Civic Media Collaborative Design Studio 2016: Co-ops


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The Civic Media: Collaborative Design Studio (Co-Design Studio:, based at MIT and working in collaboration with partners in multiple locations, generates civic media projects that are grounded in real-world community needs. We partner with community-based organizations, and use co-design and lean startup methods for project ideation, design, prototyping, testing, launch, and stewardship. In 2016, our partners will be worker-owned cooperatives.

TL;DR: We are running a project-based course in co-design with worker coops from February to May 2016 at MIT, and we’re planning to organize a 1-3 day event (DiscoTech/hackathon/design jam with cooperatives) to take place in multiple locations in the Spring of 2016. In the future, we’d like to explore an open, distributed, parallel courses model (like More info follows; let us know if you’d like to collaborate! @schock /, or sign up for updates here: 

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What is the Co-Design Studio?

The Civic Media Co-Design Studio at MIT works to create civic media projects grounded in real-world community needs. We partner with community-based organizations and use co-design and lean startup methods for project ideation, design, prototyping, testing, launch, and stewardship.

Why Worker Cooperatives?

There’s growing interest in worker cooperatives as a powerful form of re-organizing the economy. If we’re going to ‘disrupt’ every sector with apps, why replace today’s crappy boss with another crappy boss tomorrow? Let’s disrupt the whole model and build a stronger, more democratic, more just, and more sustainable economy! “Worker cooperatives build community wealth and help make a democratic economy real,” since workers have a direct role in decision-making and a share of all profits. For more info, see and

Who are you?

The Co-Design Studio is organized by Sasha Costanza-Chock, Associate Professor of Civic Media at MIT and worker/owner at Research Action Design ( This year Evan Henshaw-Plath will work with us to share lean UX and lean startup methods. Additional resource partners may include, MIT CoLab, and more.

Who are partner organizations?

TBD. Likely candidates include cooperatives of home health aides, bicycle delivery, and gardening, among others.

What will you be doing?

  1. A course with Design teams making and launching projects

  2. A DiscoTech/hackathon/design jam

  3. (Possibly) launch a lean co-op startup incubator!

When is it happening?

We’ll kick it off in February 2016, and see how long it lasts!

Where is it?

We’ll be running a course at the MIT Media Lab. We’re hoping that others will run similar courses in parallel. We’ll also be organizing and promoting a DiscoTech/hackathon/design jam that will take place at multiple locations around the world. For updates see

What will happen to the projects you make?

They’ll be owned by the cooperatives we partner with, and also released as Free Software and Creative Commons content.

How can I get involved?

That depends on who you are and how much time/energy/resources you want to commit!

  • Join the co-design studio course during the Spring semester at MIT

  • Run your own co-design studio with worker-owned cooperatives! (We’ll provide some resource materials based on our own process that you can use or remix as you see fit, and we’ll host video check-ins for teams that are working in different locations).

  • Volunteer with one of the codesign studio design teams

  • Attend (or organize!) a DiscoTech, Hackathon, or Design Jam focused on worker-owned cooperatives (dates TBD).

  • Sponsor us!

Co-Design: Cooperatives! Preparing for the Spring 2016 Co-Design Studio.

Worker Owned Cooperative logo

Worker-Owned Cooperatives FTW!

We’re pleased to announce that in the Spring of 2016, the Co-Design Studio will be partnering with worker-owned cooperatives in low-wage sectors. We haven’t finalized partners yet, but most likely we will collaborate with cooperatives of home health aides, gardeners, and possibly a bicycle delivery coop.

Stay tuned, more soon! In the meantime, you can learn more from the U.S. Federation of Worker-Owned Cooperatives.


Bedtime Stories

Bedtime Stories
Bedtime Stories is an interactive documentary microsite that raises awareness about the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system by focusing on the detention bed quota. Introduced in 2010, the quota is a Congressional mandate that requires the incarceration of approximately 34,000 immigrants in jails and detention centers in the U.S. at any given time. The site uses animated GIFs to simulate a “bird’s eye” view of people sleeping in a detention center and highlights the personal stories of immigrants who have experienced detention through embedded text, audio and video. The viewers are then asked to take action by following the DWN social media accounts, mailing lists, and tweet to end the detention system quota.

View our site:

Username: guest
Password: stopdetention

View our Final Presentation.

View our Case Study.

Team CURE – Final Update


Team CURE is proud to announce our project, I am Not a Dot.

I Am Not a Dot is a multi-media platform where users can access not only the statistics and quantitative evidences of why the registry should be eliminated in order to reduce the recidivism rate and to protect the rights of registrants, but also the personal testimonials and stories of the registrants, their families, and other persons concerned.

Read more details in our Case Study.

Or, check out our Final Presentation.

We are also looking for a web programmer to join our team. If you are interested in, please contact notadot[at] !


Thank you for the great semester!

Susanna + Miho

UYC SMS Survey

UYC SMS Survey
A secure mobile means to gather stories from students in over-policed NYC schools

You can access our final presentation here.

Our revised case study is available here.

Posted in UYC

Introducing IPVTech Research Portal

Study and fight back Intimate Partner Violence via Technology with data!

In collaboration with the Tor Project and the Transition House, we developed a research portal for researchers (eg. advocates from the Transition House) to understand Intimate Partner Violence via Technology (IPVTech), and how device surveillance technology is involved in this process.

Besides, we also have an infographic describing the IPVTech process.

try it out
see the slides

read our case study


ACLU + The Guardian Project Final Project

This semester concludes with the development of SpideyApp: An Android-based cell tower comparator used for detecting Stingray devices.  Brought to you by a collaboration between the ACLU of Massachusetts, The Guardian Project, and MIT Media Lab students.

Project title: SpideyApp – Android-based Stingray detector.

SpideyApp user interface.

Description: An Android-based Stingray detector that uses scan differentials to detect anomalous cell towers.

SpideyApp final presentation: here.

SpideyApp case study: here (publish link).