The 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
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.
This seven month immersive project, made possible by Ball State University, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, and community donors, had five parts:
Digital Archive Exhibit
Digital Film Exhibit
Gift Shop Merchandise
Though every student assisted in the creation of all of these assets, we were each assigned a team. I was assigned to the digital archive exhibit team, which was tasked with creating an extensive interactive exhibit encompassing Vonnegut’s roles as author, artist, activist, and Hoosier. On the archive exhibit team, I primarily served as the coordinator for the team. I made sure that we were meeting our deadlines, organized all of the assets that we collected, and communicated with the designer. I also served as document photographer on each of our research trips to the archive of Vonnegut’s work at the Lilly Library at Indiana University Bloomington. By the end of the project, I edited 600+ images of Vonnegut’s personal papers, and I wrote 50+ blurbs and selected the photos to accompany them. The final exhibit was loaded onto a 27″ iMac and gifted to the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. A condensed version of this exhibit accompanies the traveling exhibit on two iPads.
I also assisted with the marketing portion of the project. I designed an intensive marketing survey with the assistance of my professor and disseminated the survey to the Library’s patrons via email and social media. 448 people completed the survey. Then, my professor and I analyzed the data and constructed a list of adjustments to their current marketing plan. I was elected to present the findings of the survey to the Library’s board of directors.
Below are some screenshots from the exhibit.
Update: In the Fall of 2013, I was given the opportunity to resume work on this project through an independent study with Professor Rai Peterson which culminated in a lecture tour about Kurt Vonnegut alongside the traveling exhibit in Germany in February 2014. We gave a workshop on teaching Vonnegut’s work to university and high school educators, and we spoke about Vonnegut’s heritage to an audience which, to our surprise, included some of Vonnegut’s relatives. For me, the highlight of the trip was getting to see Dresden, to learn about Dresden before and after the bombing and most importantly to visit Slaughterhouse Five where Vonnegut was held as a prisoner of war during the bombing of Dresden in WWII.
Transmedia Indiana was an immersive learning project at Ball State University. In partnership with the Indiana State Museum and the Town of New Harmony, a group of twenty-six students worked together to create a 45,000 word interactive ebook based upon actual artifacts from Indiana’s history. For more information about the project, please visit these links:
For this project, my partner and I planned and executed a two day live event at the museum in 1,500 square feet of exhibit space. The event featured a few of the real artifacts mentioned within the narrative, a fictional “case file” bulletin board full of clues and coordinates central to the story, a collection of easels featuring images of New Harmony, a SCVNGR challenge, and computers and tablets from which visitors could visit the fictional and nonfictional websites and preview the book. Here is footage from the event:
My partner and I were also responsible for all social media and email marketing campaigns for the project. Over the course of one semester, we reached ~1,000 people via Twitter, Facebook, and ExactTarget.