Bringing practitioners together to discuss and debate, share, critique and improve ideas, solve-problems, inspire each other and develop new practices for evidence-based advocacy.
You know about Wikileaks, but do you know how journalists from The Guardian turned thousands of leaked cables into information graphics? Or how Greenpeace used publicly available data to expose the funding connections between climate change skeptics and the oil industry in the US, through Exxon Secrets? And how Kazeboon, a group of young activists in Cairo used crowd-sourced video documentation of police brutality in street screenings to educate the public and contradict the state media monopoly?
There has been a surge of innovation in working with evidence across different sectors because of access to a diverse range of publishing platforms, availability of relatively easy-to-use information gathering, documentation and visualisation tools and the sheer amount of information publicly accessible online. The ability for activists to collect and use evidence in these ways presents an exciting threshold for political influence and campaigning beyond the scope of reports, petitions and demonstrations. How can we learn across disciplines and share some of these techniques and skills?
New techniques and approaches also throw up new challenges. How do you process and analyse thousands of documents in different formats and what are the ethical implications of releasing and using data whose contents you don't actually know and can't verify? How can you identify storylines in data and find creative ways of representing it that engages audiences? What about the double bind of working with evidence which can be used to expose abuse and misconduct, but can also be used to entrap you and others?
To explore the answers to questions like these Tactical Tech hosted the 'Info-Activism Camp 2013: Evidence & Influence'. The Camp was both a skillshare and peer-learning event and a space in which to foster collaboration. We explored new ideas and solutions that will contribute to enhancing creative & technical practices and deepening critical debates in this inter-disciplinary field. Everyone who participated in the Camp had something to teach and to share whether it be practical and thematic advocacy experience, data wrangling skills, information design, data security techniques, collecting and handling data or creative ideas for visualising evidence for advocacy. For an overview of what we got up to see the Camp Round-Up.