Thanks for your thoughts on this, I apologize for my delayed response! It
would be great to hear design ideas we could test out to create some easy
points of entry into projects as you recommend? Below I've listed some
projects afoot to increase accessibility and get away from a hierarchy of
valuation, it would be great to hear your thoughts on those.
"What I'd like to suggest as a remedy, might be some collaborations which
are more balanced between process, content, strategizing etc without a
hierarchy of valuation or even entry."
Your thoughts physicality of the projects are very interesting. For some
background on that: the intent of the physicality of Public Lab approaches
is to get people involved in making so that making becomes less alien to
those of us (like myself) who come from cultures that focus on consumption
rather than production and value knowledge work over making. Given that
focus on hands on activity we have been very cautious about crowdsourcing
approaches that might inadvertently make people into mechanical sorters of
data. In our efforts to generate tools that allow individuals to generate
their own data, it maybe we have unwittingly made the projects harder for
others to access?
I agree with you, a focus on homemade data doesn't mean we can't figure out
and equally value other ways to get involved in developing the projects.
Such as you suggest here:
analyzing the data,
developing strategies for what, where, when to gather in terms of data
how to act on the data.
Some immediate ideas come to mind for enabling other modes of engagement:
1. increase the practice of speculative design in our community: a number
of research notes are just drawn out ideas that others can take up and
act on. The interaction between Jeff's hamster ball concept and Byeongwon's
work picking up that design is a good example of this kind of
exchange....we could increase the traffic of people just drawing out ideas
as a point of entry?
One project in the hopper to help with this is the design of a "sandbox"
for sharing in tool ideas, would be great to have in put and help from
anyone interested in getting involved in this
2. increase the practice of writing research notes that describe personal
experience with environmental problems. Rather than focusing on design of
tools, we could encourage people to submit design problems or descriptions
of environmental health issues?
The home testing for endocrine disruptors is still really in the state of
proposing a serious environmental health problem that needs to be addressed:
3. creating more space for collaborative discussions of designing
research projects and analyzing resultant data. Could we figure out ways to
call out for a planning session around a project or hold collaborative data
interpretation sessions? There are also redesigns afoot for people's
dashboards, with the idea that we can promote skill sharing.
4. increase the ability to get involved in web and software
development projects. Or in community publishing activities--Mat has been
working on templates for the grassroots mapping forum so we can
distributively publish this magazine. It is another site for getting
involved in building the community that doesn't involve making tools.
Thanks again! Looking forward to talking more about this,
Quoting AAR <ghostn...@ghostnets.com>:
Thank you for raising the gender issue, Sara. I feel like I could write a
book on this topic, which more generally addresses women & technology and
the applications of tech. I will try to compromise by sharing some
background and giving some specific responses. I've been involved with tech
since 1966, when I became involved with EAT. The gender issue has been a
consistent barrier which occasionally wanes & then settles back into a
familiar place with the young guys (boys with toys) crowding out the more
tentative women & often the more content concerned (EJ in this case). I say
this with the greatest admiration for the achievements of the guys and even
more for the girls who can keep up and would wish we were further along. A
3 to 4 on staff is impressive. Speaking for myself, as an almost 67 year
old woman with some health & other limitations, who has been keenly
interested in GISc since 1999, I can say I went thru a trajectory which
began with great enthusiasm for the goals & projects of this group, which
has dramatically dissipated to the point where I rarely read all the posts.
I have worked on a GIS certificate at Lehman College but got bogged down in
the software & stuck with Mac issues. That alone, has slowed me down about
both my enthusiasm and my hopefulness about engaging with you all or
initiating independent projects with relevance.
The reasons I've pulled back are simple. I just don't see easy points of
entry which bridge the divide you reference. I don't have time or interest
to build out the kits. I've never been good at mechanicals (despite doing
some electrical engineering in graduate school at Cal Arts) and am not in a
position to go traipsing around the countryside to gather the data. I think
that is partly a question of logistics but also about the emphasis here on
the physicality of the projects, which privileges active young men on the
IT side, as you pointed out. What had initially excited me about this work
was the possibilities for creating and interpreting new data, in innovative
ways, with political and environmental repercussions. What I'd like to
suggest as a remedy, might be some collaborations which are more balanced
between process, content, strategizing etc without a hierarchy of valuation
or even entry.
I'd love to explore this more deeply. On the ideas side, more specifically
I'd like to invite whomever this interests, to participate with me and some
climate environmental scientists in a webcast/ whiteboard session of "Gulf
to Gulf," to discuss how we might integrate the means you are all exploring
with some other people's ideas about tracking changes in Gulf systems
caused by extraction and global warming (EJ). Please contact me directly if
you want to participate and I can send you dates. The completed raw
sessions are posted on vimeo and often generate spin off material. Perhaps
this might contribute to some productive new avenues for some in the group
and even better, a way for me to find some new partners to move my own
environmental work forward.
"What the world needs is a good housekeeper," Aviva Rahmani
Affiliate with the Institute for Arctic & Alpine Research, University of
Colorado at Boulder
Candidate for Ph.D.
University of Plymouth, England in collaboration with Z_Node, Zurich
University for the Arts, Switzerland
214 Riverside Drive apt 614
New York City, New York 10025
Box 484, Vinalhaven, Maine 04863
On May 24, 2012, at 10:52 AM, sara wylie wrote:
[Hide Quoted Text]<https://webmail.mit.edu/horde/imp/message.php?index=63732#>
> This effort to create "a Massively Distributed Collaborative Learning
Experiment (MDCLE) on the topic of feminism and technology to be offered in
2013" might be of interest to the feminists in our midst (see call below)!
> Also I have been thinking about the gender balance in Public Lab
recently. Is anyone else wondering about this? I'm wondering how engaging
the site and projects are to women involved in environmental health and
justice issues? And conversely, how engaging are the environmental justice
and health issues to the men involved in our technology development
> It is hard to tell from the staff side of things--we're pretty unique in
that we have an almost gender balanced staff of 3 women to 4 men.
> Public Lab is bridging two very different communities both of which have
historically (with exceptions of course) been somewhat polarized in terms
> EJ issues have traditionally been lead by women: frequently the community
organizers around EJ issues are home-makers whose close contact with their
children and community children's health gives them insight into how health
issues might be systemic. Notably many of the scientists leading advocacy
efforts around toxics are women.
> On the other hand, with their roots in engineering and computer science,
it is often common for tech communities to be mostly male and lead by men.
Public Lab differs markedly from these two communities in that Public Lab
style tech projects have been inspired by work of remarkable women like
Natalie Jermijenko (Natalie perhaps you have some thoughts on Public Lab
tools and gender thus far?), and Beatriz da Costa whose work blends
art/science and community activism to make social/technical critiques.
> I'm interested to see Public Lab continue to be part of transforming
these historically gendered distinctions in order to improve our ability to
attend to environmental health questions. My sense is that we are
productively blurring the boundaries between these two communities? What do
you all think?
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