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Dr. Bedir's research focuses on global media flows and trying to understand how a media product is created as a cultural outcome of writers in a specific location, how it travels across borders and creates new meaning throughout the process.
Semih Bedir, Ph.D., was born in Istanbul, Turkey. He received his B.A. in film and TV from Bahcesehir University, and his M.F.A. in film and his Ph.D. in mass communication at Ohio University. Along the way, Bedir interned at the Council of Europe's audiovisual department as a film editor, and has written and directed several short films and a feature film, “Departure” (2019). He has also worked as a screenwriter in the television industry in Istanbul.
When did you first fall in love with your field of study? What made you decide to work in academia?
I first fell in love with filmmaking in high school. It just started from an idea to make a short film in the school and we made a very amateur short film. From that moment on, I decided to get an education in filmmaking. Then, I started working as a screenwriter for the television industry in Turkey. My interest towards academia started when I was taking graduate level courses during my M.F.A. I became interested in research methods, thinking about research problems and trying to find out the best ways to understand how to solve those problems. Therefore, I decided to pursue a Ph.D. even though the M.F.A. is a terminal degree so I could learn and develop my skill set in research.
Can you explain the focus of your research?
As a filmmaker and storyteller, I am interested in telling universal human stories specifically focusing on human dilemmas in life and witnessing how people deal with their problems. In research, I am interested in global media flows and trying to understand how a media product is created as a cultural outcome of writers in a specific location, how it travels across borders and creates new meaning throughout the process. My research has two main perspectives, one is focusing on the creators’ process of production and the other is looking at audience perceptions towards foreign media products, specifically television series.
“I am interested in global media flows and trying to understand how a media product is created as a cultural outcome of writers in a specific location, how it travels across borders and creates new meaning throughout the process.”
What attracted you to VCU? What are you most excited about in regards to VCU and Richmond?
As a production person, I am interested in helping my students start their creative journey, but I also want to be in an environment where theory and practice are intertwined. The Robertson School of Media and Culture gives me that opportunity, where I am in a department that has both components—and I am excited to be a part of it.
Can you talk a little about your teaching philosophy? What do you most like about teaching?
As a teacher, I am a believer of process and think that in creative works, students learn a lot from hands-on experiences. Therefore, I try to create a classroom setting where students try a lot of different components of the course topic, they go through several different layers, and I aim to help them to find their own voice. Therefore, I try to push students out of their comfort zone and have them try many different components of production to help them discover their own aim and goals. Furthermore, I also believe a multicultural aspect of any learning experience is crucial, where students have a chance to hear different approaches and perspectives on a topic that they would not hear in their daily life. Diversification of course materials has become an important aspect of my courses.
Can you tell us either a quirky fact about yourself or some of your hobbies?
I actually worked on a television series adaptation where I adapted a Danish television series to Turkey and it was also adapted to the United States. I also made a feature length film as my M.F.A. thesis, which is available on Amazon Prime right now. And I can’t sleep easily without something on the television.