The director of a new Indigenous media lab at the University of Winnipeg envisions it as a community hub for many of the up-and-coming and established artists who call the city home.
“When I look at artists globally and nationally, we’re leading the way in terms of digital new media artwork,” said Julie Nagam, director of Aabijijiwan New Media Lab.
Nagam, who is Métis and German-Syrian from Winnipeg, is an associate professor at the University of Winnipeg and a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous arts, collaboration and digital media.
The 4,000-square-foot space is located on the third floor of the university’s Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex. Aabijijiwan will include three media labs, which will allow community members access to equipment like 3D printers, podcasting equipment, animation studio, laser cutters, green screens and virtual reality programming.
“I feel like what makes it so cool is one of its kind in Canada, there’s very few Indigenous digital media labs that are present across the country,” said Nagam.
The lab will also have space and capabilities for artists to practise traditional mediums like beadwork and tufting. This will allow artists in the lab to combine new and old technologies in the space.
“Could you imagine taking an octopus bag and we 3D scan it and then we can do a digital media replica of it through the digital printer?” said Nagam.
Aabijijiwan’s first artist in residence is Scott Benesiinaabandan from Lac Seul First Nation in northern Ontario, who specializes in photography and is now focusing on augmented reality and virtual reality work.
He said he thinks Winnipeg is a great city for developing young artists and he is excited to see what types of projects will be created in the lab.
“There’s going to be a lot of young artists with their first introduction to these sort of advanced technologies… It gives you that access, portability to technologies that we wouldn’t have otherwise and I think it’s going to be a very generative and fertile sort of place to burst new artists and new artistic ideas,” said Benesiinaabandan.
Indigenous led project for the community
From the beginning of the project, the ideas, the planning and design has been led by Indigenous people, in particular, Indigenous women.
“We want to be able to have elders and kids and all kinds of people running around having fun in the space,” said Nagam.
The interior design was done by Destiny Seymour, owner of design studio Woven Collaborative.
It features a herringbone flooring pattern, Indigenous-designed furniture and accessories and a breastfeeding space for mothers who attend.
“There were a lot of women at the table when we were designing this,” said Seymour, who has been an interior designer for 14 years.
One of the first public workshops for the Abijijiwan New Media Lab will be an online introduction to animation and paper puppets on April 7. Depending on public health orders, Nagam is hopeful artists and community members will be able to access the space as early as June.
Donald Trump announces launch of media company, social media site – CTV News
NEW YORK —
Nine months after being expelled from social media for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, former President Donald Trump said Wednesday he’s launching a new media company with its own social media platform.
Trump says his goal in launching the Trump Media & Technology Group and its “TRUTH Social” app is to create a rival to the Big Tech companies that have shut him out and denied him the megaphone that was paramount to his national rise.
“We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced,” he said in a statement. “This is unacceptable.”
In a release, the new venture announced it had been created through a merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp. and said it seeks to become a publicly listed company.
Trump has spoken about launching his own social media site ever since he was barred from Twitter and Facebook. An earlier effort to launch a blog on his existing website was abandoned after the page drew dismal views.
In addition to the app, which is expected to soft-launch next month, with a nationwide rollout early next year, the company says it is planning a video-on-demand service that will feature entertainment programming, news and podcasts.
India celebrates 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses with song and dance
India celebrated the milestone of administering one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses on Thursday, with the government promoting the achievement in song and video even as a recent drop in inoculations worries healthcare providers.
After a slow beginning in the middle of January, India’s immunisation campaign has covered three-quarters of its 944 million adults with at least one dose but only 31% with two. The government wants all adults to get vaccinated this year.
“India scripts history,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter. “We are witnessing the triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of (1.3 billion) Indians.”
Modi marked the occasion with a visit to a government hospital in New Delhi. The health ministry announced musical and other programmes across the country, and special illuminations of national monuments including a colonial-era jail.
Nearly 90% of the vaccines administered in India have come from the Serum Institute of India (SII), which produces a licensed version of the AstraZeneca drug. SII has more than tripled its capacity since April and can now produce 220 million vaccine doses a month.
SII has also slowly resumed exports for the first time since April, when the government stopped all overseas sales to meet domestic demand as infections rose dramatically.
The World Health Organization (WHO), which relies heavily on India for supplies to its global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX, congratulated the country for reaching the landmark.
“India’s progress must be viewed in the context of the country’s commendable commitment and efforts to ensure that these life-saving vaccines are accessible globally,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director WHO South-East Asia.
India has so far reported 34.1 million COVID-19 cases and more than 452,000 deaths, most during a second wave of infections of the Delta variant that surged through the country between April and May.
A “sizeable number https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-india/many-indians-skipping-second-covid-shot-despite-record-vaccine-stocks-idUSL4N2RF2G3” of people in India have not taken their second dose by the due date despite adequate supplies, the health ministry said on Tuesday, as new infections fell to their lowest since early March.
