Mariel Garcia Montes | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent blog posts by Mariel Garcia Montes

Women Rising

(This is not my post; it's a group effort with contributions from Catherine, Cindy, Emilie, Jing, Natalie, Nicole and Willow)

Some of the best lessons in technology, media and civics come from shared offline experiences in that intersection, and the weekend of January 19-21, 2016, brought plenty of that for some of us at the Center for Civic Media. In particular, our experiences in the Women's March (in different cities) gave us food for thought that we want to remember as time passes, and that's why we are keeping track of them here.

Here are some postcards and reflections shared by women in the Civic community:

Catherine's postcards from the Boston march:

 

From Cindy, reporting on the DC march:

Civic media and dealing with emotions after the US election

Election parties that turned into funerals. Sleep-deprived humans floating through the street, numb after a weeknight of crying, alcohol, or both. Silence: the morning of November 9, 2016, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was frighteningly silent. For all the rationality, all the number-crunching, all the exploration of electoral scenarios, dealing with elections remains a deeply emotional task.

The task for many on November 9 was to find ways to help themselves and others process those emotions. As it happens, I had to start that very day with a class I was meant to facilitate. On civic media, of all things. In 2016, can the discussion around civic media provide us with opportunities to process appalling outcomes, help us transition from the surreal to making sense, or does it just really rub salt into the wound?

I bypassed the never-ending slideshow and made a guide for discussion. I used the main points of the Civic Media: Technology, Design, Practice chapters assigned for this class by professor William Uricchio (see at the end of the post), and framing questions I learned from workshops with feminist organizations in Mexico.

Where I stand today

(I promise this is one of the only two blog posts I will publish using primarily the first person.)

I am an activist, and technology and media are my favorite pretexts to start conversations about the core of our human experience. I love reflecting about concepts and their underlying ideologies, but asking teens whether they know someone who decided to untag themselves from a photo on Facebook is still my favorite way to ignite discussions on privacy.

I don’t believe in universal pedagogical statements about technology (I very much doubt everybody should learn to code), and part of my pride as an activist is in having developed a vision that allows me to be strategic about technology-based interventions. And yet nothing brings me more life than those epiphanic moments in tech workshops: the precise look (because I do think it is a look) that people get as they wrap their minds around the process.