Week 11: Colin Raney (IDEO) and a workshop with Anjum Asharia (Rev-)

In class this week, we had 2 guests: Colin Raney, the Managing Director of IDEO’s Massachusetts office and Anjum Asharia, Program Director with Rev- and member of the Rev-/BIC project team.

Colin Raney, Managing Director of IDEO’s Massachusetts Office:
IDEO is a design firm that works on a wide range of design problems from brand development, to product design, to process design.  Colin spoke to us about some projects that IDEO has worked on and how they apply “human-centered design thinking” to their work, attempting to understand and find “empathy” with people who are part of the design challenges they are addressing.

He feels that IDEO practices codesign, but doesn’t talk about it. He said, “Clients hire us for outcomes and impact, so they speak about their products and not as much about their processes.”  He’s particularly interested in codesign, however and in methods that ask questions of designers.  Design thinking, he says, suggests that anyone can be a designer; codesign also suggests this, and requires that members of a design process facilitate one another to be designers.

For live notes from Colin’s talk, check out our class notes: http://brownbag.me:9001/p/codesign13-Week11

Design Workshop with Anjum Asharia - Character Design and Media Making for the Claro Que Si hotline project
Anjum Asharia is a Program Director with Rev- and has joined our class this term as a project partner in the Rev-/BIC team.   Anjum led us through a workshop during class to become more familiar with the work of this project team and to engage us as participants in their design process and media making.

The team is developing a hotline based on New Day New Standard, produced by Rev- and DWU to serve as an information hotline for nannies and employers to learn about the labor rights that are a part of the 2010 New York Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.

Anjum walked us through calling New Day New Standard, (646) 699-3989.  We each called from our own phones to experience the hotline as a caller and shared our thoughts about what we liked, what we didn’t like, and what is difficult to understand:

Some of our feedback:
what we liked: content
 is simple; quick to go from place to place; thought that the episode would be exciting; the main narrator, Christine’s voice and energy;

what we didn’t like: 
long quiet gap between choosing episode and hearing; 
doubted that the episode would be exciting; was good because we’re in a quiet place, walking through a city would be hard; would be useful if there were shortcodes to listen to episodes and bypass the menu;

what is confusing: a little confusing to have the pieces be called episodes but be about topics;

 

We spoke about the importance of the characters in New Day New Standard and then did a design exercise to imagine what the character for the BIC project, “Clara Que Si” might be like, taking 5 minutes to work independently, drawing a portrait of Clara and writing out what her age is, what she says, and what she sounds like.

The team will use these drawings and ideas to develop the script and character further.

Our final activity together was to contribute to the making of some of the content for the hotline!  Anjum introduced the story that we were contributing to.  The story is about bedbugs and she would record us as we made the sounds of bedbugs at a party.  Some of us made sounds of bedbugs whistling, others shouting excitedly, and others, eating.

*nom nom*

Week 7 Class at Urbano Project, JP

Click to see the Codesign Studio Class Syllabus: Week 7: Appropriation, Innovation, Bricolage, Design?

This week, we met at Urbano Project (http://www.urbanoproject.org/) in Jamaica Plain. Urbano occupies a large space separated into 2 parts, and when we arrive, there is a group of students working in the back classroom area and our class gathers in the front gallery space.  Stella, the Executive Director of the Urbano Project introduces the organization and Urbano staff describe the work displayedi n the gallery.

Risa spoke about the Narratives of Exclusion.  This is a series visualizing data around issues of equity and transportation.  At the time, there was public conversation about the 28 bus route that runs between Ruggles and Mattapan and research that revealed that communities of color spend 66% more time waiting for transit than other groups.  (See this article for more info about race-based transit inequity in Boston: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/massachusetts/2012/11/25/wide-racial-gap-exists-speed-boston-area-commutes/utDAVcJ9B6QUALUidI9DGL/story.html).

Working in pairs, groups chose statistics that resonated with them and selected materials, mostly repurposed found objects, to represent the data.  Risa talks about the projects as wearable data visualizations.  On display were a head piece, a shirt for 2, bracelet-like arm decorations, and a cape.

One piece, a shirt made from 2 shirts with silver, blue and yellow whistles attached, is a representation of the types of crime that are reported as occuring on MBTA trains.  Based on a pie chart from an annual MBTA crime report, the group created this wearable data visualization with silver whistles representing the most commonly reported crimes, non-payment of fare.  The blue whistles are related to stealing; the yellow whistles are a larger miscellaneous category – which includes violent crimes like rape.

While working on this project, the group reached out to the MBTA and met with them. They had a series of discussions with the planning department of the MBTA to understand how these issues were being addressed and their future plans. MBTA employees came to their exhibition and publicly acknowledged their work.

