Disorientations Weekly 2020-07-16
7pm via Jitsi
Attending: Casey, Jason, Matt, Emma
- Intros [name, pronouns, if needed]
- Check-in question [all - 5m] - what’s a personal project or endeavor you’ve been working on lately? (any scale)
- Emma: taking care of succulents, pulling leaves and propogating, grow new plants
- Jason: cleaning tabs on your computer
- Casey: long gnarly piece of writing about art and risk, how universities manage financial risk and how that turns into how artists think about risk; taking a creative risk vs. a financial risk
- Matt: trying to arrange for house sale, working on repairs, fixing AC :(, soon rearranging a room in the house!
- Mini-Retrospective on Eyebeam Application/Opportunities - [10m]: What did we learn? What would we keep or change in the scoping, content, or process of future grant applications? Where to from here?
- Context: we applied for an Eyebeam grant, made it to the top 50/700 but didn’t make final 30. Exciting and disappointing!
- https://hackmd.io/223ZyilhS5yhFeZ7aNLTJw <– application
- Not our only funding opportunity, different avenues to raise money for this project; we also don’t need funding to do the project, we’re volunteering/doing this work for free. it would be cool to have resources but it’s not necessary
- What did you learn, what would you keep, is there anything you would change?
- Emma: Joanne’s take on this? Joined after. Seems like we didn’t have a clear goal, it’s fine to not have a goal but maybe not when applying on things. Unclear how we are or will be involved with student orgs. Redistributing money to student orgs makes sense. Maybe best to work on infrastructure, and apply for things on the side.
- Casey: feedback was that the project could have used more focus on direction, work in progress, impact, etc. Nice to receive feedback! Application was all over the place, both proposing short term project we didn’t have collaborators for, also saying we weren’t the ones trying to write this but also people trying to see it happen. Unclear on who the project is for/will be. We have started to build a set of materials that is reusable in terms of seeing what this is about. Now that we’ve done it once, we can submit to a bunch of different places (eg: something more related to archives, edu, activism). Something to change: mad rush on one weekend to do this; might be more productive to map out and come to a meeting to find cool/related opportunities as they fall in the year and build a timeline backwards to put something together. Know what to apply to in the next 6 months more proactively.
- Jason: more confusing is the pandemic edition, archives is cool!
- Our Networks - [10m? Casey]
- Another opportunity Casey came across called “Our Networks” conference based in Canada about different approaches to technology, networks, platforms. This project has to do with organizing, technology (our discussion last time re: this can be a learning group). Casey submitted a proposal for this conference and accepted it, it might not be as selective, just being part of a lineup of people working on similar projects.
- Changed date of conference: online on Sept. 8th-13th.
- Casey proposed: we are building informal archive of disos, we’ll do an archive-a-thon, learning what is a diso, decentralized forms of resistance. Contribute back to the archive/institutional knowledge, make new links
- Also could be a tutorial for Omeka and archiving tools, practicing digital archiving, tagging, uploading, etc.
- Presentation, interactive, discussion
- Contextualize what diso guides are, setting up informal archives, overview about zine librarianship and ethical archiving (project STAND)
- Short working session to start doing some tasks around enriching the archive, discussion of ideas + approaches, coming up with your own ideas
- Would we be interested in doing this? Not attached to this proposal, open to doing whatever people would find fun :)
- Emma: Deadline for accepting?
- Casey: Will ask
- Emma: Not sure feeling qualified to give a workshop, having just learned, would be cool on doing Omeka portion. Would feel more comfortable if we’re actually in touch with Diso groups.
- Casey: can speak more on that portion, can also develop the Omeka portion; we can get away from the ideas that we aren’t experts and can’t do it (!!). want to be sensitive to not speaking for people/on behalf of their work, but also not feeling imposter about it, i want you/us to feel like we can do the stuff. It’s not really a skills thing, necessarily, this is a thing people do in different ways/in different contexts(?) our archiving work is different/separate. The opportunity is also to share this more broadly, don’t know that they exist in the colleges people went to. Realizing it’s an unintentinoally networked effort. Others wish they had this!
- Jason: it’s important to be aware of what we can do and what’s a good use of time. Disorientation guides in themselves aren’t difficult, the difficult part is the organizing part + getting people together, finding people, knowing what topics are useful to talk about. Not necessarily a skills gap, but helpful to get input from people who have worked on them.
- Matt: agree – campus didn’t have one and would have found it useful! Not sure if we’re in a position expertise wise to facilitate making that process easier (of putting a diso out there), to the effect of making it more mainstream, or the project taking a direction that more facilitates publishing as opposed to archiving.
- Casey: student activists won’t necessarily be attending, mostly technologists/art-technology with interest in decentralized and mesh technologies. people might take something away about the open source and distributedness, starting a fast and loose archive. we don’t have to speak to the diso process. The byproducts of what we’re doing might be of interest + relate that to experience with schools.
- Matt: the idea of the decntralized internet has been floating around, goals in distribution of content
- Emma: would feel comfortable accepting, tbd depending on availability but could be comfortable framing as a workshop on archiving and distributed tools.
- Goals/plan for coming months - [10m]: No updates re: collaborators, curious how we should proceed if we can’t organize a 2020 publication across universities/what the backup plan is. What are some concrete goals we can set eg: archiving and site maintenance, that are not entirely contingent on other factors? What are those time commitments like? (also – these are Emma’s questions, feel free to edit/add)
- copied from last meeting: ~2 months to September – Based on where we’re at, what’s most important to making this happen? Do we need to re-think any aspects of this?
