For years now, the team with Hai Media Group have been watching the news reports about the refugee crisis – and with the headlines, tears result. But what can be done?
With millions (more than 65 million globally according to the UNHCR) fleeing their homelands to try and stay alive and to make a safer better life in other parts of the world – how can anybody help?
During this festive season, rather than buy gifts for our clients or send cards, we are admiring and contributing to the global effort of a group of hard working, generous members of the tech community who are trying to do their part in making a difference to the refugee community with Techfugees. This is a non-profit organization, which aims to bring creativity and innovation to the refugee community, which got its start back in 2015. Organizing conferences, workshops, hackathons and meetups around the world, all in an effort to generate tech solutions that can help refugees.
Joséphine Goube, one of the Directors of Techfugees, told us this week: “Our idea from the start has always been: refugees are human beings, that have lost it all and need to rebuild their lives: friends, family, networks. Technology, because it scales, has the power to make a difference. So let’s do make it happen.”
Techfugees was founded by Editor-At-Large of TechCrunch Mike Butcher, who recently was awarded an MBE, with the Queen’s birthday honours list. Petra Johansson is also a Director.
For the best projects, Techfugees works to implement these in the field.
At the recent TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon, held in London in December 2016, three new projects to aid refugees emerged:
- RefuTweet aims to provide refugees on the move with the help they need by connecting with local individuals sympathetic to their cause.
- ResID: When refugees are in a foreign country they often have very limited papers with text information, papers which can be easily lost or stolen. ResID helps people never lose track of who they are.
- Sensei Hub provides a simple capture mobile app that photographs and records student test papers.
According to Techfugees website, As well as operational goals, such as becoming a sustainable organisation, Techfugees has defined five main focus areas of work where tech can have a significant impact. See these five areas in the infographic below.
Techfugees is even inspiring entrepreneurship among refugees. Hai Media Group especially admires this approach, for its positivity and offering of hope to millions in how they may rebuild their lives in a new community.
It is the festive season of 2016, and a time when many will give. We’ve donated to Techfugees and we hope you will also support this worthwhile organization. You can pledge to a crowdfunding campaign here. Or make a direct donation at the Techfugee website here.
You can also support Techfugees on social media by using the hashtag #Techfugees.
Like the Facebook Page.
Follow on Twitter.
This story was first published by our Founder and Director Lisa Devaney with Brand Republic’s The Wall Blog UK, and you can find it here, or read below:
So often these days, news headlines are pock-marked with nasty tales of hacking incidents, online trolling, bullying and abuse that are setting a lot of people off from participating with any social media platform. But now and then, examples of how fantastic, caring and beneficial social media can be comes into public awareness and forces us to not ignore the good of this medium for all.
Saving Bletchley Park
In a new book Saving Bletchley Park written by Dr Sue Black OBE (@Dr_Black), with help from Stevyn Colgan, a fascinating story is told about how Twitter, and the power of digital and social media, strengthened and was instrumental in saving a near derelict World War II codebreakers headquarters at Bletchley Park. Recently released, and funded fully through a crowdfunding campaign orchestrated by the publishing company Unbound, the book is already a bestseller on Amazon.
If you are looking for that ray of sunshine in your social media case studies, or just want a positive example to explain to colleagues about how social media can work, this is a must read. I marvelled that it is a tale where old technology is saved by new technology, where modern Twitter, and other social channels, play a crucial role in helping preserve the place where modern computing took root, being the birthplace of Colossus and the work base of Alan Turing, who was key in cracking the codes generated by the Enigma machine.
In the book, the author shares so much about the step-by-step evolution of this valiant and dedicated effort of her, and colleagues, years of work to make sure it was not eradicated physically from the UK’s places of historic interest. Hundreds of people sought to preserve Bletchley Park over 20 years. It is likely that many in the UK, and beyond, will know that Bletchley Park is credited for having brought World War II to an end, two years earlier than expected, and to have saved an estimated 22 million lives with the top secret work of codebreaking. Nearly 10,000 people worked in cloaked roles, many being women, and all signed and sworn to a strict secrets act preventing them from speaking about their labour at the place. Sir Winston Churchill said of the codebreakers that they were “the geese that laid the golden egg and never cackled.”
What many may be surprised to learn is how decayed and near demise the site of this crucial turning point for the war was facing not long ago, until its rescuers became activists for the historic venue’s survival. What Dr. Black’s book reveals is a combination of historic information, human anecdotes, and a really good case study for how social media can flip a forgotten relic into public consciousness, over time.
