Prof. Kanchan K. Malik, Professor, Department of Communication, University of Hyderabad, visited the School of Communication, University of Hartford (UHart), Connecticut, as part of the Fulbright Outreach Lecturing Fund (OLF) from February 6-10, 2023. She was invited by Prof. Sundeep Muppidi, who is a Professor of Communication in the College of Arts and Sciences at UHart. Prof. Kanchan is at present visiting the University of Texas at Austin as a Fulbright Professor after being awarded the 2022-2023 Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship.

Prof. Kanchan, a Faculty Fellow with UNESCO Chair on Community Media, engaged with different groups of students and spoke to them about community radio, a significant alternative media movement that began two decades ago in various parts of South Asia. Her talks presented how community-driven media initiatives have helped address ‘voice poverty’ among marginalized rural women in India by creating new mediated discourses that amplify their concerns and support their social struggles.

Her interactive session on Monday (February 6, 2023) was titled, ‘Participatory Research: Perspectives and Principles’, in which she elaborated on the stakeholder-centred methodological approaches that seek to engage people as research partners in the process of knowledge production. The talk on ‘Community Media for Empowerment – The Gender Dimension’ scheduled on Tuesday (February 7, 2023)  discussed the case studies of grassroots initiatives that seek to counter the dominant culture of big, commercial media and revive the social change potential through alternative practices.

Besides the two core sessions, the other lectures delivered during the 5-day visit by Prof. Kanchan included: ‘The Community Connection: Radio for the People, by the People’; ‘Communication Beyond Mainstream Media – The Story of Community Radio in India’; ‘The Sound of Empowerment: Women and Community Radio in India’; and ‘Visual Communication: Seeing Is No Longer Believing’.

On Friday, February 10, 2023, Prof. Sundeep Muppidi coordinated for Prof. Kanchan to participate in an interactive workshop, ‘Fostering Student Success Through Belonging: A Teaching And Learning Collaborative’, along with other university faculty colleagues. The gathering organized by the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation (CETI), University of Hartford, focussed on learning and sharing ideas for creating opportunities for student belonging.

The visit also provided an opportunity for Prof. Kanchan to meet Communication colleagues, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Mark Blackwell; Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies, Jim Shattuck; Interim Executive Director of CETI, Julie Sochacki; and Fulbrighter, Katharine A. Owens, among others.