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Crisis Porn: the power of content curation

Posted by Monica Brasov-Curca | 8-10-2013 17:55 | Academy | Category: Ethics

In early October 2013 a boat filled with African migrants sank off of the Italian island of Lampedusa, killing at least 111 people, and more than 200 are still missing. Friday the 4th of October 2013, was declared a day of mourning in Italy.  The event has brought much introspection and concern.  News and Media, not withstanding has of course told the story of these migrants. Sometimes the content is important to educate, inform, or even to advocate, but on Friday the 4th of October 2013, I think the Guardian went too far. More after the break…..

Source: The Guardian

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It’s October, and here come the #Pinkverts!

Posted by Tom Megginson | 1-10-2013 15:44 | Academy | Category: Ethics


Call them what you want: “Pinktober” campaigns, “Pinkwashing”... our version is “Pinkverts”. They’re the annual rush of branded campaigns to raise awareness (and sometimes funds) for breast cancer and research into its cure.

It’s not all bad, of course, but over the years we’ve noted certain clichés that the cause could do without. One is the sexualization of the disease, using the serious and sympathetic issue as an excuse for objectifying healthy women’s nude bodies. The example above is actress Liang Jing — one of eight Chinese celebrities who posed nude for an “awareness” photoshoot in TrendsHealth magazine.

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Another review for Noah Scalin and Michelle Taute’s Design Activist’s Handbook

Posted by Reuben Turner | 29-04-2013 21:41 | Academy | Category: Behaviour Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Design, Ethics, Reviews

A while back, Noah asked if anyone from Osocio would review The Design Activist’s Handbook. Both Marc and I wrote a review, and Marc posted his first. That explains why there are two reviews of the book on Osocio. If you’d like your book reviewed, please get in touch.

Review of The Design Activist’s Handbook by Noah Scalin & Michelle Taute

This is an excellent book.

I wish I had a few copies on my shelf. I’d hand them out to all the young creatives and design students I meet, when they ask me the questions that all designers with a conscience ask sooner or later:

How did I end up here?
How do I change it?
What choices do I have?
Are there other ways of being a designer?
And above all,
How do I make a living without compromising my values?


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Feminism, Islamophobia, and the complicated politics of global human rights

Posted by Tom Megginson | 6-04-2013 14:11 | Academy | Category: Ethics


Earlier this week, I wrote about Femen’s “Topless Jihad”. It was an international day of semi-nude protest against the oppression of Tunisian activist Amina Tyler, as well as a statement against conservative Muslim institutionalized misogyny in general.


At the same time, a counter-protest Facebook event emerged. Calling itself Muslim Women Against Femen..Muslimah Pride Day, it stated its purpose as:

On the 4th April. The so called feminist group, FEMEN has declared ‘Topless Jihad Day’ in which they are asking women to go topless and write ‘My Body Against Islamism!’ on their bare breasts. We as Muslim women and those who stand with us, need to show FEMEN and their supporters, that their actions are counterproductive and we as Muslim women oppose it.

So please post pictures of your beautiful selves, whether you wear hijaab, nikaab or not. This is an opportunity for Muslim women to get a say and show people that we have a voice too, that we come in many different shapes and sizes that we object to the way we are depicted in the west, we object to the way we are lumped in to one homogenous group without a voice of agency of our own.

Why do you feel proud of being Muslim? Why do you choose to wear the Hijaab/nikaab? Why do you choose not to wear it? Which muslim woman inspires you? How do you feel about constantly being Fetishized by the media/feminists/policy makers in the west?

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Book review: Design Activists Handbook

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 16-02-2013 22:00 | Academy | Category: Design, Ethics, Reviews


I started my working career in a printing house. It was in the late seventies, early eighties during the turbulent times in Amsterdam. The glory days of the squatting and anti-nuclear movement.
It was a logical choice to start my working career within those movements. Because of my study and interest in graphic design it all began in a human and environment friendly printing house. Looking back it was an important step in my life.
Consciousness of the things you do. We discussed almost everything. From the choice of printing paper to the content of the printed work. Together and with the clients and suppliers. That wasn’t easy sometimes. Buying a printing press was difficult because of the industry cartel. Recycled paper was hardly made. And suppliers laugh at us when we asked for linseed oil ink.

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Blog Action Day: Don’t give in to the Dark Side of the “We” #BAD2012

Posted by Tom Megginson | 15-10-2012 16:30 | Academy | Category: Ethics


Today, October 15, is Blog Action Day. It’s an opportunity for bloggers around the world to post simultaneously on a single topic that relates to social issues or social change. This year, the topic is “The Power of We”:

We choose this theme for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the popularity of the your suggestions; Community, Equality, Transparency/Anti-Corruption and Freedom, in our theme poll. Secondly, The Power of We is a celebration of people working together to make a positive difference in the world, either for their own communities or for people they will never meet half way around [t]he world.

When I thought about how I’d represent this idea in a marketing context, I have to admit that the first thing that popped into my head was an ad almost as old as I am, from of all advertisers, Coca-Cola:

Times have sure changed. Now, “Big Soda” is the enemy of activist marketers like former CP+B  creative demigod Alex Bogusky. But, consumerism aside, was this hippy-dippy “we’re all in it together” dream ever even achievable? Part of me really wants it to be possible.

[more after the break]


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Osocio is dedicated to social advertising and non-profit campaigns. It’s the place where marketing and activism collide. Formerly known as the Houtlust Blog, Osocio is the central online hub for advertisers, ad agencies, grassroots, activists, social entrepreneurs, and good Samaritans from around the globe.
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