Cultures of Digital Hate: Animation about Experiences of Academics with Online Harassment

This animated video commissioned by researchers, Dr. Laura Clancy and Dr. Hannah Yelin, sheds light on the challenges academics face in the digital realm. The project presents findings from research on academics encountering online harassment through social media engagement.

Watch the animation and read more about the research project on their website.


Project Overview:

Dr Laura Clancy and fellow researchers hired me to create an animation to help share insights on academics dealing with digital hate. Our video aims to bridge academic research and public understanding, addressing the growing concerns of online harassment in the digital landscape.


Academics, journalists, policy experts, people working in policy departments of social media platforms, senior management in universities, organisational bodies like Universities UK.

Visual Approach:

Designed to align with the branding of the project, the animation features a unique hand-drawn, chalk style with dynamic textures, offering a distinct blend of motion graphics. It’s crafted to stand out on digital platforms, emphasizing the contrast between organic elements and the digital subject matter.

Software used:

This animation was produced using Adobe Photoshop to design the storyboards and illustrate the animation assets then Adobe After Effects for animation and motion design.

Research Findings Presented:

Academics are encouraged to share their research with the public, but visibility can lead to online abuse, harassment, doxing, discrimination and misrepresentation. Research respondents reported experiencing real harm, including outright abuse, threats, coordinated social media attacks, abusive mail, emails, stalking, and more.

Uneven Distribution of Risks:

Risks of visibility are unevenly distributed, exacerbating harm to already marginalised groups based on class, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, neurodivergence, or disability. These harms force people out of public debate, impacting the diversity of voices.

Institutional Challenges:

Despite universities and funding bodies requiring public engagement, our survey found little support for potential risks. When asked about institutional preparation for risks and challenges, 90% of participants said no. Similarly, 98% said institutional training did not cover dealing with backlash.

Addressing Digital Hate:

As misinformation rises online, academics sharing peer-reviewed research become valuable correctives. Our work extends to developing best practice guidelines, training, and resources. We aim to ensure press officers, research directors, and senior management take digital hate seriously and know how to support those facing harm.

Explore the Insights:

Watch the animation on and read more about the research project.

Storyboard sketches:

Storyboard sketch thumbnails

Animation in After Effects:

Animated character rig in After Effects.

What the client said

We're very happy with the animation and we've used it lots in presentations.

Dr Laura Clancy, Researcher