Month Notes: January
What we've been up to
This month we published a review of our work in 2020, launched Just Treatment's new campaign, built a tool for citizen-led air monitoring, ran a workshop on community-led design practice and spoke on a podcast!
NHS New Deal
We worked with Just Treatment's to launch their new campaign: NHS New Deal! The campaign calls for proper funding for our NHS, support for doctors and nurses and putting the health of patients above the interests of big corporations.
There are lots of things you can do to get involved. Watch the launch video to learn more.
We've seen a lot of interest in map-based projects before and projects with quickly evolving chains of asks. We even built a sort of "activist day planner" for Momentum during the 2019 General Election called My Plan To Win, which gave people daily things to do in the last days of the campaign.
We used this project as an opportunity to test our assumptions about how you could abstract these user needs into a multi-tenant web app.
The idea is that other campaigns can build on top of this system without having to fund the development of basic features that have already been built before. We plan to continue improving this product in the near future and we're quite excited about it.
If you'd like to talk to us about this, get in touch.
Airsift is part of a larger research project called Citizen Sense, which investigates the relationship between technologies and practices of environmental sensing and citizen engagement.
We worked with them to develop the new Airsift platform, which allows local groups to document their observations, analyse data from air quality monitors, and collect these into data stories.
Our work built on contributions from volunteer and part-time developers, who established databases and software distribution systems for their IoT-enabled dust sensor devices.
The platform will launch in the next few weeks and they intend to open source the code.
General Intellect Unit podcast
Alex and Gemma spoke with the nice folks at the General Intellect Unit podcast. We spoke about our work, grassroots organising, and practical details around how to start and run a worker co-op. Give it a listen!
Community-Led Design Practices
Sonia and Gemma ran a workshop with MA Graphic Media Design students at London College of Communication, as part as part of their Reciprocal Studio series. This year's theme draws from Arturo Escobar’s book Designs for the Pluriverse, specifically this wonderful Zapatista slogan:
A world where many worlds fit.
It was really fun to share our work and methodologies with a bunch of different designers. The goal was to explore their own practice/s as designers and consider how they might work with communities to support, amplify and extend their work. It's a task that is always on our minds.
Check out our Arena board where we captured references and inspiration.
We're making our "Join the Movement" user flow into a reusable product. Membership and donations are a core function of many grassroots organisations and unions, and by having a well-built and user-friendly way of doing this, we can do more quicker and cheaper.
We've been running some internal workshops to share tips on how we can make our work more robust and accessible. We went through some of the findings from an accessibility review we did in December and identified practical improvements for future work.
We've been working with InFact Coop and were inspired by how they organinsed their Notion, which prompted a little clean up of ours! Co-ops working together and sharing knowledge 💞
What we're reading and watching
- The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, endlessly relevant
- Rules for Revolutionaries, a Common Knowledge classic
- Why Wikipedia succeeded, where other wikis failed
- Braiding Sweetgrass, a book that explores the teachings of plants through the lenses of indigenous wisdom and scientific knowledge
- The Self is Not Enough pandemic tales via Ella
- Access Guide, a friendly introduction to digital accessibility
- Protocols, Permissions and non-human communication with the Indigenous Protocol and Artificial Intelligence Working Group, from Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst's Interdependence podcast