geert on Thu, 5 Aug 2004 11:32:23 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> From Porto Alegre to Cyberspace (Aliza Dichter)

From: Aliza Dichter <liza@MEDIAACTIONCENTER.ORG>

OM/NM IV from Porto Alegre to cyberspace...

More than 175 people from at least 20 different countries gathered in
Porto Alegre for the OURMedia/Nuestr@sMedios/NossosMeios* IV
International Conference. There were presentations, discussions,
workshops and projects about the strategies, techniques, purposes and
challenges of making participatory media. In different ways we engaged
with the questions of how technology, policy, culture, money, power and
our own methods of working relate to "Building Communication

We experimented together. Our activities and conversations were in all
three languages of Portuguese, English and Spanish but also across many
different languages of practice.  The conference in Porto Alegre was an
intense concentrated experience within the process that is the network
of OURMedia -- now with more than 400 members around the world who
identify alternately and often in multiple ways as academics, activists
and media-makers.

The conversations among us now move from the classrooms, restaurants,
buses and marketplace gatherings in Porto Alegre to our email lists and
webpages. As we begin to circulate our reports and reflections, the
stories and products of people's experience at OM IV, we will learn
more about what work we achieved there and what it has enabled us and
inspired us to do moving forward. There is now a wiki -- an online
space for web pages that anyone can edit-- where we are beginning to
share our documentation as the more formal reports and evaluations are
(Anyone can edit or add to this wiki. How-to information is on the

Over the coming weeks, those of us involved with documenting the
conference will be sending out the full participant list, with
information about everyone's work and issues - as well papers and
reports from the more than 40 presentations of international community
media, advocacy and research projects. We will also compile and share
the results of the evaluation surveys and interviews.

The team that has volunteered to lead the process for planning the next
conference and strengthening the network will be sending information
about how to get involved. Small working groups are forming to advance
key themes within future conferences such as indigenous media issues,
gender analysis and the frequent disconnects between groups such as
autonomous media collectives, civil society organizations and academic

One of the first "products" to emerge from the work at OM/NM IV is the
"Media Manual" -- an 80-page handbook on autonomous media and
communication rights that was produced with free/open software over
four days in the Polimedia Lab. This extensive how-to guide includes
resources on Linux, the CRIS Campaign, free radio, intellectual
property issues, cryptography, TV production, video editing and much
--The Portuguese version is online now:
(It will be translated into English and Spanish, volunteers needed)

And there will be more: The CRIS Campaign will send out reports from
their meetings conducted throughout the week by international and
regional groups organizing for "Communication Rights in the Information
Society." Videographers and reporters from the Brazilian Black media
group Dombalí, from several indymedia collectives, from CIMA and from
the local community station Radio Restinga will be sharing and
distributing our interviews and recordings created at the conference.

It was thrilling to be among all the energy, wisdom and ideas swirling
through this conference and this network. I look forward to being a
part of the continuous conversations and to working on the publications
and media productions that have emerged from OM/NM IV.

See you in cyberspace,


Aliza Dichter
Planning Committee Member, Conference Co-cordinator
OURMedia/NuestrosMedios IV
"Building Communication Societies"


* Note-  There is an interesting debate forming over the name for this
network in Portuguese: Should the Portuguese name be written as
"NossosMeios" or "NossaMídia" ?  Some have said they prefer the first
version as it implies a more expansive way of thinking about "media" as
"our ways" but others explain using "midia" is much more popular and
familiar -- perhaps Portuguese-speaking members of OM/NM will decide
via online discussion or perhaps we'll continue to use both.

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