DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social Media

Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 7:00pm to Saturday, November 13, 2010 - 7:00pm


Call for papers

Download the Call for Papers (PDF)

A renewed emphasis on participatory forms of digitally-mediated production is transforming our social landscape. ‘Making’ has become the dominant metaphor for a variety of digital and digitally-mediated practices. The web is exploding with independently produced digital ‘content’ such as video diaries, conversations, stories, software, music, video games—all of which are further transformed and morphed by “modders,” “hackers,” artists and activists who redeploy and repurpose corporately-produced content. Equally, communities of self-organized crafters, hackers, and enthusiasts are increasingly to be found online exchanging sewing and knitting patterns, technical guides, circuit layouts, detailed electronics tutorials and other forms of instruction and support. Many of these individuals and collaborators understand their work to be socially interventionist. Through practices of design, development, and exchange they challenge traditional divides between production and consumption and to redress the power differentials built into technologically-mediated societies.

“DIY Citizenship” invokes the participatory nature of these diverse “do-it-yourself” modes of engagement, community, networks, and tools—all of which arguably replace traditional with remediated notions of citizenship. The term “critical making” refers to the increasing role ‘making’ plays in critical forms of social reflection and engagement.

This interactive conference seeks to extend conversations about new modes of engaged DIY citizenship and politics evidenced by the exponential increase of DIY media, “user-generators”, “prosumers,” “hacktivists,” tactical media interventionists, and other ‘maker’ identities. We invite scholars, activists, artists, designers, programmers and others interested in the social and participatory dimensions of digitally-mediated practices, to engage in dialogue across disciplinary and professional divides. All methodological and theoretical approaches are welcomed. Submissions may include paper proposals, works of art and/or design, short video or audio segments, performances, video games, digital media, or other genres and forms. Potential topics include: the relation between social media and the ‘making’ of new forms of citizenship engagement—thus, for example, making movements; making community; making news; making play; making bodies; making health; making public; making education; making networks.

Plenary speakers include:

Anne Balsamo, Professor of Interactive Media in the School of Cinematic Arts, and of Communications in the Annenberg School of Communications, University of Southern California, co-founder of Onomy Labs, Inc. a Silicon Valley technology design and fabrication company that builds cultural technologies.

Suzanne de Castell, Professor (media, educational technologies) Faculty of Education Simon Fraser University, Vancouver: educational media theory, research, design and development, Founded Canadian Game Studies Association, co-editor of Loading…

Ron Deibert, Professor (Political Science), University of Toronto, Director of the Citizen Lab; a co-founder and a principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative and Information Warfare Monitor projects; co-founder and VP of global policy and outreach for Psiphon Inc.

Paul Dourish, Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, co-conspirator in the Laboratory for Ubiquitous Computing and Interaction, and author of Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction, MIT Press.

Henry Jenkins, Provost's Professor of Communications, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California. Blogger, Author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. Currently doing research for MacArthur Foundation on youth, new media, and the public sphere.

Jennifer Jenson, Professor of Pedagogy and Technology, York University, Toronto: video game designer, co-editor of Loading…: The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association

Natalie Jeremijenko, artist whose background includes studies in biochemistry, physics, neuroscience and precision engineering. Jeremijenko’s projects which explore socio-technical change have been exhibited by several museums and galleries, including the MASSMoCA, the Whitney, Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt. Jeremijenko is the director of the environmental health clinic at NYU, assistant professor in Art, and affiliated with the Computer Science Dept.

Steve Mann, professor of Applied Engineering, and Arts and Sciences, University of Toronto, proliferate inventor including wearable computing, hydraulophone, and concept of 'sousveillance': "the effects a surveillance device has on others"

Trebor Scholz, Professor of Culture and Media Study, The New School, New York: media activist, writer, and artist, founder of the Institute for Distributed Creativity. In the fall of 2009, Dr. Scholz convened The Internet as Playground and Factory conference

Conference organizers: Prof. Megan Boler, University of Toronto; Prof. Matt Ratto, University of Toronto.

Please submit a 250-word proposal or description of work/presentation and a one-page artist or scholarly CV to by May 20, 2010. Please include up to five images of work to be shown/discussed or a web URL if appropriate. Notifications will take place by June 15, 2010. For more information, contact or visit our website at

Presenters will be invited to submit completed papers for an edited collection with a university press and/or a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal.


No comments