The youth went to Wake up the Earth (a celebration of the South-West corrdor) - a site of successful community organizing where the city had planned to build a freeway through what is now the south-west corridor. Through neighborhood organizing, plans were changed and community resources were built including parks.  It was an important moment for the group. They realized the impact of their project in the real world – imagine 600 whistles banging together and shining in the sun.

Check out Urbano’s Project Page and these video links to learn more about Urbano’s work:

Workshop:: Video Interviews

The Urbano students joined us and we broke into small groups of about 6. The Urbano students guided us in interviewing one another using questions they had prepared.  We filmed one another using our mobile phones and shared the videos with the Urbano Project.

Urbano_filming

In our group, we choose a few questions from the list:

  • What’s an interesting setting for a dream?
  • What is a common theme for your dreams?
  • If you could invent anything, without any rules or limitations, what would it be?
  • What’s an important social justice issue for you; what would the world look like if that were not a problem?

Assemblage and Bricolage

After interviewing each other, we gathered in the classroom area and Eve Ewing, Program and Communication Manager at Urbano led us through a lesson on Assemblage and Bricolage including a hands-on activity to introduce us to the artistic process that Urbano uses.

Eve introduces appropriation as creative re-negotiation and bricolage as tinkering, learning by doing.  In the visual arts, appropriation is adopting or recontextualizing existing objects, texts, or images as art without significantly modifying them. Bricolage is creating work with whatever you happen to have on hand, especially everyday objects and unwanted items.  Assemblage is a kind of art where you are combining objects.  Eve shows examples of appropriation and bricolage.

Some examples of appropriation:

- Duchamp, Fountain (1917), left – when you take a urinal and recontextualize it, it becomes something else

- Sherrie Levine’s “Fountain” (1991), right — a urinal cast in gold;

- Sherrie Levine “After Walker Evans: 4″ (1981) – took a catalog of Walker Evans’ images and photographed his images from a catalog; the estate of Walker Evans purchased all of the pieces in this series. (http://www.afterwalkerevans.com/)

Some example of bricolage – making these from whatever is handy

- Mark Bradford, “Strawberry” (2002). He’s from LA and his mom runs a beauty salon – he collected the neon posters he found around him and turned it into this piece. It’s a comment on the area he lived in; ‘strawberry’ is a slang term for a crack addict.

Urbano uses appropriation and bricolage – create working that involved boundary crossing and risk-taking. These techniques are about crossing the boundaries. We look to blur the distinction between what is art and what is an artist and what is art and what is every day life. Peace Line (2013) is an appropriated piece we made this summer.<

Hands-On with Urbano’s Artistic Process:

We’re doing an activity inspired by Erwin Wurm’s “One Minute Sculptures” in which he placed a person in a position with a set of object for 60 seconds.

- Two example of Erwin Wurm’s 1-min Sculptures. Images originally located at: http://publicdelivery.org/

We’re using 2 materials. One is the object you always have — your body; and the other type is objects we find in the studio.  We see examples appropriating other people’s bodies and using them in bricolage.

Instructions:

- Find a partner.  Decide who is going to be the sculptor and who will be the sculpture.

- Use items in the gallery to create a sculpture; try to defamiliarize yourself with the body and the object. Look anew at both.

- Create one iteration, step back, and adjust. Continue tinkering until you’re satisfied.

urbano_1min01 urbano_1min02

We give feedback using the Ladder of Feedback (David Perkins):

1. Clarify: ask questions of clarification about the work<

2. Value: Comment on the strengths of the work

3. Concerns: commend on your concerns about the work

4. Suggest: Make suggestions for improving the work

a way to talk about work in progress in a way that is generative;

It was a great class.  Thanks to Urbano for hosting us and leading the lessons for the day. We’ll be using the Ladder of Feedback method in the future!

Value-Driven Design, a workshop!

link to the hackpad version of this post

When you are designing a project for social justice, where do you start?

In this workshop, we practice value-based design, a method that helps us to design for large scale social impact and to relate this directly to how we plan and implement projects. We envision the impacts we’d like to contribute to in the world and the values we bring with us into our work as the first steps in this design process. As individuals, this method helps us to express our connection to our projects on a personal level and to prevent burnout as we are able to identify work that resonates with our values and to set aside work that doesn’t. As a team, this method helps us to identify shared values and to make design decisions based on our shared vision instead of personal preferences.

At the last Codesign Studio, Bex and Willow took the class through an hour-long workshop to identify our individual values and to design our projects and approach around shared values.

This workshop is inspired by Monica Sharma’s work in transformational leadership for large scale system shift. In this article, she describes the framework of the methods she shares for this kind of work. Connecting with our personal values and designing based on values is a key component. [Sharma, Monica. "Contemporary Leaders of Courage and Compassion: Competencies and Inner Capacities." Kosmos Summer 2012.]

