Face of Terror

Understanding Terrorism from the Perspective of Critical Media Aesthetics (2016-2020)

Funded by: Research Council of Norway

Newspaper stand in a Europaen city with terror related news on the frontpages

The project pursues its aim of understanding terrorism from the perspective of critical media aesthetics by focusing on the face of terror -- a term that goes to the core of the communicative and mediated aspects of terrorism: The face is a primary site of contact with fellow human beings and a contested marker of identity, while in a broader sense it is also a cultural interface that distributes and redistributes visibility and power. Taking the mediated face as its entry-point, the project investigates the identity work that goes into terrorist acts as well as into the cultural responses to such acts.

The project focus primarily on visual media (film and photography) and investigates mediation of terrorism in news media, fiction film, documentary films, but also in literature and art. The terror attacks in Norway 2011 are central in our studies, as is 9/11 and recent terror attacks in Europe.

About the researchers and network



Forthcoming events

Anne Gjelsvik will be keynote speaker at Association for Norwegian Media Researchers’ conference in Bodø October 18 and 19th, where she will present results from her work on the movie U-July 22.

Previous Events

  • The Mediated Visibility of Conflicts. PhD course, University of Copenhagen, May 7-8 2018. In collaboration with University of Copenhagen. See course website.
  • «Mediating Trauma in Norwegian Novels on 22nd of July 2011». Paper presented by Anne Gjelsvik og Ingvild Folkvord at Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study 2018 (SASS), Los Angeles May 4th 2018.
  • Radicalisation: A series of film screenings and a seminar on radicalisation in collaboration with Tromsø International Film Festival, January 2018. See programme (in Norwegian).
  • Terrorens bilder (“Images of Terror”): Seminar in collaboration with Trondheim Dokumentarfestival.

  • Internal workshop with guests Cathrine Grant and Robert Burgoyne, September 2017.

  • Seminar “Face of Terror”, Kosmorama Internasjonale filmfestival, March 2017.

  • Internal workshop with guests Åsne Seierstad, Michael Krona and Sveinung Sandberg, January 2017


  • Ally McCrow-Young who is a PhD student at the project Conflicting Images, Images of Conflict, University of Copenhagen will be visiting us in November.
  • Aud Sissel Hoel will be guest researcher at University of Copenhagen, Department of Media and Communication in November and December 2018.
  • Master student Mari Johansen who are doing here master thesis on representation of right wing extremism in the Norwegian newspaper VG will be affiliated with our project.