Case Studies

In this image, 17 year old Walla learns how to use Microsoft Office

The following three case studies examine the use of hypermediacy in digital representations of the Syrian refugee crisis. Google’s “Searching for Syria” demonstrates how hypermediacy can be used to reinforce hierarchical binaries between the Westernized user and Syrian refugees in digital storytelling projects. The analysis of migrant-related selfies reveals how Orientalist assumptions can become a part of the remediation process while selfie memes show how hypermediacy can cause a disruption in those assumptions. Lastly, TIME’s progress from “Finding Home” to “Heln’s First Year” exemplifies how hierarchical constructions of hypermediacy can be reversed to create ethical digital designs that prioritize the narratives of Syrian refugees while establishing a self-reflexive consciousness of the mediator’s presence in the narrative. 

Case Study 1:

“Searching For Syria,” a digital project by Google and the UNHCR that tells the story of the Syrian refugee crisis through the “world’s most googled queries” about Syria.

Case Study 2:

The remediation of refugee selfies by news media and the later remediation of those images as memes

Case Study 3:

TIME’s “Finding Home” and “Heln’s First Year,” digital storytelling projects that follow the first year of children born in Syrian refugee camps