SOAS University of London

Online Academic Summer School

Media Skills Lectures and Workshops

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Guest Lecture and Workshop Series


"Philosophers have only interpreted the world... The point is to change it"  (Karl Marx)

From the lost boys to the Proud Boys, storytelling is at the heart of politics. Whoever controls the narrative, controls the people. The same processes that created Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, go into encouraging us to eat Frankenfoods and receive Frankenvaccines. Most of us face the world through the pages of a book owned and edited in Silicon Valley; inventing ourselves tweet by tweet: the bluebird of happiness has become the new opium of the people.

As American-style democracy faces its greatest challenge, competing stories are driving a wedge into the national consciousness of western nations. World War Three is being fought right now - not with bullets and bombs, but with adverbs and adjectives; from far-flung troll factories and myth manufactories direct to your iPhone, 24/7.

The battle of stories is the big issue of the 21st century: Was the US election stolen, is sexual abuse history or hers, and if it wasn’t Bob Marley: who did shoot the sheriff?

This year’s Academic Summer School Guest lectures and Skills Workshops programme focuses on how you can shape the world we live in by learning to understand and, more importantly, control the stories that surround us.

Alongside workshops based on SOAS’ highly successful MA programme in Diplomacy, we will be featuring expert panel discussions and guest lectures from people who have been there, done that and are happy to wear the t-shirt (maybe they’ll even let you try it on). Speaker details to be announced soon.

The aim is to give you real, practical skills you can use immediately. Alumni have gone on to write speeches for the UN Secretary General, launch companies with 7 figure turnovers, and fly the world giving TED talks on entrepreneurship. As well as run anti-FGM programmes for charities in the Middle East, campaign for human rights and fight AIDS in Africa. At least, that’s our story.

With a better takeaways than MacDonalds, our menu includes:

  • Speed-speechwriting: sound like Obama in just 45 minutes
  • public speaking and presentations (with all the impact of James Bond)
  • propa- and improperganda: how to do them, and how to tell the difference
  • used car salesmanship: what is a job interview if not a sales pitch

By the end of the course you will be able to run for office, bring down elected governments, win on Tinder, get your dream job, edit a newspaper, give a TED talk and generally change the world for the better. All before breakfast.

Our tutorial team are practitioners, BBC and Fleet Street Editors, Actors, Voice & Body Coaches political strategists and propaganda experts. Light on theory, this is not a programme for armchair revolutionaries or spectators: to quote the goddess of victory: Just Do It.