The Rochdale Principles, AKA the 7 Principles of Cooperation by Katie Edmonds

In 1844 a farming cooperative in Rochdale, UK authored a set of operating principles known today as the Rochdale Principles. They're still used today in cooperatives around the world. The International Cooperative Alliance promotes this version.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership

Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2. Democratic Member Control

Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.

3. Member Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

4. Autonomy and Independence

Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.

5. Education, Training and Information

Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public - particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6. Co-operation among Co-operatives

Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7. Concern for Community

Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.


OccupyDataNYC by Katie Edmonds

This weekend I participated in a hack day with grad students and professionals from around NY, to create various visual representations of data about the Occupy movement. We will present our work at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center at the OWS ShareDay on Saturday March 31st from 3-6pm.

Our project attempts to generate a visual, event-triggered timeline of user-created and broadcast media. The aim is to facilitate a comparative view of the media published after an event, so as to see how its message changes over time. One hypothesis is that when citizen observers post videos about an event, the new story changes as more visual record of an event is released to the public. Our timeline is bracketed by the dataset released last week of Occupy related tweets, so we elected to use the November 15th evacuation of Zuccotti park as our first test case.

More info to come.

"Play hard. Play fair. Nobody hurt." by Katie Edmonds

This is the ethos of the New Games Movement, named to reflect its objective of establishing a culture of play in the 1960s. These outdoor community games were deigned to create a new means of public engagement, where people played together for the sake of play itself.

"People charged the ball from both sides, pushing and cheering. Slowly it began to move, first toward one end, then back to the other. The game got hotter. There waas plenty of competition, but something more interesting was happening. Whenever the ball approached a goal, players from the winning side would defect to lend a hand to the losers... That first Earthball game went on for an hour without a score. The player had been competing, but not to win. Their unspoken and accepted agreement had been to play, as long and as hard as possible." The New Games Book p.9 as quoted in Rules of Play p. 528

The aesthetic that produced this movement has faded, but games themselves have continued to edge toward the spotlight. The combination of mobile technology, diverse player demographics, and an overwhelming surge of efforts to "gamify" all sorts of experiences, what can the phenomonon of play for the sake of play do to balance these elements in a way that empowers the player to define their role rather than merely accept one which is assigned to them?

Podcasts! by Katie Edmonds

Since moving to New York from San Francisco my podcast consumption has skyrocketed, and I've started to run out of material, so I started asking around. Yesterday a fellow grad student turned me on to 99% Invisible, and my life changed the same way it did when I discovered Radio Lab, This American Life, Mike Duncan's The History of Rome, or Stuff You Should Know (by the team that produces How Stuff Works).

Named after the principle that good design is 99% invisible, this blog is funded in part by the the American Institute of Architects, San Francisco and the Center for Architecture and Design. Each episode is about 10 minutes, and includes topics on sound arts, civics, material history, branding, and that's just as far as I could get between the West Village and Brooklyn.

Listen up, you won't regret it.

Crowsourced Fortune-Telling by Katie Edmonds

This interactive piece on the New York Times website invites readers to review a comparative historical timeline of computation, artificial intelligence, transportation&lifestyle, and communication, then add their predictions of what is to come.

From 1617 when John Napier produced a system for computation using "bones" and "rods", to Watson the AI quiz master, the chart presents the past in a way that's intended to spur creative thinking about the future.

If you sit back and watch this list update itself, you can see predictions being revised and refined. Electronic ink by 2013, no red lights by 2037, and a telepathic society by 2372 are all on the list.

Comic books and global demonstrations by Katie Edmonds


In this piece published today in the Guardian shines a light on the relationship between the Guy Fawkes mask in Alan Moore's V or Vendetta.

"I suppose I've gotten used to the fact," says the 58-year-old, "that some of my fictions percolate out into the material world."

As the article aptly points out, the mask is a relevant fixture in the story, but was turned into a promotional product for the motion picture release in 2006. Then Anonymous picked it up, which blended well with the leaderless occupations in the US, and the need for anonymity in uprisings in more immanently dangerous political climates.