Along the way, Dr Black, using Twitter, along with blogging and other social media channels, found that the digital generation’s freely available tools could help her make people care, and do something to save Bletchley Park. In her tale, you’ll read about how some of the UK’s popular Twitter aficionados like Christian Payne (@documentally), Jamillah Knowles (@jemimah_knight), Mike Sizemore (@sizemore), the Tuttle Club, and more, played a role in raising awareness for the Bletchley Park cause. So much so, that the effort won the attention of celebrity Stephen Fry and, also attracted support and attention from various members of the Royal family, and executives from Google.
Sure, social media wasn’t the only contributing factor, but, as you will find out in the book, it was a major catalyst and turning point for the campaign. The book includes Dr. Black’s tips and real-life, reality based, proven approaches to using social media, and her own journey from intrepidation and low confidence with the medium, to being a fearless advocate of its powers.
As Dr Black describes in this passage from her book:
Dr Sue Black OBE, photo by ali Tollervey
“Social media has allowed me to be myself, the me that was always there inside but a bit scared to come out. I grew up a shy person, scared to voice my opinions in case I offended someone. Over the years, I’ve forced myself to speak when something needs changing. Social media has shown me that there are many people out there that feel the same way I do and that it’s fine to say what I think in public. It’s a simple lesson, but having grown up a girl in the 1960s and ‘70s, it’s diametrically opposed to what I grew up being told. “Don’t speak until you are spoken to” was a frequently used phrase in my upbringing, something I have in common with a whole generation of girls. I’m so glad that women are finally finding their voice. It may cause some change that will be difficult for society as a whole to deal with, but in the long run it will benefit us all.”
‘The Games Europe Plays’ invites kids and adults for inter-generational learning and fun with the most exciting digital games at the Finnish Institute in London.
The Finnish Institute in London and EUNIC London are proud to host The Games Europe Plays, an interactive games exhibition from 2-10 April, as part of the London Games Festival Fringe Programme. The Exhibition showcases the most exciting independent European digital games for young people (4+) and families in the heart of London in King’s Cross.
The exhibition is the first in a series of three shows initiated by EUNIC London and curated by body technologist and digital
expert Ghislaine Boddington. They will bring to the UK the best independent and innovative games made in Europe with a strong emphasis on design, virtual interactivity and physical engagement.
The exhibition at the Finnish Institute in London features children’s games by Gigglebug (Finland), Toca Boca (Sweden), Tine Bech (Denmark/UK), Peter Lu & Lea Schönfelder (Germany) and Amanita (Czech Republic) all looking at learning through play, multi-identity, representation and future skills for young people.
“Gaming today has gone digital and is evolving into some wonderful new forms, enabling us to envision future scenarios in which gaming experiences are at the centre of work and play. New formats use the whole of our bodies into the game, both through physical interactions and through exploring digital representations of ourselves. The exhibition allows us to explore a European perspective on the evolution of games for the future,” said Ghislaine Boddington.
The Games Europe Plays
Finnish Institute, London, Unit 1, 3 York Way, London, N1C 4AE
The exhibition is open to the public from 2-10 April 2016: Monday, Wednesday – Friday from 12 AM – 6 PM and Tuesday from 12 AM – 8 PM. It is open Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM – 5 PM.
*For everyone from 4 years old.
Use the hashtag #GamesEU to connect on Twitter
Friday, 1 April at 11 AM. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, 1 April from 6:30 PM. Families welcome! RSVP to email@example.com
Participate on Thursday, 7 April at 6 PM for Game Play Europe – a conversation on making and playing today and in the future, moderated by curator Ghislaine Boddington. Panellists include journalist and TV presenter Kate Russell (UK), play artist Tine Bech (Denmakrt/UK) and the Director of the Finnish game industry hub neogames KooPee Hiltunen. The debate will look at career developments for young people in the future gaming industry, creativity/collaboration in design, gender perspectives in gaming and the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Design, Maths) agenda. RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
NESTA‘s second FutureFest is being held March 14-15 at Vinopolis in London.
Robots will be at FutureFest 2015
FutureFest is a weekend of immersive experiences, compelling performances and radical speakers to excite, and challenge perceptions of the future. FutureFest is not designed as a traditional static event but as a multi-format festival, which gives visitors ample opportunity to take self-guided journeys. The programme will span debate, discussion, performances, installations and immersive experiences.
The content is anchored by six themes, which examine the future of: democracy, global cities, machine and human interaction, money, music and thrills.
Speaker highlights include NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, visionary musician George Clinton, journalist and best-selling author Jon Ronson, human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, and musician Matthew Herbert. The event will also feature innovative installations and demonstrations including NEUROSIS – the world’s first neurological thrill ride, Paul A. Young and Morgaine Gaye’s Sweetshop of the Future and Emotive City by architecture firm Minimiaforms.
