Consensus Online Workshops 1 and 2

Here are the writeups for our first workshops:

Charlie facilitated this one March 17 with a group of people in Boston: Mar17 Design Workshop

Eric facilitated this one March 25 with Libertalia members in Providence: Mar25 Design Workshop 

And here are some prototype designs of potential consensus tools Charlie has created based on the feedback from the workshops so far:


Structured minutes interface

Let us know what you think!

Press Pass TV workshop 1

The goal of the Workshop was to collaboratively design the website and the online tools and strategies for the Press Pass TV campaign “Respect in Reporting”. They key focus of the workshop is to collectively decide how to best leverage the website so it can create an impact amongst youth, community members and in mainstream media.

The biggest setback was that neither Cara nor anyone else from the PPtv team and youth community could participate as they had their hands full dealing with internal organizational needs.

We decided to go ahead and test the workshop on ourselves.

1. Creating Personas- Questioning Stereotypes about Youth

2. Roleplay- Enacting Interactions between website and Youth Persona

3. Mockup of Website

4. Mock up of the first page of the website

5. Live Tweeting the workshop as a possible tool for distance collaboration


Some Key Insights from Workshop

Interactions with Journalists

Friendly tone, direct, professional

Focus on the fact that they have a lot of power and hence the ability to make a change.

Fast quick solution

Have to give more information for them to be truly vested in the project

Anonymity is important

Networking is important

Alternate opportunities to get involved other than directly through their companies.


Interactions with Youth

They will ask a lot of questions

Their feelings about politics not clearly defined

Have a lot to say, forum for self-expression

Possible incentives based on virtual instant celebrity culture through websites like YouTube

Informal language

Need for strong, “cool” incentives

Next Steps

Make mock up of website that can be used at another workshop with community as the framework for designing the specific of the website.

Work with Cara to make the process more collaborative. Aim for a CoDesign workshop on community strategies.



Villa Victoria/Parcel 19-Workshop 1

On April 4th we hosted the first workshop of this project. It was awesome! I was so glad that we were able to get to this point. It was a positive and fun experience.

The day started with my going to a Mexican/Salvadorian restaurant to pick-up some pupusas for the event. Then we went to meet with the Beth and the camera crew. And finally we made our way to the community center for the social hour, where we were running the event.

We did the timeline exercise. Its not until we actually got started that I realized some members of the community can’t write, and for some storytelling is more fun. However we managed to get a few photos from Carmen who came to the event and we were able to populate the personal and Villa Victoria timelines, but nothing about Boston specific except for the period of urban renewal. As we discussed people’s history I began to appreciate the community sense that people hold so dear and the feeling of being back home in Puerto Rico. At the same time I noticed that few people really knew the dates and milestone of the making of Villa Victoria. At some point we decided to stop having individual conversations and reconvene as a large group. It was then that I reviewed the dates of the history that I was aware of:

  • 1954, Puerto Rican immigrants begin to come to the area
  • Late 1950s, early 1960s the West End is redeveloped, which served as a catalyst of organizing again urban renewal in Boston
  • Early 1960s the S. End is earmarked for urban renewal with parcel 19 in the plan for redevelopment
  • Around 1964 the community begins to meet and discuss what they will do to stay in their homes, community organizing at an area church begins which leads to the founding of the ETC (emergency tenets committee)
  • 1968 the community gets development rights for the area, but they must raise the funds to develop
  • 1974 Villa Victoria opens and people begin to move to the area

After I reviewed the basic timeline we started asking people to tell us in a large group when they moved to the Villa, what are their memories of the area, what community initiatives has they been a part of since they moved to the area, and what do they foresee for the communities future. As we did this we met people like Irma, Crecencio, and Carmen who moved to the area in the 1950s and had varying levels of involvement in the movement, which they talked about. I think a few of these individuals would be great candidates for further interviews. It would be cool if we can get the younger generation of residents to do the interviews. Hopefully this can connect the older and younger generations of the community.

Then, after we had people speak in large group with thanked everyone and called it a day for the workshop, which lasted about an hour and just in time for the next event…It just so happened that after the social hour there was a surprise birthday party planned for the CEO of IBA at the same place where we were. Luckily we were able to be a part of that and share in a unique and special community event.

We took plenty of stills and footage, but no pictures, which is why you don’t see any on this post, but we are going to post our footage so that residents can see it. Once I have that, which I hope to be before the next committee meeting on April 12, I will post the URL in the next blog.

