Tor and Transition House

Surveillance, how it pertains to us personally if you’re in a relationship.

These notes were co-taken in class, and I think they were awesome enough to merit posting to the class blog.

Speakers

- Sarah Cortes – a board member of Transition House, Tor researcher,  and a PhD candidate working on anonymous  networks.

- Andrew Lewman – a board member and executive director of the Tor Project, domestic violence advocate

Background Reading

Coercive control – 18 page summary

Tone and Terms

Domestic Violence. Violence is not the identifying factor of the problem. More of a myth and misconception that prevents people from understanding the underlying issue. Now it’s intimate partner abuse. Domestic is family – could be among many family members. Intimate partner abuse is just between intimate partners. Abuse means not just physical but also emotional, psychological, financial abuse, children. Many forms. Important to understand the terms we use.

Surveillance of government and partner abuse. Same concepts apply to both situations. One of the concepts in intimate partner abuse in the Western world is that intimate abuse is about a desire for control, due to an attitude of entitlement. Power and control. Similarly, a government’s surveillance is out of a desire for control and an a feeling of entitlement over citizens.

Entitlement

Entitlement in different societies, what are things you’re familiar with?

  • Class systems in cultures are based on cultures of entitlement
    • The US supposedly has no class system. But we do, we just don’t talk about it. What are these based on? Money and power. Point oh oh one percent is the concentration of wealth and power. Entitlement and the class system are about being sorted by wealth. Different entitlements and things.
    • Ethnicity and Caste. – Sri Lanka. We say we don’t have a caste-based system, but it feeds into how our class-based system are caste-based. Some are “more equal than others.”
  • Entities as … this is being drawn.

In intimate partner relationships.

If you think of them as their relative worth and needs and wants; if you think they have same relative worth and equal representation of needs and wants. In an abusive relationship, abusers feel their needs and wants and relative worth as significantly more prominent than their partner.

Abusers are people who have an attitude of entitlement over their partners.  We see this same entitlement in class based systems, for example, the US class system.

We tend to magnify the opinions of wealthy people and denigrate the opinions of less wealthy.

In companies – there are different cultures. Entitlement is based on performance or different classes of people depending on a hierarchy.

In Japan, another example is seniority.

In England or the UK – they have a class-based system based on nobility and a peasant class.

Another concept that is important to understand is a lot of misconceptions.

That abuse is caused by alcoholism, drugs, that people who commit physical violence belong to a different category of abusers. That’s not actually true. One concept of abusers is that there is a continuum of abuse. There is a continuum of abuse – physical abuse on the far end and sexual abuse on the other with emotional, financial to academic, etc.

Continuum of Abuse

Abusers feel the need to exercise control over their abusers. They employ tactics, whatever works. Typically, they start out with a small tactic, and eventually destroy the self-esteem of the group who is being oppressed. Initially the person who is being abused doesn’t understand what is happening. In most situations, eventually, the victim will start to fight back. At that point, the abuser will step up to a new strategy, abusing children, financial abuse.

Eventually, a cycle ensues in which the victim steps up and fights back until the abuser is committing physical and sexual violence.

Often we see there is a pattern of abuse and other people, neighbors, bystanders will have noticed.

Let’s turn to governments and surveillance. The same value system will apply — certain groups are targeted nad denigrated.

Certain groups are denigrated and entitled groups feel entitled to surveillance. Surveillance starts out small but then takes smaller steps to include more groups.

Nushelle: If you have a system with a very vocal civil society – what happens?

We say we’re in a state of undemocratic democracy. (didn’t hear the rest…). If people fight back, step up, where there be higher levels of surveillance?

Manipulation and Excuse Making

Abusers in all forms make use of both of these

- 1945 (corporate interests, those who wanted to be reelected)

Civilians heard a different story: American fighting for democrac

Vietnam War, gulf of Tonkin Incident: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Tonkin_incident

Naval vessels came under attack from the North Vietnamese (FOIA reports later found that the second supposed attack, evidence was completely fabricated) to incite the public to support the war effort, escalating incidents but aren’t immediately clear. The idea is to divert people’s attention from what is really going on.

What is the cure/remedy

Due to attitudes and beliefs (women have less value, have certain characteristics), there is a belief then that that power and control has to be exercised over them, that other people have to continually to keep them under control.

The antidote is to change attitudes. courts started to

When governments perform surveillance – no one considers that it’s due to drug abuse or mental illness. It’s about belief in the inequality of those citizens.

Question and Answer

Question for those who have worked in domestic abuse in the past, is this type of training the same type of information you were given before? Or in sex ed class?

  •  A: Yes, we did talk about Imbalances of power, and attitudes and beliefs.
  • A: Ideas deal with breaking cycles of abuse?

Q: What happens when people step up to new levels?

  • A: If there’s no change in the attitude of entitlement, than abusers will continue to step up their tactics which is why abuse sometimes end in murder. It’s the ultimate expression of control over another.