Also in store are robots!
body>data>space is thrilled to announce that Blind Robot, My Robot Companion and Robot World will be exhibited at FutureFest 2015. body>data>space Creative Director Ghislaine Boddington has curated the Future Machines part of the FutureFest exhibition.
Blind Robot is an interactive robotics artwork developed by Louis Philippe Demers. In this installation, visitors are invited to sit down in front of and engage into a non-verbal dialogue with the Blind Robot. The robot delicately explores the body, mostly the face, of the visitor in a manner that recalls the beauty of the touch of blind people wishing to familiarise themselves with a person or an object. This is the first showing of Blind Robot in the UK. The Blind Robot is a 2011-12 development commission for the Robots and Avatars project (body>data>space, KIBLA, AltArt). Commissioned by body>data>space and the National Theatre, it premiered at KIBLA, Slovenia in October 2012.
‘My Robot Companion: Familiar’ is a project exploring social-robotics by Anna Dumitriu and Alex May. This robot is able to take on the appearance of any face it sees or even combine features from a group of faces in order to promote bonding with it. A previous version of this project was exhibited in September 2012 as part of the Robot and Avatars Exhibition at 12 Star Gallery in London.
Robot World is a non-verbal documentary by Martin Hans Schmitt which depicts the evolution of robots from a mechanical somnambulist to an autonomous sensorium. An hypnotic journey exploring robots as our alternate doubles, Robot World was exhibited as part of Robots and Avatars Exhibition at FACT, Liverpool and at KIBLA, Slovenia.
More artworks and panels curated by body>data>space with FutureFest to be revealed soon.
We are East London based digital pioneers specialised in the visionary integration of the body at the centre of digital interaction. We create innovative connections between performance, architecture, virtual worlds and new media. A long term associate artist of body>data>space, Nick Rothwell is a composer, performer, software architect, programmer and sound artist. www.bodydataspace.net
Join in the converstaion with #futurefest
The summer holidays are among us, and if you’re looking for a super-cool technology exhibition interesting for parents and kids – Barbican’s Digital Revolution is the one!
Located inside the Barbican Centre, Digital Revolution is a must-see technology exhibit that celebrates past, present and future gadgets.
Upon entering you’re greeted with a blast from the past of all things electronic, anything from Nintendo’s First Generation Gameboy to the first Apple computer.
As visitors continue to move through the exhibition, they are sent on a journey through time and advanced technology.
Barbican’s Digital Revolution is an interactive exhibit, and promises to keep you entertained. Visitors can play PacMan, Playstation’s 1st Generation, and use their bodies to form shadow-computer generated imagery.
Hai Media Group’s personal favourite has to be Will.i.am’s music installation #pyramidi. Pyramidi is described as the ‘future of music’.
The Projection Mapping Visual Art Show is made up of three robotic pyramids that listens to a piece of music, and plays it back in unison. Will chose “Dreaming Of The Future” – a song that he produced – to showcase Pyramidi’s best features.
Another project that featured in Barbican’s Digital Revolution is Will.i.am’s i.am.Angel Foundation showcase (a charity that specialises in supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds). Students presented gadgets which they created as part of the programme.
If you’d like to attend Digital Revolution, you’ve got to be quick as it concludes on 14th September
PRICES: £12.50 (standard), £8.75 (yellow membership), £8.50 (students), £10.50 (unemployed), £10.50 (senior), £5.00 (child 5-12y/o), £8.50 (young person 12-17y/o)
– Miamii Mansour
As fans of all things DIY PR, when we came we came across an amazing DIY PR story from Taiwan, we decided to share it with you here.
We’ve gotten to know Dan Bloom who is an American climate activist and journalist living in Taiwan. He’s best known as being the inventor of a new literary genre called cli-fi, a kind of sub-genre of sci-fi that defines literature and film that includes climate change in the storyline.
The self-confessed “envisionary futurist” graduated from Tufts University in 1971, where he went on to serve as the acting editor of the non-profit Polar Cities Research Institute. He has no formal training in PR, nor does he claim to be any kind of PR genius, but somehow he is making the world pay attention to cli-fi.
Even though Dan has no computer in his home, he has managed to win headline’s in the world’s leading media outlets about cli-fi. A guest article he did was recently featured in the Washington Post. Cli-fi has also been featured in US Wired, NPR, The Guardian, The Huffington Post and many more outlets since Dan first coined the phrase cli-fi back in 2007. Just this week he was included in a story about cli-fi in The New York Times.
