Global Development Institute Blog

On 19-20 May the GDI will be hosting a conference on ‘Imagining Solidarity: Visual representations of development in public campaigns’.

iStock_000020094266_LargeThe aim of this conference is to explore the realm of the visual to examine how the complex relations of embodied, material encounter and engagement between people and visual campaigns shape discourses of development and forms of solidarity. It will seek to develop new theoretical insights into public and popular representations of development and forms of solidarity, to provide empirically grounded analysis of how ideas about solidarity are being imagined visually in public campaigns and charity adverts and to contribute to public debate and policy making on the use and impact of popular images.

More specifically, the conference will address the economic, political and socio-cultural dimensions and implications of visual images promoting solidarities through addressing the following questions:

  • What do visual images reveal about the production of emergent meanings and values around difference, otherness and inequality, that underpin ideas of development, through their depictions of people and places?
  • How do visual representations combine economic imperatives with ethical responsibilities for development by evoking a visual language of care, interdependence and a common humanity?
  • In what ways do public campaigns aimed at creating global solidarities suffuse everyday space and shape western public’s ethical disposition towards people overseas and foster the emergence of moral communities across distance and over time?
  • What are the historical antecedents of representations of other people and places and how do they shape ideas and images of contemporary visual campaigns?
  • How do different audiences respond to visual representations of solidarity and with what material, political and economic effects?
  • What are the connections between these representations and development goals and outcomes?

Conference conveners:

  • Uma Kothari (Global Development Institute, University of Manchester)
  • Dan Brockington (Sheffield Institute for International Development, University of Sheffield)

The conference provides an opportunity to bring together academic researchers from various disciplines as well as producers of images and the organisations that use them to promote their causes.

It is free to attend but places are limited so please email and if you are interested in participating.