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Monday, 06 October 2014 00:00

Europe Through a Lens – October 2014

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They say a picture paints a thousand words, so we've set out to discover what photography might be able to tell us about today's Europe.

Here at E&M, we don't just want to know what young Europeans think about Europe, we also want to find out how they see and feel the continent. As part of the newly-revamped Sixth Sense, we have introduced a photo competition called Europe Through a Lens and are publishing a selection of our readers' photographic work on a regular basis. All you have to do is submit images that you think best represent our European theme of the month.

This time around we've selected the theme of "European sport" and are excited to see what you come up with. Entries can be of anything from football matches to cheese rolling, horse racing to athletics – it's all down you and your powers of imagination.

Published in Europe Through a Lens

 Olympic Cauldron Relit for Sochi Winter Games 2014 Feb 21st 12690365295The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi earlier this year unexpectedly helped fire public debate in the Russian Federation

What impact do major sporting events have on local people? Do mainstream Western media only scratch the surface when it comes to popular opinion in the former USSR? Edgar Gerrard Hughes takes a look at a project that sought to discover exactly that.

Every so often, in the midst of a European television report about sporting events in one of the successor states to the Soviet Union, a local citizen will appear on screen for a few seconds and angrily denounce Western arrogance. They are presented as the voice of the nation, and the (intended?) response of many viewers is dismissive: these are not original or authentic opinions, but rather the regurgitation of official propaganda. We all know that media freedom in Russia leaves much to be desired, so when we see a vox pop from the streets of Sochi, it is easy to assume that the speaker is simply parroting their government’s self-interested agenda.

A response like that is, of course, at best lazy and simplistic. But how can we get a more rounded sense of the domestic impact of events like the Winter Olympics when these brief news cameos are our most readily available source of popular opinion? Five participants from Berlin’s prestigious Studienkolleg programme (incidently also the birthplace of E&M), which gives young people a chance to explore Europe on their own intellectual terms, set out to provide a better answer to this question. An answer based on the experiences of people actually living in the countries in question.

Published in E&M Reports
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