Humanitarianism & the Media


At St Antony’s College Oxford, the Richard von Weizsäcker fellow organizes a conference on humanitarianism and aid. The meeting takes place at the European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, on 19 -20 June 2015. It focuses on the media as an essential feature of the history of humanitarianism. Contributors discuss both the role of the media in humanitarian activities, and the imagery produced in print or on screen. Scholars from history, media studies, and anthropology present recent research with a view on the visual discourse, the meanings and materiality of the images since the beginning of the 20th century. Critically considering the medialisation of the humanitarian, they analyse the interaction between humanitarian agencies and media actors.

Speakers and topics:
(Detailed Programme Hum & Media 2015)

Johannes Paulmann (Oxford/ Mainz)

I Humanitarian Imagery

Katharina Stornig (Mainz)
Promoting Distant Children in Need: Christian Imagery in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Rose Holmes (Sussex)
‘Make the situation real to us without stressing the horrors’: Children, photography and British humanitarianism in the Spanish Civil War

Daniel Palmieri (ICRC, Geneva)
Humanitarianism on the Screen: The ICRC Films from the 1920’s to the 1960’s

Ulrike Weckel (Gießen)
‘People who once had been human beings like you and me’: Why Allied Atrocity Films of Liberated Nazi Concentration Camps in 1945/46 Universalized the Victims

Tobias Weidner (Göttingen)
The Human Gaze: Photography after 1945

Paul Betts (Oxford)
The Politics of Pity: Allied Snapshots of Post-Nazi Europe

Hilary Roberts (Imperial War Museum)
Don McCullin: Humanitarian and Photographer

Ilana Feldman (George Washington University)
Humanitarianism and Revolution: Samed, the Palestine Red Crescent Society, and the work of liberation

II Medialisation of the Humanitarian

Patrick Merziger (Leipzig)
Medialisation of the Disaster Relief since the Second World War

Heike Wieters (Berlin)
Media relations of CARE: Global Food Campaigns 1945-1980

Valérie Gorin (Geneva)
Advocacy strategies of the Western humanitarian NGOs, from the 1960s to the 1990s

Jan Eckel (Freiburg)
Information Battles: Knowledge, Media, and Transnational Human Rights Campaigns in the 1970s

Suzanne Franks (City University London)
The view from the BBC – Public Broadcasting on Humanitarian Disaster and Relief since the 1980s

Maria Kyriakidou (East Anglia)
Watching the Pain of Others: Audience Reactions to Media Reports of Distant Disasters

Jean Seaton (University of Westminster)
Armed Forces, the Media and Aid: A Contemporary Conundrum?

Cite this blog post
Johannes Paulmann (2015, May 1). Humanitarianism & the Media. Humanitarianism & Human Rights. Retrieved April 13, 2024, from

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