Trinity College Dublin: Mark Little to launch Schuler Democracy Forum as Media Fellow

The Trinity Long Room Hub will officially launch the Schuler Democracy Forum on September 15th 2021 when Mark Little, the Hub’s first Media Fellow, will give a talk on ‘Media for Humanity – a brief history of the future of journalism’.

Mark Little, CEO of Kinzen and former RTÉ journalist, has spent 30 years working at the intersection of media, technology and democracy. In his inaugural talk as Media Fellow, he looks back on three decades of media disruption and builds the optimist’s case for a new era of purpose-driven journalism.

In advance of his talk, which takes place on the United Nations International Day of Democracy, he commented:

More than ever, we need a conversation about media and democracy that is grounded in the reality of human lives rather than short-term rows between big tech and traditional gatekeepers. As Media Fellow, I’m excited to explore long-term thinking that could help overcome the most immediate challenges for democratic media.

The Schuler Forum for Democracy is a new three-year initiative, funded by Dr Beate Schuler, that engages Trinity’s research in the arts and humanities with questions relating to the media and democracy. Working with media, enterprise, policymakers and civil society organisations, the Forum is committed to transforming research into real-world practice and activity. The Forum builds on the work of the Hub in pioneering Arts and Humanities approaches to democracy research, including the 2018-19 CHCI-Mellon Global Humanities Institute on the Crises of Democracy and the 2020 Rethinking Democracy in an Age of Pandemic webinar and podcast series. Dr Beate Schuler, a scientist and education philanthropist, spoke about her inspiration for supporting such an ambitious project:

In 2021, with the global decline in democracy, it is essential that we have independent, diverse and trustworthy media systems with responsible media practitioners. We need to build cultures of open discussion and tolerance which allow people to disagree in a civil manner. We need publics equipped with the tools to identify fake or manipulative news and prepared to stand up against it.

“I do not think we can do this without engaging the unique skills and perspectives of the Arts and Humanities”, Dr Schuler added, highlighting the cross-sector collaboration and public engagement which will also be key tenets of the initiative.

Professor Eve Patten, Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, welcomed Mark Little:

We are honoured to have Mark join us as Media Fellow. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field to this project, together with valuable insights into the role that Arts and Humanities researchers can play in the work of democratic renewal. I would also like to express our gratitude to Beate Schuler for her vision and support in funding this initiative.