Join New Tactics for a podcast conversation on the potential of podcasting in human rights activism and the power of narrative storytelling. Hosted by Gianna Brassil.
LGBTQI rights are fought for with a spectrum of tactics. In some states, gay citizens and allies march in pride parades and mark themselves with rainbows; in others, activists work in secrecy to protect their safety. Homophobia takes many forms and stems from a multitude of sources, each one different from the next. LGBTQI rights are human rights and must be upheld accordingly, but this lack of uniformity leads to distinct challenges in advocating for these rights on a global scale. Today, activists around the world confront a multitude of bigotry as they fight for the universal protection of queer individuals. In this conversation, participants discussed challenges and strategies for promoting LGBTQI rights through local and international actions across a range of situations.
Protest art has been practiced throughout history, especially serving the anti-war movement in the mid-20th century. Today, art has become a powerful and international language to speak against all forms of human rights violations, along with other activism. For example, during the Arab Spring, the arts were used to make anti-authoritarian statements. The photographer and graphic designer, Nermine Hammam, captures the fundamental frailty of rule by force in the global community in her exhibition Cairo Year One by combining the realities of the conflict with a surreal and idealistic background. Tunisian folk-rock singer Emel Mathlouthi and rapper El General used music to rail against the state brutality and the suffering of Egypt’s youth and working class, which attracted considerable attention from protestors and transformed into a powerful protest song. The protest art of the Arab Spring has since joined a broader dialogue between protest art of the past and present, in mediums as diverse as books, film, performance art, and multimedia.
Data visualizations can be an incredible resource for human rights defenders, but understanding what data to use, as well as when and how to use data can be an overwhelming and daunting task. As of 2014, IBM found that each day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created; that is a lot of information to sort and share. A simple online search will yield many statistics stating that humans understand and absorb information faster as visual representation than text-based. Interestingly, a 2010 study by S. Bresciani, et al found that even when accounting for cultural variances “the visual representation of information objectively increases understanding and recall.” In short, taking troves of data that human rights defenders come across in their work, both knowingly and unknowingly, and converting it into visual representations of that data, can be a powerful tool. However, used incorrectly data visualizations can be misleading and, in some instances, harmful or dangerous.
According to Transparency International, a global anti-corruption coalition, sixty-eight percent of the world countries has a serious corruption problem and this includes half of G20. More than six billion people live in countries with serious corruption issues. The Corruption Perceptions Index is a global indicator of public sector corruption, providing an annual level of corruption by ranking countries. The characteristics of the countries which score well are countries with liberal open democracies with an independent judiciary and a free press. At the same time, corruption can be defined from several different perspectives.
Social networking tools have revolutionized the way that social movements and human rights advocates operate. In a world where the public creates the news in real time and information is readily available in a moment’s notice, the process of communication and dissemination has been largely democratized. Individuals can magnify their voice, not only through information consumption and generation, but through active engagement and organizing. For example, activists of the 2014 Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong used a mesh networking tool, traditionally used at music festivals, to communicate.
The use of video as a tool for creating social change is determined by the impact that video can have on individuals. Understanding the intended and unintended consequences, both positive and negative, of the use of video in advocacy efforts is critical to its implementation in successful social change.
In this conversation, discussion leaders and participants evaluated how impact can be created and how individuals and organizations can measure, monitor, and evaluate the impact of their video for change efforts. Conversation leaders explored the stages at which impact can occur (research, training, production, filming, and screening) and discussed how to design appropriate strategies given desired impacts.
Ideas, and how they are expressed, define efforts to move causes forward, create change, and build consensus of opinion. Effectively influencing public opinion is a key component to successful social movements. Tomorrow's world is shaped by those who are most adept at impacting what people think and subsequently how they behave. But how do you influence people's opinions, mindsets, and preconceived notions?
Social psychology is the science of why people make choices and provides insights into how messaging shapes people’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Understanding the science behind influence leads to more effective and lasting change. In this conversation, New Tactics In Human Rights explored the principles of persuasion politics; the development of messaging strategy; how mentality change occurs; and frames and values.
At the local and community level all the way to the highest levels of government, women are often underrepresented in leadership positions, left without a voice in decision-making and ignored as an electorate. Women hold only 22 percent of national parliamentary positions globally. This means that women are underrepresented in all facets of the political process often due to social-cultural barriers, the absence of training and resources for women’s political organizing, standards of living and precarious economic challenges.
How do you eradicate an age-old abusive practice so entrenched it has become woven into a people's identity?
What if the practice serves to assuage powerful, visceral fears? What if the practice also meets some real needs, such as for food, housework and sex?
Pretending for a minute you could even end the practice, how would you then prevent it from raising its ugly head again?
One of the leading promoters of human rights in Africa, Emile Francis Short must also be a master of strategy. In his tactic case study entitled Powerful Persuasion: Combating traditional practices that violate human rights, you can study the 10-year campaign he led in Ghana to free thousands of women and girls from religious enslavement.
It is a riveting story. I am especially grateful to Mr. Short for letting us in on the sophisticated design of his highly successful campaign. Somewhere in there, I got a glimpse of a powerful strategizing tool that could be more widely used. I'll call it the Motivation to Solution Strategy Tool.