Students at University of Porto combine journalism and poetry in pandemic research project
A group of MA students at the University of Porto, Portugal, has developed a research project providing a message of hope during the pandemic, following the success of another group of students at the same university who were highly commended in the FIPP/UPM Rising Stars in Media Awards 2020.
As part of the Communication Semiotics Lab, part of the Master of Arts in Communication Sciences (Media and Journalism), students created several works, comprising one theoretical aspect and another experimental.
The latter resulted in a video, “Windows of Life”, designed to represent hope within the context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, as well as texts that draw on poetry and journalistic skills. They also disseminated their poetry at several metro stations throughout Porto.
Windows of Life arose, in part, from reflections around creativity in the syntactic sphere – that is, the narrative’s organisation and editing, drawing on features of digital platforms which have become so critical in the past 16 months. To this end, relations between what is real and what is virtual (in psycho-sociological terms) are also crucial. The video also makes use of elements typically found in comic strips.
“Art is humanity’s evolving destination,” coordinator Professor Jorge Marinho told FIPP. “This also goes by way of the media and the University. As a professor, I wish to arouse, develop and direct the creativity of my students and, thereby, to see them happy.
“The Arts and Communication/Media Project, which was conducted by my students in the University of Porto Communication Semiotics Lab curricular unit and Master’s Study Programme in Communication Science (2020-2021), under my coordination, somehow has close prior history: my article “Live Journalim and Theater: The Role of Art“, which was quoted by Stijn Postema and Mark Deuze in “Artistic Journalism: Confluence in Forms, Values and Practices“, and the research project Live Journalism and Theater by University of Porto students of the Master’s Study Program in Communication Science (2019-2020), which I also coordinated and was Highly Commended in the FIPP & UPM Rising Stars in Media Awards (2020).
“To everyone who has valued our work along the way, thus encouraging us to proceed, I express my gratitude.”
The research project’s various purposes included the following:
- Theoretical reflection on art, aesthetics, emotions, communication, information and uncommon avant-garde forms of journalism compared to the mainstream media;
- The call for students’ creativity in relation to the media, in practical terms;
- The use of verbal and/or non-verbal languages, most notably the latter, seeking creative and innovative ways of changing the customary order of discourse.
The poem “The Journey” can be read in full below.
I get on the train
And there she comes to sit next to me.
She greets and consumes me
Like one who stands in the middle of the crowd.
And who are these?
Who close themselves in their bubbles
And make us feel excluded.
Why do they look at me?
Why do they consume me with their gaze?
Why do they whisper secrets that I cannot hear?
Is it me? / Is it about me?
Do I not hear anymore?
Am I no longer on two legs?
Throat went dry
And I… tried to breathe,
And for a moment, I wished they’d call off the day.
The bed I left unmade
The comfort from which I left.
And I breathe.
I look away and hear a song
I see a smile that soothes me with its gaze.
Relaxing my fingers, I free my teeth, I hear no secrets and now
I am the one who whispers
the new song.
And that’s when I heard “good morning”,
“Now it’s gotten better”.
I arrived at my destination,
With a wide smile on my face,
Hidden by the dark mask.
I no longer felt alone in the crowd, that runs and doesn’t stop.
University of Porto / Portugal (2021)
Research project: Arts and Communication / Media
Group work: students of Communication Semiotics Lab (MA in Communication Sciences – Media and Journalism – University of Porto / 2021)
Professor / Research supervisor: Jorge Marinho