Networking Urban Agriculture to Change Social Norms and Community Identities

Understanding the significance of mobility and social interaction for networking applications is key to the functionality and effectiveness of this design proposal.  The connecting and coordinating powers of location-based services, as well as their potential to create new representations of place, are inherent in an urban agriculture network app that would be used by producers, vendors, and consumers.  This service would strengthen the communities that use it by creating a centralized digital space for interested parties to share information about their local urban agriculture and, in turn, stimulating their participation in farm and garden markets.  Though this proposal offers the potential for economic independence and improved nutrition in underserved urban areas, the concerns for privacy and accessibility of a standard smartphone app should not be overlooked.  Academic literature provides a useful framework for analyzing the theoretical implications of this design proposal.

Refining Interactions and Reimagining Place

Humphreys (2012) offers a three-pronged approach to understanding how mobile communication shapes social interaction, and each facet reveals distinctive capabilities of an urban agriculture market network.  The first approach, connecting, addresses the ways which in-group ties among farm collectives and community garden organizations would be reinforced, in addition to solidarity from local patrons (Humphreys, 2012, p. 502).  The app would reduce social distance between these groups by creating an online space for collaborative dialogue and increasing visibility.

The second approach, coordinating, reflects the use of location-based services to congregate in the physical world through the discussions with connections online (Humphreys, 2012, p. 503).  Consumers seeking local agricultural products would depend on the network as a centralized source of information about availability, schedules, and to discover new ways to participate in this evolving market.  Producers and vendors would coordinate activities to make mutually beneficial plans, such as forming coalitions, avoiding timing conflicts, or expanding their selections.

The third approach, cataloguing, describes how users look back at aggregated reviews and requests (Humphreys, 2012, p. 505).  Vendors would rely on this information to improve their products and offer new locations or schedules, encouraging more consumers to support their local agricultural economy.  Humphreys’ framework lends insight into the diversity of ways that an online network can enhance interactions among its members.

Gazzard (2011) makes an argument for the political power of maps that informs the ideas of connecting, coordinating, and cataloguing.  Location-based services create local networks for communities to experience new places and activities nearby through user contributions (Gazzard, 2011, p. 416).  This design proposal allows users to add content related to their local urban agriculture markets, fostering a new understanding of how food can be produced and distributed (Gazzard, 2011, p. 406).

It is essential for this information to be sorted by proximity, so users would have the choice of entering an address or giving the app permission to access their devices’ GPS.  The custom address function also serves users who may wish to receive results for another location, whether because they are (or will be) away from home, finding information for someone else, or researching urban agriculture in other cities.  As a medium for mapping community activity, this network creates new representations and meanings for the places discussed by its users (Gazzard, 2011, p. 408).

New Networks, New Notions

To maximize the potential for this proposed design to change perceptions about local food economies, users will have the option of linking their social media profiles to share posts from the network.  This facilitates the spread of urban agriculture information to a wider community and encourages new people to participate.  Marwick (2012) describes social media as a form of lateral surveillance (p. 379), as individuals use it to observe the attitudes and activities of their networks and pick up new norms based on these observations (p. 384).  The purpose of linking the app to social media is to take advantage of the powerful effect it can have on behavior when users share that they attended a neighborhood farmers’ market, found an exciting new product, or made a delicious home-cooked meal with produce from a local garden.

One drawback that comes with prompting posts on social media through the app is the collection of data for marketing purposes.  The posts would contribute to the users’ online identities which are bought and sold in common practice, but the benefits of linking to social media far outweigh this by-product.  Over time, the online display of everyday activities that engage in the local urban agricultural economy could steer entire communities into new norms (Marwick, 2012, p. 384).  Mann (2013) also argues that social networks allow users to become producers of information, engaged in acquiring and disseminating knowledge in real time.  Rather than relying on conventional supermarkets to purchase produce from commercial farms in distant locations, communities can use this app to organize from the bottom up and become more self-sufficient in the production and distribution of agricultural products.

Designing for Inclusivity

If this design proposal is a sincere attempt to improve the lives of its users, it must be made accessible to even the most marginalized individuals. Deaf and hearing-impaired users would not lose any functionality in the app.  Blind and vision-impaired people are often neglected in design considerations for websites and mobile apps, but many services are available to aid in accessibility, such as screen readers (Soederquist, 2012).  The coding and features of this app would be designed in accordance with W3C Web standards to ensure the accommodation of those who require assistive technologies (Soederquist, 2012).  The app would also be available as a desktop site for those who do not own, or cannot use, a web-capable mobile device.  This community-based network aims to include people of all abilities in its design and service.

