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

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

National Conference for Media Reform early-bird pricing

The Center for Future Civic Media is a proud member of the local host committee for the National Conference for Media Reform (April 8-10, here in Boston).

As such, we want to encourage everyone to take advantage of early registration pricing, which ends Friday ($125 vs. $175 afterward).

Here's why you should: A long list of amazing people will be there. They range from experts on Internet law to a Tony Award-winning playwright, and from a Nobel laureate to organizers working on the front lines of the media reform movement.

Here are just a few of the amazing people who will be joining us in Boston:

Podcast: Sasha Costanza-Chock, "Se Ve, Se Siente: Transmedia Mobilization in the Los Angeles Immigrant Rights Movement"

Sasha Costanza-Chock is a scholar and mediamaker who works in areas including: social movements and ICTs; participatory technology design and community based participatory research; the transnational movement for media justice and communication rights; comunicación populár; mobile phones and social change; digital literacies and digital inclusion; race, class, and gender in digital space, the transformation of public media systems; the political economy of communication; and information and communications policy. He holds a PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California, where he is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate, and is also a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Sasha presently lives in Los Angeles, where he works with community-based organizations to develop critical digital literacies (for example, see

Podcast: Gabriella Coleman, "Anonymous, the Politics of Spectacle, and Geek Protests against the Church of Scientology"

Trained as an anthropologist, Gabriella (Biella) Coleman examines the ethics of online collaboration/institutions as well as the role of the law and digital media in sustaining various forms of political activism. Between 2001-2003 she conducted ethnographic research on computer hackers primarily in San Francisco, the Netherlands, as well as those hackers who work on the largest free software project, Debian. She is completing a book manuscript "Coding Freedom: Hacker Pleasure and the Ethics of Free and Open Source Software."

Photo by Trebor Scholz.

Interview with creators of Konbit, labor-matching tech for Haiti

In response to the Haiti earthquake a year ago, MIT Media Lab students Aaron Zinman and Greg Elliott participated in a (partially Center-sponsored) independent activities period class to develop technologies that could work both in the immediate aftermath of the crisis itself and in the future, by seeding ideas and capacity for other technologies in Haiti.

Through their work in that four-day class, Zinman and Elliott identified a problem: relief organizations without decades-long ties to a country can't quickly find local labor, so those organizations bring in labor from the outside networks they have access to--at great cost to both the organization and the local laborers who have been passed over. As a solution, Zinman and Elliott have since developed Konbit, a way to help organizations source that local labor.

Podcast: Nitin Sawhney, "Media and Resilience: Creative DIY Cultures and Civic Agency among Marginalized Youth"

Nitin SawhneyNitin Sawhney, Ph.D. is a Research Fellow and Lecturer with the Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) in the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT. His ongoing research, teaching and creative practice engages the critical role of arts interventions in contested spaces and participatory media with marginalized youth. Nitin completed his doctoral work at the MIT Media Lab where he conducted research on open design collaboration and DIY cultures in the context of sustainable development, as well as wearable and responsive community media interfaces in transitional spaces.


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