Recent news from the Center for Civic Media | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Awesome Summit 2012: Slow Funds

Live notes from the "Slow Foods" session at the Awesome Summit, by Rahul Bhargava, Ethan Zuckerman, and Willow Brugh.

Christina is a foodie, so she looks to food movements for driving messages. A critical one for the Awesome Foudnation has been the Slow Food movement. She is starting to champion "slow funding" based on the slow foods movement. She just substitutes "food" with the word "funds" and gets:

Raising public awareness, improving access and encouraging the enjoyment of funds that are local and sustainably grown.

Christina introduces a few people to share their work along this idea.

Rick DeBos (Grand Rapids, MI)

Awesome Summit 2012: Intro Session

Live notes from the intro session to the Awesome Summit, by Rahul Bhargava and Ethan Zuckerman

Christina Xu welcomes a varied and enthusiastic crew to the Awesome Summit at MIT's Media Lab. For two days, the trustees of various different Awesome Foundations have been meeting to discuss internal affairs. Today, the conversation opens up to the general public, where the topic at hand is the future of philanthropy and social change.

Awesome Foundation is now three years old. The pink "fast forward" logo, designed by founder Tim Hwang, is a really good example of organizational philosophy. It is created by simply typing 8 in the Webdings font. Awesome Foundation is all about having a great idea. People may not be the most professional at it - but they just do it.

The "standard" model is to involve a group of 10 trustees, each of whom contributes $100 per month. The group gives out a $1000 monthly grant, with no strings attached. Some examples of recent grants include:

Why Flawed Infographics Are Better Than Perfect Ones

This infographic from Floor Gem blasts the Transportation Security Administration's prodigious terribleness (prodigious in the sense that the TSA is a terribleness prodigy, on the level of Bobby Fischer and chess). There's nothing that inherently lends this data to the infographic form. It's flawed. There's nothing that its graphicality adds to its data, except that it's just so good-looking, its imperfections don't matter. It affects you. You remember it. And that's really what counts when it comes to communicating data.

Video for Change (v4c) Retreat Report-back: How-to Hack a Hackathon

Some filmmakers we met on the v4c daytrip to Borobudor; Magelang, Java.

Hackathon: A hackathon, a hacker neologism, is an event when programmers meet to do collaborative computer programming. (

Hackathons can be single or multiple days and sometimes participants form teams and code in competition. The term hackathon is now applied to other fields and generally to gatherings with multiple aims of producing collaborative work and building community.

In the early half of June, I participated in the video4change (V4C) workshop organized by WITNESS and EngageMedia. We were 21 participants from 12 or organizations working worldwide to train and support people using video for social change.

Choose Your Own Advocacy: Reviewing Give Girls Power

One reason I make things on the Internet is a strong belief in the original powerful idea behind the web itself: that links can radically transform the way we tell stories and experience the world. Today, I saw an amazing example of this, via Sarah Espiner, my former colleague at the Ministry of Stories.


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