Sandra Ristovska studies how, under what circumstances, and to what ends images shape the pursuit of justice and human rights in institutional and legal contexts nationally and internationally. Her research is informed by her experiences as a documentary filmmaker and premised on the understanding that without systematic guidance and applications for treating images as evidence, civil rights and human rights may be disparately recognized and upheld.
A 2021 Mellon/ACLS Scholars & Society Fellow, Ristovska recently completed a research residency with the Scientific Evidence Committee of the Science and Technology Law Section of the American Bar Association. Her publications include the award-winning monograph, Seeing Human Rights: Video Activism as a Proxy Profession (The MIT Press, 2021), an edited book, Visual Imagery and Human Rights Practice (Palgrave, 2018), and over two dozen journal articles and book chapters. Her work has received multiple awards from the International Communication Association (ICA), the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), and the National Communication Association (NCA).
Prior to joining CMCI in 2017, Ristovska was the George Gerbner Postdoctoral Fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She has held visiting fellowships with the Information Society Project at Yale Law—where she served as an advisor to the Visual Law Project—the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, and the Center for Media, Data & Society at the Central European University. Ristovska has served in various leadership capacities at both ICA and IAMCR. She now chairs the IAMCR’s task force on multimodal communication research.
Born and raised in Macedonia, Ristovska received a PhD and an MA in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, a BA in Theatre and Film from the University of Kansas, and a filmmaking certificate from the London Film Academy.