Here are some key themes from the interview with IDEPSCA’s intern
1. Mobile Voices fills an existing gap
“It is a digital storytelling project. It is unique in that it works with a low-income urban community. There is a digital divide with white upper middle class on one side and low-income immigrant communities of color on the other. This project fills a gap. It can really provide something – allow workers to take ownership of the media.”
2. Mobile Voices empowers people
Mobile Voices “empowers workers to use mobiles and other media, to make it accessible so that they can make their own media and create an alternative. It’s important that they use the devices they already have and claim ownership and create their own stories.” By empowering the workers to take ownership and participate in production of media, Mobile Voices fits with IDEPSCA’s mission to create a more humane and democratic society. It empowers people to re-imagine media as theirs.
3. Participatory approach
If the project goals come from the workers “it could be more powerful, if they set goals based on their own reality.”
4. Unexpected results
During the hunger strike, there were “positive, powerful results – messages of support from people all over supporting the hunger strikers. I saw the potential. It could have been nationwide. It could have been organized better. It could have been implemented a lot better. Even people in the encampment didn’t know about it. So, for example, there could have been a pamphlet explaining the tools to distribute. Instead it was through one-on-one random conversations.
My phone can’t take pictures but I learned about MMS, how to send audio and MMS through other cell phones. I had to be up to date with how to do it so I could teach. I knew the high tech but not the low tech .
5. The power of cell phones
We should spread the word about cell phones as a tool for action. If everyone could know – beyond the Vozmob team and the PCT – if people knew the full potential of cell phones for informing, organizing, taking pictures, audio messages. It’s a huge tool.
At the strike not everyone knew about the Mobile Voices tools. Maybe there could be a how-to sheet. There has been frustration when the MMS doesn’t upload to the website and we are promoting alternative media and digital stories. They (the PCT) are experts now but still have frustration with the technology. Like, “why can’t we see what we are creating?” They have taken ownership, but on a technical level we’re dropping the ball.
The priority is to encourage them (the PCT) to claim ownership of the media, and the team, not to jeopardize their culture. Let them participate in a meeting. Share success and failures, especially when technology fails, so we can grow together. There is still work ahead for the PCT to claim ownership. Certain members have really taken off with knowledge and developed skills. All are at different levels – how do we get them to the same level? We want to keep the participatory circle.
The challenges faced by the PCT are based on their reality, which is a grim reality – to be out in the street in limbo not knowing if you will get a job. Given this, it’s amazing they have taken ownership. They have it hard. It’s hard to participate.
8. Looking Ahead
In the future working with the technology it would be good to have the PCT on the same level. That would be ideal. Then the next step would be going to the worker centers, to counter the images in the mainstream media. Let the workers make images they can relate to and have workers teaching other workers.