[iDC] Welcome to the MobilityShifts Discussion

Trebor Scholz scholzt at newschool.edu
Fri Jun 17 16:14:46 UTC 2011

Dear all,

Many of you on this list have participated in discussions around the
Free Cooperation conference in 2004, Share Widely in 2005, Situated
Technologies one year later and recently The Internet as Playground and
Factory. In the context of these large-scale events, we did not use
social media as secondary publicity but as canvases of as yet unthought
practices and understudied or sidelined areas of enquiry that are able
to meaningfully engage publics in discourse- from the German media
theorist Christoph Spehr's theory of free (versus forced) cooperation to
commercial and governmental surveillance, digital labor, mobile
education and self-learning through the lens of Austrian theorist Ivan
Illich and the French philosopher Jacques Rancière. 

Conferences can give ideas and iterations an early context but they
should also make us rethink conferencing itself: everything from
traditional event hierarchies to public education. The broad (and
largely free) distribution of scholarly research has always been a core
value of these events, which is much aligned with Canadian educator,
activist, and author John Willinsky who emphasized that “a commitment to
the value and quality of research carries with it a responsibility to
extend the circulation of this work as far as possible, and ideally to
all who are interested in it and who might benefit by it” (Willinsky 5).

These conferences quietly transformed and reformulated the conference as
a space of opportunity for the development of emerging forms of genuine
mutual inquiry and academic community building. Such events are always
transitory and therefore it is essential to understand what remains when
all is said. Our conferences were always sites of production of video,
online discussion archives, exhibitions, books, bibliographies,
websites, and other documents that chronicled these encounters for the
long term. 

Today, we are starting a new chapter: MobilityShifts. First of all,
there is the call for proposals. You might have seen it already. There
are still two weeks left until the July 1st submission deadline. I
invite you to join forces, propose a panel, a workshop, or a short talk
for this summit at The New School in NYC. 

A few contributors are already committed: Juliana Rotich (Kenya),
Michael Wesh (USA), Tania Bustos (Bolivia), Henry Jenkins (USA), Oliver
Grau (Austria), Janek Sowa (Poland), Cathy Davidson (USA), Irit Rogoff
(UK), Shin Mizukosji (Japan), Kiko Mayorga (Peru), John Palfrey (USA),
Jan Schmidt (Germany), and Anya Kamenetz (USA), Ramon Sanguesa (Spain),
Elizabeth Losh (USA), John Willinsky (Canada), Rolf Hapel (Denmark),
Kate Crawford (Australia), Mimi Ito (USA), Nishant Shah (India), Juan
Manuel Lopez Garduño (Mexico), Geert Lovink (Netherlands) and many
others. Shveta Sarda (India) will discuss CyberMohalla and Nitin Shawney
will present his work with youth in the Gaza Strip. While this summit
has a strong international focus, we'll go beyond the framework of the
nation state and also study transnational phenomena. 

MobilityShifts exhibitions will present the work of Uruguayan artist
Luis Camnitzer and the worldwide network Ghana Think Tank. Writer and
director Cecilia Rubino will bring students and teachers from New York
City's high schools together with New School undergraduates and youth
from the city's most underrepresented, high need minorities working with
the Institute for Urban Education to create a theater piece about their
use of mobile digital media for learning.   
I'm proud to say that MobilityShifts has an excellent group of co-chairs
as well:
Elizabeth Losh, Edward Keller, David Theo Goldberg, Matthew K. Gold, and
Sean Dockray. Karen DeMoss is the co-chair for the policy strand of the
conference, which will include Hal Plotkin, Senior Policy Advisor in the
Office of the Under Secretary of Education, United States Department of
Education. I'd also like to mention Jennifer Conley Darling, the
producer of this year'Over the next few months, all participants will introduce themselves and
run brief debate sessions related to the summit themes, usually limited
to four or five days. Caroline Buck who has joined our New School
MobilityShifts team from Duke University will facilitate the discussion.

Welcome to all and Caroline, take it away.


Trebor Scholz

Relevant links:
(Many of you contributed to the Open Peer Review process.)

Willinsky, John. The Access Principle. Cambridge: MIT Press. 2006.

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