Media Ecologies Workshop on Collaborative Platforms

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Media Ecologies: Workshop on Collaborative Platforms, Social & Material, Workshop 03/11/09

University of Salford, Manchester, UK, P2P Research Group

Conveners: Michel Bauwens, Phoebe Moore, Nathan Cravens


Facebook Group :


  • Media Ecology: The study and practice of communications as enhanced by technology, social and material.
  • Discussion 1: Social Collaborative Platform: An integrated media that best aligns otherwise disparate activity into a productive whole.
  • Discussion 2: Open Manufacturing: Full disclosure of design, manufacturing, materials, distribution and related processes.

The intention is to invite a series of speakers who are passionate about using/holding/developing projects in public spaces that actively work toward the sustainable future of our post industrial world. The series will include both practitioners and academics who are committed to Media Ecology, a contemporary term that refers to the relationships and interactions between people online and media environments, and their relationships to the political and social contexts where poverty and climate change are our biggest concerns. These spaces include fab labs, crowdsourced democracy systems, mutualist monetary systems, Open Manufacturing and other concrete ideas for community building through the use of technology. The radical ideas of the Media Ecologies community have already begun to impact ideas for sustainable development and new practical platforms for production. The activities of this event will also help bring folk from the Global Justice Movement onboard to develop and implement a viable alternative to neoliberalism (and in time, exchange trade economics) by applying commons based peer production more diligently as a market neutral open source web based coordination platform.

Confirmed speakers include Matthew Fuller of Goldsmiths University (author of Media Ecologies, materialist energies in art and technoculture, MIT 2005), and Michel Bauwens of Dhurakij Pundit University (Founder of the P2P Foundation). They are both very influential scholars in the research area of Media Ecology. These two researchers will discuss the emergence and proliferation of a new form of production and value creation: peer production, where communities of volunteers as well as waged producers work to create (free) software and/or (open) content accessible to everyone. Within peer production, producers create products within a ‘commons’ or shared space, which can be used and modified by others who then return the product, thus improved, to the common pool. Producers can be volunteers or paid programmers or authors, often both operating as a cooperative ecology between communities as well as the companies that create market-based spin-offs from that same commons. Presentations will develop a relation between the more political and organisational questions posed by the P2P Foundation and the experimental cultural and philosophical drives which underscore a lot of the developing work in the media ecologies area.


1) Media Ecologies and Collaborative Platforms for Social Action

This panel will look at various projects and proposals for more integrated and adaptive collaborative platforms for social action. It will look at the following issues: 1) what is missing in the current generation of technology; 2) specific issues related to commercial ownership of collaboration and social networking platforms: to what degree should they be replaced by independent or common platforms and under what conditions would such alternatives be viable; 3) what is the direction that alternative platforms are moving to, are there compatibilities which could lead to synergies; 4) how might these adaptive platforms be used to build collaborative networks with an interface simple enough to meet specific needs without knowing potentially novel needs in advance? In other words, how might we better match people, skills, resources, and other necessities to best meet a variety of desired outcomes without diminishing others?

2) Media Ecologies for Open Design Communities and Distributed Manufacturing

Free software-based peer production has developed integrated and sophisticated platforms facilitated by the fact that software can be executed in the same digital environment in which it is designed. But such is (at least presently) not the case for open hardware and any object that need to be made physically. In this case, much more integrated feedback loops are needed which require more sophisticated collaboration platforms that may included designs, videos, the management of flows, recursive loops from physical experimentation; comparisons between experiments in various locales, etc .. What is the state of the art of the current collaborative platforms? What is needed? Are there any possibilities for synergies between various platform projects currently being undertaken?