David I Tafler
Professor, Media & Communication
Media communication in all of its many forms—film, broadcast media, publication, the internet, social media, video games—changes continually. When a class examines a media "text"—a particular film, television program, web environment, social media site or application—students consider how a different time, place or cultural, economic, political or social context alters the meaning of that experience, how different audiences and changing history and environment reframe the structured content.
My classes encourage innovative, individual, personal exploration through hands-on experience. Students produce, discuss and analyze their projects. Each assignment aims to make some difference in a student's thinking, perspective, understanding and appreciation of the medium and its content. In class workshops, students work with original footage, script material, props, photographic images and computer code.
Students find the classes exciting and stimulating, memorable and meaningful, an encounter that leaves them that much more aware, experienced and capable of developing their critical skills and expressive capacity.
Research, Scholarship or Creative/Artistic Interests
An early interest in low-budget film art produced by independent individuals evolved into a research-based theoretical examination of emerging interactive media. That interest in interactive media segued into the study of community media, another form of interactive engagement. An extended intermittent residency on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands in central Australia supported that study. Later, working for the Irish Red Cross, an assignment in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, broadened that interest in community media to include beneficiary communication—a term that describes methods such as early warning systems and post-disaster relief communication strategies that are used to engage with communities.