Creating Technology for Social Change

Codesign, inclusion, and the hackathon: Codesign Studio 2013 is underway

Course poster, made by Denise.
[poster designed by Denise Cheng]

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:

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 – 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.