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Exhibition Exploring Online Misinformation Set To Tour NZ

Tohatoha and InternetNZ to bring ‘The Glass Room’ to Kiwi schools and libraries

A globally successful public exhibition that explores how social media and the Internet have changed the way we interact with information online is set to visit New Zealand for the first time, with support from non-profit groups Tohatoha and InternetNZ.

Called The Glass Room: Misinformation Edition, the exhibition is developed by Tactical Tech, an international NGO that “engages with citizens and civil-society organisations to explore and mitigate the impacts of technology on society.”

Consisting of display boards, interactive apps and animations hosted in public or private community spaces, the exhibit tackles questions like: ‘How do we know if a picture, tweet or video is genuine or truthful? And what can we do if we can’t be sure?’

Since 2016, The Glass Room has run award-winning exhibitions in Berlin, London, New York and San Francisco, as well as a portable edition of the exhibition which has been hosted in 40 countries worldwide and seen by over 120,000 people.

The Misinformation Edition, released this year, is now scheduled to appear in schools and public libraries across New Zealand in two-week periods over the next six months, with accompanying workshops for teachers and librarians.

Tohatoha CEO Mandy Henk says the touring exhibit is the first project in its new programme focusing on preventing the spread of online disinformation and misinformation in New Zealand.

“Misinformation can spread so quickly via social media networks these days that it can be hard to spot the difference between real and fake news,” says Henk.

“This exhibit will support our aim to seed knowledge and understanding of online misinformation throughout New Zealand communities, so that a wider range of people can recognise the early signs of radicalisation - and ultimately offer de-escalation pathways through community engagement.”

Henk says the long-term plan is to work in association with InternetNZ and Tactical Tech on offering the exhibition in multiple languages, as well as developing a version for young teen students.

InternetNZ has provided $50,000 in direct funding to support the initiative. Jordan Carter, InternetNZ’S Chief Executive, says community education is a vital part of tackling misinformation.

“This exhibit is a brilliant way to bring a proven approach to that to New Zealand. I am happy we can help fund this pilot, but to bring community education to the level the country needs will need significant investment – including from government,” says Carter.

To support the touring exhibition, Tohatoha will offer training for librarians and teachers on delivering a New Zealand compatible version of the Tactical Tech workshops on data and misinformation.

Clare Forrest, a representative of the School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (SLANZA) said her organisation is excited to be collaborating with Tohatoha on the Glass Room education project.

“School librarians are a group of professionals ideally positioned in schools to implement this vitally essential programme, so that our students can be more media literate and critical consumers of online information. We will be working hard with Tohatoha to provide this for as many schools as possible.”

Following an initial successful installation at Rangitoto School Library in October, the exhibition is now set to appear in coming weeks at Howick Intermediate (2-13 November), Macleans College (13-24 November) and Sacred Heart (25 November – 4 December).

For a full schedule of The Glass Room exhibition’s New Zealand appearances over the coming months, see Tohatoha’s events calendar at https://www.tohatoha.org.nz/events/.

For more information about Tohatoha’s new Strategic Direction and its wider work in New Zealand, visit http://tohatoha.nz

To find out more about The Glass Room: Misinformation Edition, see: https://theglassroom.org/misinformation/

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