I particiapted in a NAMAC regional meeting today were about 20 other thouhgt leaders were in attendence sharing thier stories of inspiring and impactful media arts experiences. There were so many recurring faces and a few new ones to me. I really felt the span of generations. So many wonderful experiences from a range of media arts educators, activists, adminstrators, exhibitors, etc. The common threads revolved around seizing opportunities, articulating visions, being open to new ideas and discovery, and most importantly acting.
George Fifiled talked about the first Boston Cyberarts festival and how it distilled a community of people aorund art and technology.Â Wendy Blom about the Southeast Asian Water festival in Lowell and how it transformed how she thought about public access television.Â Danielle Martin talked about having to quickly improvise a digital storytelling workshop for hearing impared girls.Â Joe Doullette shared his story of mentor a young filmmaker.Â Laura Simmons recounted the formation of the her People of Color Collaborative and creating new opportunites.Â I could go on, but you get the idea.
It was a good gathering.
So what does it mean to have a sustainable communication and information ecosystem. How do you build community capacity to insure that the information and communication needs of all are met? How do you ensure that local skills and infrastucture are built. This is the direction that I’ve begun working in at UML these days.
Here is part of a concept paper I have been working on that I’ll be brainstorming with ohters next week.
Communication and information systems are forming an ever-present ecosystem that is becoming harder and harder to separate from our daily lives. These systems are the roads, shipping lanes and railways of the 21st century form the bedrock of commerce and culture. Without access to the technologies that form these systems, both creative and consumptive, communities will simply not be able to compete. Individuals who lack access and the ability to use these systems will find they are unable to be engaged citizens. Some may find they are unable to support themselves or to participate substantially in the culture around them.
CONNECT collaborates with community-based organizations and individuals to create communication capacity within a social and economic development context.
CONNECT sees the opportunity to form sustainable communication systems that serve a variety of information needs for those in the Merrimack Valley and contributes to the overall health of the region. At the core of this system are content production & distribution activities, learning opportunities, community-based research and technical innovations that span across university, city, regional, and community organizations.
There is more, but you get the idea.
Brendan Greeley of Open Source Radio and John Barth of PRX, presented at the latest UML New Directions speakers series. I had asked them both to speak on how new software developments have aided the development of new communities and a re-visioned audience.
Thanks to Charlotte Crockford you can hear their presentations. In particular, Brendan shared the shift Open Source Radio has made in terms of their community of bloggers. Rather than simply giving feedback, the constellation of individuals have now started to form a real-world need to connect and the show is beginning to schedule “coffees” with these devoted audience members.
While much of this is new, it is still reminisant of older online and real world communities. Interesting.