SciComm conference to discuss a cross section of media and social change


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania — Caty Borum Chattoo, communications expert and former Hollywood producer, will discuss how and why entertainment plays an important role in social change. His virtual conference will take place at 3:30 p.m. on April 7.

Borum Chattoo is executive director of the Center for Media & Social Impact and adjunct professor at American University. His research presentation, “Why Entertainment Culture (and Comedy) Matters for Social Change and Sustainability,” is part of the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications SciComm Lecture Series. It will be broadcast live on Zoom.

Popular culture is a powerful shaper of the civic fabric, and entertainment media have a profound influence on issues of social justice, equity and sustainability. Borum Chattoo, who has worked in agency communications and as a producer with Hollywood legend Normal Lear, will reveal an insider and research-based perspective on how the era of transforming digital media has converged with activism and public participation in a way that opens up creative and cultural space for traditionally marginalized communities.

She will also explain how the initiatives of the Center for Media & Social Impact fit into the media revolution. Ultimately, her lecture will illustrate creative ways for scholarly research to evolve into creative media production and communication strategy for social change.

Borum Chattoo is an award-winning documentary producer, scholar, professor and strategist working at the intersection of social change communication, documentary and entertainment storytelling. She is the author of award-winning books, including “Story movements: How documentaries empower people and inspire social change” and “A comedian and an activist walk into a bar: The serious role of comedy in social justice”.

The virtual conference is part of the SciComm Lecture Series, an initiative of Penn State’s science communication program. The program is housed at the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications and establishes productive research collaborations between scientists from various disciplines and researchers in science communication.


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