"Insiders and Outsiders": The 2013 MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference

"Insiders and Outsiders": The 2013 MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference

On June 23-25, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and MIT's Center for Civic Media will host the 2013 MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference: "Insiders and Outsiders".

The conference is the leading gathering of media innovators shaping the future of news and information.

It is hosted at the MIT Media Lab (map) and is an invitation-only event.

Civic engagement is changing shape. When paths to change run through YouTube and Facebook as well as through state legislatures and Congress, outsiders find themselves insiders, and vice versa. Over the past few years the ways we’ve traditionally engaged in government — following the news, attending community meetings, writing to legislators, voting for political candidates — are being complemented by a new set of tactics and practices such as online petitions, viral videos, civic crowdfunding, and collective brainstorming. If traditional forms of engagement focused on helping citizens understand their (often narrow) role in governance, the new civics promises an active role in raising attention, building communities, and proposing solutions.

This year's Civic Media Conference, featuring Open Government Foundation co-founder Rep. Darrell Issa and more than 250 others will explore civic participation through the lens of Insiders and Outsiders. We're seeing governments and institutions open themselves to inputs from people who see themselves as outside of political processes. And we're watching individuals and activists increasingly use "insider" tactics to build constituencies and wield influence. What will civic participation look like when we're all insiders of some communities and outsiders of others? How do we work to address social problems and make governments more responsive offline and online, from both inside and out?

Whether the promise of this new civics is real or mostly imagined, it's sparking a debate about what public participation could be: rich and engaging, creative and participatory, civil and constructive, and open to all. We look forward to hearing your voice in that debate.

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