On May 21st Ingrid Forsler was awarded the FSMK dissertation prize of 2021 for the dissertation Enabling Media: Infrastructures, imaginaries and cultural techniques in Swedish and Estonian visual arts education – publicly defended at Södertörn University, June 5th, 2020. Main supervisor was Associate Professor Michael Forsman at Södertörn University. Opponent: Professor Geoffrey Bowker, UCLA Irvine.
Taking its starting point in the digitalization of education, the winning thesis explores the relationship between media and practices of visual arts pedagogy in Swedish and Estonian schools. By combining approaches of infrastructuralism, cultural techniques and media archeology, and producing a synthesis that sheds new light on how educators understand, negotiate and enable the media environments of visual arts education in Sweden and Estonia, this dissertation breaks new, significant ground.
Overall, this thesis demonstrates an excellent theoretical grounding, a rich and diverse methodological and analytical approach which contribute to an exciting and thorough analysis. From a methodological point of view, this work shows originality and boldness by employing different approaches such as short time ethnographic field work, site visits, interviews, and visual methods, participatory future workshops and video walks. Additionally, this dissertation makes important contributions to potential curriculum development, including lesson plans and assignments designed to facilitate historicizing, explorative and material approaches to media in school’s art education.
Forsler is awarded the FSMK dissertation prize for her important contribution to media and communication studies, where an impressive theoretical frame is combined with an innovative methodological approach; leading to an interesting, original and rich analysis concerning media and ‘infrastructure literacy’ in visual arts education.
FSMK’s honorary mention for 2021 went to the runner-up David Cheruiyot, for his dissertation Criticising Journalism: Popular Media Criticism in the Digital Age, which was publicly defended at Karlstad University, October 25th, 2019. Main supervisor: Professor Henrik Örnebring, Karlstad University. Opponent: Professor Matt Carlson at the University of Minnesota.
David Cheruiyot’s thesis constitutes an important contribution to journalism studies, both by the originality of the research question asked, by the theoretical field mobilized, and by the impressive empirical material collected in Kenya and South Africa. Throughout his work Cheruiyot convincingly argues that journalism in Kenya and South Africa is of general relevance to the global academic community, and that these results and conclusions apply not only to the studied countries, but to journalism everywhere.
The empirical richness and theoretical sharpness of this thesis contribute to the impressive fulfillment of its ambition – to build a new theoretical foundation for analyzing the relationship between online media critics and journalists – indeed an important contribution to journalism studies.