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Engaging America

I’ve picked up my things and moved to Boston to be a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Berkman is a place abuzz with innumerable amazing projects; from being the incubator of Creative Commons and Global Voices to the more recent MediaCloud, as well as a long time defender of privacy online. Given the recent NSA revelations, this role has only increased. Berkman Director Yochai Benkler has some particularly incisive insights that are well worth reading.

A full list of Berkman projects can be found here..

I’m also a fellow across at MIT’s Open Documentary Lab, a new space set up just a couple of years ago to ‘advance the new arts of the documentary’. ODL is exploring a number of facets of what ‘open’ in documentary means; from participatory practices of production and distribution to the interactive narrative to open source technology. Assessing the social impact of documentary films is also strong on the agenda and a key point of synchronicity with EngageMedia. They’ve assembled a great group of fellows to assist them in this journey.

Whilst here I’ll be doing a number of things.

  • Drawing on the plethora of available brains and knowledge to explore new possibilities in the networked media space, most centrally in re-working EngageMedia’s strategy.
  • Extending and expanding our existing collaboration with MIT’s Open Documentary Lab and Center for Civic Media to measure the impact of video for change, including building the community of knowledge around this space via the Video4Change Network.
  • Expanding EngageMedia’s fundraising: the US tradition of philanthropy makes it the place to find necessary support to grow our work.
  • Generally taking time to step back. After 8.5 years deeply immersed in EngageMedia’s day to day activities, some digestion and reflection are in order.

Given the role shift we’ve hired the fantastic Indu Nepal as Managing Director to work with the EngageMedia team to continue driving our Southeast Asia programs forward. Many safe hands abound, including those of our board.

I’ll soon start blogging more in an attempt to capture the myriad of ideas in the mix and the unrelenting march of interesting events and talks.