In governments we find a continual escalation. Eventually this sometimes leads to abused communities fighting back. But the abuser can never accept that the victim is actually being victimized. The response is seen as an encroachment on their own entitlement. The response is seen as an attack. So whether it’s governments, or abusive partners, it will continue sadly to escalate if it’s not checked.

How does this apply to this class?

In the same way we see things such as physical abuse more noticeable as emotional and psychological abuse, we see an act of physical violence as a tangible line which we can respond. In the same way, with surveillance it has been a slow escalation but now there are new revelations about the extent of surveillance.

U.S. has different capabilities. US has been swallowing not only metadata but all phone comms; with potential to do so in 6-7 countries.  MYSTIC, revealed today in the Washington Post, from Edward Snowden’s leaked documents: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-surveillance-program-reaches-into-the-past-to-retrieve-replay-phone-calls/2014/03/18/226d2646-ade9-11e3-a49e-76adc9210f19_story.html

Do we all believe that the US is collecting metadata on all communications in one country?

People think it’s possible but not sure it’s happening. Afghanistan, Pakistan are listed as possibilities.

But this news is met with ho-hum because people don’t see how it applies to them.

On slowly boiling frogs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog

Passing around book: Why Do They Kill

http://www.amazon.com/Why-Do-They-Kill-Intimate/dp/082651569X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395269311&sr=8-1&keywords=why+do+they+kill

Where Does This Start?

Victims have no characteristics in common.

Targets of government system are pretty overt from race to class

Blaming the victim applies both to domestic abuse, and state surveillance: people assume ’they must have done something wrong.’

Children of abusers -  you learn power and control from watching the dynamics of your parents, foster care, schooling, whatever, where there is a vast power dynamic between you and the people in your life. Origin of the attitude of entitlement.

Research has found this: children feel pity and sorrow for the victim, but side with the abuser because that’s who has the power and can take on the attitudes of that.

Father to son characteristics. If the father is an abuser – the son is more likely to be an abuser. If the whole society doesn’t respect women, you don’t need this direct tie.

What if both parties want power? Same sex relationships have the same incidence of abuse – so it’s not just men who have a desire for control.

Cambridge is interesting because it’s where the oldest houses are. And the oldest intervention program.

It was called the Batterer Intervention Program.

Why should we stop cyber stalking and immediate manifestation if you don’t attack the fundamental underlying reasons for it. Research that helps victims understand why their stalkers know where they are at all times rather than seeing them as an all powerful person.

Men will often select women because of their apparent inability to respond. So tech savvy male abusers are likely to capitalize on our society’s inclination towards women not being tech savvy. The abused often see their abusers as all-powerful. So teaching them about tech teaches them that they’re not all-powerful.

This is the same premise as why DiscoTechs are powerful and useful.

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*

Class Week 10: CoLab and project presentations

This week Dayna Cunningham, Executive Director of MIT CoLab, came to speak to the class about the group’s work and 25-year history.

Among several examples, she described how CoLab is supporting waste pickers living on islands off Nicaragua to improve their economic prospects and explained the Shared Wealth project in the Bronx.

Dayna explained that the organization’s goal – and that of Participatory Action Research – is to identify problems collaboratively. It has an explicit social justice orientation: to change the world, make it better and to improve democracy. As groups of citizens are identifying important problems and figuring out how to address them, the mission of groups like CoLab is to support them.

That’s not the same as consensus building. Dayna said CoLab’s approach is an alternative to Habermas’ idea that it’s possible to create a set of rules and processes that produce authentic agreement.

“That’s a noble ideal, but my perspective is that democracy is never finished and it’s necessary to constantly interrogate contradictions, appearances of agreement where disagreement exists.”

“Democracy is not about stabilizing in a place where we’re all happy.  It’s about having conversations that surface disagreements and moving in a productive, generative way forward from problem identification,” she said.

You can read the live notes of Dayna’s talk here.

In the second half of the class the groups gave their mid-term project presentations:

City Life / Vida Urbana

Week 8 Class at City Life/Vida Urbana

CityLife2

CLVU organizer handing a bank tenant association member the sword to fight her foreclosure.

CityLife

Marshall Cooper shows a poster he used at a recent protest.

CityLife1

A new member shares her story for the first time at CLVU.

We had an amazing class at City Life/ Vida Urbana in which we were able to participate in a portion of the organization’s weekly Boston Bank Tenant Association meeting.  This meeting is open to anyone who is facing foreclosure or eviction or anyone who is supportive of those who are and wants to help with the cause. At the meeting, CLVU organizers discussed with members and new participants next steps for specific cases and appropriate advocacy strategies, which combines direct action and public pressure on the banks (the Sword) and legal defense and advocacy (the Shield).

Halfway through the meeting, our class met separately with two bank tenant association members: Marshall Cooper and Ken Tilton, who generously shared their stories with us. We were touched by how Marshall, Ken, and City Life welcomed our class into their space and treated us as part of the organization.  Reflecting on the experience, students later explained what struck them about it:

  • Moving stories of people’s experience at CLVU
  • The power of collective intake
  • Creative methods for generating and sharing ideas
  • The ability of the organization to draw out vulnerabilities and build a supportive group environment
  • The facilitation skills of CLVU organizers and their ability to manage such an emotionally-charged space

Photos by Sofia Campos

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!

