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Dr. Catalin Brylla (Bournemouth University) explains how media representations can contribute to the reduction of social stigma and prejudice. Models from social psychology, media studies and cultural studies can help activists and media makers to increase social inclusion and diversity by deconstructing harmful boundaries between social groups. Such boundaries may be based on the stereotyping of ethnicity, culture, age, dis/ability, gender and sexual orientation. This presentation outlines social identity formation and stereotyping as essential processes for social cognition both in real life and during media consumption. It then presents a classification system for stigmatising media stereotypes of disability. Then, it presents a methodology to reduce such stereotypes. The methodology is based on 1) representations that prompt perspectival alignment with screen characters, and 2) the perceived salience of multiple, intersecting social identities.


Presentation held at the YDAR Festival 2023, Day 2


Presentation Video


Presentation Slides

Intro to media advocacy_stereotypes



Dr. Catalin Brylla is Principal Lecturer in Film and TV and Deputy Director of the Centre for the Study of Conflict, Emotion and Social Justice at Bournemouth University. His work advocates for the filmmaker’s understanding of how media representation impacts on society’s perception of stigmatised groups, such as disabled people in general, blind people, African cultures, sex workers and women in minority communities. As a practice-led researcher he has made documentaries about such communities, including The Terry Fragments, June’s Patchwork and Zanzibar Soccer Dreams (with Florence Ayisi), and he has organised events on the social impact of media (e.g. His methodological approaches include spectatorship, social psychology, cognitive psychology, audience research and ethnography. These have informed his publications, including the co-edited volumes Documentary and Disability (with Helen Hughes) and Cognitive Theory and Documentary Film (with Mette Kramer), and his upcoming monograph Documentary and Stereotypes: Reducing Stigma through Factual Media (Palgrave, 2023). He is Fellow of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image and Chair of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.



Personal website

University profile

Zanzibar Soccer Queens Documentary

The Terry Fragments (blind painter) Documentary