Ateneo Communication Department celebrates 50 years with national conference
In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Ateneo Department of Communication held a national conference called “Patok: Comparative and Critical Perspectives on Pinoy Pop Culture.” The event was on Oct. 6-7, 2016 at the Leong Hall Auditorium and Eugenio Lopez Jr. Center for Multimedia Communication TV Studio.
The conference featured simultaneous discussions and lectures seeking to analyze Pinoy pop culture in order to identify continuities, differences and variations between periods, contexts and media processes.
Department Chair Dr. Severino Sarmenta gave a background on how the conference title came to be and hoped that the participants would enjoy the sessions. Popular culture, he said, was often the reason why many high school students wanted to take up communication in college. For him, there is an inherent desire to create, produce and perform.
“Patok came not only from the imagination of the teachers but also from an understanding that what clicks with audiences is often patok or what makes a connection with all of us,” he said. “Hangad naming patok ang aming mga paksa sa inyong panlasa.”
The first keynote speaker was Dr. Soledad Reyes, Professor Emeritus of the University and part of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. She discussed the changes in different media forms throughout the years and urged teachers to encourage students’ appreciation and critical thinking of these forms.
“As writers, we must analyze and reveal what lies underneath. This is the function of our studies that should lead to more clarity and understanding of pop culture,” she said. She also said that teachers should mold the minds of the students and enable them to look at the world and think critically about it.
The second keynote speaker, Dr. Jose Capino, is an associate professor in English and a film scholar at the Univeristy of Illinois. He is an alumnus (AB Communications 1994) and taught at the Old Communications Department in the 2000s and also at the Filipino Department for two years since 2004. He talked about the conservation of old Philippine films set during the American occupation in the country and the impact of 'queer,' or non-formative sex practices and gender identifications, in Philippine cinema.
Capino also focused on the works of famous Filipino movie director Lino Brocka, especially “Maynila, sa Kuko ng Liwanag” and “Orapronobis”—films that depicted violent realities during the administrations of presidents Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino.
“We still have the opportunity to recognize the danger in re-embracing authoritarianism,” he said. “May we remember the dead in the archives and take their lessons to heart. May we also be equipped by a strong case of archive fever so that those that come after us are left with a past to remember.”
University President Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin SJ, in his opening remarks, congratulated the department and applauded them for their milestones. In particular, he mentioned the 15-year-old Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism (ACFJ) for its pioneering online graduate journalism program. The ACFJ is one of two centers under the Department of Communication. The other is the Eugenio Lopez Center for Multimedia Communication. The department was also recognized by the Commission on High Education as a Center of Development.
“I hope that this conference will provide not just knowledge of pop culture, but also enrich our conversations about how we, media professionals and members of the academe, can shape the symbolic social and political order for the common good, the greater good,” Fr. Villarin said.
Dr. Fernando Aldaba, Dean of the School of Social Sciences, hoped that the department and its faculty will continue to promote and emphasize a peaceful culture to counter the violent trends in pop culture.
One of the leading producers of competent professionals in the field of media, the Department of Communication combines theory and practice with the Ignatian values in preparing students to work in journalism, media studies, advertising, mass communication, public relations and the academe.
Patok was organized by faculty members of the department, namely Dr. Jozon Lorenzana as the lead convenor and Dr. Estelle Marie M. Ladrido and Dr. Inez Ponce De Leon as committee members. The most outstanding papers of the conference will be compiled and published next year.
To view more photos, click here.
Listen to the lectures of the keynote speakers below: