Carnegie Mellon University

Center for the Arts in Society

Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and College of Fine Arts



What is the relationship between new social movements and new social media? How can artists shape that relationship? Occupy Facebook uses art to intervene in debates concerning the relationship between nonviolent social change and media. Occupy Facebook includes three main projects: 1) a web portal that uses a variety of media to teach the history of social change, 2) a series of workshops that empower Pittsburgh teenagers to use media to explore and promote social change, and 3) a series of conferences and other public events focused on media, technology, and service learning.

Webportal: is a free online educational resource that uses interactive multimedia to explore the history of social change. The site revolves around case studies of five social entrepreneurs—Andrew Carnegie, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, and Rachel Carson. Fifteen short documentary film/animations introduce students to the above historical figures. A series of interactive tools blend historical documents, animation, and games to challenge students to explore how social innovators change the world. The website will be used in a large course at CMU and will also be free and open to the public.

Workshops: While uses interactive multimedia to teach the history of innovation and social change, this project also supports youth workshops that focus on the power of media to create that change. Each workshop culminates in a student-produced video that highlights a local community service organization. Our first workshop involved students of the Arts Greenhouse, a hip-hop education program located at CMU. For five weeks, Arts Greenhouse participants worked together to produce a documentary film about the Arts Greenhouse. They explored storytelling, videography, and the meaning of the Arts Greenhouse to their own lives and to Pittsburgh. The video they produced will be housed on Our next SC101 workshop will be this summer with Auberle, a center for at-risk teens. We have also begun conversations with other local service organizations to design workshops for the fall of 2014.

Conferences: In the fall of 2012, we held a conference at CMU on “Media, Technology, and Social Change.” In April 2014 we hosted a public screening of the Arts Greenhouse video, accompanied by live performances by Arts Greenhouse students. Future events include an academic conference on MOOCs (massive open online courses), Art, and Social Change.