#rpEUROPE Speaker Tanya Lokot on “Stories of Protest”

May we present: Our #rpEUROPE speakers! The next speaker we’d like to introduce is Tanya Lokot, a Lecturer in Journalism at the School of Communications, Dublin City University. Tanya holds a Ph.D. from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. She is also a contributor for Global Voices and the Freedom of the Net Report, focusing on social movements, protest and digital media in the Ukraine, Russia and other former Soviet countries. We asked Tanya about Europe and its challenges and what to expect from her #rpDUB session: 

What challenges is Europe currently facing and how can the digital society help manage them?

I think our understanding of what Europe is has become increasingly fragmented, and it's important to know what the different 'fragments' of society are saying in order to arrive at some common idea of 'Europe'. We all craft stories about ourselves and about who we are, but unequal access to power, resources and platforms means some voices are amplified, while others are lost and never heard. I believe digital society has the potential to offer a space to those whose voices have been left out and to offer these people tools to tell their stories where they will be seen and heard. Whether it's stories of austerity and those dissenting against it, conflict on Europe's periphery, stories of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe or trying to make a life here. I think those who currently wield some power in digital terms (social media companies, media organisations, advocacy networks, government bodies) can relinquish some of that power to these communities to amplify their visibility. They are already using the affordances of technology to document their lives, campaign for change and to stay connected across the globe – and we can make sure they are able to do more and be a part of a Europe that is inclusive, diverse and full of interesting stories.

What is your main line of work?

I am a researcher of all things located at the intersection of digital media/technology and society, and most recently my research has focused on protest and civic activity in urban mediated environments. I'm really interested in how people living in cities campaign for change and how their dissent works when it is mediated in many different ways, not just through social media, but also through urban public spaces and other means. My other interests include internet freedom and censorship, media manipulation and propaganda.

What can visitors expect from your Stories of Protest talk at #rpEUROPE?

You can expect stories! And some thoughts on how we can use digital media and networks to keep the stories alive and imbue them with power.

Thanks Tanya, see you at #rpEUROPE!


Photo credit: private