Codesign studio 2013 is underway

The Spring 2013 Codesign Studio is underway. Inspired by the profusion of hackathons, the frame of this semester’s course is to collaboratively design an inclusive pop-up event with our community partners. We meet weekly and both enrolled students and our partners participate in each class meeting. See our syllabus and growing resource list here: http://bit.ly/codesignstudio2013.

Our goals are:

  • to work collaboratively to understand real-world civic media work and problems;
  • to think critically about the hackathon as a space for inclusive design and development;
  • to design and implement an alternative pop-up event informed by both our collaboration and our critique.

Our partners are Clodagh Drummey and Susan Fleischmann with Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) and Corina McCarthy-Fadel, Diego Perez Lacera with Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI). I have had the opportunity to work with CCTV throughout this last year, and it’s great to be working with them in the classroom context as well. DS4SI is a new ally and partner and the more familiar I become with their work, the more I realize we share in common. Our class includes students from MIT, BU, Emerson, Harvard-Kennedy and Wellesley. This semester, Federico Casalegno is instructing the studio and I am TAing together with Denise Cheng.

Both organizations introduced their work to the studio:
CCTV in their own words
DS4SI in their own words

Below are the problem statements excerpted from these introductions:
CCTV excerpt:
CCTV is a nationally recognized community media center that is the voice and vision of all Cambridge residents, businesses and organizations. CCTV provides tools and training to foster free speech and creative expression, and empowers producers and viewers to engage in local issues through media that is informative, engaging and as diverse as the community it serves.

What is a critical issue or problem that you have that we’ll explore in this class?
Citizen Journalism: CCTV has a robust citizen journalism program – neighbormedia.org. The goal is to make this resource THE go-to place for Cambridge news and information. Issues: scaling the program up, promotion! We are planning a high profile half day or day long workshop on issues in citizen journalism: citizen journalism as social justice, legal, resources & tools, etc. We hope to collaborate with the Berkman Center and the Digital Media Law Project at Harvard, and the Center for Civic Media and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT.

DS4SI excerpt:
To briefly describe the project, we will be leading ds4si’s “Making Planning Processes Public in Upham’s Corner” project. This project is focused on researching past, present and outside planning processes relevant to the Upham’s Corner area. We will also be commissioning artists to create an interactive pop-up shop exhibit that highlights the different planning processes and planners pertinent to the area.

What is a critical issue or problem that you have that we’ll explore in this class?
How to most effectively present the information we want to highlight in regards to planning processes in Uphams Corners, in a way that is immediately accessible, impactful, and interactive for the public, while using the most suitable technology available. Some current ideas include memory mapping and gentrification mapping and interactive public signage.

CCTV introduction

CCTV Partners: Susan Fleischmann, Clodagh Drummey
http://www.cctvcambridge.org/

 

Mission
CCTV is a nationally recognized community media center that is the voice and vision of all Cambridge residents, businesses and organizations. CCTV provides tools and training to foster free speech and creative expression, and empowers producers and viewers to engage in local issues through media that is informative, engaging and as diverse as the community it serves.

History and Major Programs
Since opening our doors in 1988, CCTV has been named number one in the country an unprecedented 10 times by the national Alliance for Community Media. CCTV is home to:
• Three local cable channels featuring programming produced by Cambridge residents, arts and cultural organizations and City agencies
• A dynamic, media-rich website, including the Cambridge Media Map
(cctvcambridge.org/mediamap) and the Cambridge Calendar (cambridgecalendar.org)
• Hands-on media production and technology workshops, providing access to emerging technologies and state-of-the-art media equipment
NeighborMedia: an innovative citizen journalism program offering coverage of local issues and events (neighbormedia.org)
•the Cambridge Savings Bank and Google Computer Labs: hosting classes and public drop in hours for those without access to computers and the internet
• Special outreach programs for seniors, immigrants low-income communities and non-profits
The Youth Media Program: a vibrant media arts and work experience program for underserved teens (cctvcambridge.org/youth)

What are your assets — within the organization, what are your best skills, who are your partners in the community?

In the shadow of the Boston media market, Cambridge, a city of over 100,000 residents, is not served by a daily newspaper, or by any commercial TV or radio stations. As a result, CCTV’s channels and website serve a critical role as a primary source of local information, a showcase for arts and culture and a forum for civic engagement. CCTV’s community channels reach over 35,000 homes in Cambridge that subscribe to cable television. Our website has a worldwide audience.

More than just a TV station, CCTV is a community media center where Cambridge residents and organizations create and share media about themselves and their community. After completing an extensive curriculum of media art and technology workshops, CCTV members produce thousands of hours of programming each year. Reflective of the city’s diversity, our members are predominantly lower income and vary in age and ethnicity.

CCTV also provides services to local non-profit organizations, documenting community events, hosting in studio discussions about social service programs, and producing Public Service Announcements.  CCTV’s efforts provided these organizations their only electronic link into the homes of their constituents.

