Holly Steel is presenting a paper at the International Visual Methods Conference in Brighton in Sept 2015. She will be sharing work drawn from her thesis by exploring 'Violence on a Loop: The ethics of researching graphic content from conflict zones'
Holly draws on her experience researching YouTube videos arising from the August 21st chemical attack in Syria, to explore the issues faced by researchers conducting visual analyses of graphic user-generated content (UGC). These glimpses of the conflict are often graphic, and include bodies in pain, those who are dying and those who are dead. Exposure to such content is increasingly part of journalistic labour. The issues faced by journalists in managing exposure to graphic content are echoed in the work of the researcher, who not only has to manage their own exposure to graphic content but navigate the ways in which these pieces of content are ethically presented within academic work.
She suggests that issues faced by researchers, are:
1) ethical duty towards those within the frame;
2) the ethics of reproduction;
3) vicarious trauma.