Creative Communities Initiative

CCI_logoThe Creative Communities Initiative is a research group at MIT led by Ian Condry and T.L. Taylor. The group uses ethnography and other qualitative research methods to study subjects like, esports, livestreaming, music and inequality, anime and manga, and more.

During my time as a research assistant for the CCI, I did the following:

  • conducted ethnographic research, interviews, and focus groups
  • led meetings, book discussions, and brought in guest speakers
  • wrote a white paper about the social media practices of new mothers
  • transcribed interviews
  • organized secondary resources
  • gave feedback on articles and ideas

Additionally, I assisted in rebranding the research group by creating a new logo (pictured above) and a new website and monthly newsletter (pictured below). All of these can be found in action at http://ccimit.mit.edu. The archive of the newsletter can be found here.

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Website
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Newsletter
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“Flying While Fat”

Flying While Fat is my first attempt at a web comic. I created it for a course at MIT on women in comics and cognitive dissonance. This comic utilizes simple drawing techniques to represent a short narrative about the complexities, peculiarities, and misery of flying as a fat person.

If you would like a sample from this comic, please contact me.

 

 

Data Storytelling with PEW’s Survey of Library Use

For the data storytelling unit of workshop in Fall 2014, I decided to visualize PEW’s 2013 Library Typology data. This was my first attempt at working with data, so I ran into a few roadblocks. After struggling to properly scrape and clean the data, I decided to present the data alongside my personas for the project as library patron profiles. If I were to revisit the project, I would actually make library cards with persona info in the form of an ID on one side and the data on the back. Additionally, I would choose different fonts, and I would recolor the visualizations.

Here is the design document.

Transmedia Storytelling Database

For the digital humanities portion of the Fall 2014 workshop, I decided to build a database for transmedia stories. One of the sites I had used for this purpose had shut down, and I found that there was a need for a replacement. My attempt can be found at http://storytellingtransmedia.wordpress.com. Ultimately, I decided not to continue with the project, because I found that my own understanding of the nature of transmedia storytelling was shifting during my time in the program.

Edit:  I have since come across a group of students at a different university who are creating a database of transmedia stories. You can see their work here:  http://www.tmdbonline.org/

Thesis Defense: A Board Game

With this workshop project, my friends and I sought to find a way to turn the codes of academia–often a source of stress for graduate students and faculty alike–into a space for play. We focused our efforts on the thesis defense, perhaps the most anxiety-inducing of academic rituals. Our hope was that we could create a new iteration of that ritual that would allow participants to play both with the textual layer of a defense–the thesis titles and theoretical concepts that mark it–and, importantly, with its emotional valences.  

Participants rotate between the roles of ‘thesis defendant’ and ‘committee member.’ In each round, the participant deemed the thesis defendant selects a fictional thesis title from a pile of title cards, designed to be absurd and open-ended (e.g. Food Chams: Competitive Eating in the Chameleon Disapora; Das Kapitalization: a case against Anglophone titular conventions; Stop Socra-teasing me: Pitfalls of the Socratic Method; Whence the Stapler?). Participants deemed the ‘committee members’ select a theoretical concept (e.g. Debord’s ‘spectacle,’ Foucault’s ‘governmentality,’ and Zuckerman’s ‘digital cosmopolitanism.’) Committee members remain committed to their theoretical orientations, thesis defendants try to please everyone, and all participants attempt to build their academic empires. Rather than putting forth a rigid set of rules, we wanted to offer up a variety of options for players to experiment within this frame.

If you would like to play yourself or just check out our concept, you can find all of the necessary materials here:

 

 

stacks+ : Augmenting Serendipitous Discovery in the Library

For our workshop class in Fall of 2014, my peers and I were given the challenge of designing an experience for Google Glass. My group was most interested in doing something within the space of the library and information gathering. stacks+ was born out of that assignment.

stacks+ is an application designed for mobile and wearable platforms which augments the stack-browsing experience by showing titles missing from the shelves and making other kinds of connections between resources visible in order to encourage serendipitous discovery

Researchers and other library users rely on the stacks, along with reference librarians and electronic search tools, to help them find new resources and avenues for exploration—when a patron retrieves a book, a host of relevant titles are laid out for her in its vicinity. But what about when that perfect neighboring book happens to be checked out or in offsite storage? What if other types of information could be added to the stacks’ interface? Leveraging immersive, lightweight technology and designed with input from librarians and researchers, the stacks+ application addresses common frustrations and missed opportunities in the library browsing experience.

Library patrons often have difficulty finding not only the books they are looking for but also those that could be useful if the patron were only aware of them. Indeed, library browsing can be unwieldy, with long call numbers spread across stacks on multiple floors or in multiple wings, which further exacerbates problems in conducting library-based research. Thus, we hope to facilitate library browsing in order to make research more seamless, more serendipitous, and thus more productive.

Thus far our team has prototyped the design of the stacks+ application for Google Glass. We have in this pursuit explored design precedents and problems of both the technology and the unique context of libraries, particularly when in terms of research. This process included some ethnographic research involving librarians and library users. We look forward to working on this project again soon.

Damaged Goods: A Little Messed Up, and a Tiny Bit Broken

DamagedGoods_InvictusVol3_CoverDamaged Goods:  A Little Messed Up, and a Tiny Bit Broken is the product of the third incarnation of The Invictus Writers. The Invictus Writers is a writing group created by Brad King in which students work together for a semester to write a short memoir for publication and for the Digital Story Awards competition by the Creatavist.

As a member of Invictus 3, I wrote and published a short memoir titled “It’s Like the Weather” in which I examine my relationship with  my mother and my decision to leave my small town. I also designed the book, including the layout and the cover. The book is available in print and electronic versions. If you would like to read my story or purchase the book, please visit http://theinvictuswriters.com.