Archive: 2012

Occupy Research at Facing Race

Occupy Research is at Facing Race in Baltimore – check out this panel tomorrow at 11am!


Where is the Color in Occupy? Race, Class and Gender in the Occupy Movement


Kate Khatib, Editor, AK Press
Christine Schweidler, Research Director, DataCenter
Maria Poblet, Executive Director, Causa Justa :: Just Cause
Janée Woods Weber, Program Officer, Everyday Democracy

When a Canadian magazine, Adbusters, issued the call last summer to Occupy Wall Street, no one could predict the response that would follow.  Many have pointed to the lack of race-explicit analysis by the Occupy movement and the domination of white middle class participation.  Organizers of color involved with Occupy discuss how race is manifested in their city and how Occupy can lead with a race-explicit analysis.

“We Are Many” by AK Press includes Occupy Research survey summary

We’re happy to say that “We Are Many,” the edited Occupy volume by AK Press, includes a summary of findings from the Occupy Research General Demographic and Political Participation Survey (ORGS). Please read more about the book from editor Kate Khatib, then order your copy ASAP!

ORGS data facet browser


We’re pleased to announce the release of the Occupy Research General Survey (ORGS) facet browser. You can use this tool to drill down into the more than 5,000 responses to the Occupy Research General Survey.  For example, you might like to know about the survey responses of occupiers who are from California, and have been to a camp “many times”. Or responses from people who donated money, food, or goods, and also attended a general assembly. Select as many facets of the dataset as you’d like, and share your findings via unique links to your set of selections. Enjoy, and please tweet/share using the hashtag #occupyresearch! The ORGS facet browser is by Charlie de Tar.

Click here to try it out.

#OccupyData Hackathon in NYC 28-29 September 2012


More info in the occupydatanyc site.

Notes and outcomes from the Occupy Research Convergence, London

Check out this amazing collection of documentation from the recent Occupy Research Collective convergence! It’s a “post convergence data bomb.”

30th June, London, Occupy Research Collective Convergence


30th June – Convergence on Activism & Research Ethics

Occupy Research Collective Convergence (ORCC): Activism & Research Ethics

10:00-17:00 Saturday June 30th – Pearson Building, University College London, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 6BT (enter from Gower Street).
See here for directions.

Are you researching Occupy or contemporary social movements?
Are you involved in Occupy or other forms of activism?
Are you interested in using research to take action towards creating other possible worlds?
Are you keen on research which respects activism?

This one day convergence will focus on the ethics of researching within-and-beyond the Occupy movement. We would like this to be the beginning of an ongoing conversation about the ways in which research can complement, inform, challenge and present social movements and radical politics.

This convergence aims to provide an open space in which to share ideas about the ethics of Occupy, activism and research. The agenda is fluid and will be finalised collectively at the start of the day, but themes might include:

The ethics of Occupy and the role of critique in activism.
Activism & institutional relationships; within and against the neoliberal university.
Consensually researching consensus-based movements; research for/research about; approaching (re)presentation.
Participatory methodology; research dissemination and freedom of access; radical publishing; militant research; collaboration and mutual aid in research.

This Convergence is being organised by the Occupy Research Collective. We are an open network of activist-researchers working within and around the Occupy movement. We aim to bring together a broad variety of research and researchers, from students and academics, to social and community researchers working outside academia, to unofficial researchers – anyone interested in thinking and doing research for the sake of activism, knowledge or other purposes. We want to experiment with alternative, collective ways of doing, disseminating and collaborating on research and publishing, helping to counter the increasing neoliberalisation of the university and research environment, and finding new ways to support each other as radical researchers.

In the meantime please join the email list (below) to start sharing and discussing readings. If you have any questions, you can contact us:

By email:
At our website:
And by joining our mailing list, at:

Please distribute this call out widely through your friends, colleagues, activist networks, or university (ask your school admin to forward it to all students!).

OccupyResearch at the International Communication Association

Today @desconcentrado and @schock are both talking about work linked to OR while participating in the Occupy@ICA preconference at the International Communication Association meeting in Phoenix, AZ. You can follow along with the hashtags #ICA12 and #OccupyICA.

Occupy Research panel at re:publica

re:publica 12

Sasha Costanza-Chock from MIT’s Center for Civic Media and Christine Schweidler from DataCenter will be presenting on the Occupy Research Network at re:publica in Berlin this week. Check out the panel description below, or jump directly to the conference schedule.

