WHAT IS CIVIC MEDIA?
CREATIVE USE OF DIFFERENT MEDIUMS
The range of mediums employed by the civic media fellows is extensive, ranging from more traditional formats like books to new technologies like virtual reality and on to in-person events like club nights and protests. As journalist and lawyer Josie Duffy Rice said:
I don't have a really clear answer on what civic media is. I can tell you what I take away from the people who were part of this fellowship, which is everybody is translating what they find interesting in a way that is unusual. Everybody in this fellowship thinks about how to talk about information, or translate information in ways that might not be the usual ways. It wasn't just writers or policy papers or research papers. It's like, how do you do this with VR? How do you integrate this with an event or a march? How do you translate this on a podcast? How do you communicate this to activists? It just was so many different ways of communicating.
For several fellows, joining a cohort of other civic media makers has widened their own conceptions of what civic media can be. Software engineer and immigrants rights activist Justino Mora said that his own “view of what civic media was really limited” to the kind of work he and others around him in the immigrants rights movement did: “leveraging social media tools and platforms and creating technological tools for social change.” Learning from members of his cohort and meeting people from the worlds of art, architecture, law, gaming, and others, he “got to see the possibilities, the different combinations” that make civic media a fundamentally broad space.
Writer, gamer, and nonprofit director Tanya DePass, for example, is interested in shifting people’s thinking around how gaming can be harnessed for the greater good. As an ambassador for Take This, a group that advocates for mental health in the gaming industry, she sees how gaming “has literally saved lives for people I know,” while “a lot of people have found identity through games, they’ve made lifelong friends.” Given these potentials, she works to disrupt misconceptions about games as ‘just’ for kids or as an activity with primarily negative effects on society.
Click on the buttons below to explore some aspects of Civic Media!