Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Public Media, Public Education, and the Public Good: An Interview with Heather Chaplin (Part One)

Heather Chaplin is one of the good guys -- she wrote one of the best books about the place of video games in contemporary culture; she's doing journalism which challenges some of the preconceptions about youth and new technology that run through most mainstream coverage; and she's been doing consulting work with some leading foundations -- MacArthur, Ford, among them -- as they think through what needs to be done to reallign public institutions with the risks and opportunities of the digital age.

Heather interviewed me recently for the Digital Media and Learning project website, talking about participatory culture and public engagement. She was nice enough to allow me to turn the microphone (or in this case, the keyboard) the other way to talk with her about her recently published white paper, National Public Lightpath: Documentation and Recommendations, which seeks to map some future directions for how the internet might serve the public good.

Palfrey and Zuckerman now officially "conspirators" against Iran, as if their work needed more praise

Yesterday's Boston Globe featured an article by Farah Stockman explaining how "under siege at home, Iran’s dissidents draw comfort and ideas from some visionary thinkers based here."

In the wake of widespread protests in Iran after a disputed presidential election, a mass indictment accused more than 100 Iranian politicians and activists of following the instructions of Sharp, as well as spying for several other US academics, among other charges. So far, about 80 of the accused have received prison sentences, while at least one has been sentenced to death.

How Fictional Story Worlds Influence Real World Politics

Last time, I shared with you the first of a series of occassional field reports and thought pieces from a team I have been putting together at MIT and USC to reflect on what we perceive as a potential continuum from engagement with participatory culture (especially fan communities and practices) and public participation in civic and political activities. As we described last time, this work is currently at a conceptual level as we gather examples of groups which are using elements from popular culture to provide a bridge into real world social and political concerns. Eventually we hope to do more indepth case studies working with organizations and their members to identify best practices that may be increasing young people's civic engagement and from there, develop materials which may foster even greater public participation. This reserarch has been funded in part by the Center for Future Civic Media at MIT (funded by the Knight Foundation) and reflects my involvement in a new John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation initiative focused on youth, new media, and public participation.

Money as Media

Seems that Iranian activists are using banknotes to relay messages:
Make sure to check it out and see all the examples of the modified banknotes.

From the post:
'Anti-government activists are not allowed to express themselves in Iranian media, so theses activists have taken their expressions to another high circulation mass-medium, banknotes. The Central Bank of Iran has tried to take these banknotes out of circulation, but there are just too many of them, and gave up. For the activists’ people it’s a way of saying “We are here, and the green movement is going on”.'

Lets see what we get when we analyze this from a data communications perspective:

Grassroots Mapping in Palestine

Josh Levinger and I visited the West Bank for a few days following the MobileActive/UNICEF Mobile Data Innovations workshop. (Andrew posted about this last week) We were hoping to meet up with some members of the activist community who are organizing against the growth of Israeli settlements into Palestinian land. As mappers, we hoped to test some new low-cost tools and to learn about how such techniques can support communities in this fundamentally geographic dispute.


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