A group of NGO workers and activists are hoping to ramp up the conversation about how poverty is depicted. Their new platform, Regarding Humanity, seeks to foster dialogue about poverty porn, but to bring together practitioners, educators, journalists, and students in the question: “How do we as a community dedicated to social impact maintain local agency, partnership, and relevant, respectful narrative as core values of our work?”
“From multiple photos of rape victims in the Congo used to raise funding in annual reports, to repeated images of squatting South Asian women looking up at Western aid workers, to pictures of naked and emaciated children lying in the rubble after Haiti’s earthquake, to initiatives that seek donations of used underwear to send to Africa, a group of us saw that questionable instances of framing and narrative were rampant,” writes Regarding Humanity co-founder Lina Srivastava.
Srivastava is joined by co-founders Linda Raftree and MJ Broadbent for the project with the backing of an array of individuals with experience in humanitarian aid, transmedia storytelling, journalism, service design, academia, ethnography, visual art, and mobile technology.
“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,” explains Raftree.
The launch of the website and platform was proceeded by last week’s Salon on poverty porn in New York City (read my summary of the discussion here).