With support from the Technology & Information Policy Institute, two UT Austin PhD students attended the Oxford Global Media Policy Summer Institute this past August. André Rodarte and Sheila Lalwani, both PhD students in the School of Journalism and Media, were selected to participate in the ten day program focused on the theme of Technology and Policy During Times of Crisis.

André Rodarte

The Oxford summer program offered the opportunity to discuss some of the most pressing topics related to media and policy making. It is a space where students can learn from some of the most well-known scholars working with disinformation, artificial intelligence, privacy, surveillance, among many other topics. After their talks, we would often continue learning and asking questions in Jesus College, a truly unique experience. And at the end of the day, the conversations would be resumed in the century-old pubs of Oxford. The program offers the chance of getting to know initiatives related to these topics, as well as who are the students, scholars, and activists working on them. I am grateful for TIPI for this incredible experience, and I hope that other students from UT will apply for that in the future.

Sheila Lalwani

I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a participant with the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at Jesus College and experienced many highlights. Three, in particular, come to mind. First, the seminars themselves. For two weeks, I benefited from being in attendance to world-class experts on law and AI, media freedom and media in the global south among many other topics. Each day carried new speakers, who were experts in their fields. Given the diversity of the participants, it was exciting to listen to lectures that focused on freedom of the press in the Ukraine, media in the Global South and media law and policy in the European Union among many other topics. A second highlight was in the opportunity to present my work. I made two presentations during the seminars. The first was focused on the GDPR in the European Union and the second concerned the Network Enforcement Act in Germany. I think it helped the strength of my presentations to listen to my colleagues discuss cutting-edge research and their work in activism, media policy and compliance. A third highlight of the program was in taking advantage of all that Oxford offered. While we worked hard during the days, the evenings were usually reserved for exploration. I took advantage of various evening activities, including plays and concerts. For example, I went to a concert with a classmate at Jesus College, watched King Lear with the cohort and attended a evening song at Christ Church Cathedral – magical experiences for anyone.

In short, this experience deepened my research interests. Before I came to the Ph.D. program in journalism and media studies at Moody, I knew I was interested in comparative media law and policy. PCMLP provides an ideal setting for further exploration, hosting numerous guest speakers to lecture on a variety of topics. I was particularly interested in platform regulation and law and technology.

Thanks to the seminars, I returned to Moody, fresh with new research ideas and further honed in the topics of the day in media law and policy. I am very grateful to be part of the Ph.D. program at Moody and cannot thank TIPI enough for supporting me with this summer fellowship. It has augmented my education and spurred further my research interests.