Co-designing civic media – lessons from Scratch

At this week’s class our guest was Ricarose Roque from Lifelong Kindergarten, a Media Lab group that led the development of Scratch, a visual programing tool aimed at children and young people.

Screenshot 2013-10-11 18.46.03

(A platform game called Marshall created in Scratch by WithOnions)

The Scratch Community has created more than 3 million projects since it began in 2003, and has spread to 150 countries, in 40 languages. It’s an incredible story of successful co-design built on a collaboration between educators, designers, engineers, parents and children. A key part of the Scratch practice is the family workshops the team run. Ricarose began by explaining three steps around which every workshop is built.

We start with a meal. “We eat. For parents who are really busy, this does double duty and it’s also a way to connect and relax.”
We Make. “We encourage parents and children to work together and take on different roles. Children are often unafraid, whereas parents are more hesitant.”
We Share. “It’s a chance to talk about what we’ve done and talk about process.”

While the workshop process is an exercise in codesign – parents and children often create games together – the design of Scratch itself is also an example of a long-term, multi-partner co-design process. Ricarose explained that the team worked with coordinators and community leaders to think about what the project’s goals are. She showed a whiteboard brainstorm about what participants understand as ‘signs of learning’ and ‘signs of teaching’, which was useful in making explicit what the community cares about and is aiming towards.

Ricarose said that the Scratch team’s collaborative process has changed a lot in the ten years the project has been active. Recently they implemented checkins for participants during and after workshops, an acknowledgement that the process of learning and development “doesn’t really end.”

You can read the liveblog of Ricarose’s conversation with the group here.

Later the group discussed an article by Josh Breitbart on the building of community mesh WiFi networks in Detroit. Sasha shared the Discotech Zines from the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition’s Discovering Technology group. The group focused on setting up intergenerational spaces where people could learn about technology regardless of their current skill and comfort level. DiscoTech is thinking broadly about what digital media literacies look like, not just coding, hardware, but across the intersections of culture and making and media.  The Zines acted as reportbacks from the community focused events, including how-to guides on organizing DiscoTech events and lessons people learned in doing that work.

In the second half of the class, the four working groups reflected on the MOUs they submitted this week, and are now working towards the first draft of their project proposals. Look out for those on the site early next week!

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.

Week 4 in Codesign Studio: Project Updates and Values

IMG_1644

A student from the Zumix team in Codesign studio participates in a values-driven brainstorm workshop.

Project Updates

This week all the student teams visited their community partners.  We spent the first half of class sharing updates and providing feedback about the four collaborative project: Zumix, the Urbano Project, REV/ The Brazilian Immigrants Center (BIC), and City Life / Vida Urbana.

  • The Zumix team is designing a brainstorm session for their project with young DJs in East Boston.
  • The Urbano Project team will continue to discuss how they can extend the organization’s theme “Emancipated City” to a larger audience in Boston through an interactive medium.
  • The REV/BIC team is building a phone system using VOIP Drupal that will explain domestic worker rights to those who call into the platform.
  • The City Life / Vida Urbana team aims to overturn the dominant narrative that states the foreclosure crisis is over, and demonstrate that people are still losing their homes.

Continue reading

James Rojas and team designations

Guest Speaker

Place It! founder James Rojas worked with the studio on codesign around cities and municipalities. He explained that one of the biggest challenges with urban planning is people and planners speaking different languages. How can planners understand people on their own terms? How do you communicate ideas in public meetings? What are alternative spaces for sharing ideas and working with people? Starting those conversations nonverbally allows participants to move beyond language barriers, perceptions of expertise, and their own cognitive blocks.

Review of Readings

Postcolonial computing: a lens on design and development. In Proceedings of the 28th international conference on Human factors in computing systems
“Codesign in a historical context”
“A software design manifesto”
“Human Centered Design Considered Harmful”

As we enter into the codesign projects and processes, we need to think about it means to develop a project or technology with another group of people?

Much of the conversation revolved around the immediate production of results, which might not involve the community nor have lasting impact, versus long-term and nebulous projects. There are a lot of pressures that push people into short-term unsustainable solutions including time and energy, capital, the fact that solutions to the most complicated problems are often much more messy, personal interest, and individual trajectory. It’s easy to build a portfolio off of such items. This is in juxtaposition to “I worked with this community for three years and we tried to organized and go against this big company…” It’s not easy and really challenging. A balance is projects telling their story around the process of determining and delivering deliverables with things like video and blog posts.

Team Work!

And finally, we formed teams around the 4 community projects for the Codesign Studio. Each group took time to sync schedules and start planning their approach. The four projects are: Zumix, Urbano, City Life/Vida Urbana, and Brazilian Immigrant Center + REV. Each team is responsible for visiting their location at least 3 times over the course and will report their progress on this blog. We’re super excited to see what they come up with!

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.

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