Comdev Gradute selected to present at an upcoming conference in Durban, South Africa.

by Jake Hunter on April 19, 2012

in Uncategorized

Comdev gradute Christine Nesbitt has been selected to present her work at an upcoming conference in Durban, South Africa. Much of her concept came from the work she did while writing her Master thesis to complete the Comdev program. The IAMCR 2012 conference  is in the middle of July this year. You can read more about her work in the following abstract.

Documentary Photography as a Tool of Social Change: Exploring the middle ground:

Within a constructivist view, social realities are continually constructed and re-constructed through social practices and communication. Many scholars place the visual at the forefront of cultural construction of social life. Within this framework the paper explores how different positionings as an author, and different visual representations of people living and dying with HIV/AIDS influences meaning-making, and what that means for documentary photography as a tool of social change. Documentary photography for social change is a term that can be used to cross the divides between the disciplines that practice development communication in some way or form, allowing practitioners to find a shared space to work towards their outcomes.

My methodological tool box uses semiotics and discourse analysis, centred on how meaning is constructed and considers the politics of representation. My research design draws primarily on Gillian Rose’s model of researching visual methods; an overarching methodological framework to analyse visual culture, visualities and visual objects. The texts are drawn from a body of work focusing on HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa produced by influential South African photographer Gideon Mendel.

Through my analysis of the texts, it can be seen that reflexivity at the site of production and the use of contextual storytelling tools can lead to alternate representations working to counter the more stereotypical representation of AIDS. My analysis shows that through the reflexive, careful and considered practice of documentary photography it is possible to produce meanings creating social change at a discursive level. Furthermore, when documentary photography includes aspects of participation and self-representation, a space between the polarities of traditional photojournalism and participatory photography is opened up. This space broadens the reach of practice for documentary photographers working for social change as well as possibilities of further research in this little explored middle ground.”
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And here is a link to my ComDev thesis from which the paper is drawn:
http://dspace.mah.se/handle/2043/12356

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