Liberation by Design: Interactive Media & Community-Engaged Making

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Alexandrina Agloro

Alexandrina Agloro

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
@a_game
Speaker Website
MITH Conference Room
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
12:30 pm

How can interactive media supplement and support justice-related social movements? Alexandrina Agloro, media artist and assistant professor, will discuss the landscape of design and digital humanities projects geared toward social change, and share some of her current projects. Each of these projects incorporate pieces of reimagining archives, culturally relevant education, game development, and tools for reproductive justice. These projects were developed through a participatory design methodology and model how we think about organizing and implementing activism. The second part of this talk will turn to community-engaged game development and discuss two games, The Resisters, an alternate reality game about social movement history, and Vukuzenzele, a videogame about reblocking informal settlements in South Africa. These games are examples of the opportunities and challenges in applied game design and how game mechanics can be utilized as instruments for engagement and action.

Alexandrina is a game designer, community-based researcher, and media artist who believes in the possibilities of the decolonial imaginary using digital media as an emancipatory tool.

She is an Assistant Professor of Interactive Media and Game Development at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Her most recent game, The Resisters, was an alternate reality game she designed through participatory research with young people of color about local social movement history in Providence, RI. Before joining WPI, she earned her Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California and an M.A. from the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University—the only autonomous institution of its kind in the United States—where she researched adolescent girls of color and their race and gender identity development through online doll play. Alexandrina blends her knowledge of the digital with an aesthetic sense of tactile design; some of her past work includes designing a collection of dresses made entirely from recycled goods as a benefit for a cancer wellness nonprofit.

Alexandrina utilizes principles of self-determination and relevant education in her teaching and research. She teaches at university and high school levels, and specializes in digital media skill building with young people of color. She is a co-chair of Situated Critical Race + Media (SCR+M!) of FemTechNet, a multi-university collaborative feminist technology organization. She is the Futurist for the Latinx Pacific Archive and is working on developing a line of ovulation-tracking jewelry that is both affordable and flawlessly stylish. As a community-based researcher and participatory designer, her speculative work is still anchored in lived experience. She works closely with New Urban Arts, a youth art studio and imagination incubator. Alexandrina uses critical pedagogy and community-based research as platforms to work with institutions, community organizations, researchers, and artists. Her research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-John E. Sawyer Seminars, the Teagle Foundation, the Rhode Island Council of the Humanities, and the Voqal Fund.

A continuously updated schedule of talks is also available on the Digital Dialogues webpage.

Unable to attend the events in person? Archived podcasts can be found on the MITH website, and you can follow our Digital Dialogues Twitter account @digdialog as well as the Twitter hashtag #mithdd to keep up with live tweets from our sessions. Viewers can watch the live stream as well.

All talks free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunches.

Contact: MITH (mith.umd.edu, mith@umd.edu, 301.405.8927).