Community, Technology, Art, Collaboration

Digital Arts Corps

My Last Months  –  August 18, 2011 – 3:13pm

What I did on summer vacation…

1… Developed a system to hire, monitor, and evaluate new instructors (or youth camps, teen,and journalism camps)

2… Yelled at Blackbaud Kintera support for making the easy tasks (searching for a contact/creating a newsletter) feel like my attempt at understanding the existence of eleven dimensions.

3… Solidified our evening media workshops with consistent instructors, members, and procedures.

4… Said goodbyes to the one of the most dedicated, amazing, and talented individuals I’ve ever worked with.

Getting more into detail…

1… I’ve been organizing the recruitment of summer instructors for the media workshops we hold in the evenings. There is a few ways this can be done. Two ways that I have been doing this is through inviting teachers and students at universities, city colleges, and high schools. The other is posting ads through social networks, email blasts, and…Craigslist.
Inviting teachers and emerging artists through different schools are the best route. There are fresh new ideas, relationships are built with the campus community, and access to a campus listserv is very valuable resource. A lot of the time many teachers will not have the time to participate, but other opportunities can pop up. For example, one professor who was unavailable contacted another program on campus in which their students reach out into the community for a semester.
Craigslist postings had the most success in finding applicants, but it required a LOT of sorting. The applicants who didn’t make the cut did become part of our contact database, and a few ended up becoming volunteers or new members of MACSD.
Once we have hired instructors, we now have bios, contracts, and evaluation sheets for each.

2… Blackbaud’s Kitnera is too difficult. As our contract comes to an end with them, thetransition has begun to find a new service to manage or contacts, event registrations, emails and website. Salesforce and WordPress to the rescue? I hope so…

3… A position that has been empty since January has been combined with the position I began forming for the last four months or so which has become the Education Programs Manager. They will help manage the instructors for youth camps, Teen Producers Project, and the evening media workshops.

4…

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Still Storming  –  February 18, 2011 – 4:48pm

Drumbeat SD

I’ve almost completed my first goal in developing a system to manage incoming/outgoing technology. I’ve done some research with how other media centers, libraries, universities, and public access stations do this, and found a useful and free system. Now I’m learning how to become a savvy website administrator!

The system I found is a module within Drupal. It’s called MERCI, or Manage Equipment Reservations, Checkout and Inventory. This was developed by the genius minds at OpenMediaProject.org who’s core mission is to bring people more control of their public access channels. In fact, many of you may be using Open Media’s tools. (BAVC, Brookline, Access Humboldt?).

What I need to make sure of is that I will not leave a burden of a system that no one understands how to change, update, or improve. To set up anything besides the basic functions will require an IT position to be staffed at the organization. Expect a screencast or other documentation to help beginner developers get this up and running as a simple, in-house resource for tracking inventory. Any help or collaboration with this is encouraged!

Now that we have visiting instructors that are from outside our organization, the need for educational curriculum on a web-based structure is growing. Google Apps have been a great way to ween off our internal server. Google Docs is used to host reports, curriculum and handouts, and share PDFs onto our blog, macsddiy.posterous.com . Our best program feedback is collected using Google Forms. An email is sent after every workshop that asks to identify what we need to to improve workshop and what the community wants to see more of. I also began a workshop proposal form available on the blog so outside instructors can submit their ideas to us.

This week has been by far, the most intense because we host the San Diego Latino Film Festival March 10-20. I realize that the media lab is a reality thanks to the festival, but right now it’s a major thorn in my side. I’m constantly resolving annoying IT issues
due to outdated equipment and our overuse of printers and bandwidth. I cannot wait to rebuild some infrastructure when this festival is all done with and get back to why I’m here!

I’ll leave on this note: Mozilla Drumbeat. Amazing. DrumbeatSD was an event organized by NewMediaRights.org and Mozilla a few blocks from here. “Some of the spaces included open data visualization and discussion, open source music and video experimentation, and using technology to enhance our community’s connection with local farms and farmer’s markets.”