In Conclusion

There is great potential for social impact with a networking app for consumers and producers of urban agriculture.  The connecting, coordinating, and cataloguing aspects work in conjunction with location to strengthen communities and forge new identities by sharing experiences.  This app would serve the cause of food justice by opening dialogue, shaping norms, and increasing participation in urban agricultural markets.

Another interpretation of mobility and fresh produce in underserved urban communities, and part of the inspiration for this project: 


Gazzard, A. (2011). Location, location, location: Collecting space and place in mobile media. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 17(4), 405-417. Retrieved March 18, 2015, from

Humphreys, L. (2012). Connecting, Coordinating, Cataloguing: Communicative Practices on Mobile Social Networks. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 56(4), 494-510. Retrieved March 18, 2015, from

Mann, S. (2013, September 26). Chapter 1: MannGlass, SpeedGlass, “GOOGlass”, and “The Veillance Contract” Retrieved March 19, 2015, from

Marwick, A. (2012). The Public Domain: Surveillance in Everyday Life. Surveillance & Society, 9(4), 384-385. Retrieved March 19, 2015, from

Scarfi, M. (2012, June 28). Social Media And The Big Data Explosion. [Hyperlink]. Retrieved March 28, 2015, from

Soederquist. (2012, September 13). Why mobile Web accessibility matters – best practices to make your mobile site accessible. Retrieved March 20, 2015, from

Sustain Ontario. (2013). Toronto’s Mobile Good Food Market. [Embedded video file]. Retrieved March 28, 2015, from

W3C Standards for Web Applications on Mobile: Current state and roadmap. (2015, January 1). [Hyperlink]. Retrieved March 28, 2015, from

User Submissions for Sexual Harassment App Strengthen a Movement of Resistance

The recent proliferation of education, resources, and campaigns to fight sexual harassment around the world speaks to cultural shifts in the perception of interpersonal interactions.  This critical moment of social breaching exposes problematic gender norms and expectations not only for those directly involved in cases of harassment, but also for those participating in the discourse.  As sexual harassment has become increasingly visible, so have the factions surrounding the issue; many champion the efforts to push back against a grave societal problem, while others attempt to minimize its seriousness and disparage affected individuals.  In designing technology for the cause, this popular divide presents challenges concerning efficacy, ease of access, and discretion, all of which are addressed by Not Your Baby, a mobile application from the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) first released in 2012.

Not Your Baby (METRAC, 2013) operates on a simple premise: it enables targets of sexual harassment to access responses and other information tailored to the incident at hand.  Users select from a list of instigators (e.g. co-worker, teacher, acquaintance) and a list of places (e.g. work, school, public transit) to generate context-based tips for reacting to the scenario.  The app also includes information about how to help a friend, relevant laws, resources, factoids, definitions, and stories to foster a sense of support and solidarity.

As a technological tool for social justice, Not Your Baby (METRAC, 2013) promotes agency and capability among those affected by providing a platform to share their own solutions (Light & Luckin, 2008, p. 8).  The tips and stories are created by user submissions as well as the results of an online survey on sexual harassment experiences conducted by METRAC (Research Summary, 2011).  Though the survey was a key component in creating the app (Gunraj, 2012) and its responses were included in the final design, this limited extent of user input in development does not meet the criteria for participatory design as defined by Light and Luckin (2008, p. 22).  However, the inclusion of authentic survey responses and the users’ ability to contribute to the pool of tips and stories reflect the app’s inherent qualities of user-centered design (Light & Luckin, 2008, p. 19).

The simple interface and intuitive navigation of Not Your Baby (METRAC, 2013) make it easy to use for the average English-speaking smartphone owner, and it is available for free download on both Android and iPhone.  Unfortunately, this presents a barrier to use for those who cannot afford a smartphone and therefore, problematically, excludes their voices from the pool of tips and stories.  The needs and experiences unique to the most marginalized communities are underrepresented in the app’s resources because this demographic may be unable to access it in the first place (and they deserve it as much as–if not more than–those of different socioeconomic status).

