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Engaging in Activism for Social Change in Tech

Discover how technology reinforces inequalities and how you can use online activism to drive positive social change.

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash of red graffiti on a white wall reading "If not us, then who? If not now, then when?" and yellow graffiti reading "Act now"
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Learn how to create an activist campaign to influence positive social change

This two-week course will take you on a deep dive into how power structures such as White supremacy, patriarchy, colonialism, and racial capitalism manifest in information technologies.

With this knowledge, you’ll explore how activism can challenge these power structures as you delve into the world of grassroots and human rights tech activism.

Explore online and social media activism

You’ll discuss what online and offline activism means to different activists as you explore different forms of activism to find the one that resonates with you.

Next, you’ll learn how to apply this knowledge to your context as you’re guided through planning and implementing online activist campaigns.

Once you have designed your own campaign, you’ll learn how you can contribute to an online activist community.

Learn how to influence positive social change

This course will help you gain important insights into AI and technology ethics education.

With this hands-on experience, you’ll learn how to turn concerns about technology into actions oriented towards positive social change.

Study alongside the specialists at UAL

You’ll learn from experts in the field at the University of the Arts London. Lead educator, Dr Peaks is Senior Lecturer and MA Internet Equalities Course Leader at the UAL Creative Computing Institute.

This subject is vitally important for ensuring that members of society gain more control over the technologies they use, and find new ways to challenge the inequalities technology can reinforce.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Getting started with activism in tech

    • Welcome to the course

      Welcome! This activity is about meeting the course team and your fellow learners, getting familiar with what you will learn, and discovering more about the activists who inspired us to create this course.

    • Exploring activism

      You'll now discover what activism means to the course team and reflect on your own perspectives about activist work. We will also introduce the course brief for you to create a tech activism campaign of your own.

    • Inspiring examples of activism

      In this activity you will reflect on different theories of change that activists use in their work, and compare case studies of technology focused activism. You will also start to define the focus on your campaign.

    • Beginning to plan your campaign

      To get started with planning your campaign, this activity will focus on a method called 'power mapping'. This will allow you to identify who to target with your campaign as well as possible allies, networks and resources.

    • Wrapping up Week 1

      Well done for all your work in Week 1! We hope you enjoyed getting to know the team, exploring activism and beginning to plan your campaign. This is a moment to reflect back on Week 1, and look forward to Week 2.

  • Week 2

    Developing your campaign

    • Planning and self-care

      In this activity you will produce aims and objectives for your campaign, discover how to assess and plan for risks associated with it, discover the importance of self-care, and create a self-care plan of your own.

    • Brainstorming actions and interventions

      Thinking back to your campaign objectives, you will now develop ideas for actions and interventions to support your campaign. You will also assess whether these actions help you meet your goals.

    • Developing your campaign

      In this activity you will create a timeline, discover why it is important to plan for contingencies, and create backup and escalation plans for your own campaign.

    • Launching your campaign

      Now you have your campaign in place, it's time to collect feedback and make any adjustments, build up your confidence, and get ready to launch!

    • Wrapping up Week 2

      Congratulations on completing Week 2! We hope you enjoyed the process. It's now time to celebrate yourself and your campaign, and consider your next steps before we say goodbye.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore what online and offline activism means to different activists
  • Discuss forms of activism that resonate with you and that you can apply in your context
  • Investigate examples of activism challenging power structures such as White supremacy, patriarchy, colonialism, and racial capitalism
  • Experiment with planning an activist campaign
  • Identify allies and funding to support your campaign
  • Develop a campaign of your own
  • Contribute to ongoing activist tech communities and campaigns

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in online activism.

You may be a creative graduate or computer science student, or you could be a social scientist or a professional looking to engage audiences through online advocacy.

Who will you learn with?

Hi! I'm Dr Peaks (they/them). I'm currently Senior Lecturer and MA Internet Equalities Course Leader at the University of Arts London's Creative Computing Institute. I publish research as "P M Krafft"

Who developed the course?

UAL Creative Computing Institute

The UAL Creative Computing Institute (CCI) offers innovative new courses, research opportunities and a public platform to explore computer science and creative practice.

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