Shiva Manavipour

"Knowledge is power! The possibilities of the change I can make in the world with the knowledge I gain and the opportunity to learn and grow as a person and prospective scholar."

Degree/Program: Individual Program, MA

I am an MA student in the Individual Program in the Faculty of Education and my research is in critical media literacy, and representations of Islam. I discovered my interest in critical media literacy in the last year of my undergraduate degree here at SFU, after completing Education 438: Education and Popular Culture with Özlem Sensoy. In the class, I learned about the media’s role in socializing and shaping our identities. I had the opportunity to explore new ways of learning by producing short films exploring the media’s role in perpetuating idealized and stereotypical representations of gender and race, which essentially sparked by unquenchable thirst for learning about critical media literacy. Critical media literacy has since become my passion, and an empowering tool I’ve used to explore my experiences growing up Muslim in Canada.  I am currently the program assistant with the Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures at SFU as well as the research assistant on the Middle East Studies Outreach Centre project. I am also the program assistant with SFU Philosophers’ Café.

Who is a faculty member you have enjoyed working with and why?

Without a doubt, I have to say Özlem Sensoy! She has been influential in the pursuit of my MA, and in discovering my passion for critical media literacy and social justice. She encouraged and supported me to pursue my MA and continually inspires me with the great work she does in her own research.  She introduced me to critical media literacy and created a space for me to discover my voice. She supported the production of my short documentary, which I produced without prior film making experience. I use critical media literacy to explore and make sense of my experiences growing up as a previously veiled Muslim girl in Canada. With her support and encouragement, I have since shared my film and experiences with educators and students at various conferences in advocating for the development of critical media literacy and social justice education in schools.

What inspires you to learn and continue your education?

Knowledge is power! The possibilities of the change I can make in the world with the knowledge I gain and the opportunity to learn and grow as a person and prospective scholar.  I want to continue my education and pursue a PhD and produce meaningful research that is relatable and accessible to all. I want to use my experiences, knowledge and power to advocate for the development of critical media literacy and social justice education in schools, to combat the reproduction of the perpetuating and damaging tropes of the perceptions of race in media and popular culture.

Is there anything else you wish to share?

I encourage all university students to get involved in their university community, volunteer, take risks and explore until you discover your passion. Ask questions—lots and lots of questions—and make connections with your professors as they are a great asset to your learning. Be persistent in pursing what you want, persistence does pay off! Some of my best experiences and memories are from my involvement in the SFU community as a peer educator and education representative for the SFSS and ESA.