At the end of the event the community members clapped and of the approximately 10-12 participants a few of them said they enjoyed the event, like the idea of the project, and thanked us for being there. Before we closed though I thanked them for their participation because nothing is possible without them. In fact, codesign is not possible without complete transparency and collaboration of all parties. As we start this process I am very mindful of that and hope that all involved keep to the goals of codesign so that at the end of the project we truly have something that everyone is proud of!

Also Sasha introduced me to Becky, and it’s just wonderful to have some one with codesign experience on the project. Thanks for that!


Documentary Project- 1st Committee Meeting

We met at the Villa Victoria Community Classroom on April 2nd.

The agenda for the meeting:

  • Welcome/Introductions
  • Project Description (Codesign)
  • Role of Committee
  • Governance Structure
  • Financing
  • Memorandum of Understanding
  • Programs in the Community
  • Next Steps

So far there are 4 committee members confirmed:

  • Jenny (myself)
  • Omar (IBA staff)
  • Carmen (resident)
  • Rafael (resident)

It was a great discussion where we talked about the goal of the project to be a retrospective documentary on the history of the community as retold by the community residents (young and old alike). At the same time I tried to manage expectation describing the various the project and the need for time and grants. We all agreed that the role of the committee was to function as the decision making body of the project, and that the governance structure would be through a consensus building model. Since Carmen is also a member of the IBA board she is very familiar and comfortable with the process. In order to have a complete committee we agreed that we needed a few more members to complete a 10 person team. The additional members would be- 1 more from the documentary team, 3 staff (gallery curator, youth director, and arts director), and 2 more residents (male and female).

In order to continue to move forward we agreed that we would hold another committee meeting on April 12th to have more of the members present and to review a draft MOU, provide a recap of the 1st workshop (held April 4), provide an update on the fellowship application (summer financing), and determine the schedule for future workshops (good news: we learned that IBA has some extra cameras that we could use to give to community members for the film making workshop coming soon).

We also discussed non residents that we may want to interview for the project because of their knowledge of the S. End or Villa Victoria history, such as:

  • Mario Small
  • Mel King
  • Langley Keyes
  • John Sharratt

Just a few words on the financing. Carmen asked me how much I thought the project could cost, I gave her a rough estimate of $30,000 since we have a lot of volunteers on the project, but that we would have a clearer picture if and when we can get summer financing to complete the trailer and apply for grants. We also discussed using the Center for Independent Documentary Fiscal Sponsorship support to help with the managing of project funds if and when we get them ( Omar also suggested we look into the Instituto de Cultura de Puerto Rico as another potential financing source. We will certainly have to keep our eyes and options open.

The meeting was about 1.5 hrs but it felt much shorter. The time flew by as we discussed the project, got to know each other, and planned for next steps.

Ok so that’s pretty much it on our first committee meeting :-)

Developments and Progress

This past week I publicized the infographic workshop at the HIA-PSC Service Leaders Dinner and reached out to the Tech for a second time. I am planning on running the Infographic workshop the week of May 1st after big events such as Occupy MIT’s Wake Up meeting in Killian Court and Campus Preview Weekend.

I am wondering if timing would make it more beneficial to hold the workshop before CPW, the big pre-freshman preview weekend, so that incoming freshman can get a feel for the real structure of MIT and whether they are up for the challenge of working in MIT’s Undergrad environment-scheduling - but I think it is most realistic to set the meeting for the week of the 1st. Furthermore, holding the event after the Wake Up MIT event will enable me to get bigger and more involved turnout.

After having discussions with the members of HIA and evaluating our momentum I will be focusing on the Infographic and will not be implementing the headshot campaign. This focus has led me to create a document which details some of the key findings and contradictions that come out of the all Undergraduates 2011 Survey data.

I have reached out and worked quite extensively with the Occupy MIT group. I need to re-establish links with TGBSM and the Forum along with reaching out to the Debate team and MUN in the coming week to be on task.


HIA Website Updated:

The meeting minutes page, my major focus over break includes history about the trajectory of HIA as an organization.

Hope in Action Hard Fail Reflection

I tend to be critical of my own actions so hearing the concerns and failure points brought up by members of the class was very helpful for me in making my worries concrete and therefore, manageable.

The most insightful hard fails were those that warned of the administration simply taking over the effort and using it for their sole benefit. I had never really considered that concern before so it was eye opening.

My work with admins at MIT involved in service and valuation has revealed admins to be kind hearted even if discerning. Noting that the goals of Hope in Action could be construed as a publicity stunt makes me even more dedicated to having the implementation of our mission: to increase the visibility and support for MIT students engaged in Service, Social Justice, and the local Community.


