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Creative Industries Prototyping Lab at HASTAC 2014

Creative Industries Prototyping Lab at HASTAC 2014

 
In April, five colleagues from MIT and I went to Lima to work with some of Peru’s most promising entrepreneurs in the creative industries. We facilitated a series of collaborative and interdisciplinary lectures, workshops and design sessions, leading participants through the potentials and challenges of working in the digital creative industries. Through a process of critical technology design, the workshop produced prototypes of tools, media and processes that allow groups and communities to share creative visions — and helped participants develop the knowledge and skills they need to build audiences, make an impact on social issues, and develop sustainable creative ventures.
 
 
The projects were presented at a public event at Peru’s Ministry of Culture, and gave our reflections on the experience at a panel at HASTAC 2014. There was a complementary, bi-directional relationship between the two events: lab participants found a larger audience for their work during the conference, while conference attendees had an opportunity to engage with early-stage projects and methodologies that address many of the issues being discussed at HASTAC. An overview of the entire CIPL project was presented as a panel at the conference. You can check out photos of the workshop on our Facebook page and slides covering the entire project here.
 

OVERVIEW

The Creative Industries Prototyping Lab is an initiative of the graduate students in the Comparative Media Studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is a three-day event where graduate researchers from the program facilitate a series of collaborative and interdisciplinary lectures, workshops and design sessions focused on digital creative industries. Facilitators lead local participants through the potentials and challenges of working in the digital creative industries, and work through a process of critical technology design. The goal of the event is to produce prototypes of tools, media and processes that allow groups and communities to share creative visions - and to help participants develop the knowledge and skills they need to build audiences, manage community interactions, make an impact on social issues, and develop sustainable creative ventures.

Sessions are structured around the themes of critical technologies - building tools and processes that are effective, innovative and scalable - and alternative infrastructures - developing the systems required to bring those technologies to the markets and communities that can benefit from them. Led by an interdisciplinary team of highly-skilled facilitators, participants will build their understanding of creative industries through practice: by producing products and services and discovering the best ways to make them publicly accessible.

The first edition of the lab was hosted in Lima, Peru. Further events are currently in development.

OBJECTIVES

Technology Transfer

Participants are introduced to a range of technology tools, management processes and strategies relevant to building successful projects in the creative industries.

Skill Building

Participants are provided hands-on, supervised experience in developing prototypes and implementation models, enabling them to push future projects on their own.

Prototyping New Products/Services/Models

Participants work through real world projects and ideas, and develop functional prototypes with their corresponding distribution and implementation strategy over the course of the lab.

 

PROGRAM

Day 1: Critical Technology Design

Participants are introduced to core principles of the design process and begin to critically assess how to implement their ideas in a format suitable to their target audience. Participants are encouraged to address issues including user behavior, social context, technology availability and cultural environments, and to apply those approaches to the intended goals of their own projects. Through a series of iterations of research, design, implementation, and testing, participants build prototypes, share with the group, and aided by the facilitators, engage in a process of critique, reflection and improvement.

Day 2: Alternative Infrastructures

Building on the prototyping work of the first day, participants are encouraged to think through the distribution and circulation implications of their proposed projects. Areas of inquiry include analyzing delivery challenges and developing appropriate strategies to manage them; evaluating the sustainability of the project in the long term; and planning for scalability and large-scale, cross-border impact. Participants will learn about outreach and community building strategies, documenting and storytelling in a range of formats, alternative mechanisms for fundraising and sustainability, and the technology and process challenges intrinsic to serving larger audiences.

Day 3: Public Showcase

The public showcase event introduces the lab's three core concepts - creative industries, critical technologies and alternative infrastructures - and acts as a discursive platform for participants' work. The event features brief presentations by facilitators about the core concepts and the ideation and design process, while participants present, reflect and discuss their prototypes and experiences. The event, organized in collaboration with local partners, is open to the public and aims to activate discussion in the community around the themes of the lab and participants' work.

Post-event

All activities in the lab will be documented and later shared with all partners supporting the project. Articles describing the process and the results, including photos of the sessions, will be circulated through the website and newsletter of the Comparative Media Studies program at MIT, and made available to its community of followers on a range of social networks.

Participants will be invited to form a network of practitioners around creative industries projects to share further experiences, challenges and information, as well as to support each other in providing visibility for their projects. Facilitators and supporting partners will also remain available through this network for further questions and project support.

 

CIPL LIMA 2014

The first CIPL took place in Lima, Peru, immediately before the HASTAC 2014 conference. There was a complementary, bi-directional relationship between the two events: lab participants found a larger audience for their work during the conference, while conference attendees had an opportunity to engage with early-stage projects and methodologies that address many of the issues being discussed at HASTAC. An overview of the experience and the results achieved was presented as a panel at the conference. You can check out photos of the workshop on our Facebook page.

Here's an overview of the Lima 2014 class.

You can see all of the slides with more images here.

Memora.org: A moving digital humanities project documenting the violent and tragic history of Shining Path and MRTA terrorism in Peru. Aimed at educating generations of Peruvians born after this conflict, Memora fosters inter-generational dialogue with an interactive web platform and other in situ digital installations, all providing spaces of reflection and remembrance.

LaBoleteria.pe: LaBoleteria brings e-ticketing to Peru, working with a network of theaters and venues to digitize the entire process from purchase to performance. The project features a beautifully designed website and an option to make the process entirely paperless.

Ticket Lovers: Get outside and go play with Ticket Lovers, a new game you can play with others while you wait in line at the local bank. This game company is creating a series of games staged outside in public spaces.

Cientificos.pe: A social networking site building a community for Peruvian scientists. Cientificos.pe is a platform to promote connection and collaboration, create mentoring relationships, and combat Peruvian "brain drain" by reaching out to Peruvian researchers who've left to find work abroad.

