Member Spotlight: Sumi Dey

Sumi Dey is the Office Coordinator at the National Association for Media Literacy Education and Lead Designer for Emerson College’s Mapping Impactful Media Literacy Project.

What do you do?

I am a socially-engaged artist and designer who is dedicated to empowering underserved communities through design thinking and inclusive civic engagement practices. My personal work focuses on creating inclusive spaces and programming for BIPOC artists and collaborating with grassroots movements and organizations to amplify their messaging through engaging design. As the Office Coordinator for NAMLE, I’ll be overseeing all of our administrative duties, financial operations, and human resources needs. Basically, I’ll be working hard to ensure that our organization is running smoothly and efficiently! I’ve also been utilizing my design and marketing backgrounds to assist with the development of NAMLE’s 2021 Conference on social justice and media literacy.

Tell us about your latest work or project in media literacy.

I’ve been working as the Lead Designer for the Mapping Impactful Media Literacy Project since June 2020. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to design the branding and website for a project that is dedicated to defining and amplifying equitable and inclusive media literacy practices. Currently, I’m working on designing an interactive toolkit to help practitioners, teachers, and community leaders assess the impact of their media literacy practice.

Why is media literacy important to you?

My interest in media literacy emerged while I working as the Social Media Manager for See Thru, a startup that created the first ingredient intelligence platform for beauty and wellness brands. My work revolved around developing educational content to increase consumer awareness about predatory marketing practices and teaching our audience about the dangers of chemophobia (fear of chemicals). I became cognizant of the beauty industry’s power to manipulate and capitalize on vulnerable consumers who may not have the time and/or privilege to comb through dense research studies or obtain a degree in chemistry. This motivated me to learn more about media literacy education and ethical media practices and how they can be used to counter hegemonic narratives perpetuated by the media and advertising we consume on a daily basis.

What are you most excited about in the media literacy field?

I am excited to see the contributions being made by emerging scholars and practitioners of color, as well as organizations who are committed to teaching and co-creating equitable and inclusive media literacy practices to and with marginalized communities. Some amazing organizations I’ve been following are the Global Action Project, ZUMIX, and Welcome 2 Reality (one of our new organizational partners!).

Tell us a fun fact about you!

Like most folks who are on the Millennial/Gen-Z cusp, I’m really into astrology! Growing up in a traditional Hindu family, astrology has had a strong influence in my life since I was very young. I have vivid memories of my mother and grandmother consulting their annual copy of panjika, the Hindu astrological almanac, to determine the best dates for travel, event planning, festivals, and even weddings. In my spare time, I help manage the Eleventh House, a membership community for astrology lovers created by The Strology.

The views and opinions expressed in the M-Passioned Member blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of the M-Passioned Member blog is to highlight our members and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.