Saving the world is serious fun at Simon Fraser UniversityBe a part of the conversation - how is social media changing the way we witness the world?

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I'm happy to announce that I'll be speaking at Simon Fraser University's Institute for the Humanities conference this Friday, Oct 16 at Harbour Centre. And you're invited!

Their Institute for the Humanities is holding a conference on Oct 15-16 called Witnessing the World: New Possibilities for Citizenship and Social Change. If you’re in Vancouver, please come! Specifically, I will be talking about play and the internet, and how saving the world can be serious fun.

(I'm only slightly nervous to be doing this in a context where some of the best non-profit advocates will be up there talking about how they’ve dodged bullets as part of their dedication to social change…)

Want to be a part of the conversation? Throw me a comment or email me at Here are some of the questions I'm thinking about for the session, and I’d love to hear what you have to say:

  • What can you witness on Facebook?
  • What kinds of social justice is social media good at? And what’s it less useful at?
  • Can a memory be a meme? Can a meme change your mind?
  • How does social media change the way people witness to history?
  • How important is a concept like fun when it comes to social justice?
  • Is play a way of activating witnessing? Is it a way to activate citizenship?
  • The internet is bad at “forgetting” (stuff gets posted, and it stays posted till you take it down – and that might be never) How does  this kind of perpetuity change the way we remember and the way we move forward?

Here’s the SFU Institute for the Humanities' description of their conference:
In its simplest form, witnessing involves observing and reporting by a single person of a single act, but on a broader level it can involve documenting human rights abuses or discussing civic issues in popular media. With the rise of new social media, the ubiquity of cameras and the explosion of visual monitoring techniques (from temperature scans to iris recognition machines), the dynamics of watching have dramatically altered how we engage as actors, as viewers, as bystanders and as witnesses in social life. In a series of sessions comprised of journalists, academics, artists and activists, this conference – one in a series of events sponsored by the SFU Institute for the Humanities as part of its Imagining Citizenship initiative – features four interactive sessions to explore aspects of new relations between witnessing, social justice and citizenship.

I'm part of a panel session called Witnessing Cities with the wonderful people from Pivot Legal from 11-12:30 on Friday, Oct 16 at Harbour Centre.


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