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Hadassah’s Projects

During the course of the semester, I’d like to focus on two-three projects, each of which relates directly to work I do as a socially-engaged artist and community organizer.

One is the production build and structural planning of a Conference site & its collaborative technologies, and the other is preparing for a Drupal site development and mainframe.

1. Conference Media: Site & Collaborative Technologies
I’m working [volunteering, technically] as the Media Co-Chair for the 2012 Femme Conference, a bi-annual gathering of LGBTQ feminine-spectrum folks across many segments of age, class, race, ability and gender. In order to leverage the interest of this broad community, the technology we use to capture participants’ interest and that which we provide for people to engage both pre- and post-conference must be user-friendly, accessible, tie into other social technologies people are already using [youtube, twitter, blogs]. As well, the technologies used to organize and produce this conference must *also* be manageable and easy to use by a team of volunteers whose tech-skills are on a large spectrum of interest and capacity.

It’s also important to me that the technologies used are economically accessible, horizontal, encourage collective production of ideas, and reflect prefigurative movement values like anti-oppression and space for multiple voices; this is partially what I mean when I start talking about “media justice.”

This then is a two-fold project, because it focuses mostly on the structure of the technology. However, the larger picture of collaboration and collaborative technologies is one I’ve been tracking and gathering resources and ideas from last semester and will continue to do so in this semester. I’m hoping to develop a framework or set of technologies which can be implemented or distributed to social movement or arts-based organizations beyond this one conference. Since I tend to work with mostly small NPOs, co-ops, collectives and so on, having an existing structure which I can deploy multiply across several organizations will enable me to distribute more effective and collaborative work options to these organizations. I also recognize that documenting both the process/structure and the reasoning behind the choices is strategic as I consider the technology-based work I want to move into after I have completed my studies.

2. Drupal development & site mainframe
The second project, and the one I see myself working toward proof of concept of this semester, is a Drupal build of a site which will be part of my Masters thesis. My studies and passion are around the visual etymology of resistance as evidenced digitally in the last decade, and as such it’s important to me to have an online showcase for the artists and visual works I’ll be talking about. I am choosing to build this in Drupal strategically since it’s a CMS I have not used, and which many of my open-source-focused web-building associates [like Quilted, Palante Tech, and Open Flows] use to build their sites.

I am playing with the idea of making it a site which artists could also submit their own work to an create their own pages — creating more of a infoshop than a traditional library. This will involve some creative content mainframing as well as thinking about community engagement and creating a matrix of content. This part is pretty vague in my mind, now that I think about it. Hopefully I’ll get some great ideas at the Allied Media Conference this July.

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2 Responses

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  1. Hadassah Damien says

    Thanks. Great to know I have 50% more work than I thought I did… but that does help untangle some thinking around these projects as I work on my project descriptions.

    Re Drupal — I’m going to see about a DrupalCon over the summer or if the AMC has a Drupal Track [I think they do] that I can figure into my strategic plan — summer of code, here I come.

    Commons in a Box…So crazy it just might work? I’ll report back.

  2. mandiberg says

    So actually you have three projects. The framework is a different task then the specific site you are working on for the conference. They are related, and much of the work could be shared. But it is useful to thing of them as separate, as they have different users, and different goals/success requirements.

    Re: drupal, I really recommend attending a workshop or a camp if you can.

    Next steps: Research who has done similar work? Others have tried each of these ideas out, though in slightly different contexts. Don’t reinvent the wheel. And learn from their mistakes. It may be helpful to define each project very crudely/roughly in order to assess what it is you are doing. For example one of the things it seems you are talking about is packaging up a software install w/ a series of plugins & themes so that is config’d to do something specific. May I introduce you to Commons In a Box… for example?



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