photo: Roland VR-5 video mixer from CEREV lab

Recently, CEREV volunteered its lab space, equipment, and technical expertise to host an online Google+ live Hangout and YouTube broadcast with the Montreal Institute of Genocide and Human Rights (MIGS).

As part of the Digital Mass Atrocity Prevention Lab (DMAPLab), MIGS hosted an online panel discussion on the use of social media and other technologies to detect and prevent mass atrocity crimes. The panel titled “Using Tech to Fight Atrocities?” included speakers Christopher Tuckwood (The Sentinel Project), Akshaya Kumar (The Enough Project), Nathaniel Raymond (Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative), and was moderated by Kyle Matthews (MIGS).

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Any individual, academic institution or department interested in improving workflow and production quality for video podcasts should consider purchasing a video mixer. Similar in principle to an audio mixing board, a video mixer allows the integration and manipulation of multiple video inputs at the same time. “Mixing” the feeds from multiple video cameras in real time means less organizing and editing of videos in post-production (e.g. after the shoot, in a video editing application like iMovie, Final Cut or Primiere).

CEREV recently hosted a round table on “Palestinian Canadian Life Stories” here at the exhibition lab. Directed by Dr. Sharon Gubbay Helfer, one of CEREV’s first batch of Curatorial Fellows, this research project chronicles the lives and identities of five Palestinian Canadians. A description of the research project, Co-creating a safe space for being present to difficult knowledge: exhibiting material from the Palestinian Canadian life stories project, can be found here.

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After a recent (and fun) workshop with a group of undergraduate history students here at Concordia, I thought it might be useful to post a piece on the value of content management systems (CMS) for academics. Web-based CMS’s have many useful functions for users and have changed the nature of the Internet from static websites (exclusive to programmers or website administrators) to dynamic databases that are browser-based and allow any user to add or delete content as they wish.

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Here some links to resources and software that I have been exploring in my first weeks at CEREV. In between inventorying equipment, setting up the internet, and configuring computers for the CEREV facilities, I have been researching and testing software for three specific environmental functions:

1. A WordPress/BuddyPress online collaborative class environment for Dr. Lehrer’s Curating Difficult Knowledge class and related SSHRC Image, Sound, Text & Technology grant project.

2. Software/hardware options for networking multiple video projectors/screens for curatorial experiments in the Workshop.

3. Collaborative software platforms for developing and sharing collective work and brainstorming.

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This is the first of what I am hoping to be a continuing blog presence presenting an overview of my thought processes, discoveries and technical challenges in designing, implementing, and facilitating a digital exhibition workshop for CEREV.  I feel lucky to be involved with Concordia’s innovative facilities, and would like to thank Dr. Erica Lehrer, whose vision of  employing interactive media to expand the opportunities for engaging with human narrative and  experience has made this all possible.

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Center for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence