Cardboard Castles and Other Amenities...

I am really interested in using different forms of cultural action to help build better communities. Communities are a vital social model, allowing us to tackle problems beyond the ability of individuals with the focus of a defined (usually relatively small) group of people. How do the arts and cultural work in general help communities grow more sustainable futures? If you have a cool website or project or your own ideas on these subjects please let me know.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Brand Obama and Grassroots Activism: Two Interesting Articles

Two interesting articles I’ll share with you.

Beyond Brand Obama explores the impact of “the change” candidate:

Those of us hoping to build communities, improve our schools, invigorate our local economies, restructure our land use, or reduce our energy dependence mustn’t equate a presidential campaign with substantive change. Obama may be a convenient conceptual placeholder for these concerns, as well as a person capable of dismantling a good amount of America’s more fascistic and militaristic infrastructure….Obama can help legislate some of the structural changes that will make it easier for us to renegotiate our civic, social, and commercial relationships with one another. But the job of actually changing society and its priorities will happen from the bottom up. He can help write laws that make it easier for us to build transportation alternatives, but we have to actually go do it.

In Grassroots Lobbying: Use Ideas, Not One-Click Campaigns, Heather MacIntosh, the President of Preservation Action, lays out a convincing argument and guide for grassroots non-profit lobbying that moves beyond form letters and e-mail surveys. In it, she argues for making relationships with local congressional offices and getting involved in the early stages of policy creation.

(Image from: Obama Porn [safe for work])

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Data Visualization is Sweet

I am a huge fan of data visualizers both because they make it easier to process information and because they demonstrate the malleability of information. What information is considered “important” or “relevant” enough to be included is of huge importance to the story that is told. Here is a cool visualization of the Alberta Gonzala Congressional testimony form Many Eyes, a website that allows you to create your own visualization.