From Visionaries to Vloggers: media revolutions in the Middle East

From Visionaries to Vloggers: media revolutions in the Middle East

From Visionaries to Vloggers explores the transformative power and potential of creative media.

Drawing from across the Arab world this exhibition invites you to engage with a number of issues which over time have both altered media and adapted to media—all with the vision of creating change.

Where the backdrop for discussion and dissent was once market squares, coffeeshops or universities, greater access to a growing number of media forms has invited lesser heard voices to enter into everyday spaces and take part in debate. The act of using media as a tool to drive change and give voice to a variety of views is not a new phenomenon, and is often today still undertaken in the face of censorship and backlash.

From Visionaries to Vloggers discusses and uncovers the shifts in cultural patterns, where evolutions in media and its uses are informed by the past, which is constantly re-referenced, re-interpreted and re-imagined for new audiences. Patterns start to emerge as the same social, cultural and political issues recur and circle back again for the next generation to grapple with. Evolutions in media have raised social awareness and driven social change across the Middle East and North Africa. Some social issues have been tackled for hundreds, in some cases thousands, of years in the region including autocracy, representations of women, freedom of expression, and lack of civil liberties. The medium may change and develop but the messages of change and [r]evolution is ever present.

Discover how media is changing as stories and causes move from one medium to another—from oral storytelling and poetry, to print, theater, radio, television, and the Internet. Major events in the last two decades, including the rise of social media platforms and uprisings since 2011, are evidence of the shifting dynamics of engagements with media. The voices calling for change are all around us, proposing, adapting and challenging new perspectives and new media.


  • Program credits

    Diran Mardirian