CASE STUDY: meet at No Longer Empty’s 196 Stanton Street (two blocks east of Clinton Street)

CASE STUDY: Chris Robbins’ Participatory Rural Appraisal methodology as a Curatorial Technique for NLE

Week 8: OCT 17 – Participatory Art: Christopher Robbins from Ghana Think Tank at No Longer Empty space 

  • Meet at No Longer Empty’s temp space at 196 Stanton Street (two blocks east of Clinton Street), 4:00 – 6:30 pm
  • Collaborative Approach: Participatory Action Research
  • Questions: Who are we talking to? Who are we ignoring (without even knowing it)?What assumptions are we bringing with us? What assumptions do others have about us?
    How do our own habits and fears limit who we work with? How can we work through all of this?
  • Discuss: Student moderators lead discussion w/Robbins on: WHO gets to participate, stakeholders, mediation, citizen control

CASE STUDY: Visiting WOW Cafe Theater at 59 East 4th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenue

For Thursday, read this selection from Dreaming in the Dark, and come to the oldest all women and trans theater collective in the country (WOW, at 59 East 4th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenue in the East Village) with a 5-10 minute Midterm presentation. Your presentation should be a proposal to the group, with as much detail and consideration about collaborative process as possible. Do NOT make a presentation that requires  a projector, as WOW has told us that it’s unreliable. Feel free to post project ideas in the comment section of this post, so potential collaborations are made visible.

Midterm group project: Project Proposal

For their midterm presentation: students will write a one page proposal describing a collaborative project that they would like to work on from November 14 through December 12, the form this collaboration will take, and the case studies they imagine learning most from in the coming weeks. The proposal must include the resources (tools, people, books, spaces, and materials) the student currently has access to, as well as the resources s/he will need to access, to produce the final work. The proposal will be uploaded to the class blog, as well as presented verbally in the form of a 1 minute “elevator pitch” to members of WOW, a collectively run theater space in the East Village on October 10th.

Final group project: Collaborative Project

The Collaborative Final Project is a month-long effort to research, develop, and implement a collaborative project. This open ended assignment can focus on any topic, but must demonstrate an understanding of practices of participation (informing, consulting, collaborating, empowering), forms of collaboration (informal group, collective, cooperative, movement, partnership), approaches to decision making (straw poll, consensus, shared power), and critical reflections on encounters with contemporary, collaborative case studies throughout the course. A successful project could be produced by 3 students (forming a temporary collective) or by a single student engaging a million participants in a collaborative process online (forming a collaborative tool), so long as a clear and rigorous engagement with practices and forms of collaboration is demonstrated.

Learning Outcomes:
By the completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Articulate a number of methods, structures, and rationales for collaboration, such as crowdsourcing or forking
    and be able to cite examples of groups or situations in which they were employed.
  2. Translate an experimental method of collaboration or collective action into a project based response
  3. Be able to critically discuss and write about personal and contemporary collaborative work
  4. Give and respond to constructive criticism, in order to iterate and improve their own and others group projects.

Criteria for evaluation
Students in the course will receive feedback on the following areas:

  • Critical Thinking: To what degree has the student demonstrated and developed critical thinking skills over the course of the semester? Is critical thinking evident in the visual work, in critiques and presentations, and in written assignments?
  • Design Process: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the student’s design process? Is the student able to evaluate the work at different points in the process and to identify areas in their work for future development?
  • Contextualization and Connection: To what degree has the student been able to connect the themes and core concepts of the course to their work? Is this clearly demonstrated in their class participation, project presentation, and written work?
  • Integration and Appropriate Use of Technology/Medium: Is the student making good choices about the form and type of technology or medium they are using to express their design concepts?
    Communication: How well is the student able to express their ideas, both verbally and in written form?

CASE STUDY: visiting Meerkat today at 10 Jay Street in Brooklyn

Reminder: we are visiting Meerkat today!

Please take the train to 10 Jay Street in Brooklyn (, to arrive outside the building on the water at 3:50pm. We will head up to their offices (Suite 720) as a group.

 Here’s some more from Zara and Jay at Meerkat:

  • This video the LLC did for the Tenement Museum (which is referenced in the sample budget I’m attaching)
  • This video we did for Participatory Budgeting Project, which was a hybrid LLC/Collective project with no profit margin
  • This trailer for Brasslands, a Collective project which we were able to fund (in part) through Collective grants and LLC loans (I can speak more to this)
  • This short video (made in 24 hours) a few members of the Collective did for Occupy Sandy, which had no budget, but used Meerkat gear, and received a small microgrant to cover the hard costs of production (cabs, etc)