Discretion is another important concern for a resource of this nature.  Unlike many other apps, Not Your Baby (METRAC, 2013) lacks the option to connect with users’ social media accounts.  Additionally, users are not required to share their name or location when submitting personal stories and situational tips.  Both features reflect consideration for the self-regulation caused by our social surveillance culture (Marwick, 2012, p. 384).  Users are aware of the sensitivity of such information and would likely not wish to share their harassment stories with their entire social network.

Overall, as a means of combatting sexual harassment in everyday situations, Not Your Baby (METRAC, 2013) accomplishes its goal of providing quick and effective responses through community-based input.  However, it is important to consider that while the app may serve as a helpful tool to empower its users, it inadvertently expands the knowledge gap already faced by impoverished individuals who lack access (Donner, 2008, p. 36).  Structural shortcomings aside, the app’s user-centered design protects the anonymity of users who may be connected to their harassers on social media, or may simply wish to avoid the backlash that often comes with identifying as the target of this controversial behavior.


Donner, J. (2008). Shrinking Fourth World? Mobiles, Development, and Inclusion. In Handbook of Mobile Communication Studies (pp. 35-37). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Fazlalizadeh, T. (2014, November 10). Is saying hello sexual harassment? Reuters. [hyperlinked]. Retrieved March 8, 2015, from

Gunraj, A. (2012, September 10). “Not Your Baby” iPhone app helps users deal with sexual harassment. Retrieved March 2, 2015, from

Light, A., & Luckin, R. (2008, October). Designing for social justice: People, technology, learning. Retrieved March 2, 2015, from

Marwick, A. (2012). The Public Domain: Surveillance in Everyday Life. Surveillance & Society, 9(4), 384-385.

Not Your Baby. (2013). Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children [METRAC] (Version 1.2.1) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from

Research Summary: Survey on Responses to Sexual Harassment. (2011, February). Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children. [hyperlinked]. Retrieved March 2, 2015, from

Sexual Harassment Common, Little Recourse. (n.d.). Southern Poverty Law Center. [hyperlinked]. Retrieved March 8, 2015, from

Community Communication: A Networking Service for the Urban Agricultural Economy

Establishing a Basis

Across the United States, urban agriculture has shown promising signs of growth through both state-funded projects and grassroots efforts (Weissman, 2011, p. 440).  In order for this new form of production to become a fully integrated part of the local economy, urban dwellers need to be aware of, and have easy access to, the goods produced by their local agricultural projects. Greater organization and visibility of such projects will help to secure their longevity and foster further development.

Preliminary research has revealed that web-based support and promotion of urban agriculture has not been studied extensively by academics nor implemented in the marketplace as a standalone service.  The closest examples in current practice show positive results: farmers markets are beginning to use social media to engage with local consumers, which has prompted an increase in social capital (Abrams and Sackmann, 2014) and served as a social hub for vendors and consumers (Cui, 2014, p. 87).  The lack of precedent for a user-centered networking service between urban agriculture producers and consumers makes this project decidedly challenging and relevant.


Discussing the Concept and Intended Users

This design proposal is for a mobile device application that connects producers–community gardens, urban agriculture collectives, and farmers markets–with their urban-dwelling consumers.  By providing a digital space for producers to display their goods, the application will increase their visibility and encourage the local community to engage in the urban agricultural economy.  The app will allow consumers to provide feedback on the quality of goods and availability of vendors, and aggregate requests (such as culture-specific produce or market schedules) based on location.

Much like Yelp or eBay, the intended users of this app are both producers and consumers in the urban agricultural economy.  In surveying the social media practices of small-scale farms, Abrams and Sackmann (2014) found that roughly half of the overall time these farmers spent on the internet was related to their business, and primarily with finding and engaging customers.  This indicates the willingness of urban agricultural producers to invest effort in a web-based service that networks with their community.

The case study conducted on the Cedar Park Farmers Market Facebook page corroborates the above finding (Cui, 2014, p. 93), and also provides insight into patterns of consumer behavior in relation to farmers markets’ social media.  The customers primarily interacted with the Facebook page to ask about operating hours and location, as well as the attendance of specific vendors (Cui, 2014, p. 96).  This reveals the communities’ desire to access updates and information about their local farmers markets through the internet, in the same manner as they would engage any other organization.  Evidence supports the inclination of both categories of intended users to get involved with a web-based urban agriculture networking service.


