My Research

All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered.

McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage (1967)

Following on McLuhan’s argument, if “print technology created the public [and] electronic technology created the mass” (1967: 68), how is the digital re-making us, NOW?

This is what I began exploring with my academic research and consulting activities.

My first step was to develop a dedicated toolkit and a highly flexible approach. I began two integrated Doctorates, the first one between 2008 and 2011 at the University of Venice (Italy), and the following one immediately after at the University of Exeter (UK) completed in 2014.

The two pathways of research are thoroughly consequential: at Venice I critically reviewed my professional background as a photojournalist and media consultant across the Middle-East, to assess what it means to research and narrate a different culture and other societies.

It is in this Doctorate research that I established the foundations of my following PhD at Exeter, in which I engaged the digital revolution as specifically exploring visual communication of other societies and distinct cultures. Through my practice-driven approach, I identified what creative and storytelling opportunities there are in interactive digital frameworks.

The third moment in the consolidation of my scholarly approach to Visual Storytelling comes from my Post-Doc appointment at the University of Durham (2015) for an AHRC-funded project on The Arab World in Transition, where I produced my interactive storytelling on the Tentmakers of Islamic Cairo.

I immediately started teaching at the University of London a module of the Visual Storytelling of the Muslim World, which ran for two years till I got employed as Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster (London – UK) to co-create and lead the Digital and Interactive Storytelling LAB.

The lab provided me with the opportunity of testing and – in a very agile way – rethinking my professional and academic skillset as I explored how visual media are socially “reshaping and restructuring” technologies and communication, and so, us all, endlessly.

It is through such an challenging process that I came to establish Story-Telling and Story-Showing as the foundations of today’s practices of all formats of communication.

I encapsulate the above with my framework of The Image As Storytelling (TIAS), which thoroughly intertwines theory with practice, to train and consult on (visual) Storytelling. 

Since 2016, I have since been writing and delivering a wide range of academic modules and exectutive training on Digital Creativity, Visual Literacy and Interactive Storytelling.

What is Visual Storytelling?  Interview at the UN / ILO HQ
© 2018 – International Labour Organization.

In 2018 I pitched my developing App MIA – The Meta-Image App, at a BBC public event.

Two months later, I was awarded 500,000 as co-P.I. on a research project at the University of Westminster on Computational Journalism from the Quintin Hogg Trust.

A clip from my public presentation on the Meta-Image at the BBC Arabic Festival, April, 2018 – © BBC.

The Meta-Image awarded mobile App is the latest result of my comprehensive commitment to

[1] assess the computational basis of image production and circulation,

[2] produce experimental and innovative curating formats, and

[3] engage the multi-cultural and globally shifting media scenarios.

As I detail in the downloadable research framework, the QHT Award made possible to offer MIA – the Meta-Image App as a free training App on the Apple Store, to maximize social impact and opportunities, for all, to learn and practice what it means to story-SHOW.

I equally continue to connect visual theory with digital practice in my peer-reviewed publications. 

These include, alongside the accepted monograph Aesthetics As Storytelling, the 2017 article on The Meta-Image, the 2021 chapter published for Emerand on the The Kony 2012 CampaignA Milestone of Visual Storytelling for Social Engagement, and the 2022 article on Storytelling Images, Engaging Identities.

Across all my scholarly production, I analyse how contemporary visual imageries are created, disseminated and eventually ‘validated’ by combining my academic teaching with my professional background as a visual journalist producing long stories from Morocco to China.

I integrated my 25+ years as a media practitioner into a truly multi-cultural and critical-led approach through my many and very distinct collaborations, from an Iraqi-based NGO, to the Guardian, from the Iranian State Radio to many others (Linkedin Profile).

Increasingly, this led me to profoundly question, reflect on and recalibrate what I had learned during my stay in Academia.

I have established professional collaborations with second and third sector institutions, including the UN Agencies of the ILO, UNESCO and IOM, for which I produce open-ended visual documentary for interactive projects and immersive storytelling, as well as research and training on visual media.

My presentation at the ILO HQ in Geneva (Switzerland) in January 2018.

Upon my multicultural-informed background and linguistic expertise, I have been revising my long-established commitment to issues of social justice (2018 – ILO HQ workshop; 2018 – BBC Arabic; 2018 onward – T.wai Institute) with gender equality mainstreaming as per my teaching at the ILO (2017 – Gender Academy; 2018 – Media Strategies for Gender Equality). 

Between June 2019 and January 2020, I delivered a series of intensive, fully tailored trainings on visual media and strategic digital communication for the Kosovo Government

As a creative practitioner, I have been disseminating my photography across a wide range of channels, including art galleries, private collections and magazines. 

In 2017 I presented a personal retrospective of 20 years as a photojournalist in the Muslim world for the UN in New York.

An image from my exhibition “Behind a Lens, In front an Hawza,” which started with a generous support from the British Academy to then develop into the case study of my PhD at the University of Exeter (UK)… and much more

What is

The mobile App – The Meta-Image

What did you

My Portfolio

Services do you offer?

Consulting and Training Activities