Talk Back is a blog created by four students from the MA Communications for Development course at  Malmö University, Sweden.

Talk Back aims to explore different forms of activism in the digital context, to examine digital media activism in the ‘Global South,’ to encourage discussions about social activism in digital media channels, and to cover debates, trends, and attitudes on how digital media is employed in social change. 

Meet the team 

Lauren: I’ve been working in international development for a number of years now, and I find this topic really interesting as there is tension when walking the fine line between being a development professional and wanting to delve into activist movements that support the work development agencies do. With my individual posts, I want to also consider these questions from a gender perspective and look at topics such as how the same digital media tools used by female activists working to organize against gender-based street harassment, being turned around and used as tools of harassment against those very activists. 

Kasia: I am a communication specialist working in development for over a decade. I am deeply interested in the potential of digital technologies to advance social issues but I wouldn’t call myself a techno-optimist. I believe that there are significant tensions in how digital media can both help advance activism, and at the same time undermine progress towards social change due to commercial interests, misinformation, and how platforms can be used to harass and intimidate individuals. 

Sam: I’m a freelance copywriter working in the private sector. I also write the occasional short film and theatre play. I was drawn to this topic because it feels the most pertinent to explore in a time of global environmental crisis. I would like to use this space to discuss the impact activism has online versus offline, the use of ‘shock’ imagery in video activism and its effectiveness, and the power of celebrity activism  

Mercy: I work as a technical editor on evaluation reports of nonprofit organizations. My interest in and motivation for exploring themes in online and digital activism is to identify patterns in the evolution of activism and how these patterns relate to international development and new media activism in the Global South.