Addressing Distributive and Productive Food Justice

By creating a dynamic, centralized digital space for urban agricultural market information, this app connects urban dwellers with fresh, locally-produced goods and encourages participation in small-scale commerce.  The success of existing urban agriculture projects, facilitated by the networking service, will increase interest among grassroots organizations and local governments, thus stimulating the development of more projects.  This design not only builds a sense of community through sustainable, local, healthy eating, but also strengthens an urban economy that allows even the most marginalized neighborhoods to reclaim financial and nutritional autonomy (Weissman, 2011, p. 438).



Abrams, K. M., & Sackmann, A. (2014). Are alternative farmers yielding success with online marketing and communication tools for their social capital and business viability? Journal of Applied Communications, 98(3), 48+.

Cui, Y. (2014). Examining farmers markets’ usage of social media: An investigation of a farmers market Facebook page. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 5(1), 87–103.

Weissman, E. (2011). Urban agriculture. In N. Cohen, & P. Robbins (Eds.), Green cities: An A-to-Z guide. (pp. 435-442). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi:

Food Justice and the Urban Agricultural Economy

On the Topic of Food Justice

In the broadest terms, food justice is defined as a social movement that works to solve inequalities in the global food system.  It can be examined from a number of perspectives, but the most relevant approaches for this project are distributive justice: the allocation of food resources; and productive justice: the ability to participate in the food economy (Allen & Melcarek, 2011, p. 189).

According to Allen & Melcarek (2011, p. 190), distributive justice addresses the uniquely modern circumstance of poverty as the root cause of hunger.  Historically, famines were caused by weather patterns, natural disasters, and geographic barriers to distribution, but advances in technology have overcome these problems and created a global food surplus.  Despite this fact, more people go hungry today than at any point in history, simply because of the market economy (Allen & Melcarek, 2011, p. 189).

The second piece of the problem is the disparate allocation of land used for food production and other resources that affect the availability and price of food.  Productive justice concerns the global and local structural inequalities that have led to a vastly disproportionate distribution of land ownership and political/financial influence over the food economy (Allen & Melcarek, 2011, p. 190).  In the U.S., a small percentage of principal operators manage the majority of farmland, and these individuals, as well as the government policy and corporate decision-makers, are almost exclusively males of European descent while the most food-insecure groups are single-mother households and people of color (Allen & Melcarek, 2011, p. 190).

Food Justice and the Urban Agricultural Economy

As an increasing majority of both global and American populations reside in cities (Melcarek, 2011, p. 433), urban agriculture has become a key component in the topic of food justice, as it promotes urban sustainability, provides a financial opportunity using existing resources, and serves as a source of direct food distribution in urban communities (Weissman, 2011, p. 435).  The array of activities that fall under the category of urban agriculture–such as rooftop gardening, vacant lot cultivation, and commercial operations located in cities–have the potential for both distributive and productive justice for urban dwellers.

In the United States, distributive justice is hampered by poverty not only because of the inability to afford food in the first place, but also a widespread lack of nutritious food in low-income neighborhoods.  Areas without practical access (defined as a 10-15 minute walk for an able-bodied individual) to affordable, fresh food are known as food deserts (Smith, 2011, p. 185).  Therefore, since urban areas are home to some of the poorest communities in the U.S. (Allen & Melcarek, 2011, p. 190), they are also home to the most problematic instances of distributive injustice.

The lack of space inherent in an urban environment is a significant obstacle to productive justice in these communities.  Buildings and pavement cover most of the land and pollution presents complex challenges for gardening in the remaining space, leaving urban dwellers dependent on the economy of imported food (Grover, 2011, p. 189). However, given practical education and sufficient resources to start their own gardens, urban communities have the potential to overcome spatial barriers to agricultural production and participate in their local food economy (Melcarek, 2011, p. 435).


The Search for Solutions–and Promising Developments

Though modern technology and economic systems have created our current food injustices, they also offer solutions to many of the distributive and productive disparities.  Smith (2011, p. 186) notes that health organizations and community groups have successfully partnered to implement programs bringing farmers markets to urban food deserts.  Similarly, the United States Department of Agriculture has funded grassroots initiatives to increase the availability of fresh produce in low-income neighborhoods (Smith, 2011, p. 186).

As sustainability becomes a greater concern for policymakers, urban agriculture programs are on the rise (Melcarek, 2011, p. 434).  The transformative, greening effects of urban agriculture are a powerful asset for political appeal, especially when combined with its potential to reduce pollution, waste, and poverty (Melcarek, 2011, p. 434).  When communities are able to grow their own food, they are no longer dependent on the food import economy and the structural burdens which accompany that market.  Small-scale agriculture not only encourages participation, but also creates a number of auxiliary activities such as processing and distribution systems, fostering an entirely new and much-needed economy in urban communities (Weissman, 2011. p. 438).