- wondering if we can make actionable steps out of this discussion
- Emma followed up with Penn, Brown, and Barnard. Penn said they don’t have anyone interested in collab but sent hi res pdf. Will send 2020 guide. Haven’t heard back from Brown. Emails haven’t gotten any updates. Given that we’re 2 months to September, I think it’s useful to check-in on Pandemic edition. After giving it more thought wondering what it looks like. School A has XYZ policy, if there is common ground what would it look like in diso form. Linked a recording of a Zoom panel on abolitionist organizing Uchicago and Johns Hopkins and they were talking about challenges. Diff universities have diff polciies on whether finances are public. Made me think more about what info is useful to share across universities. Kind of uncertain right now!
- Casey: how this overall project/how I want this to feel is not rushed, doing it at the pace that it needs to unfold, and also not forcing it to exist. We’ve modeled that pretty much, doing things when they make sense!
- Pandemic edition could look like: just a collection of disorientations coming out in the Fall, highlighting issues that cross universities, a page synthesizing what seems like the themes, and linking the different publications, these are the viewpoints of students that don’t receive enough attention; people across universities are working on the same goals. A simple way/collaborative project where we can provide resources and assistance in different ways, experience, etc. also the possibility of not doing it, or doing it as simple as one page. Okay with any of these options! Don’t want to add unnecessary work to anyones place. Groups seem to be overwhelemed and already jostled by everything going around. People have to rapidly pivot around different issues and make sense of it all, don’t want to add a project on top of it, but think how the project we’re working on can be useful connective tissue, bring things beyond the boundaries of a zine beyond a place.
- Emma: Clarifies a lot of question/uncertainties had (especially about format and timeline). Others input really needed.
- Jason: what JH is planning on doing: updating what we’re doing in 2018 and having some new info, some is coronavirus related but some isn’t, eg: disability rights on Zoom lectures, the university as a business and putting people in danger (not paying contract workers, force students back to campus dorms, needing tuition money), could be cool to have each university’s pandemic section in one book, eg: JH portion, Harvard portion, reading guide esque, common threads
- Casey: cool to know what you’re working on! Question: impulse for doing this – stanford guide to activism – one isolated publication, realizing not a good central place to seek connections, no real entry into world of counterresources. What’s your take on this? At Cooper, just updated Diso every year, and just expanded it. Knew about local other schools and borrowed format and made connections. Are you in touch with other schools/histories w/ JH?
- Jason: not really, know a bunch of activists around the country; different people do different stuff, no one has really worked on disorientation guides. Involved w/ later stages of 2018, mostly looked at our 2014 guide for steps. interviewed people who worked on it. Even now, looking at cool ideas from past, definitely helps in planning out, when thinking about new ways to contribute.
- Casey: We might just be moving too fast, if it doesn’t come together this year, it’s totally fine, people are just coming into the fold. Every september there’s going to be new publications (5-15 probably, per year), just in seeing what people do on their own this September, we can respond + ask to collaborate. To Jason’s point: thinking about what those resources are, what’s useful, finding groups that don’t do this yet, trying to advocate and collectively try to pool resources and ideas and support.
- Emma: Mostly worried about approaching it from perspective of someone I reached out to, would be clear if we knew it doesn’t have to be this or that. We can offer support with publishing, archiving. Wasn’t explicit when I reached out. Agree we don’t need to be in a rush.
- Joanne thought of the pandemic edition; maybe she can offer some thoughts after reading the notes.
- Matt and Casey have started to work on mapping out different features, making notes while uploading things. No taxonomy, a lot of infrastructure work. Eg: table of contents analysis, can generate these resources (eg: what are the components of a diso guide)? we can start building resource type/library stuff.
- What are the technical problems that are compelling? Searchability, automated process of finding crosslinks between relevant topics across disos, might go a long way towards drawing attention towards common issues. OCR problem – we’re aware of, not sure if its the matter of plugin quality, or just a limit of the format. Might be more something we can publicly discuss in the blogpost to share info with student activists + archivists.
- Casey: we could create a transcription interface so that people can enter their own data. Not a technical fix, but people can access the backend and put in the text, making it more of a wiki (Matt). Thinking about it as..a collaborative archive/platform, write out how we envision that working, create a form where people can ask to join as a user. Can reach out – do you want to update/enrich your metadata?
- At a future meeting: imaginging and prioritizing features? What would a site like this do in your dreamworld? Good way to prioritize and focus vision.
- Jason/Johns Hopkins Update
- Would you want to join ongoing chat?
- Is there anything a group like this could be helpful with? What is the role of the archive/archivists in helping support people making disos?
- Check in with others :)
- Emma: Case by case at diff universities.
- Emma’s update - [5m]: Uploaded Cambridge, Barnard/Columbia disorientation guides. Built in OCR is kind of broken/bad
- Zoom or Jitsi?
- Next meeting
- Casey is unvailable next Tuesday, and out of town; can’t do next week.
- Feel free to meet regardless!
- Can meet next Tuesday July 28th
- We’ll discuss in Zulip
- Casey: check with Joanne about OurNetworks! but tentatively accept
- Matt: open up a new document/HackMD that centralize collective thoughts on the site
- Casey: start a document about what we can do for other groups, we’ve talked about ways of participating a little and we can aggregate. Abstract + concrete :) (think this is also helpful w/”impostor feeling” – clarifying and affirming our own collaborating capacities, and help others answer the question “what do we need” a little easier)
- Check in with ourselves and take care!