Occupy Research: Research by & for Social Movements

Knowledge can be used to build and maintain, as well as to upset, power! Chris will discuss the open Occupy Research network, research justice as a framework, and plans for the future and the critical role of this work in building more powerful social movements. Sasha will propose a shift away from platform-centric analysis of the relationship between social movements and the media towards the concept of social movement media culture: the set of tools, skills, social practices, and norms that movement participants deploy to create, circulate, curate, and amplify movement media across all available platforms. Both will share key insights based on mixed qualitative and quantitative methods, including semi-structured interviews, participant observation, visual research in multiple Occupy sites, and participation in Occupy Hackathons, as well as the Occupy Research General Demographic and Political Participation Survey (ORGS), a database of the characteristics of approximately 1200 local Occupy sites, and a dataset of more than 13 million tweets with Occupy related hashtags.

#Occupydata Hackathon 2 Roundup

In 5 cities (Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, DC) over 3 days (Mar 23, 24, and 25), developers, designers, researchers, artists, occupiers, and hackers gathered to analyze and visualize datasets related to the Occupy movement. At the various sites, teams of people worked on separate projects, with the goal of using free and open source tools to creatively present data pertinent to the Occupy movement and the issues it has raised. Hackathon participants created a range of exploratory visualizations, including artistic word clouds (#OccupyData Mural, State and Space), bubble charts, phrase nets, maps, tumblr blogs combining data and photos, and faceted data browsing tools.  The sites remained in real-time communication throughout the Hackathon, networked via video chat, IRC, and collaborative documents.screenshot

Data sets

One major focus was the Occupy Research General Demographic and Political Participation Survey (ORGS), which aimed to gather information about the demographics of Occupiers as well as about various forms of civic and political participation in the Occupy movement. The survey was designed through a transparent and collaborative process that included Occupiers and researchers from across the globe.

The survey was conducted by the Occupy Research Network (, which includes academics, activists, students, community researchers, and others, with support from DataCenter ( A list of people involved in the ORGS survey is available at


To explore questions about issues of interest to the movement, hackathon participants worked with publicly available data sets as well as social media data gathered by scraping information from sites like Twitter (State and Space), online news sources, and media sharing platforms like Youtube (Occupy Video as Data: Visualizing Temporal Narratives).



Faceted Browsing
Occupy Research has made the ORGS survey data available in many formats for analysis and remixing. In order to make the data accessible to more people who might be interested in exploring the survey’s findings, one group created a faceted navigation interface.


Text Mural
This mural draws from survey respondents’ answers to the question “If you participate in the Occupy movement, what TOP THREE concerns motivate you TO PARTICIPATE?” — the larger the word, the more it was used in people’s survey responses.  This is a collaboration between Nadia Afghani and Gilad Lotan.Screen-shot-2012-03-24-at-5.18.13-PM1


State and Space

Also blending text and imagery, this project uses the web service Topsy and a Ruby script to search for tweets that document police misconduct or benevolence, can be traced back to a specific officer, and are related to Occupy events. After cleaning the tweets of web noise, e.g. http://, the project visualizes the prominence of particular keywords associated with police misconduct. As a balancing counterpoint, the project team is also searching for keywords associated with positive instances of police behavior.


Visions of Occupy
This project seeks to creatively juxtapose the beliefs we have which inspire us to occupy, and visual traces of the physical occupations themselves.

Using data collected this winter by the Occupy Research General Survey (administered by OccupyResearch), we take the answer to question 42—”In just a few words, what are you trying to achieve with your participation in the Occupy movement”—and pair it with a Flickr photo tagged with the camp name that the same respondent mentions. This means that while the photo displayed and quote may be completely unrelated (both in source and in specific content), viewers are presented with locational context and imagery.visionsof

Displaying ORGS survey results by State (by quantile)
Map by Don Blair and Chris Schweidler, using GeoCommons.ogsusparticipationbystate

Exploring the Civic Anatomy of Occupy
According to the  Occupy Research General Survey (ORGS), OWS sympathizers and participants are among the most civically engaged individuals of the U.S. population, they possess an active voting record, and tend to be involved in a wide range of organizations and civic actions.  The ORGS allows us to explore some of the characteristics of the diverse “civic cultures” of online sympathizers who have brought broad support to OWS in the U.S.Organizational-Affiliation_Non-Participants1


Visualizing “Phrase Nets” using Many Eyes
Also using Many Eyes, this is a visualization of answers to the question “What is your top reason for participating in the Occupy Movemment” in which the most commonly occuring terms appear larger.participation2


Overall the second #OccupyData hackathon was a success, with more participants than the first round, many creative explorations and demos of new data visualization possibilities, and a strong desire by participants to continue developing shared, distributed, free and open approaches to social movement based research.

PICTURES: Occupy Oakland Hackathon 2