"I suppose when I was writing V for Vendetta I would in my secret heart of hearts have thought: wouldn't it be great if these ideas actually made an impact? So when you start to see that idle fantasy intrude on the regular world… It's peculiar. It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction."

This instance of a character fluidly transitioning from sequential art to cinema to political action is transmedia.

Collaborative media technologies by Katie Edmonds

While working on a lit review of collaborative media I came across a paper by Hiroshi Ishii et al, Associate Director of the MIT Media Lab, and this awesome video.

From 1989 to 1994 Ishii and a team of engineers and designers created TeamWorkStation, a combination of digital and analog media designed to support working groups by providing them with a virtual group workspace.

What I find most striking about this project is that the developers focused on pragmatic user experience, acknowledging that individuals use a plurality of tools, even when they're working as a group. This system is designed to seamlessly incorporate any and all material an individual might use in a group project, and make it accessible to the group through the virtual work station.

Science and the Media by Katie Edmonds

After watching Professor Lisa Randall's appearance on The Daily Show, I briefly searched for articles on the link between scientific rigor and popular opinion. I found that that scientific inquiry and informative media are in a state of conflict, each claiming that the other is a source of self-interested or misleading information. This 2008 article in Scientific American proposes that news broadcasters commit reasoning errors which lead  people to make erroneous conclusions about events as important as declaring war.

This article from the Independent asks where the conflict between science and journalism started, and why it's so heated.

One thing science and media have in common is a dependence on their own social capital. Overabundance of information, and increasingly nuanced categories of authority and expertise, create new critical thinking challenges which often prevent a beneficial and generative public discourse.

The issue is well described in a Geographical Journal piece, published by the Royal Geographical Society:

"While many academics would like their research to be brought to wider attention through the media, few really understand how to go about this, what will make it attractive to media companies, and how, finally, to explain their work to cameras and microphones. This translation of their research from academia to a lay audience requires a transdisciplinary approach that bridges the boundaries of academy and practice. The programme makers must bring together different methodological approaches, integrate the results of many researchers, sometimes carried out at different scales, so that scientific advances overall can be explained simply and clearly to the public" (source).

When we're in our audience role each of us is in the position to ramp up our media and information literacy so we can be engaged and comfortable with what comes our way. It's not easy to do, especially when we rely so heavily on media and science for the information that we use when thinking critically.

Fortunately, we have some outrageously successful intersections of science and media to look back on, so we might be reassured that it's possible for them to be mutually beneficial. 

Challenge.gov by Katie Edmonds

This crowdsourcing site is administered by the United States General Services Administration, an independent agency of the Executive.

Challenge.org is a partnership between the GSA and ChallengePost that:

"empowers the U.S. Government and the public to bring the best ideas and top talent to bear on our nation’s most pressing challenges. This platform is the latest milestone in the Administration’s commitment to use prizes and challenges to promote innovation" (source).

Based on the 2009 Strategy for American Innovation and supported by a 2010 Office of Management and Budget memorandum promoting transparency and collaboration in government agencies, the administration made the ChallangePost platform available for federal departments and programs.

Since then, the platform has been used to submit public calls to action. Today an app currently in development was awarded funding in the Apps Against Abuse Category. The Circle of 6 app, developed by Oakland, CA based nonprofit Isis makes it easy for users to immediately contact a select group of friends when they need help or advise.

Considering the track record of innovation in US government, this partnership between government and industry on a small scale is both successful and inventive.

Larry Gottheim - Fog Line (1970) by Katie Edmonds

I was introduced to this piece by Melissa Friedling and Dr. Shannon Mattern. By their direction I also read by a chapter from Scott McDonald's book The Garden in the Machine: A Field Guide to Independent Films About Place (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001). It was presented to encourage a departure from conventional audience expectations of cinematic experiences.

This pair of works demonstrates how different art practices can engage a subject, in this case, landscape.

I'm interested in these works because they are presented on a single stage while engaging critical text , curated cinema, and alternative art forms like the cycloscpe and the large scale panorama.

Techné/Episteme by Katie Edmonds

Based on the ancient Greek duality between practice and thought, these terms are being stitched together through interdisciplinary and multimodal endeavors from civics to industry to scholarship.

I'd say that from a distance, what we're doing looks like this...