In “Video for Change”, Gillian Caldwell comments on the role of video advocacy, and the power that video can have in enforcing change. The author documents their own story, and how they were able to use video and film to enact social difference. Caldwell talks about her own piece, Bought and Sold : An Investigative Documentary About the International Trade in Women, which proved to be effective as a visual medium. According to Caldwell, “We recognized that video could elicit powerful emotional impact, connecting viewers to personal stories. It can illustrate stark visual contrasts and provide direct visual evidence of abuses. It can be a vehicle for building coalitions with other groups working on an issue. It can reach a wide range of people since it does not require literacy to convey information,” (2). The use of pathos and strong visuals draws people in and connects them to the topic. In this digital age that we live in, presenting the audience with more visuals and less words has proven to be a very efficient method in gathering attention. During our screening period, we viewed the video that recreated Justin Bieber’s hit song, “Baby” and put a political overlay on it. The catchy tune was accompanied by an aesthetically-pleasing video, begging the audience for their immediate attention. Though the video should not be confused as a parody, per say, it appropriates a formerly popular piece of visual medium, and recreates it into something meaningful. Even if people paid less attention to the words of the song, they leave the video with the song stuck in their head (as what commonly happens with catchy tunes), proving the effectiveness of this type of medium. Caldwell also notes that video serves as a tactic of bringing a community together, as these coalitions join together to create something that they all believe in.


Questions: What are some modern examples that you can think of in which video was used to create social change? Was it effective? 


2 responses »

  1. mpierson4710 says:

    For my project I did some research on the KONY 2012 movement from last year, when a video advocating for the arrest and imprisonment of warlord Joseph Kony went viral. I think that this movement was effective in it’s ability to attract attention on a global scale to Kony. Millions of people saw the video and used social media to spread the video further. While I think that the movement was effective in gaining publicity, I think it failed to address larger issues of child soldier armies and sex trafficking, and could have encouraged deeper change if it did.

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