vojo | MIT Center for Civic Media

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! https://oaklandprivacy.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/177/

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


How to amplify the voices of marginalized communities in Brazil

During the last weeks, our friend Paulo Rogério has conducted Vojo trainings in Salvador, Brazil. The photos are amazing! I translated one of his articles about this initiative that has been connecting and empowering people from quilombola communities with no internet access on the outskirts of a Brazilian metropolis.

Vojo workshop

The youth from quilombos at Ilha de Maré are publishing news stories with their mobile phones and giving voice to the needs and concerns of their communities. Last Friday (Oct 25th), around 20 girls and boys from Porto dos Cavalos community participated in the workshop: “Vojo Brazil: amplifying Quilombola voices through mobile phones”.

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 Vojo.co. (http://ist.mit.edu/usability and http://ist.mit.edu/accessibility)

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.

Automated SMS Testing for Co-Design

Screenshot of Vojo test group

When we build tools at the Center for Civic Media, we often take a co-design approach by including users in the design process. While we’re developing Vojo (a hosted version of the Vozmob mobile blogging platform) we’ve put up an open beta, and support organizations like Sandy Storyline, CCTV, and Engage the Power, who in turn support us with real-world feedback and user stories. But co-design brings new challenges as well, like keeping our open beta working for community partners while we develop and test new features. To help achieve this balance for Vojo, we’ve added SMS capability to existing tools for testing web applications.

Vozmob/Vojo merge sprint

In late Jan, the Vozmob and Vojo teams gathered in Oakland and LA for a work sprint.
Link to notes from the sprint: http://brownbag.me:9001/p/vozmob-sprint-january2013

The Vozmob team of IDEPSCA (http://vozmob.net/) are based in LA were part of the original codesign team for Vozmob and continue to be codesigners as well as media makers and trainers. Pedro Joel, Luis Valentin, and _, from IDEPSCA joined via hangout periodically through the week.

Mirabot is a tech co-op based in Oakland and we are working closely with Squiggy Rubio and Matt Olenick on development.

From Civic, Civic Technologist Ed Platt and I joined in person, and Sasha Costanza Chock joined from LA with the IDEPSCA team.

Vojo community call - Office hours

Last Tuesday, Vojo hosted an "office hours" session where anyone who hadn't taken off for Thanksgiving was welcome to dial in with their questions. The Vojo team met Luís Cotto, a Cantabrigian originally from Hartford, CT.

The Story of StoryLine - (888) 803-9856


This post written together with Rachel Falcone.

It’s been nearly 3 weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern seaboard and there are still a vast number of people without power, without water, without hot food, and without a home.

Housing is a Human Right (HHR) is a storytelling project led by Michael Premo and Rachel Falcone that has worked for the last five years to connect people around housing, land and the dignity of a place to call home. HHR storytelling follows a tradition of oral history and stories are richly captured and shared in multimedia including audio and photographs. They truly create space for people to share stories of their community and ongoing experiences trying to obtain or maintain a home through exhibitions. They have transformed laundromats and empty stores into storytelling spaces, and create storytelling space on multiple platforms including radio and internet.

Vojo and Tracking the Election with Cambridge Community Television

Yesterday, Denise, Royal, and I conducted an introductory Vojo workshop with youth at Cambridge Community Television (CCTV). Denise Cheng is a CMS Graduate Student and a Researcher at Center for Civic Media, and Royal Morris is an MIT undergraduate working with Vojo through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). We all met in Central Square in Cambridge to train CCTV youth how to use Vojo so that it could be used today to interview voters about their election choices. CCTV is “a nationally recognized community media center that is the voice and vision of all residents, businesses, and organizations in the city” (more info here). Upon arrival at the CCTV headquarters located in Cambridge, Denise, Royal, and I were greeted by Neha Agrawal, CCTV’s Youth Media Coordinator, who introduced us to a cohort of high school students who will be interviewing voters using Vojo during today’s presidential election.

Vojo at Parking Day with Cambridge Community Television

On Friday morning, Becky, Rodrigo and I set out for Central Square, where we had a date with Cambridge Community Television for Parking Day. Parking Day is an international celebration, with do-ocrats, organizations and cities eager to reclaim parking spaces as public spaces. Your typical street-side spot becomes a mini-park, an outdoor lounge, an open-air library—I've seen them all. And on Friday, the lot in front of CCTV became a pop-up broadcast station. On one side was a television studio, and on the other, Vojo.

Vojo at the Boston Brazilian Independence Day Festival

Vida Verde Cooperative

Last week, Becky, Sasha, and I went to the Brazilian Independence Day Festival in Boston: a lot of Brazilian food, music and dance. I have been in the US since August after joining the CMS Program as a Master’s student and the Center of Civic Media as a research assistant. It was amazing to hear Brazilian Pop Music again and clap along the Capoeira rhythm. In Brazil, I had been working as a Science reporter for O Estado de S. Paulo since 2007. Before that, I was a computer programmer.