Amber’s Intro

The Design Process: Access TV Style

The Design Process: Access TV Style

Hello everyone, Amber here!

I work at Billerica Access Television (BATV) where, in my current capacity as Youth Coordinator, I create and manage youth media programs. Essentially, I work with groups of students, teachers, and community members to help Billerica’s younger populations think critically about the media they consume while also empowering them to create their own media. I’m always looking to grow our programs and venture into new project areas as technology and the interests of the students I work with change, which is why I’m here! I’m really looking forward to working with everyone and seeing the progression of everyone’s projects in the Co-Design Studio!

My project idea popped into my head while I was planning out curriculum for one of my middle school groups. I plan to have this group in particular make PSAs that center around a topic that they feel is relevant and important to them. But this got me thinking: kids are often left out of the mix when it comes to town issues and town government. Sure, they aren’t able to vote yet, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues and decisions in town directly or indirectly impacting them.

Additionally, although the “how” of town government is taught in schools (i.e. how the system works), the “why” and “what” are often neglected. When I asked a few of my students (5th grade, 8th grade, and 10th grade) if they knew what was being discussed in our town’s various committee meetings, they “had no idea” and “why should they?” because “that stuff’s boring.” The responses were what I expected, but it’s still concerning. How are kids supposed to develop into citizens who fight for their rights, challenge oppressive systems, bring awareness to issues, and generally feel empowered if they don’t know or care to know what is going on in their own town hall? People can learn about these things as they get older, but why not start earlier? Why wait?

My goal in this class is to develop a project that engages Billerica’s youth in understanding what articles/issues are discussed in town government without having to sit through multiple hours a week of broadcasted meetings. It should be interactive, include BATV resources (e.g. VR or 360 video technologies), and, most importantly, be developed with student input taking the forefront. Kids may not be interested in this type of subject matter, but if they are included in the process and taken seriously, they are more likely to feel invested in the project. I don’t want students to feel talked down to by another adult who claims they know what’ll work best. I want to help foster a collaboration between students, BATV, the schools, and the town in order to make this project as successful as possible. I realized I definitely needed help with this undertaking, which is why I seized the opportunity to join the co-design studio.

The expectation I have for my design process (pictured above) is that it will originate from the current resources at BATV and in Billerica, which is noted by the old school television set and green background (Billerica’s colors are green and white). The three squiggly lines coming from the “rabbit ears” signifies our station’s three channels: public, government, and educational. In the process, I hope to see an explosion of creativity and a re-thinking of these current systems, which is signified by the central squiggly line aka our government channel with the pink “firework” coming out of it. I imagine that lots of ideas and help will be thrown our way from various sources, which may lead to dead ends or help keep energy alive in the design process (signified by the yellow bits of paper). Most importantly, I imagine that the process itself will “crack open” the public’s preconceived notions about access television (Wayne’s World is great, but that’s not a full representation of what our industry does) and will also challenge my own ideas about how program/project design works. Based on my physical representation, I know that the process will be messy and all over the place. However, it will end up producing a worthwhile project that generates interest and a sense of empowerment when it comes to Billerica’s youth and their town government.

People (including some of my students) have told me that this project may not pan out the way I want it to, which I expect. After all, this is an ambitious project with many moving parts. Design is not easy, but my hope is that through the process of designing whatever this project becomes, something positive will emerge.

Introductions – William Wu

Hello! I’m Willy.

I’m a third-year MIT student studying Digital Media. I work with all kinds of software, hardware, media, and people. I build multiplayer games, music controllers, and interactive visualizations. I study the creative process and how it evolves with computers and computation.

I’m going into this class without an established community partner or project, with the expectation that I’ll join an existing group and offer my support. As a jack of many trades, I often find myself as a mediator or translator, for example, explaining design concepts to engineers or technical terms to designers. In past teams, I’ve also found myself moving around to fill in missing roles as needed.

Through taking this class, I hope to learn more about what it means to cultivate, sustain, and modify a community. Community, to me, is more than a group formed out of similarity; be it geographical region, heritage, interest, etc. For me, a potent community draws out the best in humanity – collaboration, creativity, support, and selflessness, to name a few. I hope that as we examine, break down, and build back up the elements of a community, we can uncover more of what pull us together… and makes us human.

Well, of course, all while working with awesome folks and making an impact in a real-world initiative; who would have thought that classes were for learning only?


