Critical Lens is a one-day symposium and creative convening that explores fundamental concepts of media literacy, how images operate and shape messages, and how we—both as media producers and consumers—must take critical and responsible action in interpreting this every day, ubiquitous medium. Bringing together students, educators (K12, college, and out-of-school time), artists, and community organizers, this symposium will bolster connections and conversations among residents of the greater Bethlehem, PA area, bring in invited guest experts to share their work and practices, allow participants to experiment with hands-on media making activities, and will invite them to share how they educate others through photography. Taking place at Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG), one of the region’s most prominent collections of photography, this program will build on the recent success of the exhibition Doing Democracy and also connect with the Fall 2021 exhibition Hear Me Roar: Women Photographers. By intermingling these key audience areas (educators, artists, and community leaders), integrating hands-on, experiential approaches to learning during the event, and inviting participants to share their practices by publishing their practices online, this will not be a typical symposium but rather an innovative and cross-generational “creative convening.”
Featured presenters include:
Michelle Ciulla Lipkin
Executive Director of the National Association for Media Literacy Education
Michelle Ciulla Lipkin is the Executive Director of the National Association for Media Literacy Education. Michelle has helped NAMLE grow to be the preeminent media literacy education association in the U.S. She launched the first ever Media Literacy Week in the U.S. now in its 7th year, developed strategic partnerships with companies such as Thomson Reuters, Facebook, Twitter, and Nickelodeon, and restructured both the governance and membership of NAMLE. She has overseen four national conferences and done countless appearances at conferences and in the media regarding the importance of media literacy education. Michelle is an alumni of the U.S. Dept. of State’s International Visitors Program (Australia/2018). She is currently an Adjunct Lecturer at Brooklyn College where she teaches Media Literacy.
Michelle has been a guest on CNN’s Reliable Sources in 2017 and 2020. Michelle was the recipient of the 2020 Global Media and Information Literacy Award given by UNESCO. In 2020, Michelle appeared in the documentary “Trust Me” from award winning director Roko Belic as well as the PBS Documentary “Fake.”
Michelle began her career in children’s television production, in various roles on both corporate and production teams. She earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from New York University. Michelle focused her grad work on children and television where she caught the “media literacy bug”. After graduate school, Michelle worked as a facilitator for The LAMP (Learning about Multimedia Project) teaching media literacy and production classes for Pre-Kindergarten to 5th grade students.
Jennifer Midberry, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Visual Communication and Journalism
Dr. Jennifer Midberry is an assistant professor in Lehigh University's Journalism and Communication Department. Her research agenda explores how journalism practice can be improved to create more ethical coverage of marginalized groups and be more effective at evoking audience empathy and engagement with important social issues. As a former photographer and photo editor, much of her work focuses on photojournalism and her projects are intended to have practical insights for visual journalists in addition to advancing visual communication and journalism theory. She employs both qualitative and quantitative methods. She teaches Visual Communication, Photojournalism, Media Ethics, and Media & Society at Lehigh. Empowering her students to think critically about media representations and the role of journalism in addressing social problems is the goal that drives her teaching. Previous to her career in academia, she worked as a visual journalist for organizations such as The Philadelphia Daily News, the Associated Press, AOL News, and ABC News.