A day of info-activism discussion in Porto

Action, information and freedom were the subjects up for discussion at the launch of '10 tactics' on 23 January in Porto, Portugal. The event took place at the Núcleo de Jornalismo Académico do Porto (NJAP), a non-profit which has been publishing Portugal’s oldest volunteer-led student newspaper, JUP, for 22 years. Sara Moreira, a computer engineer from Porto who organised the event for NJAP, says the '10 tactics' documentary allowed the audience to reflect on the power of information but also to learn about controversial and sensitive subjects often ignored in mainstream media.

The film sparked an energetic discussion among the researchers, designers, NGO workers, activists and students who attended this event. Ana Rego, a doctor and an activist, who has worked in countries such as Afghanistan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and East Timor debated the possibilities of info-activism in areas with poor infra-structure. One audience member, Ricardo Lafuente, found inspiration in one particular example from the film which highlights the importance of transparency and democratic participation. He urged the audience to explore what is needed for Portugal to launch a project like MySociety's 'They Work For You' which worked to expose how public funds are spent by parliament in the UK.

Before the screening, Ricardo together with Ana Carvalho facilitated a workshop around the possibilities of free editing software. Both Ricardo and Ana Carvallio are part of the free culture group, Hacklaviva, and have been, together with JUP, building an innovative editing room. They have designed it in such a way that all aspects of press production – including photography, graphics, typography, layouts, audio and video editing – can be done in this editing room using only free software.

The event ended with a visit to see a multimedia installation by Rebecca Moradilazeh which was being exhibited at an art gallery nearby. All in all, Sara says, the day was very inspiring and she likes to think of it as, how one audience member described it, having created a “bunker of ideas.” All those who attended enthused about all the new ideas they'd gathered and expressed a commitment to creating their own strategies for info-activism in Portugal.



Written by Sara Moreira

Photos from top to bottom: Ricardo Lafuente during the discussion; the free editing software workshop; Rebecca Moradilazeh's multimedia exhibition. All photos by Pedro Ferreira.