Daily shots have averaged 5 million this month, a fifth of September’s peak, though states are sitting on record stocks of more than 100 million as domestic output of the AstraZeneca vaccine soars.
Despite the current low number of infections, ministry officials have been urging people to get vaccinated fast, especially as the ongoing festival season means family gatherings and mass shopping, raising the risk of a new wave of infections.
(Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)
Western News – Expert insights: Why social media companies need to be reined in – Western News
In September, the Wall Street Journal released the Facebook Files. Drawing on thousands of documents leaked by whistle blower and former employee Frances Haugen, the Facebook Files show that the company knows their practices harm young people, but fails to act, choosing corporate profit over public good.
The Facebook Files are damning for the company, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp. However, it isn’t the only social media company that compromises young people’s internationally protected rights and well-being by prioritizing profits.
Harvested personal data
Harvesting and commodifying personal data (including children’s data) underpins the internet financial model — a model that social psychologist and philosopher Shoshana Zuboff has dubbed surveillance capitalism .
Social media companies make money under this model by collecting, analyzing and selling the personal information of users. To increase the flow of this valuable data they work to engage more people, for more time, through more interactions.
Ultimately, the value in harvested personal data lies in the detailed personal profiles the data supports — profiles that are used to feed the algorithms that shape our newsfeeds, personalize our search results, help us get a job (or hinder) and determine the advertisements we receive.
In a self-reinforcing turn, these same data are used to shape our online environments to encourage disclosure of even more data — and the process repeats.
Recent research confirms that the deliberate design, algorithmic and policy choices made by social media companies (that lie at the heart of surveillance capitalism) directly expose young people to harmful content. However, the harms of surveillance capitalism extend well beyond this.
Our research in both Canada and the United Kingdom has repeatedly uncovered young people’s concern with how social media companies and policy-makers are failing them. Rather than respecting young people’s rights to expression, to be free from discrimination and to participate in decisions affecting themselves, social media companies monitor young people to bombard them with unsolicited content in service of corporate profits.
As a result, young people have often reported to us that they feel pressured to conform to stereotypical profiles used to steer their behaviour and shape their environment for profit.
For example, teen girls have told us that even though using Instagram and Snapchat created anxiety and insecurity about their bodies, they found it almost impossible to “switch off” the platforms. They also told us how the limited protection provided by default privacy settings leaves them vulnerable to unwanted “dick pics” and requests to send intimate images to men they don’t know.
The surveillance capitalism financial model that underlies social media ensures that companies do everything they can to keep young people engaged.
Young people have told us that they want more freedom and control when using these spaces — so they are as public or private as they like, without fear of being monitored or profiled, or that their data are being farmed out to corporations.
Teenagers also told us how they rarely bother to report harmful content to the platforms. This isn’t because they don’t know how, but instead because they have learned from experience that it doesn’t help. Some platforms were too slow to respond, others didn’t respond at all and some said that what was reported didn’t breach community standards, so they weren’t willing to help.
Removing toxic content hurts the bottom line
These responses aren’t surprising. For years, we have known about the lack of resources to moderate content and deal with online harassment.
Haugen’s recent testimony at a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing and earlier reports about other social media platforms highlight an even deeper profit motivation. Profit depends on meaningful social engagement, and harmful, toxic and divisive content drives engagement.
Basically, removing toxic content would hurt the corporate bottom line.
Guiding principles that centre children’s rights
So, what should be done in light of the recent, though not unprecedented, revelations in the Facebook Files? The issues are undoubtedly complex, but we have come up with a list of guiding principles that centre children’s rights and prioritize what young people have told us about what they need:
- Young people must be directly engaged in the development of relevant policy.
- All related policy initiatives should be evaluated on an ongoing basis using a children’s rights assessment framework.
- Social media companies should be stopped from launching products for children and from collecting their data for profiling purposes.
- Governments should invest more resources into providing fast, free, easy-to-access informal responses and support for those targeted by online harms (learning from existing models like Australia’s eSafety Commissioner and Nova Scotia’s CyberScan unit).
- We need laws that ensure that social media companies are both transparent and accountable, especially when it comes to content moderation.
- Government agencies (including police) should enforce existing laws against hateful, sexually violent and harassing content. Thought should be given to expanding platform liability for provoking and perpetuating these kinds of content.
- Educational initiatives should prioritize familiarizing young people, the adults who support them and corporations with children’s rights, rather than focusing on a “safety” discourse that makes young people responsible for their own protection. This way, we can work together to disrupt the surveillance capitalism model that endangers them in the first place.
Kaitlynn Mendes, Professor of Gender, Media and Sociology, Western University; Jacquelyn Burkell, Associate Professor, Information and Media Studies, Western University; Jane Bailey, Professor of Law and Co-Leader of The eQuality Project, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa, and Valerie Steeves, Full Professor, Department of Criminology, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa
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