Individual Values


Purpose
Uncovering our core values gives us better understanding of our own purpose and desire in the world. Doing this exercise with teammates is a great way to connect to each other’s inspiration.

Process
(3 min) Select one person in the room to work these questions with:

Share something you’ve worked on that you had some role in designing.

Ask the following questions:

  • What did you envision as success for that project? Often people will dissemble, and say it wasn’t a success. People will also commonly talk about the activities of the project, things they did, instead of what the vision was of the project. So:
  • Ask them to imagine that it WAS a success. What is happening in the world then? How are people living? What is the quality of life?
  • Drill to one word. That’s the value you were working from. The value you represent. The word should not be an action or process (manifestation, collaboration, interaction, etc), but what people feel like if they can act or work in that way (joy, justice, inclusion, health, etc).

(12 min) Now, break into pairs. If there are project teams in the room, ask people to work with someone in the same team and ask each other the questions above.

(at 6 min) Remind people to switch

Reportback
Have each person say their value when you reconvene. If you can, write these somewhere that will be visible for your team as you continue to work together.

Value-Based Design


Purpose
Designing a project with the larger purpose in mind helps to think big and understand that your actions connect to your visions of social justice. It also helps your team to recognize shared values, a great starting place for connecting when you have to make difficult design decisions.

Overview (5 minutes)
In this method, we design with our teams first by developing shared understanding of the impacts we want to see as a result of the work we do together. These will be large-scale and will likely relate to values we identified in the Individual Values exercise. In this exercise, Impacts, longterm sustained state change.

Because we can’t implement impacts directly, we continue to design our work into pieces of work that we can implement. We divide these pieces into three categories: Inputs, Outputs, and Outcomes.

Process
Share the above graphic.

Go through an example, here is an example of how we might have used this methodology in developing Codesign:

Ask what desired impacts of Codesign are:

  • Impacts – sustained state change. – What do you think the intended impacts of codesign as a method are? Empowered and equal engagement.

Ask what some inputs, outputs and outcomes are of Codesign:

  • Outputs – collaborative workshops
  • Inputs – YOU! Partners, us, this room, MOUs, etc
  • Outcomes – A change, but requires continued effort to maintain – Such as social relationships, people try it and don’t keep it up

We tend to fill these three categories with information in a nonlinear way — recognizing an Output may surface desired Outcomes and Inputs. Broadly, we design right to left and implement left to right.

Project Design (25 min)
Now practice the value-based design methodology with project with your team. If you are at an early stage in your work together and you haven’t yet identified or selected a project you will work on, you can begin by taking the various partner’s organizational values into consideration. Broadly, what are the impacts that your team’s members envision?

Before completing the exercise, have each group fill in at least 2 points under each section.

Wrap It Up
Reportback (15 min)
Ask people to share their process. Try using the Green/Yellow/Red method and ask each group to share one Green – a thing that was easy or clear; Yellow – one thing that was challenging or that they learned something from; and Red – something that was difficult or a block.

If the teams went to different parts of the room, have everyone tour around. Document the work of each group.

Civic Media Codesign Studio: Project Partner Pitches

Today the potential project partners for the fall 2013 civic media: collaborative design studio came by to present a little bit about the work they do and the possible projects they’d like to team up on. Here’s a summary of the presentations – you can see that they are all doing incredible work, and we’re very excited to have the chance to collaborate with them.

Continue reading

Reflections on the Spring 2013 Codesign Studio

The Codesign Studio concluded on Tues May 14. This year we had 8 enrolled students, a mix of graduate and undergraduate students from around the institute, from Computer Science, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Mechanical Engineering and from other universities — Boston University, Harvard’s Kennedy School, and Wellesley. Our partners were Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) and Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI).

MPPP_poster-flyer_web-231x300

This is the second time I’ve TA’d this class. The following are some observations from the courses in 2012 and 2013 and how these are helping us to reflect and iterate on the structure of the course and how these iterations played out in the most recent term. In Spring 2012, Sasha Costanza Chock was instructor. You can see the 2012 syllabus here: http://brownbag.me:9001/p/codesignstudio. In that class, students worked individually and in small groups with community partners to collaboratively design media and communication projects and the syllabus was a mix of theoretical grounding at the intersection of collaborative design and social justice and hands-on codesign: http://codesign.mit.edu/projects/. Most class meetings were split between discussion of readings to provide theoretical and historical context and hands-on activities facilitated by project groups. In Spring 2013, with Federico Casalegno as the lead instructor and Denise Cheng and myself as TAs, the class worked in 2 groups. In early classes, the class developed an understanding of codesign through investigating existing work and becoming familiar with their partners’ work. This semester, our partners joined us during class meetings and for most of the semester, class meetings began with group updates and were followed by separate group work. You can see the syllabus here: http://bit.ly/codesignstudio2013.

