Imagery and stories used to frame issues of humanitarian development for advocacy and funding are often sensational and culturally disrespectful, representing those living in poverty as helpless victims in need, rather than as empowered and capable individuals.
Fueled by intense Twitter and blog discussions about this topic (which is often referred to as “Poverty Porn,”) a few years ago a number of us decided to work together to create a space for wider dialogue around issues of representation of the people that aid and development organizations support.
Today we launch our multimedia platform Regarding Humanity or “Re: Hum.” The platform aims to engage practitioners, educators, and students in discussions on how to represent communities we work with in relevant and respectful ways.
Re: Hum is a website and blog that explore how the way we see, listen and frame stories of “the poor” often strips individuals of their agency and creates a general sense of hopelessness and disempowerment. More respectful and relevant methods of seeing, listening and framing can help tell more nuanced stories that respect people and their complex realities.
The Re: Hum website will source content from a diverse set of authors and creators in order to bring a global perspective to the issue. It will serve as an educational resource and discussion forum to teach visual literacy, the importance of ethnography, and ways to maintain narrative integrity. We will be expanding to a discussion series, research, and an educational curriculum over time and as resources permit.
We invite you to take a quick look at Re: Hum (which is still a work-in-progress) and let us know your thoughts and suggestions on how to generate constructive conversation and learning on this issue!