The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

  • Communities

    ‘Knight Cities’ podcast: Campus Philly connects students—and inspires deep connections to Philadelphia

    Sept. 2, 2015, 2 p.m., Posted by Carol Coletta

    Attracting and retaining talent is at the top of the economic development agenda in many U.S. cities. And the organization that probably knows best how to do that is Campus Philly.

    Knight Cities podcast

    Deborah Diamond is president of Campus Philly, and she joined us this week to talk about what the organization has learned. Here are five things you should know from our conversation:

    1.        The mission of Campus Philly is to connect students to Philadelphia in a way that matters to them.

    2.        Young adults have twin needs. They need career opportunities and they need to love where they live. 

    3.        Students don’t know what jobs are available. Campus Philly Crawls and Meet Your Industry events get students into workplaces to hear from leaders and gain insight into the city’s industries.

    4.        College Fest, another Campus Philly-produced event, brings together 5,000-plus college students for a combination festival and day of exploring the city. When students see all of the other college students, they realize they are in a college town. And when they make connections with each other, they build connections to Philadelphia because that’s what they all have in common.

    5.        Open Arts is a way to give free access to students to arts and culture. But students want more than free access. They want to see other students, and they want to participate in the arts, not simply observe as part of an audience.

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    Media Innovation

    Using data to create a more fair and equitable society

    Sept. 2, 2015, 11:07 a.m., Posted by danah boyd

    This article is cross-posted with permission from Data & Society. Photo (cc 2013) by Janneke Staaks on Flickr.

    Data is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.* Data doesn’t speak for itself. It must be analyzed and interpreted, and the practice of making meaning from data is where opportunities and challenges lie. Data can be used to advance numerous goals and values, ranging from the mundane to the significant. Businesses can use data to drive economic imperatives, both socially beneficial and morally bankrupt. News media can use data to create informed citizenry or to manipulate people. Governments can use data to improve governance or to centralize control. People can use data to empower themselves and their communities or to reify injustices and inequalities. There is so much potential present in the availability of data, but transparency is not enough. For data’s potential to be realized, we must not simply think about the data itself but about all of the processes and practices – and power – around the data.

    Data & Society is pleased to collaborate with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to ask: How might we make data work for individuals and communities? This question forms the basis of the current Knight News Challenge, an open call for ideas. As with previous Knight News Challenges, the Foundation is offering significant funding to researchers and teams – anyone, anywhere – with great ideas that can make a difference.

    As a collaborator, what Data & Society is hoping to uncover and offer support for are projects dedicated to addressing inequities in society. How can data be used to combat discrimination and injustice? How can marginalized communities be part of data-related interventions that are about them? How can data be leveraged to ask hard questions about the status quo?

    * Melvin Kranzberg, known for his study of technological systems, famously argued that, “Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.” The same applies to data.

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    Charles Beneke’s 'Specter' on display at the Akron Art Museum

    Sept. 2, 2015, 7:52 a.m., Posted by Roger Durbin

    During a recent visit to the Akron Art Museum, which received a $750,000 grant from Knight Foundation to support “groundbreaking exhibitions,” installation artist Charles Beneke was putting the finishing touches on a massive work called “Specter.” In putting it together, Beneke has used one thousand feet of wallpaper and 60 woodcuts, from which he fashioned repeating images on a fabric-like material called Tyvek that has been used to make disposable clothing, among other applications.

    Of late, print makers are starting to “take things off the wall” for installation pieces, Chief Curator Jan Driesbach told me during this same visit. They have tended to do that in small steps, she commented, but the museum wanted to give Beneke the opportunity to “take a big leap off the wall.” And that he has done.

    “Specter” is a stunning, monumental and complex installation. The work fills the Judith Bear Isroff gallery on the second floor of the museum. Aesthetically and intellectually, it fills the imagination–creating, as Beneke has hoped, a consideration of global warming, climate change and their causes.

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