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Working with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for my Collaborative Project

23 April 2021

4 mins

MA students in the Institute for Media and Creative Industries (IMCI) are currently preparing to present their midway presentation to their partner organisation as part of the Collaborative Project module, a unique module where students work with a partner organisation in response to a real-world challenge.

One of the IMCI partner organisations this year is the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), who tasked students with exploring how they could better use social media platforms to tell more impactful stories that promote disability rights and create social change.

The IPC Head of Content met with students early in the semester to talk about the IPC’s current social media strategies and challenges. Students were also inspired by a guest talk by Sam Ruddock, a two-time Paralympian based in Loughborough, currently training for the Tokyo Paralympic Games 2021.

In this post IMCI MA student, Meiya Su, talks about her experiences of the Collaborative Project so far.     

Why did you choose the IPC Collaborative Project?

Honestly, I did not have much knowledge about people with disabilities before, but I was attracted by the project brief. As far as I am concerned, in this era when social media is booming, most people’s knowledge and understanding of people with disabilities is still remarkably shallow. People with disabilities are underrepresented in the media, and, in some societies, people with disabilities are stigmatized and less able to be active in society. In addition, our few perceptions of people with disabilities are still based mainly on stereotypes. This is why the IPC is so important, that is, to promote social change through the development and promotion of disability sport, and to eliminate the stigma and discrimination of people with disabilities, supporting them to advocate for their rights and showcase their abilities through their performance as athletes. Therefore, as a student in media, I began to think about how to change the way people with disabilities are portrayed through the media. Gradually, I have gained more understanding and more research questions about IPC’s work.

What are you enjoying most about the Collaborative Project module?

As I have been working on this project over the past couple of months, one of the most valuable things I have gained is the feeling of being involved in the IPC. Throughout the entire research process I received in-depth understanding of the literature and all the guests – the scholars, the para-athlete and IPC staff – have given excellent lectures for us. This Collaborative Project is undoubtedly extremely meaningful. First of all, each of the guests has brought us fresh knowledge and expanded our research ideas from different perspectives. I am very grateful to them, and also grateful to our module leader— Dr Jessica Noske-Turner. Secondly, I feel absolutely delighted to be able to participate in my team discussing topics with students from different genders, professional and cultural backgrounds, which fully demonstrates the value of “cooperation”. I believe that diversified ways of thinking, researching ideas and brainstorming can double the success of our research results. As the saying goes, “many hands make light work”.

How does the Collaborative Project relate to your future ambitions and your continued studies?

In my family my parents often said that “doing things can’t just be utilitarian”, so “giving back to the society” is an important part of my background growing up. Therefore, when I first saw that the IPC project was included in my master’s studies I was instantly attracted to the project. Then I watched the documentary – Rising Phoenix – which deeply affected me.

Since this experience I have also decided to do more research on the topic of disability for my dissertation. I look forward to completing a project with social value and academic significance during my master’s studies. In my future career I would like to continue to participate in social activities, including environmental protection and feminist movements.

Loughborough University London would like to thank Meiya Su for speaking about her experiences in this blog.

To find out more about the Collaborative Project, please visit our website.

To find out more about the Institute for Media and Creative Industries and their programmes, please visit our website.

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