Conference: Visualising conflict – Photojournalism and the politics of participation

Photojournalists used to hold a privileged position in conflict reporting. Today, they are joined by activists, citizens and others who also produce and disseminate images.

Cell phone videos of police officers shooting unarmed, black teenagers in USA are captured by accidental bystanders and shared by the Black Lives Matter movement. The destruction and horror of the war in Syria are documented by activists, who after years of war have developed networks and acquired professional photo equipment – and skills. These practices change the role images play in conflicts, raising pressing issues about the production and veracity of images as well as safety, ethics and the politics of participation:

• Why and how does it matter that conflicts are documented and made visible to the outside world?
• How are images from conflicts created and shared in today’s connective media environment?
• How can the authenticity of images be established?

This conference aims to generate a conversation between scholars, NGO workers, photo editors and activists about the role performed by images in contemporary conflicts.


9:00-9:15: Welcome

9:15-10:00: Aida El Kashef – On her experience making images matter for a concrete social justice purpose in Egypt

10:00-10:45: TBA – On the truth of images and methods of verification 

10:45-11:15: Coffee

11:15-12:00: Federico Escher – On how news organisations respond practically and policy-wise to the broad production of images

12:00-13:00: Lunch break (lunch will be available from the university canteen at participants’ own cost)

13:00-13:45: Zeynep Gürsel – On how digitalisation has changed labour practices and the way images are being commodified

13:45-14:30: Nina Grønlykke Mollerup and Mette Mortensen – On relationship between local Syrian photographers, NGOs and international news organisations

14:30-15:00: Coffee

15:00-15:45: Nicholas Mirzoeff – On why visibility matters from a contemporary and historical perspective, including how it influences conflict

15:45-17:00: Panel discussion, panelists TBA

17:00: Drinks reception


Attendance is free, but we appreciate registration by sending your name and affiliation to Nanna Juul Jensen at

The conference is organised by IMS (International Media Support) and the research group Images of Conflict, Conflicting Images at University of Copenhagen, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication.