Presented by Professor Davide Rodogno, Graduate Institute Geneva


This paper offers a historical examination of the use of photography in the informational and fundraising strategies of international organizations. It covers two cases.  The first part takes cue from to Human Rights Watch (HRW) campaign involving the case of 3-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi, whose body washed up on a Turkish beach near Bodrum in early September 2015.  The second part is about a magazine, World Health, one of the public faces of the World Health Organisation.  Both parts of the paper draw attention to the symbiotic relationship between media and international organizations.  In this context one might question the extent to which new visual technologies and social media are as revolutionary as some claim them to be. Evidence suggests that in earlier eras too, such photos, under certain conditions, could “go viral” and achieve iconic status.

About Visual Politics seminars

We live in a visual age.  Television, film, photographs, new media sources and artworks decisively influence how we perceive and deal with political phenomena as diverse as war, terrorism, refugees and financial crises.  But we know surprisingly little about the exact nature and impact of this visual power. 

The purpose of this initiative is to address this gap.  Building on existing strengths and resources we forge new interdisciplinary and large-scale collaborations within Humanities and Social Sciences as well as across UQ and internationally.  Our goal is to establish UQ as a world-leading research hub for visual politics and make us competitive for major external funding sources.


Room 537, Level 5, Building 39A (General Purpose North)