beckyh's blog | MIT Center for Civic Media

Codesign Studio: Mar 1-2 CounterSurveillance DiscoTech

Our Spring 2014 Codesign Studio ( has begun. This semester, we're experimenting with a few new pieces:

  • Surveillance theme - all of our partnerships are with partners who are organizing and creating around issues of surveillance
  • Distributed partnerships - partners this semester are not just Boston-based
  • DiscoTech/Hackathon - we're supporting a distributed DiscoTech (discovering technology) event, which is a sort of "inclusive" hackathon.


As always, our partners and students are amazing. Here's a link to the recorded live stream of all of the partner presentations.

ICU Oakland: Surveillance Camera Walking Tours and Anti-Surveillance Community Organizing

contributors: Sarah Reilly (Design Action Collective), Salima Hamirani, Jesse Strauss (Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant), Bex Hurwitz (RAD/MIT Center for Civic Media), Mark Burdett (EFF), Emi Kane (Allied Media Projects)
orig post date: Oct 2013

UPDATE: Check out Oakland Privacy Group's post for the latest about the DAC!

Surveillance Camera Map made from walking tour in Oakland CA.
Surveillance Camera Map made from walking tour in Oakland CA.


But I Have Nothing to Hide: Prism Break-Up Workshop

Contributors: Seeta Gangadharan (OTI), Becky Hurwitz, and Emi Kane (AMP, ICU).

On Oct 5, Eyebeam, an art and technology institute in New York held an event called Prism Break-Up. Spanning 3 days, Prism Break-Up brought together privacy and security advocates/researchers, techies, and artists to learn about and discuss issues of surveillance, focusing mostly on online and digital surveillance in the United States.

Value-Driven Design, a workshop!

Co-written with Willow Brugh; graphic by Willow!
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.

Project Partner Pitches for the Codesign Studio

co written by Aditi Mehta, Becky Hurwitz, Rodrigo Davies, Sasha Costanza-Chock, and Willow Brugh and cross-posted at

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.

UndocuHack report back

This post written by: Becky Hurwitz (@bxhrz), Pedro Joel (@joelfilms), Rogelio Lopez (@Tochtli_exe) and Celso Mireles (@CelsoM3)

Undocuhack: Hack immigration with Undocutech this weekend

Undocutech is organizing for the National Day of Civic Hacking! Come hack for immigrant rights with us. We’ll be joining #hackforchange in locations all around the country June1-2.

Can’t join on June1-2, but interested in learning how to use media and technology to support immigrant rights? Let us know who you are here: and we’ll include you in meetups and hangouts.

We're keeping this running document of information about how to participate:

Reflections on the Spring 2013 Codesign Studio

The Codesign Studio concluded on Tues May 14. This year we had 8 enrolled students, a mix of graduate and undergraduate students from around the institute, from Computer Science, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Mechanical Engineering and from other universities -- Boston University, Harvard’s Kennedy School, and Wellesley. Our partners were Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) and Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI).

]MPPP Pop Up Installation in Upham's Corner Main Street

A simple idea, a well-crafted prompt, a beautiful collaborative storytelling project

What are the elements of an appealing invitation to participate in a collaborative storytelling piece? What would motivate you to share a personal story with an unknown audience? How do we prompt people in a way that elicits contributions of a kind we are imagining?

olga_slider from


My dear friend Olga Nunes recently ran a beautiful and enormously successful campaign, a simple call for memories relating to smell to which people responded with touching and deep memories. She says, “We are all made of stories” and underlying all of her artwork is some expression of this sentiment. She’s an artist who draws you into semi-fictitious lives that she spins through songs, poems, visual art, experiences. In this project, she helps draw stories from you through your memories, making apparent the fabric of stories that weave us together.

How we celebrated Global Accessibilty Awareness Day! #GAAD

Ed and I met with the Accessibility and Usability team yesterday, part of MIT’s Information Services and Technology (IS&T), one of the departments on campus that makes the institute go. We met with Katherine Wahl and Chris LaRoche, usability consultants, and Stephani Roberts, accessibility consultant. They work as consultants with projects across the institute -- both department sites and smaller projects and we went to speak with them about ( and

We had emailed before meeting, and when we arrived at the office, Katherine, Chris and Stephanie asked us what Vojo is. Question 1: Do people understand what Vojo is from the site? Answered.