Some of the changes to the structure of the course were made in response to observations about the 2012 course. The goal in making these changes was to create container in which students and partners were able to practice design together and to focus on the projects more than the project development.

cambridge-responds

Observation: Building partnerships and to specifying projects takes time
Adjustment: Create project partnerships and identify problems in advance of the beginning of the term

In 2012 students were responsible for forming a partnership with a community partner and identifying a problem or project to work on together. These steps took more time for some groups which meant less time for experimenting and implementing. In order to remove these initial steps so that groups could begin the course instead with developing their working relationships and designing and iterating, we initiated the partnerships and identified problems together before the start of the class.

In December and January, I spoke with a number of potential partners for the course. At the start of the term, we had 3 partners prepared to join the class and I had spoken to an additional two. One of our partners, a student organizing group, was unable to join as we began the term because the people who would have joined our class had classes of their own at the same time.

Of the potential partners I spoke with with whom we did not partner for the class, joining the meeting time weekly was a limitation. Some of these groups are volunteer committees and both making the time to join the class and agreeing on a problem of high priority to address through the class were challenges.

Even with partnerships and problem definitions in place, groups evolve as the term continues developing intragroup working relationships and clarifying project aims as they iterate.

Observation: Class time was separate from group working time, creating separation between conceptual learning and practice
Adjustment: To create one shared space for the processes of learning and practicing codesign, we invited partners to join the class during class time

Feedback at the end of the term from partners was that this format allowed for weekly meeting times that were productive, but that the time commitment was challenging some weeks. It also meant that the groups had enough time to communicate and work together.

Each group included 2 individuals from the partner organizations and as the term continued, the individuals alternated attending class so there was one member present for each class meeting. This seemed to work fine and split the time between 2 people.

Holding the class meetings as a space for both enrolled students and partners did create formal space for inclusion of additional voices in decision making. After the midterm, both groups met with more members of their partner groups. From the midterm discussion, it was clear to the CCTV group that the journalists were a key part of increasing the visibility of the NeighborMedia program. The CCTV group met with NeighborMedia journalists continuously for the remainder of the course. The DS4SI group included the 2 directors of DS4SI in the class immediately following the midterm review and had a clarifying discussion, confirming some design choices and laying out open needs and questions.

One element lost from engaging during class meeting times with project teams was that teams were not explicitly required to meet together in one another’s spaces. In future courses, we should suggest or require that groups work early and throughout the course in the partners’ spaces some weeks and in the campus meeting space other weeks. This will help the group to ground their suggestions and plans in understanding of the partner’s operating environment.

Observation: Concluding projects is difficult
Adjustment: We identified problems and projects with a clear end date, designed for a specific event

In the 2012 class and in our work at the Center more broadly, defining an end-point for an engagement can be difficult. If the work we are doing requires maintenance over time or ongoing administration and management — who will do that work? If the work we are doing together is iterating on existing services and campaigns, how do you decide when the final iteration is? To help ease defining the how the engagements for the 2013 class would end, projects, we defined this with our partners before the class began.

Reflecting on the popularity of hackathons, day to weeklong design and development sessions, we thought about designing the course as a critique of hackathons with a focus on collaboratiavely creating an inclusive design event. In the end, our projects were developed for a specific event, but were not framed as hackathons.

We addressed this when we developed problem statements with our partners. With CCTV, our problem was how to increase the visibility of the NeighborMedia program in time for the 5 year Anniversary event; with DS4SI, our problem was how to make planning processes public as a component of the Making Planning Processes Public event.

New observations from this term
Our midterm review period was a moment that catalyzed collaboration in new ways because it required the groups to share proposed designs and to reflect on how their designs and aligned with the needs and interests of the partners. As a result, both groups met the following week with additional people from their partner organizations to have conversations that generated ideas more consistent with their partners’ needs and vision. I think we can actively create this kind of catalytic moment earlier in the semester by doing early sketch reviews or perhaps just by making this review earlier in the term.

Both teams were very multidisciplinary and the resulting work was an expression of their myriad skills and talents. This class has drawn students from MIT and elsewhere who are developing skills in wide ranging fields. This has led to rich projects in both semesters and is something we should continue to welcome.

Enroll in the Fall 2013 Codesign Course!

We’ll hold this class again in the Fall 2013 semester listed as CMS.362/.862, Tues 7-10pm E15-363. Sasha Costanza Chock will again be the Instructor for the course and I’ll TA. We’ll be working on the design of the course this summer. Please consider signing up or getting in touch if you’re interested!

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.