What’s new in the Villa

So here is an update on the project:

  • March 23rd I went to the Villa’s Social Friday and in a group of about 12-15 people I introduced the documentary and April 4th’s timeline workshop. I asked them to please bring pictures, videos, or tokens that are special memories of their time in the community
  • March 23rd I submitted a fellowship application to obtain funding for the project
  • March ~26th Rogelio helped me gain access to the filming material in the media studies group. We now know was is available and we are looking to determine when they will be needed.
  • April 2nd I am meeting with the community committee who will serve as the quasi board for the documentary project. It is composed of IBA staff, community residents, and myself
  • April 4th we are having our first workshop: timeline event. We will be shooting with the community as we go through the exercise of chronicling the history of villa victoria, the history of boston, and each person’s own moments that they want to share. this will allow us to start talking about the origin and direction that the community has taken
  • Next steps: determine schedule for remaining workshops, confirm that smart phone recorders are enough for first round interviews, gather archive material, and being to reach out to area historians for potential interviews

Right now I am trying to get a hold of the Director of social events so that we are all coordinated for Wednesday. I will be bringing some pupusas so that we can all break bread, enjoy each other’s company, and hopefully learn about our community in the process. Wish us luck!

Documentary Fail Hard…

After thinking about all of the ways that the project could go wrong I was left with one thought: It’s the risk that I am going to have to and am willing to take.

Of course that doesn’t mean that I am not going to attempt to address and/or solve for the various issues raised. But hey nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I split the sticky-notes into the following categories (in no particular order):

  • Film quality: reaction- I have partnered with Beth B. who is a film-maker and producer. She has committed to provide the technical expertise for the project. Also 1 have one camera man and 1 cinematographer. Beth Murphy (, who Beth B. works has shown interest in the project. These people are great resources and will help the project have professional quality.
  • Narrative issues: reaction- this is a codesign process. all participants should have a say in how they tell their story. So long as we have a clear vision and goal we will be able to work toward a narrative that explains them.
  • Community participation: reaction- Working with IBA they are allowing me to take part in community events thus facilitating community participation. However, it is important that the community feel that they can trust me and the others outside of their community to make a positive contribution to the Villa. If we can’t do that then all goodwill will be lost.
  • Disruptive participants: reaction- Strong facilitation that ensuring all people speak will be important. Some strategies for avoiding this: asking probing questions to different people to encourage dialogue, quite exercises that people have to explain afterward, speaking to disruptive individuals before/after events to ensure their interest in what other have to say. It is not an easy issue to eliminate, but one that is workable.
  • Collaboration/Codesign methodology: reaction- We will have to continually check ourselves on this point. I know once we start the workshops I will be seeking coaching from Prof. Sasha, which I will then take and teach the team. The way I see it is if we can provide useful solutions to the following questions then we will have made the project in a codesign framework: how can we continually educate the community about the project, empower the community with tools they can use after the project is completed, and how can they participate in the production itself.
  • Resources: reaction- I am currently looking for old footage. There are archives at Northeastern University. Also, at MIT through the co-lab which has some recorded interviews that I am trying to get from Lee Farrow (previous Director). As part of the project we will also be doing exercises where people can bring their home videos of the community, which will be a great resource as well.
  • Communication: reaction- I speak Spanish, so that will help some. Transparency is another component that will make this issue less of a concern.
  • Time management: reaction- Because I am getting support from IBA and industry professionals as well as creating footage in a way that the community members can participate I think I will be able to get footage. If we can get some source material that we can take and work on a trailer this summer, then continually sharing the process and the final product will keep the community engaged. Additionally, once we have the trailer we move on to the next phase of the project, which is putting the full feature together. My plan is that the trailer will help re-ignite support and provide the enthusiasm to complete the feature. Also these projects take time, but the more trust I can build with the community the stronger the support will be.
  • Schedule of workshops: reaction- Most workshops will be about 1-1.5hrs where we will be teaching storytelling, filming, and digital animation. The goal will be to use some of the funding for the film as seed money to continue to programs we introduce. Once we can schedule it through the leaders of IBA it will give me to time and my team to prepare.
  • Lack of impact: reaction- this is contingent on the final product, the distribution, and marketing. I cannot say the impact it will have at this time except that I am aiming to have a major impact on the existing dialogue of Latino immigrants in the US as positive community change agents.
  • Communication response: reaction- if the people can get something out of the process then it will still be a success. And they will be part of the entire process such that they will know what is being produced and what is the final product. In fact it I don’t think we would be able to finish the product without overall community support.