Check out some of the projects that we’ve developed in the civic media collaborative design studio!


This semester the Civic Media Collaborative Design Studio was focused on surveillance and privacy. Teams worked to design and develop countersurveillance projects, grounded in the needs of communities most heavily targeted by state, military, and corporate surveillance. The projects:

The American Civil Liberties Union of MA ( and the Guardian Project ( SpideyApp – An Android-based Stingray detector 

An Android-based Stingray (IMSI catcher) detector that uses scan differentials to detect anomalous cell towers. SpideyApp final presentation / SpideyApp case study.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation ( Surveillance Self-Defense Guide

ssd_logoA project to teach users about digital surveillance and about how to protect their information. Surveillance Self Defense Final Presentation / Surveillance Self Defense Case Study.

Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants ( I Am Not A Dot

I Am Not A Dot

I Am Not a Dot: Humanizing the U.S. Sex Offender Registry is a multi-media platform where users can access not only statistics about and quantitative evidence for why the registry should be eliminated (in order to reduce the recidivism rate and to protect the rights of registrants), but also personal testimonials and stories of the registrants, their families, and other persons concerned. Read more details in the I Am Not A Dot Case Study / Check out the Final Presentation.

Transition House ( & The Tor Project ( IPVTech (Intimate Partner Violence & Technology) Research Portal 

IPV Tech Research Portal

A research portal for advocates from the Transition House to better understand how technology (for example, device surveillance) is used in Intimate Partner Violence (IPVTech). Demo – try it out / Presentation – see the slides / Read the case study.


 Urban Youth Collaborative ( SMS Survey Initiative

Urban Youth Collaborative

An SMS survey system that Urban Youth Collaborative can use to gather data about students and their experiences of surveillance and police abuse inside NYC high schools. UYC Final Presentation / UYC Case Study.

SoMove (The Social Movements Oral History Tour, Infiltrated

Infiltrated Screen Shot

The Infiltrated project is an interactive, web based documentary that will increase awareness of and discussion about cases of infiltration by federal agents within social movement organizations in the United States. Preview our website here!  We hope to launch it sometime in Summer 2014. Check out the Infiltrated Case Study and Final Presentation.

Detention Watch Network ( Bedtime Stories

Bedtime Stories is an interactive documentary microsite that raises awareness about the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system by focusing on the detention bed quota. Introduced in 2010, the quota is a Congressional mandate that requires the incarceration of approximately 34,000 immigrants in jails and detention centers in the U.S. at any given time. The site uses animated GIFs to simulate a “bird’s eye” view of people sleeping in a detention center and highlights the personal stories of immigrants who have experienced detention through embedded text, audio and video. The viewers are then asked to take action by following the DWN social media accounts, mailing lists, and tweet to end the detention system quota. View the demo site: (Username: guest Password: stopdetention) / View our Final Presentation / View our Case Study.


All projects this semester received additional design & development support from Neo (


FALL 2013

We worked with four community partners in the fall 2013 semester:

Zumix ( The Flying Z Streaming Radio Player


ZUMIX is a youth organization that aims to serve the diverse, predominantly low-income East Boston neighborhood through the cultivation of artistic expression, personal development, and civic engagement. This team worked together to increase the visibility of ZUMIX Radio (a youth run radio station run out of Zumix) by designing and building a 3D, laser cut, giant flying Z streaming radio. Check out their case study here.


Urbano Project ( Participatory ARtistic Travelling Installation (PARTI) PARTI

Urbano empowers teens to create artwork that engages their communities with issues of social change. The goal of PARTI is to raise public awareness about Urbano and engage diverse communities in imagining their Emancipated City of Boston. It is a mobile, physical installation in a suitcase which will travel between different community sites with the Urbano team sharing information about the organization and current student work, and allowing community members the opportunity to share their thoughts and/or contribute to current projects. Read the Urbano Project case study here.


City Life/Vida Urbana ( Change the Game

CLVU: Change the Game

City Life/Vida Urbana has been supporting tenant organizing to preserve housing affordability and resist displacement since their inception in the 1970s. This team developed a series of carnival games to shift the narrative around the housing crisis, from a framing that the crisis is over to one that connects the housing crisis to CLVU’s three ongoing campaigns, which fight eviction foreclosures, resist gentrification, and shed light on real estate investors who are turning a profit on foreclosed homes. Their case study is here. You can also check out the website they built:


REV- ( and the Brazilian Immigrant Center ( Claro Que Si


The Brazilian Immigrant Center (BIC) primarily aims to support the Brazilian and Latino/a immigrant communities in the greater Boston area. Together with BIC, REV-, a team from NuLawLab and TerraVoz, this team developed a hotline with health and safety advice for domestic workers. Check out the Claro Que Si case study and learn more about the project on the website



Spring 2013 Codesign Studio Booklet. This booklet documents and summarizes the experience of the codesign teams. Download and check it out! (4.4MB pdf).

codesign studio booklet

CCTV: NeighborMedia.

Increasing the visibility of the NeighborMedia, the citizen journalism program at Cambridge Community Television.  This team worked together with CCTV NeighborMedia to develop a story series and amplification strategy, analyze and recommend web tools and functions, and support the NeighborMedia 5 year anniversary event.

Report: see the Spring 2013 Codesign Studio Booklet (4M)
Cambridge Reponds story series:

DS4SI: Making Planning Processes Public.

This team created the “ICUC,” an interactive piece to engage residents in imagining their impact on local planning, presented in a pop-up exhibit to make planning processes in Upham’s Corner Main Street more visible. Report: see the Spring 2013 Codesign Studio Booklet (4M). DS4SI:



Consensus Tools.

A set of tools to help groups increase participation in and accessibility of meetings, improve efficiency of meeting processes, and extend effective consensus-oriented processes online. Final presentation: Case study:

MIT Undergraduate Service & Action Stories.

Gathering and sharing stories about the many ways MIT Undergrads are engaged in community service and social action. Final presentation: | WakeUp MIT: | Case study:


Press Pass TV: Respect in Reporting. 

A campaign to change the way reporters talk about violent crime, especially murders of young people of color. Final presentation: | Case study:


Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion: From Parcel 19 to Villa Victoria.

A multiplatform documentary about community organizing by the Puerto Rican community, that led to the creation of the Villa Victoria in Boston’s South End. Final presentation: | Project blog: Case study: