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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 Senior Lecturer at the School of Media and Communication of the University of Westminster. She is also the Course Leader for the BA Digital Media and the leader for the Cultural Identities and Social Change theme at the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI). Her research focuses on digital media activism and artivism as tools for social change in the Global South and on creative and participatory approaches to analysing marginalised communities’ information security needs and everyday engagements with artificial intelligence (AI). Her book Media Activism, Artivism and the Fight Against Marginalisation in the Global South was published by Routledge in 2023. She has also published in leading academic journals and contributed to several edited book collections. Andrea is currently the Vice President of IAMCR, the largest international association in the field of media and communication.


27 August 2021
Published By
Information, Communication & Society
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