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Dima Saber

Senior Researcher/Lecturer in Media for Social Change in the Middle East

Birmingham School of Media
Email:
dima.saber@bcu.ac.uk
Phone:
+44 (0)121 331 7280
Biography

Dima is Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. She is responsible for leading and delivering projects in citizen journalism in the Arab region, with a focus on the role of digital media in fostering social change and in altering the work of political activists in post-revolution countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Syria.

Prior to joining the centre, Dima was a lecturer in media studies at both the American University of Beirut (AUB) and the Lebanese American University (LAU), teaching courses on Online Journalism, Political Communication and Digital Activism for Social Change.

In 2011, she defended her doctoral dissertation in Media Studies at the University of Panthéon-Assas, Paris II (Sorbonne Universities), and was awarded her PhD Summa Cum Laude (with highest honours). Her research examined the representations of Arab identity in post-1948 media narratives.

Dima also took two MAs at the same university, one in Social and Political Sciences and one in Media Information and Communication (with a specialisation in the semiotics of media productions). Before this, she took a BA in Languages and Translation and an MA in Journalism, both at the Lebanese University of Beirut.

She is also co-founder of AltCity.me, building the first open community newsroom and media innovation/startup lab in the Middle East and North Africa region. AltCity is a Beirut-based social venture working to expand access to the tools, resources and spaces that enable innovative, creative, high impact and socially relevant media and entrepreneurial initiatives.

In 2009, Dima co-founded Hibr.me, a youth-powered alternative media outlet that aims at promoting media literacy, citizen journalism, and critical thinking among young Lebanese students, writers, and journalists.

Areas of Expertise
  • Semiotics of media productions
  • History of Arab media
  • Nationalism, political Islam and propaganda in the Arab world
  • Citizen media for social change
Research

For several years, Dima navigated Cairo's institutional hurdles and managed to gain access to some of the few surviving archives at the Voice of the Arabs radio.

By including these recordings in her corpus, along with archives from Al-Ahram newspaper, she was able to conduct unprecedented research on the coverage by Arab media outlets of key events, such as the July 1952 revolution in Egypt and the two Arab-Israeli wars of 1956 and 1967.

Dima later confronted these representations of war, victory and defeat to more contemporary media productions, such as Al-Jazeera's coverage of the July 2006 war and Hezbollah's post-2006 documentaries, music videos, and video games. She was then able to show how contemporary media representations of political Islam reclaim many historic pan-Arab nationalist themes.

Her studies have embraced the historical analysis of key broadcast and press media along with the new media, and a strong commitment to media literacy and new technology in education. A lot of her work over the last few years has revolved around open educational resources (OER) and creative ways to enhance media and digital literacy in teaching, learning, and research.

Through her activities in AltCity and Hibr, Dima worked with over 500 young people from all regions and demographics of Lebanon, providing intense training and supports in both elements of media production (writing basics, journalistic methods, ethics, digital media tools for content production, social media/blogging/micro-blogging/multimedia, etc.), and practices of media consumption (media literacy, bias, critical thinking, new media/social media tools for sharing and monitoring media, etc.).

Postgraduate Supervision

Dima Saber is Senior Researcher at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research and supervises students in the area of Media for Social Change, Citizen Journalism, Activist Media and Online Communities. She is responsible of leading and delivering projects in citizen journalism in the Arab region, with a focus on the role of digital media in fostering social change and in altering the work of political activists in post-revolution countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Syria.

Her studies have embraced the historical analysis of key broadcast and press media along with the new media, and a strong commitment to media literacy and new technology in education. A lot of her work the last few years revolved around open educational resources (OER) and creative ways to enhance digital literacy in teaching, learning, and research.

Prior to joining the centre, her research examined the representations of Arab identity in post-1948 media narratives from the establishment of Egyptian pan-Arab radio the Voice of the Arabs until the rise of political Islam with the Lebanese Hezbollah, working on the media coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Hezbollah's media productions, including music videos and video games. She is also co-founder of AltCity.me, building the first open community newsroom and media innovation/start-up lab in the MENA region.

Publications

'Representing war in songs: Nasser and the nation on the Voice of the Arabs radio' [with Walid el-Houri] in Temps de la guerre versus temps de la paix : l'expression musicale comme agent du lien social', (136): pp. 73-82, 2013.

'Prayin' for a revolution: the political role of prayer in the #Jan25 narrative' [with Walid el-Houri] in 'Les représentations médiatiques des communautés de croyances: le rôle politique de la prière et du recueillement' (forthcoming 2013).

'Filming resistance: A Hezbollah strategy' [with Walid el-Houri] in Radical History Review, (106): pp.70-85, 2010.

Conferences

'Prayin' for a revolution: the political role of prayer in the #Jan25 narrative', International colloquium on media representations of communities of beliefs: the political role of prayer, University of Paris II, the Observatory of media narratives UCL Louvain, and the Walter Benjamin Foundation, Argentina, 2012.

'Talkin' about a revolution: comments on YouTube videos as a narrative of #Jan25'. The 9th International Conference 'Crossroads in Cultural Studies', Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris, 2012.

'Social imagery in a revolutionary context: YouTube in #Jan25 Egypt'. Digital and Media Literacy: New Directions, The American University of Beirut, Beirut, 2011.

'Representing war in songs: Nasser and the nation on the Voice of the Arabs radio'. The National Congress of Historic and Scientific Societies, Making war, making peace, Perpignan, France, 2011.

'Hezbollah music videos: From the sect to the nation', ASCA International Workshop: "Articulation(s)", Amsterdam, 2010.

'Hezbollah's filmed operations: From event to self representation', CAMMRO's (Center for Arab and Muslim Media Research) 2nd Doctoral Symposium, London, 2009.