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More Worshops, Instructors, and Blogs  –  January 12, 2011 – 8:05pm

Marketing
January 2011 is the first month of my redesign of our workshop brochure. The original lacked our image of who we are- a MEDIA ARTS center. It looked more like a school lunch calendar, or a hospital manual. I added images, descriptions, and tried to make it easy to look at. Please!! Any input is appreciate on what works and what doesn’t with this design.
This is my first attempt with Adobe InDesign. It’s a great program for designing print material, and has plenty of add-on scripts users can share with one another. I would like to have a template designed so that you can just drop in new images, and paste new descriptions for each workshop without knowing anything about graphic design. The time and skills needed for the task will be cut tremendously.

Volunteer Recruitment
Our members and visitors are growing. We’ve had visits from high school and university classes, independent artists, and local residents attending events and workshops. Thankfully, we are receiving more interns, donations, and volunteer instructors to help with all the new attention.
One goal is to have a migration of our curriculum onto a web-based system. Our server is slow, old, and has duplicates of everything running around all over the place. Google docs is my current stomping grounds for keeping new curriculum and managing new and potential volunteers to teach workshops.
I just created a Google Form so potential instructors can submit their workshop proposals to us. It clearly defines their goals and outcomes, while creating a contact database of those interested in volunteering. The form is a spreadsheet in disguise, so this information can be visualized, redirected, and published in several ways. Here is a copy of the form I’ve created: Proposal Form And here is how I want the information presented and archived (on its own): Doc View.

Tracking our Technology
As we approach closer to our annual 10 day film festival, the need for a reliable and organized system to track our equipment grows. We have seven screenings that happen simultaneously, and it all happens outside our walls. I discovered a Drupal program called MERCI(Manage Equipment Reservations, Checkout and Inventory), it can extend any content type into a list of unique reservable items (like studios) or buckets of interchangeable items (like DV cameras).” Developed by Chad Phillips for Open Media Project. (Thanks to Gavin for directing me to MERCI contacts!) This has everything I’ve been looking for, BUT…

  1. 1. Do I have the time to learn Drupal and fix any bugs before I leave?
  2. 2. Will anyone have the ability to maintain/update MERCI once I leave?

Before I step into uncharted territory, I’m going to see if I can Excel my way through this assignment. I recently took advantage of my IST and had a six-hour excel training, which gave me a few tricks to try out.

Meetup.com helps incredibly with organizing events. Most of our ShareSD jammers have found us through meetup.com

CMS
We have Kintera. And I do not like it. I had to call tech support. Their solution to my problem was that I had to be on Internet Explorer, clear my cookies, and restart IE in order for my duplicate contacts to update. Not exactly good workflow, especially when you are working in a Mac lab. I’d like to hear your thoughts on Kintera. Email me if you have any!

A growing community: http://macsddiy.posterous.com

Last month's Videographer's Lounge,a free gathering, was hosted by video artist Ilan Katin. This is a video mapping demo. Photo by Miguel Vega: portfolio.accent.tv/

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Getting it Done  –  November 22, 2010 – 4:58pm

Fab Lab at MACSD

Fab Lab at MACSD

I have been putting this report off in hopes to have some great media and artifacts to present, but this will have to wait until my next report. I found some time to give a quick status update of what I’ve been up to. We really need more activity on here!

I have been working on two major goals right now: developing programming for our evening workshops and establishing a system to track our technology that both stays in-house and are rented out to the community.

For our evening workshops at Media Arts Center, we’ve slowly been reaching our goal of having our calendar ready 3 months in advance.
We have just reached having it all set one month- the workshop type, instructor, goals, marketing, scheduling, etc are currently ready one month in advance. We have had great turnouts for Final Cut workshops and build-it-with-others workshops like the DIY Steadycam. New volunteers are increasing, thanks to new volunteer recruiting/policies we have established. The next step for our workshops is to redesign our brochures/marketing. We need to be more appealing to younger audiences, cut costs, and create new job descriptions for volunteers/interns. This begins mid-december.

As for tracking technology, I had to start from the very beginning. The current inventory spreadsheet was missing crucial information including serial numbers and price values. I was able to finally utilize the snazzy barcode scanner I purchased to make the task a lot easier. The information is almost 100% entered in and will benefit accounting, identifying outdated technology, and our equipment rental process. Audits? Easy. Grantwriting? Simple! Equipment rental? Sure, let’s see what’s available! By the end of January, I hope to have finalized a working rental system that incorporates barcodes into our equipment inventory and member databases. I’m hoping by the end of my year here, we can have a reservation system available on our website, and maybe even a mobile app.

