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The Stepping into Visibility Model: reflecting on consequences of social media visibility – a Global South perspective

A Research Paper by Isabella Rega and Andrea Medrado, published by Information, Communication & Society

This article discusses activists’ need to reflect on how achieving social media visibility might translate into vulnerability. In order to provide activists with a tool for this reflection, the Stepping into Visibility Model has been developed and applied to two case studies: (a) an activist group in a Brazilian favela using social media for protection against police brutality and (b) a Kenyan photographer, affiliated to an art-ivist (artistic and activist) collective, producing images of Nairobi at night to tackle social anxiety issues. The research draws from sociological insights on the concept of ‘visibility’ and adopts a case study methodology combined with ethnographic approaches. By adopting a Global South perspective, it discusses counter surveillance efforts in ways that go beyond techno-legal solutionism (Dencik et al, 2016) and in periods outside that of big-scale protests (McCosker, 2015). By devising this model, we hope to offer a contribution on how marginalised communities can be better informed when they encounter unintended negative visibility.


Andrea Medrado


Andrea Medrado is a Lecturer at the Westminster School of Media and Communication. Prior to moving (back) to London, she worked as a Tenured Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication and at the Postgraduate Programme in Media and Everyday life of Federal Fluminense University (UFF) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She worked as the Co-Investigator for the eVoices Network, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), exploring different uses of digital technologies and art-ivism (art + activism) to fight marginalisation in countries of the Global South. In July 2020, she was elected Vice President of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), and she also acted as the Co-Chair of the Community Communication and Alternative Media Section (CAM) for four years (2016-2020).


27 August 2021
Published By
Information, Communication & Society
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