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Press Release

Josie Patterson

Regina Norfolk
RNCommunications, LLC

MIT Museum Announces Speakers for the Fall 2008 Soap Box Discussion Series:
"Grassroots & Global:  Technologies & Social Change


CAMBRIDGE, MA – September 23, 2008 - The MIT Museum announced today that the fall 2008 Soap Box series will be titled "Grassroots & Global:  Technologies & Social Change," and will feature four world-class speakers from both MIT and Harvard.  The series will focus on election year media and the impact new technologies have on politics and social change. 

"In this election year it is important to provide the public with time for debate and reflection about the dramatic impact that social technologies are having on political and social policy," said John Durant, MIT Museum Director.  "This Soap Box series will give people a chance to discuss these topics with some of the leading thinkers in the field," said Durant.  

On Wednesday, October 8, Ethan Zuckerman, Fellow, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University Law School will lead a discussion titled, Technologies and Emerging Democracies;  on Wednesday, October 22, Henry Jenkins, Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities will answer the question, What is Civic Media?;  on Wednesday, November 5, Dayna Cunningham, Executive Director of the Community Innovators Lab at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning will lead a discussion titled, Technologies Changing Communities/Communities Innovating Technologies;  and on Wednesday, November 18, Ellen Hume, Research Director of MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media will discuss, The Future of the News

Soap Box is held at the MIT Museum’s Mark Epstein Innovation Gallery from
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., and is a series of salon-style, early-evening conversations with scientists, engineers and policy analysts who are shaping the world with their innovations, inventions and research.  The popular Soap Box series is a public forum for debate about important ideas and issues in science and technology.  The series gives its audience unique access to professors and researchers and provides them with the opportunity to debate serious issues in the intimate setting of the Mark Epstein Innovation Gallery.  Admission is free and refreshments are served.  The discussion is also webcast live from the MIT Museum website.

Following is a more in-depth summary of each of the Fall 2008 Soap Box speakers:
Wednesday October 8, 2008, 6:00 pm, Free admission
Ethan Zuckerman
A Fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University Law School, Ethan Zuckerman’s work focuses on the impact of technology on the developing world.  His current projects include a study of global media attention, research on the use of webblogs and other social software in the developing world.  Zuckerman lives in Western Massachusetts and travels extensively talking to people about new technologies.  His discussion is titled, "Technologies and Emerging Democracies." 

Wednesday October 22, 2008, 6:00 pm, Free Admission
Henry Jenkins
Co-Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities.  Jenkins is the author and/or editor of twelve books on various aspects of media and popular culture.  He is one of the principal investigators for The Education Arcade, a consortium of educators and business leaders working to promote the educational use of computer and video games; the Knight Center for Future Civic Media, a joint effort with the MIT Media Lab to use new media to enhance how people live in local communities; the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, an international initiative focused on promoting experimentation through game design; and Project nml, a MacArthur Foundation-funded project that develops curricular materials focused on promoting the social skills and cultural competencies needed to become a full participant in the new media era.  Jenkin’s discussion is titled "What is Civic Media?" 

Wednesday November 5, 2008, 6:00 pm, Free Admission
Dayna Cunningham
Executive Director of the Community Innovators Lab at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Cunninghamwas a 2004 graduate of the Sloan Fellows MBA program; Cunningham holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and a juris doctor degree from the New York University School of Law. From 2006-2007 she directed the ELIAS Project, an MIT-based collaboration between business, NGOs and government that seeks to advance economic, social and environmental sustainability.  Cunningham’s discussion is titled, "Technologies Changing Communities/Communities Innovating Technologies."  Cunningham will talk about how putting different media - cameras, recorders, and other data gathering tools - into the hands of people who traditionally have been excluded from political power, can impact and make positive changes. Using examples from projects in Brooklyn, Kentucky, Mississippi and Peru, Cunningham relates the importance of giving voice to people from all segments of society, especially those people who, for generations, have been ignored due to socioeconomic, racial or geographical status.

Wednesday, November 18, 2008, 6:00 pm, Free Admission
Ellen Hume
Research Director of MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media, Hume was a White House and political correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, national reporter with the Los Angeles Times and regular commentator on PBS's Washington Week in Review and CNN's Reliable Sources program. Hume wrote "Media Missionaries" (2004), a report for the Knight Foundation about American journalism training abroad, and the award-winning "Tabloids, Talk Shows and the Future of News" (1995) for the Annenberg Washington Program.   Hume’s discussion is titled, "The Future of the News." 

The MIT Museum is open 7 days a week from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.  Admission is Adults: $7.50; Under 18, Students, Seniors: $3.00; MIT ID and children 5 and under: Free.  The Museum also offers free admission on Sundays between 10:00 am – noon.

The MIT Museum’s mission is to engage the wider community with MIT’s science, technology and other areas of scholarship in ways that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.  For more information regarding the MIT Museum go to http://web.mit.edu/museum.


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