Friday, September 21, 2012

Scenes from Puebla

So, in my previous post, Puebla Entrevista, I mentioned that last week I was in the city of Puebla, Mexico, as an invited guest and participant at a conference on strategic communication at Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, aka BUAP.  And in addition to the video interview in the last post, there were a great many pictures taken at this event, many more than I'll repost here, but I thought I'd share a few of them, along with some sense of what I was involved with down there.

One of my main activities was giving a workshop on New Media and Strategic Communication:  A Media Ecology Approach.  On the left is a photo of me from the first day of the workshop, and it was rather warm in the room, yes, so I took my jacket off.  There were about 30 participants in the workshop, mostly undergraduates, some graduate students, and a few faculty.  I spent the first half of the workshop explaining the media ecology approach, and ways to analyze media and communication environments, with specific attention to social media connections, and then the second half on specifics relating to new media, especially in regard to digital form.

Since I don't speak Spanish, the conference organizers provided a translator, so I started out speaking slowly, and pausing every sentence or two to let the translator translate.  Well, funny thing is, after a little while, the students started to correct the translator's translation!  Seems they understood  English better than he did. And after a little while longer, they asked him to stop translating altogether! They were fine with just listening to me, and asking questions if need be.

Of course, hospitality was a big part of the occasion, and here we are, the conference organizers and invited guests, having lunch/dinner at a restaurant in Puebla. I'm showing something on my cellphone, I don't recall what now, but everywhere you go nowadays, our mobile devices are as omnipresent as cigarettes once were.

So, the second day I had a different translator, but this was for some plenary sessions that I was participating on.  Students with good competency in English naturally were open to selecting my workshop, and those lacking the same competency would tend to select a different workshop, but for speaking to all of the attendees, a good translator was essential, and the organizers found a doctoral student in linguistics to do the job!

So. the first session I was on, I was asked to speak about the Media Ecology Association as an organization, and media ecology as a field. 

And my second session was a book-oriented panel, so I talked about On the Binding Biases of Time and Other Essays on General Semantics and Media Ecology

Of course, some of the most interesting conversations took place outside of the formal events.

A third session I took part in included my two friends from Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Estado de México, Octavio Islas (below on the right) and Fernando Gutiérez (2nd from the right, next to Octavio):

And while I didn't plan on it, since it turned out that they were interested in a formal presentation, and I did come prepared for such an eventuality even though they didn't ask for one in advance, I gave my "If Not A, Then E" powerpoint presentation about general semantics and media ecology.

It went over pretty well, my talk and the session overall. Here are the three of us after the session:

And here I'm posing with some of the other participants and organizers:

Octavio, Fernando, and I were invited back up for the concluding session:

And that about sums up my activity south of the border, or at least what I could find from photographs others posted on Facebook, and I am grateful to all those who shared their images.  But here's one final one, taken after the conference, when a few of us were treated to a little tour of downtown Puebla on the day before Mexico's Independence Day:

That about sums it up, don't you think?

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