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BRAINPLAY: HOW IS POLITICAL PROTEST CHANGING IN THE FACE OF CURRENT EVENTS?

22nd November 2016 (7pm)

“Any large social movement is shaped by the technology available to it and tailors its goals, tactics, and rhetoric to the media of its time.” – Bijan Stephen

Hosts For The Evening

Dr Shireen Walton (University College London)
Dr Red Chidgey (King’s College London)
Iris Andrews (Purpose)

Introduction

We have a bumpy period ahead of us as right winged movements continue to rise all over the world. It seems that we are politically digressing to the 1960’s, a time where protests paved the foundations to the rights we bask in and which are currently under threat.

While in the 1960s it took a whole lot of infrastructure to let everyone know what was going on, “if you’re a civil rights activist in 2015 and you need to get some news out, your first move is to choose a platform. If you want to post a video of a protest or a violent arrest, you put it up on Vine, Instagram, or Periscope. If you want to avoid trolls or snooping authorities and you need to coordinate some kind of action, you might chat privately with other activists on GroupMe. If you want to rapidly mobilise a bunch of people you know and you don’t want the whole world clued in, you use SMS or WhatsApp. If you want to mobilise a lot of people you might not know and you do want the whole world to talk about it: Twitter.”

Take BlackLivesMatter – what started as a hashtag following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, has now become one of the most prominent movements of our times. Thanks to the rapid technological advancements, institutions are no longer needed to back campaigns, instead, coordination can occur in real-time and quickly respond to any narratives brought about by the media, police or anyone else.

Join us for this open roundtable discussion as we cover communication for movements, and how technology is changing this – for better and worse. All guests are equal to the conversation, contributing as much or as little to the topic. There is no question to answer, it’s too broad a topic and it’s something that still needs more questioning and refining before answers are jumped at, we hope you join us thought-provoking discussion.

 

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