International consortium “Communication for social change”

A unique multilingual, multidisciplinary and multicultural consortium

The consortium on which is based the organisation of the 2020 conference is constituted of teachers and researchers attached to research centers belonging to: – Université Toulouse Capitole (France), – Université Toulouse 2 Jean Jaurès (France), – Université Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier (France), – Università degli Studi di Firenze (Italy), – Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain), – Universidad de Valladolid (Spain) – Florida International University (United States), – Florida State University (United States), – Fashion Institute of Technology- SUNY  ((United States), – Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina), and – Universidad Nacional de Rosario (Argentina). This alliance will creates a triangle of strategic scientific cooperation (South America, North America and Europe) that is multilingual (in French, Spanish, and English), multidisciplinary (Information and Communication, Law and Psychology) and multicultural.

An international and interdisciplinary consortium

The international consortium is called “Communication for social change”. The idea for its creation was launched in 2018 by Nicolás Tilli (UT Capitole) in collaboration with Maria Elena Villar (FIU) and Susana Frutos (UNR), all teachers-researchers in information-communication. This initiative favored university collaboration between the Université Toulouse Capitole, Florida International University and the Universidad Nacional de Rosario, and scientific activities designed around the intersection of basic research, applied research, experimental research and clinical research. Consequently, each teacher-researcher created a team made up initially of fellow teachers-researchers in information-communication and in a second time of juristsand psychologists. Thus over time Ms. Villar (FIU), Mr. Tilli (UT Capitole), Ms. Sonia Harrati (UT2J), Mr. David Vavassori (UT2J), Ms. Susana Frutos (UNR) and Ms. Ianina Lois (UBA), have carried out and developed collaborative work, a unique multidisciplinary and enriching experience of multicultural learning.

We are working to develop an intercultural and intersectoral understanding:  – of the subject (university staff and students), – of communication, – of mental health prevention and promotion, – of social inclusion, – for the promotion and respect of rights, – for the fight against discrimination and stigmatization, and F for the deconstruction of social representations.

These aspects are brought together in the thematic “Mental health on university campuses” which is emerging and which reflects multifactorial, multidimensional and plurisectoral problems. This particular genesis requires an innovative approach in order to understand its complexity.

The consortium’s objective is precisely to offer opportunities for dialogue between different actors, by promoting learning through feedback through the possibilities offered by collaborative work, and producing interdisciplinary and operational results. In this sense, this international working group is trying to set up an innovative reflection in order to offer an efficient and culturally appropriate response, based on interdisciplinary and intersectoral support.

The topic “Mental health on university campuses” is topical and one of the priorities in terms of access and academic success for students, in terms of preventing psychosocial risks in the public service for students and administrative and teaching staff, and in terms of inclusion of people with autism in university.

Working dynamics

Organizing these scientific meetings brings together a diversity of participants from different backgrounds in order to have a rich and cross-reflection on a complex topic such as “Mental health on university campuses”. These scientific events, multidisciplinary in nature, offer a wide range of sub-themes and working angles. They include work on specific questions as well as general theoretical approaches in research and evaluation, while developing practical models applicable to our concerns.

The organization of symposia and seminars is therefore part of an annual cycle logic entitled “Mental health on university campuses”, which will be organized, initially and alternatively in Toulouse, Miami, and Buenos Aires. Ultimately, we want to outsource the symposium to other partner universities in other countries (Spain, Italy, etc.), with the intention of creating an inclusive, participatory and rotating scientific event. One of the pillars of this work is the comparative approach.

Although the central theme proposed is “Mental health on university campuses”, the dynamic aspect implies a different variation per year and per event. This is how, in 2020, the colloquium in Toulouse will focus on: “the challenge of discrimination” and that in 2019 it focused on “current problems, situations and challenges”.

In 2021, the declination of the Colloquium in Buenos Aires will be different from past declensions. In this context, the organization of scientific events will be directly linked to the research activities carried out in parallel by the consortium (project: Mental health on university campuses), since there is a logic of feedback: – The scientific event makes it possible to organize: seminars (the case of FIU 2019) and colloquia (Toulouse 2020, Buenos Aires 2021), – At the same time, allows to set up: research projects whose results will be presented at the following event, – And finally, lets revive: the dynamics of working groups on new projects. In this way, from this dynamic arise: – The setting up of research projects, – The organization of further scientific events (open to the university, scientific, professional public and private sector, and the general public), – The establishment of inter-university collaborations (student mobility, teacher, joint supervision of PhDs, double degrees, etc.), and – The production of interdisciplinary, operational and intersectoral results.

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