This blog post is a part of our series on Visual Diaries. Here we focus on Freedom. In this course, we teach you how to develop your own artistic style and voice. One of the vital stepping stones is to find a topic you are passionate about and feel eager to change or resolve it. We have identified 7 Major Global Issues with lots of subcategories to get you started. The 7 main categories are:

  1. Polarization
  2. Environmental Sustainability
  3. Social Sustainability
  4. Economic Sustainability
  5. Fringes and Frontiers
  6. Safety and Security
  7. Freedom

Please bear in mind that these topics overlap, interject and fuse together. Some can even be condensed more. But for the sake of our videos, I have finally decided to stick to these 7.

This blog post focuses on topic number seven Freedom. The purpose is to create awareness, pique your interest and make you attentive to the specific situations causing this global issue. We want you to become passionate, angry and excited about the topic you choose.

Introduction to Freedom

One would think that the internet should ultimately unite the human race. It enables us to share information freely and should give us a deeper understanding of each other, viewpoints, cultures, beliefs and values. However recent current events have shown us that we might be more divided than ever.

The more we move our political conversation online the faster we seem to become divided. So how did social media services that promised to connect the world become some of the strongest forces driving us apart?

What places restrictions on Freedom?

Social media arrived in an already somewhat divided world, but certain design changes fueled radical polarization. These design changes include the like button, the retweet button and then algorithmicizing everything – creating an outrage machine.

Recent events to go and research

South African Students speak out about hair prejudices

A 17-year-old student at Pretoria high school for girls was told her afro was distracting to other students. This sparked a movement of young black students speaking out about racial discrimination against them and their self-expression.

Student Anti-vaccine protests at the University of Johannesburg

After the University of Johannesburg introduced mandatory vaccines for students to return to campus, a variety of protests and student movements have broken out. Students are arguing that it is their body and their choice whether they get the vaccine or not.

Subcategrories of Freedom / Vocabulary to understand


This means that the people of a country have a say in the government and policies. This means you are able to choose (vote) for your leader.

A right to privacy

This means the rights of a person to be free from intrusion.

Freedom of Movement

This means the ability to travel, walk, drive wherever whenever you please. This also means all citizens have the right to live anywhere in their country, they also have the right to a passport and to enter and leave the country.

Freedom of Speech

This means an individual or community is free to express and articulate their opinions without fear.


Monitoring or watching a specific area or individual for the purpose of collecting information.

Free Media

Free media is often considered a core element of democracy. This means journalists and news channels are able to report and publish factual information freely.

Freedom of Religion / Religious Affiliation

This is the right to change and follow any religion/spiritual belief of your choosing.

Freedom of Expression

Freedom of expression is recognised as a universal human right and means that people are able to report and articulate their opinions freely.


LGBTQ stands for lesbiangaybisexual, and transgender. This way later adapted to LGBTQI+ to encompass all spectrums of sexuality. This is used to describe individuals’ sexual orientations and gender preferences.

Freedom of Association

This is a universal right which means that workers can choose who they chose who they associate with. They can join and leave groups without restriction.

Videos to watch

This video of Taylor targets people who don’t allow others the freedom of Expression. What visual symbols is the video using?

Further Recommended Research

Read the article In pursuit of truth: journalists fight back in battle for press freedom

Read this article on free speech

Topic Hereos to watch out for

Freedom fighter Steve Biko

Steve Biko

Biko was at the forefront of the grass-roots anti-apartheid campaign and black consciousness movement which fought for racial equality and freedom.

Leymah Gbowee

Gbowee is a Liberian activist and Nobel peace prize winner. She is known for leading a women’s peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.

Helen Joseph

Helen Joseph was a big figure in the anti-apartheid movement and believed strongly in racial equality and freedom for all.

Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is known for his anti-apartheid and human rights activism.

Artists that already addresses this topic

1. Keith Haring

Haring, was a dedicated social activist. He was an advocate for the lgbtq community and racial and social justice. His poster Free South Africa originated from a painting in 1984 of the same design.

2.Monica Garwood

Monica Garwood is an illustrator, designer, letterer and painter. Her impressive list of clients includes Google, The New York Times, Penguin Books, The New Yorker, Facebook, and more!

Her approachable and relatable style that revolves mostly around female figures is often described as modern feminist. Apart from that, her light-flooded artworks are spreading wellbeing and positive reinforcements, even when tackling serious topics like politics, the job market or gender transitioning.

3.Claire Merchlinsky

Claire Merchlinsky, an illustrator and art director based in Brooklyn. Her clients include The New YorkerThe New York Times and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Since graduating with a Master’s degree in illustration at the School of Visual Arts, on one side of Claire’s life, she’s worked in offices, retail jobs and entry-level design gigs. On the other, she’s explored numerous ways to visualise The New York Times’ and The New Yorker’s famously well-researched and in-depth articles.

4. Paula Rego

Feminist artist Rego created a series of pastel artworks to legalise abortions and women’s freedom to choose in Portugal.

5. Rachael Romero

Romero is a multi-media artist well known for her creation of anti-apartheid and freedom posters. Her work uses graphic linocut to emphasise her subjects emotions and facial expressions. While her text boldy and courageously states her views.

Possible Solutions

  • Lgbtqi rights
  • Freedom of speech
  • Vaccinne mandates- dropped by universities
  • Racial equality and freedom of expression.

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