Share some success stories: What do you do, what have you done and what are some current stories.
This year CCTV turns 25.  Something that was just an idea in 1988 has grown into a thriving media center that is recognized as the best of its kind in the country.   Over the years, CCTV has become a national model for utilizing new technologies to build community.

In 2011, to further expand our programs and services and better respond to the needs of the Cambridge community, CCTV relocated to a larger facility in Central Square.  CCTV’s new home is the place in our city where the best of community meets the latest in technology; an incubator where residents and organizations are at the controls, utilizing cutting edge media and technology to strengthen the fabric of our city.

In 2012, more than 650 individuals, organizations and businesses utilized CCTV’s services in our new facility.

We launched a collaboration with Google called Age Engage which engaged 65 seniors in one-to-one Internet training. Mary, a participant, explained,  ”I like the one-to-one approach of the program for meeting me at my skill level and dealing with specific issues. It is the most useful adult education I’ve ever had.”

The Youth Media Program served more teens than ever– a diverse group of 45 young people.  One teen spoke of the program:  “The Youth Media Program is a good program because it teaches youth in Cambridge how to use media to express your feelings, and to get a point across that you want people to know about.”

We also provided more than 75 non-profit organizations technology training and production services. In 2013, we launched the Non-Profit Resource Center, which will offer more, specialized training and production serves geared to meet the needs of community organizations.

What is a critical issue or problem that you have that we’ll explore in this class?

Citizen Journalism: CCTV has a robust citizen journalism program – neighbormedia.org. The goal is to make this resource THE go-to place for Cambridge news and information. Issues: scaling the program up, promotion! We are planning a high profile half day or day long workshop on issues in citizen journalism: citizen journalism as social justice, legal, resources & tools, etc. We hope to collaborate with the Berkman Center and the Digital Media Law Project at Harvard, and the Center for Civic Media and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT.

DS4SI introduction

from: http://ds4si.org/mobile-rd-labs/

DS4SI Partners: Corina McCarthy-Fadel, Diego Perez Lacera
Project:  Making Planning Processes Public in Upham’s Corner
http://ds4si.org/

Description of the organization
Design Studio for Social Intervention, ds4si, is an artistic research and development outfit for the improvement of civil society and everyday life. We are situated at the intersections of design thinking and practice, social justice and activism, public art and social practice and civic / popular engagement. We design and test social interventions with and on behalf of marginalized populations, controversies and ways of life. For us, social interventions are actions taken to reconfigure social habits, unspoken agreements or arrangements that, prior to the intervention, add to the durability and normalcy of a social problem. We focus on social interventions because we believe they can affect both formal hierarchical systems like school systems and complex nonlinear systems like cultures.

To briefly describe the project, we will be leading ds4si’s “Making Planning Processes Public in Upham’s Corner” project. This project is focused on researching past, present and outside planning processes relevant to the Upham’s Corner area. We will also be commissioning artists to create an interactive pop-up shop exhibit that highlights the different planning processes and planners pertinent to the area.

What are your assets — within the organization, what are your best skills, who are your partners in the community?

Some of our assets within the organization include our methodology, which allows for creative and experimental ways to tackle social problems without relying on or ignoring existing methods. Our space is a place of convergence for artists, activists, academics, and organizers to think and create collectively. One of our strongest skills is that, when tackling new problems we do so in a non-linear fashion, which pushes us to examine the multiplicity of factors that may affect a situation. Our partners include the following: The City School, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Uphams Corner Main Street, The Food Project, ArtPlace, Boston Youth Organizing Project, Gallery Basquiat, Etc. For further information please visit http://ds4si.org/storage/ds4si_whatwedo.pdf

Share some success stories: What do you do, what have you done and what are some current stories ? Past successes include:

THE PUBLIC KITCHEN
http://ds4si.org/public-kitchen/
The Public Kitchen is a creative R & D project aimed at problematizing the current degradation (and subsequent privatization) of all things public—schools, parks, water,
hospitals, etc. Going in the opposite direction, the Public Kitchen will raise awareness of how making things public can increase access to affordable healthy foods and vibrant social communities. For activists taking on food justice issues, it also provides both a demonstration of a unique intervention and valuable data about what people desire in food and sociality.

FLIP IT
http://ds4si.org/lets-flip-it
When Boston youth organizers wanted help taking on the social violence that was sweeping their communities and causing a spike in youth murders, we worked with them to design the “Let’s Flip It” campaign. Based on a deep exploration of the Five S’s, LFI took the symbol of the fitted cap (used by many youth to rep their blocks and therefore the cause of much friction between gangs and crews), and created a youth-to-youth campaign using a blank white fitted.
Combined with logo pins and flyers, LFI aimed to address the problem at the scale of the city, creating a direct way for youth to communicate with each other that it was time to “flip Boston”, to stop repping their blocks and start repping living.

What is a critical issue or problem that you have that we’ll explore in this class?

How to most effectively present the information we want to highlight in regards to planning processes in Uphams Corners, in a way that is immediately accessible, impactful, and interactive for the public, while using the most suitable technology available. Some current ideas include memory mapping and gentrification mapping and interactive public signage.