Saturday, June 29, 2024

IASH “Visualizing climate change activism” Work-in-progress questions

It was great to deliver an IASH Work-in-Progress presentation of my “Visualizing climate change activism” research project. I’ve been in IASH Edinburgh for about 3.5 weeks and was surprised and grateful to find my work to date filled out 4,400 words. (The photo of a screen shot by my mentor, Dr Chow, of me explaining the origins of the project, with IASH folk listening.)

I began with a Northern hemisphere theorisation of digital activism by Neumayer and Svensson (2014), which I then brought into dialogue with initial findings from my research of the visual online presence of two different climate activist organisations. By starting with indigenous grassroots climate justice online organisations, I am seeking to listen to different ways of being and acting.

Participants asked a range of excellent questions, some from those in the room, others online through chat. I try to take handwritten notes of the questions I get asked after a presentation. Taking notes gives me time to think about how to respond. It also means I can sit more thoroughly and more thoughtfully with the questions at at later date.

Here are my notes of the 8 questions I was asked:

  1. Does the “visual grammar” of grassroots organisation form a coherent identity? Is there a “brand” the organisation are curating? Are there training and guidelines about what is posted
  2. The images I showed were hopeful and called people to action. Images can also speak of doom. There are doom images in some parts of Christianity, focused on the world burning and as a good thing. Are doom images being used and what theologies might they portray?
  3. Are there climate action images from indigenous groups in historic that could be a resource for the research?
  4. A connection – recall seeing an art piece that uses indigenous ways of making to depict a contemporary climate crisis, that of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. So is this another way in which indigenous knowledge in activism is at work?
  5. Your presentation focused on social media images. Does pressing like result in a person thinking they have done their bit, and thus lead to decline in activism?
  6. The research project might have a contradicting set of assumptions. The local is valued, yet the local might not want to share their knowledge. An Indian poet wrote a poem called “ I am not your data.” Participants might want to exert their data sovereignty and not share their knowledge.
  7. Can these activist theologies in my presentation be connected with existing Pacific theologies eg Havea’s coconut theology?
  8. What is the nature of the practice of the image makers? How does their practice develop over time, as they take and upload? Are the image makers individuals or are they part of a collective? How are they being formed by their practice? How are the image makers being influenced by memes that are circulating at that time? How could research explore the practice of image making among indigenous content makers?

As you can see, a range of excellent questions, which are really helpful me as I continue to write, think and research. I have 3 more weeks in Edinburgh! Looking forward to seeing what emerges as I continue in the interdisciplinary and delightful space that IASH is proving to be.

Posted by steve at 03:41 AM

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