Good news for MIT's Comparative Media Studies program: Sasha Costanza-Chock has joined the faculty as Assistant Professor of Civic Media. Sasha was instrumental in VozMob's (Mobile Voices/ Voces Moviles) project leadership (2009 Digital Media & Learning Competition winner). Together with 12 other Voz Mob members, Sasha made important contributions to participatory research methods that reflect the same collaborative design process and principles used in developing VozMob.
Ethan Zuckerman talked to Sasha about his research on VozMob in an interview for MIT's Center for Civic Media:
"I believe in thinking beyond web2.0, looking beyond the glossy surface of the latest high-end tools. Many civic media projects are geared around that small slice of the population lucky enough to have always-on broadband connectivity. I'm interested in how civic media reaches beyond that 5-10% of the global public." That design strategy, as well as a strong practice of rooting both research and design in community participation, led to Costanza-Chock's work with the Institute of Popular Education of Southern California (IDEPSCA) on VozMob (Mobile Voices / Voces Movíles), which helps day laborers in LA share stories and reports with their community using mobile phones to write stories, record audio and take photos.
It was working with the immigrant rights movement that led Costanza-Chock to develop theory around what he calls transmedia mobilization: "My research suggests that social movements are most effective when the media opportunity structure shifts and opens; when they engage in cross-platform production and distribution; when they develop a praxis of digital media literacy; and when movement organizations shift from top-down structures of communicative practice to horizontal, participatory structures that include their social base."
Image credit: VozMob