24 October, Media and change discussion series: Professionalized Witnessing and Human Rights Video Activism

Sandra Ristovska

This Thursday, the CMCS will host the second session of our Fall 2013 Media and Change Discussion Series with a presentation of our new Visiting Researcher, Sandra Ristovska.

The CMCS Media and Change lunch series aims at creating a space for reflection and informal discussion about media policies, perils, potentials, and practices. We view this as an opportunity for networking with CEU faculty, students, staff and researchers interested in the media, communication and technological transformations taking hold. 

Professionalized Witnessing and Human Rights Video Activism

Presentation by Sandra Ristovska, CMCS Visiting Researcher

Date: Thursday October 24, 12.45 PM
Location: CEU, TIGY Room (Nador 11 Courtyard)

Sandra's talk will examine the ways in which the proliferating practice of institutional human rights video activism changes the role of witnessing in contemporary culture. She will argue that there is a shift from witnessing to witnessing for, or, a turn from witnessing as constitutive of the (traumatic) world to witnessing as socially embedded tool for change. In her presentation, she will first provide a brief historical overview of the centrality of the visual aspects of witnessing to the origin and advancement of human rights. Then, she will focus on the work of the non-profit organization WITNESS, to show the current professionalization of witnessing as a form of social activism.

Sandra Ristovska is a documentary filmmaker and a doctoral student at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. Her research explores the role of video in public discourse and policy deliberations with a particular focus on human rights video advocacy. She is a recipient of the Top Paper Award from the International Communication Association (ICA) and the Herbert Schiller Prize from the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). She has written for the World Policy Institute Blog, Public Books, American Journal of Sociology, and has a forthcoming article in the journal The Communication Review. She is a co-chair of the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) of IAMCR.