On Tuesdays, FabLab offers design workshops of all sorts. They have vinyl cutter, laser engraving, 3D scanners…man!!! I joined their fun last tuesday @ Intro to Interactivity. We made IR pens to make DIY smartboards. It really works!!

More to come,
Chris

Comments: DIY Steadycam sounds so awesome! Out of curiosity, are most of your instructors staff or volunteers or contracted out or…? It sounds like you guys have a lot of classes and a diverse range at that!

Me:We’ve started with three types of tracks: design, audio, & video.
We have a good mix of staff/volunteers, and are planning on doing a major recruitment of interns next year.
FabLabSD.org has joined forces with us and currently is running out of our space. They specialize in digital fabrication and electronics and teach a workshop once a week. FabLabSD is made up of three individuals, which two volunteer their time instructing.

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Programming at MACSD  –  August 30, 2010 – 2:45pm

Check out September programming Morgan and I have developed at MACSD. $15 for every 2-hour workshop, and free the first of every month. Post any workshop ideas you’d like to see available to the public. http://tinyurl.com/22thqbf

We embedded a google calendar so we can update the workshops in one place. When it gets developed a bit better, we’ll be able to connect all registration forms, events, and calendars within the site and social networks. Kintera, which is what’s used to develop the site, is a nightmare to use. Its messy, scary, and frustrating.

I’m also developing a system for a working equipment room. It needs to be inventoried, categorized, and secure. This can be accomplished with a scanning system. I’m pretty excited to purchase a neat USB barcode scanner. Does your organization have a similar system set up?

All this work requires good organization and prioritization. I found a great program called Bento. It syncs up all of your data into one program and is very easy on the eyes. Does anyone currently use this or have other project/task software they prefer?

Kudos to Erica for creating more google groups. I hope we can connect within these and share a lot with each other!

I must leave to apply more aloe to my entirely sunburned body.

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I Exist!  –  August 24, 2010 – 12:42pm
Chris at MACSDWe are spending the second day in the NEW space of Media Arts Center San Diego, conveniently located a 1/2 mile away from my apartment. I spent the first two weeks with my supervisor during the summer youth media camps. I learned some of what the community’s youth is like and what their interests are, and dealt with fun financial activities like getting denied food stamps, denied federal loans, and having two security deposits withheld by evil landlords. I AM getting one deposit back this week, and one still remains a mystery. Thanks to DAS Corps for the first stipend deposit!
Just before I arrived at MACSD, two MacBook Pros were stolen, most likely internal. This has made one of my assignments of reorganizing and maintaining the equipment room even more important. It also makes my task more difficult because security will be very tight, and access to the room will be limited. Everyone here seems to be on board for a barcode system on every piece of equipment.
The last week at the old space left us with no phone or internet and limited equipment. Equipment is temporarily set-up on tiny desks with whatever kind of furniture we can find from our storage spaces. We do have internet, and we do have phones, so we can now continue to move forward on our daily tasks, which mine has shifted quite a bit since I last read my VAD.
I have been asked to focus on new programming for workshops during fall and winter, which I was more than excited to work with my supervisor on. For someone who just graduated in media study, thre’s a lot of things I’d love to bring into the arts center: multi-track recording, hand-processed film, interactive media, etc. The only problem is that there is a major lack in people to teach workshops. What is most likely going to happen is Morgan (my supervisor) and I help out with leading some of these workshops until marketing and outreach can obtain interns, members, and volunteers to take over. I believe that in January when artist residencies begin, they can teach workshops that are pertaining to their work.
So I had to spit out SOMETHING, I hope it maintained some order to understand. Expect report number two by the end of the week. By that time I will have: solidified fall programing, revised my VAD, caught up on everyone’s field reports, and have plenty of photos to share from both PSO and here in San Diego. Stay classy!

DAS Corps Candidacy Agreement_ChrisAnderson

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