“Skillful Digital Activism: Designing Strategies for Transformative Social Change”
This presentation explores the conceptual frameworks and practical strategies employed in social change campaigns that have utilized digital media as a crucial component of their organizing tool kit. Moving beyond the hazards of superficial social media engagement, or the justly maligned “clicktivism,” to transformative and long term impact, I examine a range of case studies that have worked to develop a “horizontal,” rather than top down, rich media ecology, which networks diverse groups, fosters community, and promotes real change. Whether using virtual reality, interactive documentaries, or DIY tools, projects such as Half the Sky, Lunch Love Community, Food Inc, Triangle Fire Archive, Through the Lens Darkly/Digital Diaspora, VozMob, and #BlackLivesMatter are all pioneering digital tools and strategies in the struggle for social justice. While their philosophies and strategies might be different each campaign mark a shift from a broadcast to a participant focused model where advocacy and engagement are connected. This work was presented at Dublin City University on November 10, 2015 and also an earlier version of this was at the Performance, Protest, and Politics Conference at University College Cork in August 2015. These presentations with part of my Fulbright Research award for 2015-2016.
Helen DeMichiel and Patricia Zimmerman, “Documentary as Open Space,” in Brian Winston’s The Documentary Film Book (Palgrave McMillan, 2013)
Sasha Constanza-Chock, Out of the Shadows and Into the Streets: Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement (MIT Press, 2014)
Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green, Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in Networked Culture (NYU Press, 2013)
Deborah Willis (ed.), Picturing Us: African American Identity in Photography (The New Press, 1996).