Data+Art+Technology for Citizen Science and Civic Engagement at PNCA's Make+Think+Code

January 04, 2019

Illustration of a robot on a phone pole with a satelite handheld device

Portland, OR — January 4, 2019 – Pacific Northwest College of Art’s (PNCA) Make+Think+Code invites the public to join us in unleashing the powerful tools of data, art, technology, and community to foster citizen science and collaborative research, civic engagement and activism. Over four days, January 17-20, 2019, Make+Think+Code convenes a number of events inviting participants to share ideas, experiences, and expertise, learn and develop open-source tools, develop new collaborations and partnerships, and creatively solve problems together.

PNCA’s Make+Think+Code is our research studio and lab that brings together members of Portland's vibrant creative, tech, civic, and educational communities to explore the powerful role that creativity and technology play in the search for imaginative and impactful solutions to complex and urgent problems.

These events focus on the convergence of data, art, and technology and the promise this intersection holds in support of citizen science and civic engagement.

Civic Data + Digital Privacy

January 17, 2019, 12:30pm - 5:30 pm

Please register here

Smart City PDX and Make+Think+Code welcome participants to a forum and unconference on civic data and digital/data privacy in our region. This participant-driven meeting will create space to share opportunities, concerns, and challenges related to privacy and civic data in our region.

In a digitally networked world, as more and more personal information is collected, shared, and used across a variety of contexts, tools and policies are needed to safeguard privacy and anonymize data while ensuring transparency and open access to data to support research, advocacy, and civic innovation. This event invites policymakers, technologists, community groups, librarians, educators, researchers, advocates, activists, artists, and designers to help create a model of open civic data and data/digital privacy that reflects our values and empowers our communities.

Participants are invited to provide feedback, ideas, and insights to the City of Portland's efforts in navigating the operational and ethical issues in open civic data initiatives. Smart City PDX is partnered with the Mayor’s Office, the Office of Commissioner Fritz, and the Office of Equity and Human Rights in developing principles and procedures to promote and preserve privacy rights and information protection values. A key piece of this work is to foster engagement with and outreach to diverse stakeholders in the community impacted by data collection.

Through a series of short talks, an unconference format, and a forum, we will explore critical questions around civic data collection and archiving (including issues of equity and bias); implications of technologies and systems that can rapidly collect data about individuals (and tools to subvert these); and ways of ensuring that government use of data is in service to the community.

Environmental Stone Soup: Data/Sensors/Storytelling
January 20, 2019 10am - 4pm
Please register here

Environmental Stone Soup is a continuation of Sensors and the Environment, Make+Think+Code’s project involving sensors, wildlife, environmental exposure, and human impact. At this event, we begin with combining existing data sets and analyzing them to tell stories and explore systemic relationships and patterns. The next event in the series will be a Sensors and the Environment Hackathon on March 30-31, 2019.

Environmental Stone Soup welcomes all ecologists, data scientists, smart cities policymakers, community advocates, and open source technologists. Our project this year will focus on using existing datasets to support researchers and policymakers and to facilitate advocacy and education. Our aim is to encourage data sharing across disciplines and sectors in the fields of wildlife ecology, smart cities, environmental exposures, and health outcomes. By combining a variety of data streams, we hope to start observing relationships, patterns, and trends that are systemic and complex. Participants are invited to bring projects, ideas, and share any datasets that you have collected and/or that we can access to support civic engagement in environmental issues.

We plan to gather, analyze, and interpret multiple existing data streams to tell impactful stories about our region; to explore the integral connections between a healthy (built and natural) environment and healthy communities (human, wildlife, and habitat); to develop open-source data and sensor networks to understand effects of policy, development, and technology; to create open source tools/ for predictive data analytics including mathematical models, machine learning and deep learning algorithms/libraries; and to apply the results to increase awareness, advocate, and change behavior.

The Visibility Project: Wikipedia Edit-a-thon (Train the Trainers)
January 19, 2019, 10am-2:30pm
More details and register here.
Wikipedia Edit-a-thon’s are convened to help us make Wikipedia a more vibrant, representative, inclusive, and diverse resource. Edit-a-thons such as this welcome new and experienced Wikipedians to write and augment Wikipedia entries with the guidance of experienced editors. 

Creative Coding Community Day and Show
January 18-19, 2019

For more information about these events and Make+Think+Code at Pacific Northwest College of Art, please visit