Trees and Physical-Virtual Borderlands; Citizen video & networked politics in Southeast Asia; Adapting Social Media to Elections

November 21, 2012

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Remember to load images if you have trouble seeing parts of this email. Or click here to view the web version of this newsletter. Below you will find upcoming Berkman Center events, interesting digital media we have produced, and other events of note.

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berkman luncheon series

Trees and Physical-Virtual Borderlands: metaLAB and the Arnold Arboretum

Tuesday, November 27, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, Cambridge, MA. This event will be webcast live.


Say the idea is to re-awaken our feelings for plants even at our hyper-networked speed—do we want digital tools to do the re-wiring or are we convinced their auto-brightness and push notifications divert us from the living, breathing nonhuman sensorium? Maybe we have to begin to think more dynamically about cycles of mediation and flows, even floods, of informational-environmental perception. We know Boston's maples can get deeper access to us when the Web shows us what science has to say about them; what would it mean to experiment in crafting avenues for trees to traffic and transform our physical-virtual borderlands? Kyle Parry will initiate a conversation along these lines by way of a discussion of Digital Ecologies, metaLAB's work-in-progress collaboration with Harvard's Arnold Arboretum. Kyle Parry is a Researcher at metaLAB and a PhD student in Film and Visual Studies and Critical Media Practice at Harvard. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

berkman luncheon series

Citizen video and networked politics in Southeast Asia

Tuesday, December 4, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.


Citizen video in Southeast Asia has exploded in recent times, and has come to play a significant role in national and regional politics. As in other contexts it has documented spectacular events, spearheaded campaigns and uncovered scandals. More broadly citizen media and networked publics are shifting the balance of power both in the media and the political landscape. Like China and India, ASEAN nations are experiencing rapid growth and the online and citizen media space is only set to grow in media production, audience and importance. Whilst broadband access in the region is still often constrained to urban areas, citizen video is also being taken up as a political tool from those on the economic and political fringes. Initiatives such as Citizen Journalists Malaysia and EngageMedia are working to develop strategic networks of new citizen video producers. In this discussion, Andrew Lowenthal, co-founder and Executive Director of EngageMedia, will outline their approach to video4change and their work in the region, in particular looking at West Papua, (a remote region of Indonesia that has been waging an independence campaign for more than 40 years), the development of regional, cross-border and multilingual video networks, and the effect and possibility of the internet and online media to generate new post-national political configurations and collaborations. Andrew Lowenthal is Co-Founder and Executive Director of EngageMedia, an Asia-Pacific human rights and environmental video project begun in 2005. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

berkman luncheon series

Adapting Social Media to Promote Credible Elections in Low Technology Countries

Tuesday, December 11, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.


The new millennium ushered in a new dispensation for a new wave of democratic experimentations in Nigeria. A new republic commenced in 1999 and since then Nigeria has held a historic four consecutive elections. Until 2011, none of the elections have received positive review in the arena of credibility – or freeness, or fairness. However, the appointment of a new leadership for INEC renewed confidence in the body that the April 2011 elections were optimistically anticipated to be a marked improvement over the discredited previous experiences. The new INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, was reputed to be a respected academic and principled activist. In light of the renewed hope and confidence, and the desire to get things right through concerted efforts, several civil society organizations established election reporting platforms via SMS, twitter, websites, blogs, facebook, telephone lines etc. One particular organization recruited volunteers and got itself embedded within the INEC systems to promote a “two-way communication between INEC and its stakeholders”. What evolved was a media-tracking centre established to assess the robust blend of traditional and new media during the election period. Of the 87 million mobile phone users in Nigeria (44 million of which have access to the Internet), it was an interesting trend to see how social media, for the first time, was adopted and, quite interestingly, adapted, to ensure credibility of the electoral process in Nigeria. During this presentation, I intend to showcase the Nigeria experience, highlight what worked and what didn’t really work as expected; specific instances of how social media interventions prevented rigging; how the elections has helped the growth of use of social media, the patterns of usage during and after the elections; and, how traditional media has adjusted to social media practice. Oluwaseun Odewale is male, Nigerian with degrees in Chemistry (Medicinal Chemistry) and Chemical Engineering Technology. He has worked variously with regional institutions like the West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), the West African Bar Association (WABA) and recently, the Economic Community of West African States as Programme Officer (Youth), Programme Officer (Governance and Human Rights) and Research Assistant (Disaster Risks Reduction) respectively. RSVP Required. more information on our website>


RB209: Crisis Spotting (Drone Humanitarianism II)


What if you could witness a crime taking place from space, and even step in to prevent it? A group of researchers at Harvard’s Humanitarian Initiative are trying to do exactly that. video/audio on our website>


Has Politics Gone Peer to Peer?

An election eve conversation with Steven Johnson, author of "Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked World" and Harvard Law School's Yochai Benkler, Susan Crawford & Lawrence Lessig. video/audio on our website>

Other Events of Note

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Last updated November 21, 2012

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