Thursday, March 12, 2015

Workshop with Sara Dean (03.04.2015)

I had the privilege of being in Sara Dean's workshop, which focused on citizen engagement in crowdsourcing and using social media as a tool to instigate projected change. Sara had a wide variety of examples of how popular culture and social media, with the rise and transformation of digital technology, have become very useful platforms for social service and design.

Beginning with the automaton,  Sara crafted a unique narrative of potentially calibrating strategies engaged between reality and fantasy. Whether speaking of the fantastical wrestling melodramas or authentic applications of rapper T-Pain’s voice, using technology as a tool to engage the public in a systematic manner is fundamental to success. Citizen engagement apps for phones to help mark points of interest or inform about disaster relief, queries, databases for Oxford (such as public submissions of translations of ancient Greek scripts), and public submissions of less useful information (such as FOUND magazine) were all examples she gave of how we can use tools to engage with the public. She presented us with two citizen-based outreach projects “Global City, Sensor City” and an exhibit at the “2012 Detroit Design Festival”, which although very different, helped inform my partner Carissa and I in forming the process for our project.

The Internet itself is a system of constant iteration. We were tasked with crowdsourcing and decided to use Instagram and Twitter as a means to provide public information. We began @yourknox and #yourknox as an experiment in connecting the local public with upcoming events. I look forward in the coming months to see if it actually takes off as a crowdsourcing experiment, but so far it seemed to have spread virally in a matter of hours!

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