Events from the Centre in 2015


The Visual Politics of the Human: images in humanitarian and human rights communication

Lilie Chouliaraki, , LSE and Kate Nash, , Goldsmiths, invite you to a Symposium on ‘The visual politics of the human: Images in humanitarian and human rights communication’. 

The symposium will take place on Friday December 4th, 10.00 - 17.15 in the Vera Anstey Suite, LSE

Everyone is very welcome, even for part of the symposium if you cannot make the whole day, and it is free. If you plan to come please register your interest via our Eventbrite page.

Event programme: The Visual Politics Of The Human (Word doc download)

The aim of the Symposium is to raise discussion of the problematic of the human and images of the suffering body in two key contexts: humanitarianism and human rights. Whether in mainstream news reports, in materials produced by NGOs, or in photographs and film footage that ‘bear witness’ produced by journalists, human rights monitors or people who happen to be on the spot, images linked to humanitarian and human rights claims are increasingly central in public life.

We explore these claims through three panel discussions, each addressing a specific proposal to public action: memorialisation, with its concomitant demand to remember; mobilization, making the demand to protest; and testimonialization, making the demand to narrate so as to invite judgment. What difference does digitalisation make to how we remember, mourn, narrate and act upon human suffering in public? And how can we understand the ethics and politics of witnessing the suffering human in the digital era?

Speakers and titles

Susie Linfield, NYU – Perpetrator Images of Atrocity and Suffering: Then and Now

Michael Orwicz and Robin Greeley, Connecticut – The Aesthetics of the Human and the Question of the Perpetrator in Symbolic Reparations
Vikki Bell, Goldsmiths – Curating the Future of the Violent Past: Inscription, Imagination, Anticipation

Pierluigi Musaró, Bologna/LSE – With or Without Borders? Reformist and Radical Contestations of Fortress Europe

Fuyuki Kurasawa – York, Canada – The Making of Mobilizing Virality: On Kony 2012 as a Cautionary Tale

Leshu Torchin, St Andrews – Applicants and Engagements: Mobilizing Digital Humanity

Lilie Chouliaraki, LSE – Hierarchies of Humanity in Digital Testimonies from Conflict Zones

Ella McPherson, Cambridge – Making Sense of Digital Human Rights Images: Humans as Machines, Machines as Humans

Claire Moon, LSE – ‘The bones started telling their stories’: Forensic Humanitarianism and the Art of Making the Dead Speak.

Simon Cottle, Cardiff – Picturing the ‘Human’ in Atrocity Across the Ages – and Why it Matters Today

Social Media, Activism and Organisations Symposium

Social media (from mainstream platforms such as Twitter to organization-specific tools) have become increasingly pervasive. This is exemplified by the diversity of uses ranging from Twitter and Facebook use during the Arab spring to the use of Snapchat by highly surveilled activist groups. Many social movements have increasingly seen social media as a means to collaboratively crowdsource, to network and communicate with diverse stakeholders.

In large organizations, social media is often supported because the technology can help foster the sense of a “digital village”, where individuals are able to “see” the lives of others within their organization and feel closer to them. However, the literature on social movements and social media has not fully grasped just how much social media has fundamentally changed the landscape of organizational communication, ranging from stakeholders being able to directly mobilize resources to making grassroots transnational social movements more organizationally feasible. Social Media, Activism, and Organisations (#SMAO15) seeks to better our understandings of how social media has shaped social movement organizations and the organization of social movements.

The Social Media, Activism, and Organisations symposium will be held in London, England on November 6, 2015 at Goldsmiths, University of London. The symposium is sponsored by The Sociological Review, , and the .


  • Organisational communication and social media
  • Democratizing organisational structures via social media
  • Gender, social media, activism, and organisations
  • Activist knowledge aggregation techniques
  • Enterprise applications and social activism
  • Collaboration, social media, and activism
  • Virtual teams, social media and activism
  • Activist networks and organizational communication
  • Social media and organizational leadership
  • Communicating organizational messages via social media
  • Social media and advocacy organizations
  • Inter-movement organizational communication and social media
  • Visual social media and organisations
  • Implications of anonymous social media

We welcome both theoretical and empirical papers and the symposium seeks to showcase a variety of case studies to advance our understandings of how social media has shaped social movement organizations and the organization of social movements.

View the full programme on the Social Media, Activism, and Organisations website.

