Annual Reporting: (2013) Residency in DC
For much of 2013, I traveled to sites where I could learn firsthand about cooperative organization, co-productive labor, and the commons.i Some of this work was through formal ‘residency’ programming designed to support social research and creative practice. Some of these travels were ‘residencies’ only inasmuch as my work was being supported by generous people who shared their time, homes, and insight; in exchange, I offered them what skills I could in terms of facilitation, research, and strategic analysis. ii
Provisions Library: COPY RIGHTS
My first and most formal residency of 2013 actually took place right at home. I participated in the COPY RIGHTS fellowship at Provisions Library, a center for arts and social justice based at George Mason University. During this three week residency, I had access to a wealth of knowledge about digital justice matters, among Provisions’ network of advisors and my awesome fellow residents. iii
I took COPY RIGHTS as a prompt to explore the challenges and opportunities of local digital commons — online environments dedicated to the free circulation of local knowledge. At first I flirted with the development of a LocalWiki for DC, launching and almost immediately shelving the District Commons wiki. iv My ultimate presentation was a lot more modest in scope: the first version of a memo about the DC Community Resource Data Commons project (as mentioned above), and relatedly, the first version of a talk that I call “Community Resource Directories and the Future of Knowledge and Democracy.” As of the end of 2013, that memo is here and the most recent slides of the talk are here (via Google Docs).
Hack for DC
In May, I returned to the District for another project that I might as well call a ‘residency’ and include here. Representing Code for DC, I stepped up to serve as lead organizer for Hack for DC, the local happening of the National Day of Civic Hacking. In the process, we organized more than a hundred people in three venues (including DC’s City Hall and Google DC’s headquarters) over the course of three days.
Quite a few exciting projects emerged from Hack for DC, including a site that publishes the text of the DC legal code, a searchable directory of all DC government contractors, and the hacking open of years of IRS 990 data on every non-profit organization in the country. Soon afterwards, I represented this work at the ‘Champions for Change‘ event hosted by the White House. Below see highlights of the event from my Storify page.
Next stop: Madison, Wisconsin…