Digital Montana is an educational workshop that explores the unique role of digital infrastructure in Montana’s economy, environment, and culture. Led by faculty from the University of Montana and MIT, the workshop will provide an innovative and experimental space for students to learn about digital technologies in the field. How is the internet set up to connect rural Montana to the rest of the world? Which communities have high speed internet and which do not? Who owns the telecom system in Montana and where is it exactly? How will digital automation impact Montana’s future work force? Which cryptocurrency miners operate in Montana?
Working in interdisciplinary teams, students will use various research practices, including site visits, interviews, drawings, photographs, data collection, and design to investigate various aspects of digital technologies in Montana. After their research, students will collaboratively develop a project, whether a technological design, video, map or data visualization, business concept, or policy proposal. Teams will formally present their projects at the end of the workshop and the community will be invited to attend. Projects will be documented and shared on the Digital Montana website. All students are invited to apply to participate in the workshop.
It will especially appeal to students of Art, Geography, Media Arts, Native American Studies, Communication, History, Environmental Studies, Computer Science, Political Science, Economics, Business, and Education. The goal of Digital Montana is to equip students with knowledge about the socio-economic and environmental impacts of digital technologies, and to cultivate and showcase innovation in research, teaching, and learning at the University of Montana.
The project is a collaboration between the Innovation Factory at the University of Montana and the Global Media Technologies and Cultures Lab at MIT.
Brad Allen is Co-Director of the Innovation Factory and is developing digital fabrication tools and programs as they apply to prototyping and innovation. His work examines shared signifiers of place-based identity, the poetry of loss and digital/analog translations. Brad teaches in the School of Visual and Media Arts.
Elizabeth Dove is Professor in the School of Visual and Media Arts at the University of Montana, and Co-Director of the Innovation Factory. Her studio projects focus on the search for meaning; investigating visual and textual systems that structure and convey meaning; and visualizing these systemic limitations and failures.
Lisa Parks is Professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT. She is a global media scholar whose research focuses on satellite technologies and media cultures; critical studies of media infrastructures; and media, militarization and surveillance.
Kelly Wagman is a graduate student in Comparative Media Studies at MIT. Her research interests include feminist technoscience, human-machine communication, and design.