Human Rights Film Festival

Goldsmiths Media and Communications Media Forum in Association with the Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy

Human Rights Film Festival, 8 October 2015 - 3 December 2015

Lecture Theatre LG01 6-8pm
Professor Stuart Hall Building

Thursday 8 October 6-8pm

The Look of Silence 
and Skype Q&A with Director Joshua Oppenheimer

In the companion film to Oppenheimer’s extraordinary Act of Killing about the perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered, and confronts the men responsible - something unimaginable in a country where killers remain in power.

“Profound, visionary, stunning” - Werner Herzog

“One of the greatest and most powerful documentaries ever made. A profound comment on the human condition” - Errol Morris

Thursday 12 November 6-8pm

We Are Many
and Q&A with Director Amir Amirani

We Are Many is the story of the biggest protest in history, and how it changed the world. On February 15th, 2003, over 15 million people marched through the streets of 800 cities around the world to try to avert the war against Iraq.

“The only film I have ever watched where the audience started clapping halfway through...” - Huffington Post

Thursday 19 November 6-8pm

She's Beautiful When She's Angry
and Skype Q&A with Director Mary Dore

She's Beautiful When She's Angry resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971. It does not shy away from controversies over race, sexual preference and leadership that arose in the women’s movement, and brilliantly captures the spirit of the time -- thrilling, scandalous, and often hilarious.

Thursday 3 December 6-8pm

A Syrian Love Story
and Q&A with Director Sean McAllister

When McAllister first meets the family in 2009, mum Raghda is back in prison leaving Amer to look after their 4 boys alone; but as the ‘Arab Spring’ sweeps the region, the family’s fate shifts irrevocably. Filmed over 5 years, the film charts their incredible odyssey to political freedom. A journey of hope, dreams and despair: for the revolution, their homeland and each other. Act of Killing


WINNER - Sheffield Docfest 2015 Grand Jury Prize

Paradoxes of Capitalism and Human Rights

October 9th 2015
10.30am – 6.00pm
Senate Room, Senate House

How to address exploitation, injustice and violence? There is a growing body of international law and a range of mobilisations that make use of human rights to address globalizing capitalism. However, putting human rights into practice gives rise to unavoidable paradoxes. States are essential to the protection of human rights in practice, but they also prioritise ‘national interests’ and they are in competition with each other for comparative advantage in their national economies. Movements and organisations take up injustices in order to give people greater control over their own lives, but inevitably they must engage with global governance; demands are made against elites, but they are also made through elites, often drawing on technical language that makes details of policy and law unintelligible to non-professionals. The value of human rights is that they set universal standards; but human rights must be, and are being, adapted to be appropriate to particular contexts: there is a proliferation of competing definitions of human rights. The aim of this conference is to address these paradoxes, and to explore the concepts and methodologies that enable us to understand them as they evolve and change as a result of concrete engagement with issues of human rights and capitalism.


Craig Calhoun, LSE
Rhoda Howard Hassmann, Wilfred Laurier
Naila Kabeer, LSE
David Kinley, Sydney and Sciences Po
Kate Nash, Goldsmiths
Gay Seidman, Wisconsin-Madison
Ronen Shamir, Tel Aviv

The conference will be followed by a reception and book launch (in the Jessell Room, Senate House): Kate Nash The Political Sociology of Human Rights, CUP

Event programme: Paradoxes of Capitalism and Human Rights (Word doc download)

Reserve your space via our Eventbrite page 

Organised jointly by the , Goldsmiths University of London, and Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Liberalism in Neo-Liberal Time

Des FreedmanGholam KhiabanyKate Nash and Julian Petley have curated strands in the 'Liberalism in Neo-Liberal Times' organised through the Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy, which appears in the webjournal Open Democracy.

Media justice and food justice: A tale of two struggles

23 April 5-7pm in the Professor Stuart Hall Building, 302

The political-economic parallels and intersections of the media and food industries are vital and remarkable. Large-scale food producers depend on media and telecommunication industries to promote their goods and maintain their supply chains, and media industries depend on ‘big food’ as a vital source of advertising revenue. Through various forms of influence, both industries shape, limit and control public knowledge about health, safety and risk associated with what we eat. Emphasizing discourses on media localism and food localism, this colloquium will highlight the limits and promises of struggles over what we eat and how we communicate about food.

Andrew Calabrese is Professor of Media Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. From 2008 through 2014, he held several leadership positions related to the development of a new College of Media, Communication and Information, including four years as Associate Dean. His research emphasizes the relevance of critical social and political theory in explaining issues of media and citizenship, media policy, and uses of media for social justice activism. His publications focus on the role of media in concepts of civil society and the public sphere; media reform, communication rights and social justice; and violence and nonviolence in political communication. His recent research is about the relationship between media and food politics and activism, and related theoretical and practical issues about public knowledge, welfare, safety and risk.