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Strong Stories for Strong Children

1. Workshops with television executives

Television executives from over 35 countries were asked to describe and visually represent childhood events in which they experienced their own competence to act. The stories were then adapted for a dramaturgical context and narrated in such a way as to emotionally involve children and potentially strengthen their competence and resilience.
The over 400 stories will then be grouped according to types of childhood experiences and settings in which children experience their skills, and their overall similarities and particular tendencies will be analysed in detail.


2. Studies with children

Children from a number of countries, including Cuba, Slovenia, Taiwan, and Germany, will be asked to describe events in which they had experienced their own competence. The roughly 200 stories will be grouped according to experience types, and their overall similarities and particular tendencies will be analysed in detail. The stories will also be compared with the biographical experiences of the children’s television executives.


Fostering Resilience

1. The Storytelling Club

In cooperation with the PRIX JEUNESSE foundation, the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI) organises the Storytelling Club, a project designed to promote children’s resilience, creativity, and psychological health. To this end, it offers materials for teaching units on fostering resilience. The aim of the project is to produce a small book that will help other children in a similar situation. A template of the book can be viewed at www.storytellingclub.de (starting in June 2017). The book will later contain short stories and pictures or photos narrating everyday experiences of resilience (strong stories). The stories are elaborated in the course of weekly meetings, in which the children come together either for an hour (over 16 weeks), 2 hours (over 8 weeks) or for longer periods during an intensive project week. In these sessions, they may, for example, watch short films that are then used as starting points for their own strong stories. The children learn how to tell stories in front of a group or in pictorial or written form. They might be prompted by such questions as, ‘Did you ever feel too anxious to do something and then did it anyway?’ or, ‘Can you think of a time when you were able to help someone?’ In the Storytelling Club, children have the opportunity to become aware of their own success stories and share these with others. They also take part in tried and tested exercises to foster self-esteem and communication.

2. Accompanying research “Here’s My Story”

‘Here’s My Story’, a media-focussed educational project run by the department “Educational Projects” at the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation(BR), considers the extent to which teaching units designed to strengthen individuals’ self-perception, as well as projects enabling adolescents to tell their stories in a variety of media, do indeed serve to foster a sense of self-efficacy. Changes in the self-perception of participants in 6 groups, due to take part in the project in the first half of 2017, will be assessed on the basis of a before/after comparison.


The Image of Man and Woman in Music Videos and its Meaning for Adolescents

In 2016 and 2017 the IZI is conducting series of studies in collaboration with the MaLisa Foundation. This study is a media analysis of the representation of gender in music videos, and it also addresses the question of to what extent adolescents recognise and desire the typical tendencies and incorporate these into their ideal conceptions of man and woman.


1. Media analysis: staging gender in text and image in music videos – an examination of the top 100 of 2015 in the USA and Germany

The media analysis focuses on the top 100 in the charts in the USA and Germany in 2015, exploring the representation of men and women as well as gender relations. This involves a quantitative content analysis of the lyrics and the videos as well as a qualitative analysis of typical patterns of representation in videos. 


2. Representative survey: what are adolescents’ impressions of music videos, and what role do music videos play in creating ideals of men and women?

A further aspect of the collaborative series of studies by the MaLisa Foundation and the IZI is a representative survey which addresses the question of how adolescents today use music videos, which way of access they have, and what concept they have of the making of the video and the role of the artist in this. In addition, the adolescents are asked to what extent they see the stars in the music videos as role models for, or ideal versions of, themselves or a (future) partner, and to what extent they incorporate this into their ideas of ideal men and women.  


3.
Exploratory study: do viewers perceive stereotypes in music videos?

Two qualitative exploratory studies – collaborative studies by the MaLisa Foundation and the IZI – explore the question of whether adolescents perceive and wish to see the hypersexualisation of women. This involves adolescents making up their own music videos, thinking about the content of particular music videos, evaluating images, and describing how they interpret particular music videos. One of the studies is being carried out in Bavaria and the other in Cincinnati (USA) in order to establish to what extent it matters whether or not the adolescents speak English (the language of the songs in many music videos) as their mother tongue.   


4. Media education lesson

In the context of the scientific study, a media education lesson is being developed and tested which conveys the principles of non-verbal communication and typical gender representations, thereby sensitising viewers to the critical debate with the images presented. The pupils are taught how to carry out media analyses so they themselves can become gender researchers, discovering typical gender stereotypes and developing these in the media analysis. A before/after procedure is designed to test to what extent this lesson promotes the analytical ability to deconstruct hypersexualisation and the staging of gender, and to what extent it facilitates critical debate with the genre.