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Three innovative ways to use media for activism

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Activist groups and grassroots campaigners are increasingly savvy about utilising different media in order to advance their campaigns and spread awareness. If you are working in the non-profit sector, chances are you spend a good deal of your day thinking about effective communication strategies. No matter what issue your organisation deals with, reaching interested audiences and making them aware of your campaigns is the main goal.  Email newsletters, online petitions and social media networking are well tested, reliable tools to reach interested audiences but there are a numberf of media platforms that activists can use to engage audiences in a more innovative way:

1. The short video

Harness the power of video to reach audiences with a short attention span. YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram provide perfect platforms to reach people who may not otherwise engage with social, environmental or other issues. When campaigning for change, it is important to move people, appealing to their emotions and empathy in order to encourage them to donate or share your message. The key to the short video is to capture the viewer's attention, a clever way to do this could be to pose a question in the caption or put the most striking still from your video in your social media post. When using Snapchat a key element to success is to consistently provide your followers with both educational and entertaining content, do not be afraid to throw in some fun filters and emojis!

Inspiring examples: 

Ocean Conservancy - Snapchat

Rainforest Alliance - YouTube

2. Art installations

Immerse the public into your issue with a striking audio and visual art installation. Campaigns like this require innovative artists as well as the expertise of lighting and sound specialists in order to maximise their effect. Art and activism have always gone hand in hand and a moving, shocking or inspiring art display can often have more impact than a thousand words. An art installation allows organisations to combine the powers of both audio and visuals to take visitors through a journey in order to send a powerful message.   

Inspiring examples:

Candace Brietz - A protest against the treatment of refugees in Australia on displayed in the National Gallery of Victoria Triennial

Climate Change art installation in Venice, Italy

3. The podcast

The popularity of podcasts in the English speaking world seems to be spreading by the day. In the past, activists and campaigners who wanted to get their message on the airwaves were resigned to pitching stories to radio broadcasters and hoping for the best. The rise of the podcast means that non-profits can create their own audio shows with interviews and reportage that does not have be dictated by time constraints. To create a basic podcast all you need is your smartphone, some audio editing software (such as Audacity, which is free to download) and a little research on how to maximise the sound quality of your output. 

Inspiring examples:

Awaye - Podcast about Aboriginal art and culture from across Australia

Common Ground - Guardian Australia podcast series