Thursday, September 30, 2010

Participatory Mapping: Engaging Sites, Mobilizing Knowledges

Last week, at the Imagining America conference in Seattle, WA, Sarah Elwood and I co-organized a workshop titled, "Participatory Mapping: Engaging Sites, Mobilizing Knowledges".  With the help of Jin-Kyu Jung, Ryan Burns, and Josef Eckert (and greatly informed by the work of Jentery Sayers), 22 workshop attendees collaborated in six small groups to map the university, using documenting practices like sketching, filming, and photographing.  The workshop packet is below.

Each group was given a theme which was to be expressed through their mapping process.  Themes included: collaboration, movement, culture, politics, and the social.  After a brief, 30-minute field mapping session, each group was able to upload a few items to the collaborative map (see below).  The map is by no means complete (are they ever?), but it gives you a sense of the kinds of practices afforded by visual, mobile technologies.

Session description:
Building on the organizers’ experiences with mapping projects undertaken with middle-school youth and college students, this site visit explore site-making through multi-sensory and multi-modal forms of participatory mapping.  Using the university itself as a site for engagement and a series of imaginative prompts, participants will experiment with various modes of data collection (documenting observations in words, sketch maps, photographs, video and audio clips) and presentation (Google Maps and geo-blogging mashups). Participants will experience participatory mapping as a curious and serendipitous exploration of public spaces, a creative platform for catalyzing new modes of public engagement, a critical tool facilitating the co-production of knowledge and interrogating the spatial intersectionalities of culture, politics, technology, and the social.  The workshop will be framed by reflections on the use of these critical and creative modalities in curricular and collaborative projects from a variety of field perspectives.

Photos captured during the mapping process are located here.
Videos captured during the mapping process are located here.

Map produced:

View Imagining America in a larger map