A little bit about myself

Hello, my name is Aveen, I have many hobbies such as building, coding, and assembling stuff in general. I am a 6th-grade student enrolled in Nuvu Studio School and cause and effect I am surrounded by many challenges that I love to take on. These four teenage girls organised a massive protest (and a silent one) against gun violence and police brutality in Chicago

About Me – Kate

Hi everyone! I’m Kate Weishaar, a junior in the architecture department here at MIT. I consider myself a designer and an activist, and I hope this class will give me more experience combining the two. My extracurricular work includes being Junior Design Editor for Technique, MIT’s yearbook, and being a mentor for Maker Lodge, a new initiative at MIT to train incoming freshmen to use machine shops safely and effectively.

I grew up in Germantown, Maryland, a reasonably diverse suburb of Washington, DC. From a young age, I valued a diverse group of teachers and classmates as a key part of my education, but began to notice disparities in how students are treated based on gender, race, and mental illnesses. As someone who has worked closely with many people struggling with gender identity and mental illness, I have always tried to help support and advocate for students in similar conditions, primarily on a personal level. Particularly in today’s political climate, I would like to expand my efforts to a more institutional level and take more steps to change the culture surrounding gender and mental illness, starting in public schools.

A group I find inspiring is School Girls Unite, an organization based in a town near where I grew up. Initially formed by a group of 12-year-old girls, the group has worked to bring quality education to girls around the world, but specifically have started an initiative in Mali to provide scholarships for girls who cannot afford to attend school. By working directly with a partner organization in Mali, they have succeeded in efficiently delivering funds and can continuously check on the scholarship students to make sure they continue to benefit fully. In addition to the scholarships, they also use their close proximity to DC to advocate for educational policies and act as a member of the Global Campaign for Education – US.

About Calvin

Hi everyone!

I’m Calvin, a Junior now in the Architecture Department and excited to participate in the CoDesign studio this semester! I come to this class as a designer and activist– I hope to explore how we can apply art and technology in innovative ways to create and inspire movements.

I grew up all over New York City– Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, in diverse neighborhoods such as Flushing and one of Brooklyn’s many Chinatowns. Growing up in New York, I’ve developed a keen sense of the problems that minorities face living in urban environments. As a designer, I like to tackle these problems and examine how we can design the built environment to be more accommodating, safe, and provide equal opportunities.

During high school and at MIT, I worked with ECAASU (East Coast Asian American Student Union), a youth-led NGO. While working with ECAASU, I was engaged with people from organizations such as WHIAAPI (which got me thinking more about policy and education) and NAAPIMHA (mental health and intersectionality) at the yearly ECAASU Conference.

Coincidentally, this past weekend was the 2017 Conference in North Carolina, co-hosted by the Triangle-Area universities: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, and North Carolina State University. This is what inspires me this weekend– the conference brings in thousands of youth from all over the country to focus on the issues that matter to us as students, activists, organizers, et cetera. This year I was unable to attend, but what stood out to me was their passion and reason for hosting in NC this year.

In the past couple of months leading up to the conference, there was a lot of discussion about North Carolina, specifically. ECAASU has brought themselves out to North Carolina to be engaged in the conversation and has shown solidarity with the marginalized communities in the South.

Looking forward to working with you all!


I’m happy to be here

Hi everyone! I’m Bridget. I’m a writer, editor, and digital marketing analyst. I’ve worked for myself and for others in operations research, public health, advocacy, and startuplandia. I like to investigate problems and I love to be surprised by what I find. I aspire to be a better human. I’m really looking forward to working with you this semester.

What I have to offer is my voice and perspective, as well as my experience with customer development interviews, user research, developmental editing, and measuring things.

We all have something to teach each other. Collaborative design appeals to me because I believe we can only build something that is truly essential, helpful, useful, interesting, and beautiful if we take an inclusive, empathetic approach to design.

I’m interested in lots of things:

  • Justice and equity
  • Preserving public spaces for community participation and engagement, both in the physical world and online
  • Exploring biases inherent in selecting which data to measure
  • Visual art, mostly painting and drawing
  • Conceptual art, which I mostly practice by writing long grant proposals and not submitting them

Until this point, friends have described me as a digital lurker, but I’ve recently found IndieWebCamp, a project-movement that just might have inspired me to join the world again.

I satisfy my need to grow carrots and other things by gardening in a friendly community member’s yard that I found through My City Gardens, a project that connects people looking to share their yards with people looking for space to grow.


Hello! I’m Lucia.

I’m a sophomore at MIT majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Industrial/Product Design. Before coming to the Boston area, I lived in a small suburb in New Jersey where a grew up with my parents, brother, and dog.

