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Video and podcast, Civic Arts Series: Myron Dewey, “Protecting the Water in Solidarity and Unity”

Illustration of Myron Dewey
Myron Dewey - Illustration by Mauricio Cordero

Myron Dewey has pioneered the blending of citizen monitoring, documentary filmmaking, and social networking in the cause of environment, social justice and indigenous people’s rights.

Myron Dewey is an indigenous journalist, educator, documentary filmmaker and the developer of Digital Smoke Signals, a social networking and filmmaking initiative, emerging out of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline project of 2016-17. Using a full range of contemporary media, including drone technologies, Dewey has pioneered the blending of citizen monitoring, documentary filmmaking, and social networking in the cause of environment, social justice and indigenous people’s rights; he co-directed the 2017 award-winning documentary, Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock.

  • Introduction by Lisa Parks, Professor, Comparative Media Studies; Director, Global Media Technologies & Cultures Lab and recently awarded MacArthur Fellow.


  • Nicholas A. Brown, Artist, Cultural Geographer, Assoc. Teaching Prof, Northeastern University
  • Marisa Morán Jahn, Visiting Artist, MIT Art, Culture, Technology

Recent MacArthur Fellow (2018) Lisa Parks is a media scholar whose research focuses on satellite technologies and media cultures; critical studies of media infrastructures; and media, militarization and surveillance. Parks has held visiting appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin, McGill University, University of Southern California, and the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She is committed to exploring how greater understanding of media systems can inform and assist citizens, scholars and policymakers in the US and abroad to advance campaigns for technological literacy, creative expression, social justice, and human rights.

Nicholas A. Brown is a scholar and artist based in Boston, MA and La Farge, WI. He teaches in the School of Architecture and Department of History at Northeastern University. His work examines the production of cultural landscapes and the politics of connectivity in settler colonial contexts. Recent and ongoing projects include: Kickapoo Conversations, A People’s Guide to Firsting and Lasting in Boston, Re-Collecting Black Hawk: Landscape, Memory, and Power in the American Midwest, The Vanishing Indian Repeat Photography Project, and Ni-aazhawa’am-minis Spur.

An artist, filmmaker, and creative technologist of Ecuadorian and Chinese descent, Marisa Morán Jahn’s artworks redistribute power, “exemplifying the possibilities of art as social practice” (ArtForum). Her work has been presented in a range of venues including Obama’s White House, Museum of Modern Art, ITVS/PBS, and worker centers. An awardee of Creative Capital, Sundance, and Tribeca Institute, Jahn is the founder of Studio REV, an art and social justice non-profit organization, an Assistant Professor at The New School, and a Visiting Artist at MIT Art, Culture, Technology.

The Civic Arts Series, which is part of the CMS graduate program Colloquium, features talks by four artists and activists who are making innovative uses of media to reshape the possibilities of art as a source of civic imagination, experience and advocacy. Using a variety of contemporary media technologies–film, web platforms, game engines, drones–the series presenters have opened up new pathways to artistic expression that broaden public awareness around compelling civic issues and aspirations of our time.

Andrew Whitacre
Written by
Andrew Whitacre

Andrew directs the communications efforts for CMS/W and Responsible AI for Social Empowerment and Education. A native of Washington, D.C., he holds a degree in communication from Wake Forest University, with a minor in humanities, as well as an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College.

This work includes drawing up and executing strategic communications plans, with projects including website design, social media management and training, press outreach, product launches, fundraising campaign support, and event promotions.

Rachel Thompson
Written by
Rachel Thompson

Rachel Thompson earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Anthropology and Comparative Literature from Harvard University. Her honors thesis explored literature’s evolving role in the digital age through an ethnographic study of an online literary magazine. She also co-founded and directed the Harvard Organization for Prison Education and Reform, a network of eight volunteer groups that tutor in prisons across Massachusetts and work on advocacy initiatives relating to mass incarceration and education.

Before joining CMS, Rachel worked in Boston-area art museums — the Harvard Art Museums and the Peabody Essex Museum — with a focus on developing teaching curriculum for makerspaces as well as integrated digital media experiences for visitors.

At MIT, she worked as a Research Assistant in the Global Media Technologies and Cultures Lab under the direction of Lisa Parks.

Thesis: Incomplete Sentences: Exploitation and Empowerment in American Incarceration Media

Andrew Whitacre Written by Andrew Whitacre
Rachel Thompson Written by Rachel Thompson