Skip to main content

Analyzing social media images

Lecture and Workshop by Visual Social Media Lab

Debate + Courses and workshops

Friday, 17 February, 18.30 

Lecture «The death of Aylan Kurdi on Twitter»

With Farida Vis

This presentation will focus on the press images framing one of the biggest issues of 2015 - the flight of Syrian refugees to Europe - made highly visible by the photographs of dead three-year old Alan Kurdi, a Syrian refugee whose dead body was photographed on Bodrum beach in Turkey. These images were widely circulated and went viral on Twitter before they were published and widely reported in the mainstream media.

The Visual Social Media Lab published a 75-page rapid response report three months later comprising of 15 short chapters in an effort to try and understand these images from multiple angles. Specifically, how they had spread on Twitter; how people had turned to Google for information; which images were most shared; how these images had shaped public debate leading to the emergence of the ‘refugees welcome’ movement. The report also asked important questions about the ethics of showing these images on social media platforms and how such dead bodies are seen and counted within official statistics. 


Saturday, 18th February, 10.00 - 14.00 /  13.30 - 19.30 

Workshop «Developing new approaches for analyzing social media images»

With Farida Vis, Simon Faulkner, Anne Burns, Alexandra Boutopoulou and Raymond Drainville, Visual Social Media Lab

It will take the VSML’s work on the images of the death of Alan Kurdi as a key example and explore how to fruitfully go beyond ‘the surface of the photograph’ and consider how online images spread within and beyond platforms, how to use large scale and smaller scale quantitative methods, how to closely read images using different qualitative methods.

The workshop will also consider the ‘life’ of these images and how the images of Alan Kurdi continue to be used beyond their original publication. We will consider a number of recent examples. The workshop will include a range of different activities including discussions, hands on image activities (including situating the Alan Kurdi images in different ways, building image timelines), as well as exploring how such methods can be used for other complex phenomena that may be harder to ‘reduce to a photograph’ such as climate change.

As part of DONE2 programme, promoted by Foto Colectania.

You might also be interested in

Produced by