Electrocleta: A hybrid manual / motorized bicycle to take on the headaches of heavy traffic in Lima. The Electrocleta team prototyped a product, and laid out a strategy to gain traction with Lima residents by marketing the bike as a hip new alternative.

Lazos Nexos: Lazos Nexos is a data visualization tool inspired by Bruno Latour's work in actor network theory. Using the contacts in a person's phone as its raw material, it creates dynamic, force-directed network graphs which visualize the connections between these various contacts.

RoboCuy: RoboCuy is a robotic guinea pig aimed at reducing the spread of disease in rural Peru. Building off the Peruvian tradition of petting a guinea pig ("cuy") for good luck, the RoboCuy aims to use this proximity to test for ailments like diabetes and cholera, using low-cost sensors and computer vision techniques.

Tullpi: Tullpi is a hybrid physical-digital game which aims to teach young children about math. Using brightly colored bottle caps as its tangible interface, Tullpi allows the player to control on screen characters (like the turtle, Mr. Tortellini) through the movement of the bottle caps.

Huatia: Huatia is an initiative for creating more spaces for interdisciplinary thinking at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP). It consists of a physical playspace for collaboration and making as well as various online and digital components for facilitating interdisciplinary interactions. One artifact that Huatia was interested in creating was what they called a "Research Tindr." This app would allow researchers to create a profile with their research interests and to swipe through a series of other researchers in order to find a match for their team.

Sistema: Sistema HMD is a sophisticated head mounted display system that works solely through the camera on your mobile phone. Unlike other HMDs which are incredibly costly, Sistema HMD allows much of the same functionality, but at an extremely reduced cost. The Sistema HMD team has already built a functional prototype and has imagined various use cases for their augmented reality. These use cases include everything from teaching anatomy in a science classroom to helping doctors complete surgery.

 

FACILITATORS

Rodrigo Davies is a graduate of the Comparative Media Studies program and a Research Assistant at the Center for Civic Media. At MIT, Rodrigo founded the Civic Crowdfunding Research Project, a platform for social research on crowdfunding, and leads the development of Call to Action, a web-based tool to enable community groups to design and deploy voice-based services. Rodrigo has served as an adviser, product manager and practitioner on civic projects with the Mayoral offices of San Francisco and Boston and the United Nations Development Program. Rodrigo has been invited to speak about civic technology, design and engagement by SXSW Interactive (Austin, TX), Personal Democracy Forum (NYC), the Library of Congress, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and Boston Civic Expo. Previously he was a co-founding editor of Conde Nast's digital operations in India and a radio and television journalist at the BBC.

Erica Deahl is a graduate of the Comparative Media Studies program, where she studies and designs media for education and social impact. Her research focuses on using digital media in K-12 public education to support technological literacies and promote civic engagement. As a Research Assistant at the Civic Data Design Lab, she co-leads the City Digits project, developing classroom curricula and building geo-spatial tools to help high school students conduct data-driven urban investigations. Previously she was a senior designer at 2x4 in New York City, where she designed and managed interactive projects for cultural sector clients. Erica studied graphic design at Yale University, where she graduated cum laude in 2007.

Julie Fischer graduated from Wellesley College, where she studied philosophy and psychology. Her interests lie in exploring the cognitive experience of media and the characteristics of consciousness that arise when we engage with fictional and nonfictional narratives. She nurtured these curiosities not just while happily poring over Sartre, but during almost a decade spent working in documentary film. Most recently, Julie has served as a researcher for documentarian Errol Morris. She has also worked for various independent media makers, and on productions at WGBH Boston and WTTW Chicago. Originally from Lunenburg, Massachusetts, Julie is a seasoned Boston-area resident, but also loves to travel. She spent a year volunteering in intentional communities and on smallholdings in Europe, writes for a travel blog, and is frequently daydreaming of future destinations.

Jason Lipshin is a digital studies and user experience researcher focused on mobiles and ubiquitous computing. He is a graduate of MIT's Comparative Media Studies program and is affiliated with both the MIT Imagination, Computation, and Expression Lab and the MIT Mobile Experience Lab. Through his work with the Mobile Experience Lab, Jason has helped develop new concepts and prototypes for clients including Marriott Hotels, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, and RAI - Italy's national broadcasting company. This summer, he will be working for Disney Interactive Group in Tokyo.

 

Eduardo Marisca graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from the Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) in Lima, where he began doing research and teaching on subjects related to the philosophy of technology and media, and the social impact of new technologies. He is currently researching the emergence of the video game industry in Peru and its potential as a creative industry, and is also working as a research assistant at The Education Arcade, an MIT lab researching and developing educational games. Before coming to MIT he worked at Ashoka, an international organization sourcing and supporting social innovators around the world, localising online tools for social innovation for the Latin American market. As part of the Changemakers.com technology team, he worked out of Ashoka offices in both Lima, Peru and Buenos Aires, Argentina. He also started and leads the Lima Videogame Laboratory, a research initiative on video games and gaming culture in the Peruvian and Latin American context.

Lingyuxiu Zhong is a digital media studies researcher at MIT. She previously received a B.A. degree in History from Yale University, where she studied how collective memories of the past can impact a society's identity formation process. At MIT she focuses on digital image sharing and collection practices and their cultural and commercial implications. She also works at the MIT Education Arcade and assist with the design and development of educational platforms. She is currently co-teaching a pilot class that tries to improve the Massive Open Online Course model and make it more interactive.

 

PARTNERS

CIPL Lima was produced by YoLab and Ayu.

Sponsored by the Intercorp Innovation Lab and Casa Andina.

Additional support and funding from the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, the MIT Department of Comparative Media Studies/Writing, and the MIT Public Service Center.


 

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