initiative has now gone live!

Click here to follow the campaign and see what youth think about diversity through their own narratives, personal experiences and identities. What is astonishing is how honest these students have been on topics that are very sensitive and way under-di…

Opinion piece out -Erasmus Magazine

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From October 2017, I will be writing a monthly opinion piece for theErasmus magazine. This is quite a refreshing change from my academic writing. I wonder how many academics like myself miss just writing to a lay audience on issues that are of general interest. anyway, looking forward to this new writing journey.

Of course, as luck would have it, I had to start with a bang on the controversial debate on "diversity" taking place on campuses in the Netherlands and as I see, worldwide. While the discussion has got heated, I must say this opens up opportunities to organize public forums for debates on this topic which I hope will happen. Here goes

Open letters, closed conversations?
If we want true action on diversity at our university, we need a sustainable equity that outlives identity politics, says Payal Arora. It's her reaction to an open letter to the EUR community on diversity, written by some university members.

Nomination for University Teaching Prize -Erasmus University

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Am honored to be nominated for the annual University Teaching prize by Erasmus University Rotterdam! The event will take place this September the 4th with Mayor Aboutaleb of Rotterdam as the guest speaker. Having heard so much about him, am looking forward to hearing his thoughts in person. 
It marks 8 years of teaching at this university for me. Been quite a journey so far. Since I joined the at that time new international program in Media and Communication in 2009, I had the opportunity to design several new courses in alignment with my interests and expertise which really helped me engage the students. Exciting to have a classroom which is so international and diverse. What I love particularly is building relationships with the students, given the small classroom format. Got some interesting questions from the university press - read the full interview here.
Looking forward to many more years of teaching.





IDEAPLAY: New Media, Society & Change

Recently I was invited by the Department of Education at Michigan State University to give a public lecture and some interviews on how people learn to leisure and labor with new technologies in rural India. They did a wonderful job in capturing the interview through their multimedia portal IDEAPLAY, an excellent way to disseminate and share conversations that take place at this department. Below are the links for the interview:
IDEAPLAY: Payal Arora on New Media, Society and Change  PART 1 PART 2 PART 3
PART 4
PART 5
Learning to leisure and labor with new technologies in rural India
There is an intricate relationship between leisure, labor and learning. Much is revealed from eight-months of ethnographic fieldwork on computer-mediated social learning in rural India.  The role of educational institutions against informal learning spaces such as cybercaf├ęs in fostering digital engagements is explored. Issues of global knowledge constructions, plagiarism, and collaborative/peer based learning…

Classroom Simulations: Taking on Bashir, designing Airports in Shanghai and more

I’m a huge advocate of simulations in classrooms. You get students to take on role plays and enact within real life contexts and rest assured, these students will blow your mind away. We have traveled from Brazil to Sudan to China. From addressing the building of a factory in the Amazon to standing for elections in Sudan, these students have risen to the challenge beautifully. For instance, the Brazil case study I designed demanded that each student group represent different interests: Perenco Oil, Ecowatch, the Brazilian middle class, the government and the Survival international Group. This played out on a popular TV show, where I took on the role of “Veronica”, a famous TV show hostess. What we got was “Candy forest” representing Ecowatch battling her way with an experienced VP of Perenco Oil, with the government trying hard to play neutral. What was fascinating was that the attacks were focused on Perenco, leaving the government relatively unscathed inspite of their supportive st…