Allen, P., & Melcarek, H. (2011). Food justice movement. In D. Mulvaney, & P. Robbins (Eds.),Green food: An A-to-Z guide. (pp. 189-193). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi:

Grover, V. (2011). Food security. In N. Cohen, & P. Robbins (Eds.), Green cities: An A-to-Z guide.(pp. 188-193). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi:

Melcarek, H. (2011). Urban agriculture. In D. Mulvaney, & P. Robbins (Eds.), Green food: An A-to-Z guide. (pp. 433-437). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi:

Smith, J. (2011). Food deserts. In N. Cohen, & P. Robbins (Eds.), Green cities: An A-to-Z guide. (pp. 185-188). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi:

Weissman, E. (2011). Urban agriculture. In N. Cohen, & P. Robbins (Eds.), Green cities: An A-to-Z guide. (pp. 435-442). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi:

The Chronicles of Democratic Access to Information, or: the History of Mobile Media

The first mobile media emerged thousands of years ago when papyrus was used in ancient Egyptian society, allowing written messages to spread more quickly and easily than stone inscriptions (Farman, 2012, p. 11).  As the centuries progressed, these paper-based documents enabled the transportation of ideas and messages across vast distances, both temporally and geographically.  This influenced perceptions of space among communities with access to this information and drove the development of mapmaking practices as a way to represent the places they lived and visited.  Before paper maps, travelers depended on oral and textual guides for navigation, neither of which represented place in a relatively accessible, navigable manner.  Maps were the first material guides that annotated place in a form that permitted autonomy for the user (Liao, 2015), dramatically changing individual–and cultural–mobility.

As maps connected communities across continents, the spread of ideas naturally followed.  In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press not only accelerated the production and proliferation of mobile textual materials, but also revolutionized the societal perception of space wherever it was available (Farman, 2012, p. 12).  For the first time, European commoners had the ability to record new ideas and spread them beyond those close enough to hear them shout (or, more likely in that Vatican-controlled society, whisper).  In addition to transforming the relationship between messages and physical space, the printing press made the written word no longer exclusive to the elite or the Church.  (Click here for more information about propaganda during the Reformation) The printing press, in conjunction with the emergence of reliable maps, destroyed the previous technological barriers to the transmission of political, religious, cultural, and scientific messages, democratizing the annotation of events and ideas throughout history.

In the early modern era, the invention of the telegraph by the Chappe brothers in 1790 (Solymar, 1999, as cited in Goggin, 2006, p. 19), and its subsequent commercialization in the century that followed, played an influential role in the turbulent geopolitics of the era (Headrick, 1991, as cited in Goggin, 2006, p. 20).  The invention of the telephone at the end of the 19th century and its popularization in the beginning of the 20th century was accompanied by the rise of affordable transportation across long distances with the railways and steamboats and locally with mass-produced automobiles (Goggin, 2006, p. 20).  Knowledge and material goods–and technologies–crossed the globe at unprecedented speeds to be consumed and absorbed by the masses.  As European colonialism was reached its peak, local histories were written and rewritten by the dominant culture while inadvertently exposing previously isolated communities to new mobile technologies and transforming their sense of geographic, historic, and temporal space (Farman, 2012, p. 12).

The popularization of the CB radio in the 1970s (Goggin, 2006, p. 27) led to the first location-based mobile experience of space by allowing travelers to communicate with other nearby CB radio users (Farman, 2012, p. 14).  Information related to a given place was no longer bound by the finite nature of paper maps and guides (Liao, 2015); individuals using CB radios could reach others in the area, allowing them to share their own messages of navigation, resources, and histories.  Simultaneously, commercial cellular networks were launched in the United States (Goggin, 2006, p. 29), followed by handheld devices from Motorola (Farman, 2012, p. 17).  Consumers eagerly embraced this technology as a means of communicating while in motion, which transformed perceptions of place.  Previous technology allowed the instant exchange of messages across vast distances, but mobile phones were the first to introduce this practice into public spaces.

