Author Archive

September 7, 2011


by Nick Brewer

Everybody in the class should have access to the blog now. Please feel free to start posting. In the coming few weeks, the look of the site will probably change a bit and I’m working on getting some plugins for video, etc. This site will grow and expand on the strength of people using it. So if you feel there is an easier way to do something on here, or have a suggestion, email away.

If we have any graphic designers in the group, feel free to send in a new header. It should probably contain the same text that the current one does, but other than that fee free to get creative. The image has to be 900×200. If we get a few submissions I can change it out every few weeks or can have it rotate between a few of them so whenever people login or hit refresh, the image could change.

If you would like to use a different email address that you used on a previous wordpress site, just let me know.

Most of the class seems to be pretty familiar with wordpress, but if you aren’t or just rusty, ask away and I’ll try to help you out the best I can.


P.S. It looks like the comment spam bot is on, so once you get settled in, please comment on this or another post and I’ll approve it. Once you are approved the first time, it won’t ever come up again.


September 6, 2011

Bio: Nitin Sawhney – Assistant Professor

by Nick Brewer
  • PhD, MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • MS, MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • MS, Information Design and Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology


Nitin’s research, teaching and creative practice engages the critical role of technology, artistic interventions and DIY cultures among communities in contested spaces. He previously taught at the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology and conducted research at the MIT Media Lab on networked collaboration for sustainable product design, ubiquitous computing and responsive media in urban spaces. Nitin is a research affiliate with the MIT Center for Civic Media, where he co-founded the Department of Play, a research collaborative, to design participatory mobile video, mapping and pedagogical tools to support creative expression and civic agency among marginalized youth. Since 2008 he established the Voices Beyond Walls initiative to conduct digital storytelling and youth media workshops in Palestinian refugee camps. In 2008-2009, Nitin conceptualized the Media Barrios project as a Visionary Fellow with the Jerusalem 2050 initiative at MIT, conducting research on media arts intervention in divided cities including Jerusalem, Belfast and Berlin. He recently began a pilot research study in the West Bank and Gaza on the role of participatory media for resilience and civic agency among children and adolescents living in conditions of conflict and crisis. Nitin is currently completing a documentary film, Flying Paper, about the participatory culture of kite making among children in Gaza, with support from National Geographic.

Recent Publications:

Nitin Sawhney, Raed Yacoub, Julie M. Norman. Jerusalem and Belfast: Envisioning Media Arts for Urban Renewal and Cultural Identity in Divided Cities. The Jerusalem Quarterly Journal, Institute for Jerusalem Studies, October 2009, Issue 39. pp 62-80Nitin Sawhney. Voices Beyond Walls: The Role of Digital Storytelling for Empowering Marginalized Youth in Refugee Camps. International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, Workshop on Digital Technologies and Marginalized Youth, June 3–5, 2009, Como, ItalyNitin Sawhney, Saul Griffith, Yael Maguire and Timothy Prestero. ThinkCycle: Sharing Distributed Design Knowledge for Open Collaborative Design. International Journal of Technologies for the Advancement of Knowledge and Learning (TechKnowLogia), Jan 2002, Vol. 4 Issue 1. pp. 49-53Nitin Sawhney, Sean Wheeler and Chris Schmandt. Aware Community Portals: Shared Information Appliances for Transitional Spaces. Springer-Verlag Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, February 2001, Vol. 5, Issue 1. pp. 66-70Nitin Sawhney, David Balcom and Ian Smith. Authoring and Navigating Video in Space and Time. IEEE Multimedia Journal, October-December 1997, Vol. 4, Issue 4. pp. 30-39

Office Location:

2 W. 13th Street, Room 1214

Office Hours:

Wednesdays, 3:00-6:00 p.m.


Research Interests:

Participatory media technologies, collaborative learning platforms, creative DIY cultures, civic media and artistic intervention in conflict and crisis, responsive media and tactical design in urban public spaces, mobile video and speech/audio interaction, hybrid documentary film practice, digital storytelling and resilience among marginalized children and adolescents in global contexts, creative activism and civic agency among youth in the Middle East.

Professional Affiliations:

Research Affiliate with the MIT Center for Civic Media, MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Awards and Honors:

Seed grant for documentary film “Flying Paper” awarded by the National Geographic All Roads Film Project, May 12, 2011Jerusalem Visionary Fellowship awarded by the MIT Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning and the Center for International Studies, 2008-2009Dedication to Activism through the Arts awarded for the Boston Palestine Film Festival (co-founder) by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, May 31, 2008Martin Fellow for Sustainability awarded by the Martin Family Foundation and the MIT Laboratory for Energy and Environment, 2002-2003First Douglas Engelbart Best Paper Award at the ACM SIGWEB Hypertext Conference for “HyperCafe: Narrative and Aesthetic Properties of Hypervideo”, March 1996
September 6, 2011

Bio: Nick Brewer

by Nick Brewer

Welcome to Creative DIY Cultures and Participatory Learning! My name is Nick Brewer and I’ll be the TA for the semester. I am very excited for this year

I’m using this first post as an example of what is possible in these blog posts, so here goes. It is very easy to put in text, video, links, and pictures into each of these posts so go nuts!

I was born and raised in the small town of North Pole, Alaska. After graduating from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, I sold everything I could, and with a hockey bag and a few boxes, head off to New York City in the Fall of 2007. Since then I’ve been an Audio Newsgatherer at Fox News Radio, cutting tape on every type of event imaginable and even covering the New York City Comic-Con and Nathan’s Annual 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Shameless plug!

Quiz Buzzers from Nick Brewer on Vimeo.

I’ve been known to pick up a hobby or two a week and see how things turn out. From learning how to circuit bend electronic toys to building my own work bench, these skills came in handy in the month leading up to Santacon 2009 when I built a seven foot tall robotic Santa Claus costume. The day after Santacon 2009 I began planning for the following year. The idea to build a better robot and film a documentary came in a sleep induced high on a warm summer evening.

Please check out my documentary Santas On The Move