EPP: Remixing Human Rights: Rethinking civic expression, safety, privacy and consent in online and mobile video


Education on human rights abuses is an important form of online learning that can not only save lives but also promote civic education, participatory culture, and civil society in first-world democracies. Knowledge about life in repressive situations is also useful for understanding and making relevant classroom subject matter in critical thinking domains such as geography, history, politics, religion, and law.

People who document and disseminate information about human rights violations must become more effective learners as well. In order to get their messages out they must master reaching and persuading audiences and must learn about new technologies, new media, authentication, anonymity, and distributed networks.

As co-creators, these two groups might seem to be very different kinds of learners from young people in K-12 classrooms or in after-school centers, but there are a number of ways that knowledge transfer about human rights violations is applicable to students and teachers in many different situations with digital media and learning.

Based on the experience of the human rights organization WITNESS and others in the field of video activism, this interactive workshop will explore practical approaches for understanding how issues of privacy, safety, security, dignity and consent, as well as practical questions of effective expression of civic activism, can be further embedded in youth engagement with increasingly ubiquitous human rights video.

Human rights culture is concerned for the dignity and integrity of victims and survivors, ethical witnessing and the preservation of the intentionality of the original creators of material as well as the original indexical value of the material as documentation of human rights crises. Recognizing the radical potential of youth participation in video activism the workshop will focus on how we balance differing ethical responsibilities to victim, survivor and the original intention with the potential of remix and aggregational approaches to speak to the personalization and creativity that generate activism in a younger digitally-literate generation, and produce creative, effective and individualized advocacy videos.

The workshop will be structured around video examples used as foci for discussion on questions outlined above – including remix videos on police brutality, online participatory projects on YouTube, art videos incorporating human rights content, and video work from/about sites of mass atrocity, as well as tools of aggregation such as video walls and mapping approaches. We will emphasize on practical solutions, including approaches based in licensing approaches that focus on intentionality and context, as well as media literacy approaches, and appropriate tools.