By the 1990s, mobile handsets became commonplace and offered features beyond voice calls as new technologies were integrated into these devices (Goggin, 2006, p. 32).  The addition of cameras, GPS, and web browsing tools in response to consumer demands speaks to the free-thinking cultural trends of the era and remarkable developments in the annotation of place.  Navigation tools provided constant feedback for the first time, and web-based information could be updated instantly to reflect the latest changes and preserve new stories associated with a given place.  The paradigm shift in digital mobile media occurred in 2009, when handheld devices were used more for data transfer than voice communication (Farman, 2012, p. 17).  Augmented reality services are the latest development, combining the benefits of location- and web-based programs with powerful new tools to shape the representation of space (Liao & Humphreys, 2014, p. 2).

The applications of augmented reality are truly limitless, as it creates a non-exclusive space in which an infinite number of augmented representations are possible in the same real-world space (Liao, 2015).  The annotation of place is no longer confined to material space as users can share experiences using the place as a prompt for information, or modify a space by adding a virtual hologram only accessible through the augmented lense (Liao & Humphreys, 2014, p. 4-5).  This technology has great potential for subversive applications, as it permits the creation of virtual presences to promote new discourse or tell suppressed histories in places that would otherwise restrict the presence of this information (Liao, 2015).  Augmented reality is the culmination of mobile media transforming perceptions of place across millennia–the first technology to provide access to three-dimensional navigation, boundless information, and the democratic creation of narratives.

Works Cited

Brown, M. (2015, January 3). Motorola StarTAC Introduced – This Day in Tech History. [embedded image link] Retrieved February 1, 2015, from

Farman, J. (2012). Historicizing Mobile Media. In N. Arceneaux & A. Kavoori (Eds.), The Mobile Media Reader (pp. 11-17). New York: Peter Lang.

Garcia, D. (n.d.). Treasures from the London Library: Visual propaganda during the Reformation. Retrieved February 2, 2015, from

Goggin, G. (2006). Making voice portable: The early history of the cell phone. In Cell phone culture: Mobile technology in everyday life (pp. 19-32). London: Routledge.

Liao, T., & Humphreys, L. (2014). Layar-ed places: Using mobile augmented reality to tactically reengage, reproduce, and reappropriate public space. New Media & Society, 1(18), 2-5. Retrieved January 22, 2015, from
Liao, T. (Director) (2015, January 28). Augmented Reality. Mobile Media. Lecture conducted from Temple University, Philadelphia.

Intro | Rachael Friedman

Hi, everyone! My name is Rachael Friedman and my Twitter handle is @dakitty4541.  Here is an artist’s rendering of the mythological dakitty–

Contemporary gothic illustration of a woman with a two-headed cat
by Lenka Simeckova

As a fledgling media activist, the topics in our Mobile Media class greatly interest me.  In contrast to many other academic fields, media analysis can only be properly explored when the most up-to-date information is being used, and it seems like this class is going to do exactly that.  It’s exciting that the course will address issues concerning surveillance, privacy, intellectual property, and the ways in which mobile communications technology has shaped our society.

Throughout the course of this semester, I hope to learn in depth about all of these topics and gain the tools to become a better media consumer, producer, and educator.  I am intimidated by some of the topics and assignments ahead, but know that the challenge will result in intellectual and experiential growth.  I hope to come across issues and ideas of which I had previously never heard, and look forward to integrating new knowledge into my professional and activist arsenal.

Last summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the annual Allied Media Conference in Detroit.  The AMC is a national gathering of media makers and activists seeking to collaborate and teach each other while providing a safe space for underrepresented individuals to express themselves through media.  With a small group of other media and comm. tech activists, I helped plan, organize, and execute the Really Rad Radio & TV Station, a popup broadcast studio and practice space that ran throughout the three-day conference.  I worked on social media presence for the group as my colleagues taught workshops, facilitated live shows, and set up a pirate “test” radio station.  I was able to participate in a number of other workshops and sessions throughout the conference, ranging from printmaking basics to a film screening about Detroit civil rights activist Grace Lee Boggs.  I had never heard of her before attending AMC, but she has become one of my heroes.  Find out why: 

For more information about the upcoming Allied Media Conference:


Lana GIF. (n.d.). Retrieved January 21, 2015, from

Lenka, S. (2014, September 17). Cat lady illustration. [Image file] Retrieved January 20, 2015, from

PBS. (2014, June 24). POV | American Revolutionary: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS | PBS [Video file]. Retrieved January 20, 2015, from