So how does he do it? Well, we caught up with Dan by email, where he was writing to us from a smoke-filled café in Taiwan. Here’s our conversation with him:
Firstly, for those who don’t know, what is cli-fi, and how did it come about?
DB: Cli-fi is a new literary genre term first of all, and secondly a new literary genre, too. So it is both a term and a genre. It came about after I spent many months trying to find a way to get past the daily political debates about climate change and global warming, all statistics and scientists and leftwing rightwing people screaming at each other. I thought that maybe a better way to convey the dangers future generations will face in terms of the coming Climapocalyopse — not now but in 500 years or so — would be to create a platform for writers and screenwriters to use for novels and movies. So I set it up.
You were featured in an article published in Washington Post, that’s a pretty big deal! How did that happen?
DB: I read that the Post had a new section online called PostEverything where writers could submit commentaries on just about anything, so I queried the editors there and they said I could send my piece in on spec. And they used it.
You’ve also secured coverage for cli-fi in Wired US, NPR, The Huffington Post and many other outlets. These are amazing wins for any PR professional, what are tips you can share with those doing their own PR?
DB: Just as in retail the key to success lies in three words “location, location, location” so too does PR have an important rule which is this: “never give up, never give up, never give up.” And don’t take no for an answer.
Every genius has a strategy, what’s yours?
DB: I am not a genius. I am not even a professional PR person. I practice what I call guerrilla PR, street PR, sidewalk PR, never give up PR. I also had Lady Luck in my corner. Without Lady Luck egging me on, we wouldn’t be talking here. I owe everything to three things on this cli-fi PR campaign: Lady Luck, friends in the right places and an Internet that connects us all. In the old world pre-internet, I would still be at the starting line. The Internet made this possible.
Can you tell us more about your DIY PR tactics and strategy and how you are making this all happen with no computer, and just working out of a smoke filled café in Taiwan?
DB: I don’t really have an office or a game plan. I just wake up every morning and start emailing anyone I think might be able to help cli-fi find the right media placement. And I get up the next day and repeat the process. Because this work is important to me and for future generations, I have been doing this PR work daily Monday to Sunday, without one day off in 8 years. No vacations or anything. I just feel strongly about the emergence of the cli-fi genre, and this is not “work“ for me. This daily crusade is my vacation. It is relaxing and rewarding beyond words or payment. I don’t get paid for this. That is another reason I have been successful. This has never been about me or fame or money. This is about the most crucial existential time period we humans have ever faced. I am just a foot soldier in a large army of climate fighters. I feel honored to be part of something much larger than myself, and much bigger than a mere brand or product placement campaign. This is the fight of our lives now, and for our descendants in the future, if there are to be any.
Aside from creating literary genres, what other jobs do you do?
DB: This is all I do now, 24/7/365. I wake up every morning energized and ready to go. I am never tired. I have not taken one day off in 8 years. There is nothing else I want to do.
Is there anything more you’d like to share with us about cli-fi, DIY PR, life in Taiwan, the future of our planet Earth, or anything else that readers of this piece might find of interest?
DB: Fighting climate change problems and global warming impact events is now the job of every human being on Earth. But I am not a preacher, and everyone has to find his or her own way to joining the fight, either in small ways or large ways. And the last thing I’d like to add is this: the word Earth should have a capital E every tine it appears in a British or American newspaper or website. Many news outlets still write it in lowercase as “earth” but it is our Earth and it is home planet and deserves a capital E, even in The Guardian and New York Times. I recently asked Diane Ackerman the nature writer in New York about this and she emailed me in reply: Yes, we should always capitalize Earth in our newspapers and magazines.”
Are you working on any new PR campaigns connected to your cli-fi work?
DB: Yes, I am currently setting up a YouTube campaign called “Tell Your Climate Fears at #CLIFI YouTube hashtag videos.” I am asking teens and college students and of course adults worldwide, both cli-fi writers and cli-fi readers and also just young people who are concerned about the climate issues we face to post a short 1 to 3 minute video with the #CLIFI hashtag in the title of the video and to post it on YouTube or send it to me for me to post on my channel ”MrDanBloom’‘..and to tell their personal feelings about the possible Climapocalypse we face in the future, not now, but in the coming next 30 generations or so. So this is a chance for young people to make their feelings and voices heard about climate issues even if they never heard of cli-fi before.
Thanks Dan, and yes we love our Earth! And if you want to follow the conversation about cli-fi look for the hashtag #clifi.
By: Miamii Mansour and Lisa Devaney