I love design, whether it’s making things look pretty, fabricating physical products, or coming up with innovative solutions to human challenges. My interest for visual arts in high school, which involved painting, drawing, and building 3D art, evolved into many of the activities I’m interested in now. This includes being involved in product design projects in my classes, creating graphic design assets for my student groups, and working on casing design for HCI technology in my student job. Since attending MIT, I have also gained experience with user interaction design, front-end web development, and programming. I’m currently searching for a summer internship that’s a mix of industrial/product design, CAD, and addressing design solutions in a collaborative team environment, in order to continue my interests as a designer.

Besides lectures and design projects, I spend my time on extracurriculars, such as being on the HackMIT organizing committee and dancing in MIT Asian Dance Team, or hanging out with friends.

I’m a do-er and a go-getter, but I also value having fun and being happy. I love to work hard, laugh, and follow my passions.

Thanks for reading!


Hello World, I’m Ricardo

a map of surveillance in Williamsburg via the NOT BORED! journal.

a map of surveillance in Williamsburg via the NOT BORED! journal.

This year I’m also involved in the Design Studio for Social Intervention Department of Public Imagination residency working with Chelsea Collaborative in Chelsea, Massachusetts as resident artist. I’m working on the creation of a multi-sensory dictionary / encyclopedia of Chelsea —a DIY ethnography facilitated by youth groups involved with the Collaborative.

As a trained photographer and computer scientist, I also have a parallel interest in the photographic apparatus and its legacies of surveillance.  I explore the connections between video, film, photography and other camera/sensor-based art. My interventions into public and gallery space highlight camera and sensory apparatus as a foundation for the exploration of sociocultural and conceptual ends. The focus of this codesign class fits into these kinds of interdisciplinary explorations.

I followed The Day We Fight Back in Reddit and Hackernews.  I also browsed through the Twitter #DayWeFightBack stream.  The Reddit AMA with the organizes was interesting as was the feedback from the community regarding issues regarding improving the workflow of the website, mostly regarding the clever call-your-representative feature. There was traction on this protest but not the kind of net-wide awareness that last year’s SOPA blackout protests created. We have work to do.


What’s up? I’m Arthi

Hellooo!  I am a current computer science major at MIT, and I still have no clue with what I want to do with my life – which I’ve been told was normal…  Music keeps me sane here.  I’m no star with any instruments, but I really enjoy singing and am a part of an a capella group that does mashups of music from India and American pop.  Other main things to know about me:  I’m a TV addict and an internet junkie.  I’ll fall in love with anything that makes me laugh, but also anything that makes me think really hard about life – and if it does both, I might just explode.

I’m excited to start work in this codesign course – I learn the most when I work on projects that have a real life application, and even better when I get to work with those who will be directly affected by the project.  This term’s topic is surveilliance, and I’m quite interested to see the different ideas we can work with and how we will tackle these issues.

Thoughts on The Day We Fight Back:

I checked out a few events on Feb 11th that took place for Today We Fight Back, and overall it was very quiet and peaceful – maybe even too quiet and peaceful.  If the goal was the create awareness about the issue of unwarranted surveillance, then it was basically accomplished.  The main action from the day was that people emailed their senators about their disapproval and spread the word online and through other forms of media.  Personally, I thought the interwebs were pretty quiet about the whole deal.  I asked people at MIT what they thought about it, and they said they barely heard anything for it.  As of now, I’m not too sure if any critical action came from the day – but it all depends on what follows.  We will have to wait and see if all this helped reduce or even stop the surveillance.

What surprised me was that this was a global event – there were gatherings in Germany, India, South Africa, and all over.  The Internet is not just an American commodity – it is global, and so is the issue of tapping into the data that can be collected through the Internet.  Specifically for India, the Digital Brand Group held an event to raise awareness about mass surveillance and privacy concerns.  Currently, I don’t know how successful the event was yet, but according to Facebook comments, people started realizing that there needs to be more organized voices on this issue.  In this respect, the global Day We Fight Back event was successful – in creating awareness.


“We believe that the erosion of trust caused by unchecked surveillance jeopardises the freedom and prosperity which is the promise of technology.” –


Intro – Pia

exerciseHello! My name is Pia and I’m a graduate student in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. The image above is a visualization of the possibilities of Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) for emergency communications, which, is the subject of my thesis.

The theme of this class is especially interesting to me because of my work with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Though my work with UAVs is in the humanitarian context, conversations always come up regarding surveillance and privacy. I am excited to work on a project that can empower targeted communities and underrepresented demographics.


What will be interesting to see is the impact of the online and offline efforts of The Day We Fight Back campaign. The scorecard blog post was interesting because it defined some metrics as to what success would look like.


It was amusing to see the DIY project tutorials inspired by the campaign on the Make website. I thought it was one of the more unique ways of participating.