Interview to Karen Oetling, Art Director and Project Manager of the Social Campaign Area in FABRICA; she's a member of the jury of the Global Campus Visual Contest 2017.
You work as an Art Director and Project Manager of the Social Campaign Area in FABRICA. What are the main values and challenges in your work?
One of the main values while working in socially driven creative work is honesty and respect different cultures, people, ways of being. We don’t have the absolute truth and our way of doing things is based in our circumstances as well, so whenever we’re dealing with a project we need to do proper research in order to understand the topic, where it is coming from, why it is happening, it is important to not judge immediately.
A big challenge that we face is the overload of information, videos, gifs and images that we have nowadays with internet, social media, the news. It is definitely a challenge to talk about different social topics with a fresh perspective, and to even catch attention of people in mere seconds.
Even though it can be really fulfilling, often you feel powerless. Another challenge of dealing constantly with social issues is that it can be pretty emotional and tough, it can get frustrating to constantly see the state of the world and be aware of this ugly part of humankind since it’s us as humanity that have created issues such as violence, inequality, poverty and so on.
When organising a social campaign how do you make possible that people get directly engaged, for example in the case of the United Colors of Benetton’s campaign for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women?
We take care about the creativity, and a lot of the promotion of the campaign itself falls directly in the organization that we’re working for.
I think a way of making people engage is by having a strong and powerful message; what we aim for is for people to stop and think, raise awareness about a particular topic and hopefully not only join a movement or support a cause, but even a small change of attitude in their day to day.
Which advice would you give to young photographers and video makers willing to bring positive change?
Having a social topic, issue or interest will definitely make your working hours be worth it, don’t just stay in the surface, but try to dig deep in the topic and discover a new view towards the issue or something that hasn’t been said.
Keep your own voice, because although many stories have been told, you can have a unique way of narrating it. I wouldn’t measure the impact of your work on shares or likes, but rather individuals; if you manage to touch at least one person, it is indeed a positive change.
You can follow the visual contest with the hashtag #GlobalCampusVisualContest on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Instagram. Website: www.globalcampusvisualcontest.org