The session aims to spark conversation about the ways in which we express ourselves politically on social media and give participants the opportunity to reflect on digital media and their potential for political participation and protest. Participants will use a meme generator to create politial and protest memes and share them on a digital whiteboard. These will then be discussed together at the end of the session, and the best meme will win a prize.
Social media are often described as an environment that fosters abuse and encourages trolls, particularly in the context of political debate. But social media also offer a space to connect, discussm and mobilise. Memes in particular have been recognised as an engaging, accessible form of communication, political participation, and protest. We will discuss the emotional resonance of memes, and how they can be used to spread awareness through shared emotions such as humour and anger to build a community of feeling and facilitate political push-back.
This session will introduce participants to a short history of digital protest and political participation, and contextualise it within the wider poltiical and protest landscape in the UK, where, from Just Stop Oil stunts to Republican demonstrations, in-person protests have dominated the news recently. The event will consist of a short panel discussion led by Nathalie Weidhase (University of Surrey) and Poppy Wilde (Birmingham City University), followed by an interactive meme design session.
Dr Nathalie Weidhase, Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Surrey
Dr Poppy Wilde, Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication at Birmingham City University
The event is open to young people and adults
This event will be of interest to anyone interested in politics, protest and digital media, especially those with little or no experience creating digital content.