Project pic_ReWriting publics, by MIT OpenDocLab Fellow Sandra Rodriguez, is a research-creation project that aims to rethink social change and public engagement through transmedia platforms. Interactive, participatory installations and webdocs are becoming part of our everyday lives and public landscape to the point that private sectors, news outlets, NGOs and even cities are now investing in their creation. Yet beyond usual audience polls and innovative measuring/tracking techniques, what do we know of how users make sense of these platforms? What attracts, encourages their participation? How do they make sense of their effectiveness for social change? And what do they retain from their experience?
Conceived as a two-step project, an initial research stage explores these questions from a sociological perspective. It develops a framework from a multi-case analysis of innovative platforms, focusing on how individuals, creators and users evaluate their implication for social change. A second stage of the process is creative. It draws from these findings to create a “test-platform” – a learning loop that allows users to add to the discussion, while re-imagining new roles for how media tools change the stories told around them and about them.

_ReWriting publics is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Lab Culturel/Culture pour tous, with the welcomed inputs and contributions of the OpenDocLab community.