EDITORS INTRODUCTION — This workshop is one of six that emerged from the 2019 Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change. An international group of students was tasked, over the course of three weeks engaging in seminars, workshops and other learning experiences, to devise an interactive learning experience for their peers that responds to the crisis of distrust. Please read the project overview to learn more, and see the people behind this work.
Filter Bubbles have a direct impact on our society and our ability to form and take part in an open discourse. Our workshop will explain how Filter Bubbles on platforms like Google can cause polarization as well as other consequences while proposing the solution of a fugitive space. This will help reduce the amount of controlled exposure and unwanted impacts that Filter Bubbles have.
Our audience will consist of media literate college students of the Salzburg Global Seminar (SGS), people with a background about filter bubbles and whom are familiar with search engines, as well as people from multi-culture backgrounds whom are somewhat skeptical about online exposure and how it relates/corresponds with fractured societies and distrust.
After this workshop, our audience should know how filter bubbles lead to distrust in society. They will also be able to create a fugitive space within their community to combat controlled exposure and will (hopefully) feel a sense of responsibility to take action in their own communities with the tools we’ve provided.
Sequence of events:
The first activity will help participants understand the filter bubbles they create for themselves. After examining the results of the activity, participants will be placed in diverse groups to break their filter bubbles.
The second activity will help participants understand bias and the limitations we place on ourselves. Participants will be challenged to think of unconventional uses for every-day objects. This will help get the group thinking outside the box.
For the third portion of this workshop, students will use tools such as word clouds to better understand core concepts of the workshop. The topics of Filter Bubbles, Echo Chambers, and Algorithms will be covered and provide context for the main activity of this workshop.
Although algorithms are not the sole cause of filter bubbles, they do play a fundamental role in creating them. For this activity, we will be observing how different people who search the same three things will get varying results due to algorithms.
This section will help the audience understand the impact of filter bubbles and polarization. Additionally, it will explain the causes and effects of filter bubbles and its relation with media distrust or disbelief. The activity will clarify how algorithms work on Google and it will show how searching for the exact same thing can give you different results.
Break 15 minutes
We will introduce the idea of what a fugitive space is and present the key features of what makes up a fugitive space. To build on this, we will explain how these kinds of spaces can be used to reduce the impact of our personal filter bubbles.
Next, we ask our students to create their own fugitive spaces in an area of their choosing, using a question template we provide. In 90 minutes, the group will set their own rules for their space and attempt to participate in a meaningful discussion.
Break 15 minute
For the final workshop activity, students will be responsible for reflecting on what they have learned about fugitive spaces and given a takeaway guide on how to create and encourage fugitive spaces in their own communities.
For the 3–2–1 activity, students will write on a piece of paper three things that they learned, two things that they want to know more about, and one thing they still have a question on. This a great way for the facilitators to check for understanding and ensure that the students get the most out of the workshop.
Click the link below for a step by step explanation of how to conduct our filter bubble and fugitive space workshop:
We want to make sure that you understand the tenor and contours of a fugitive space, how to create one and how to preserve it. To ensure that you can take away what you learned today into your own society, we have created a template with a series of questions for you to answer, to help you generate fugitive spaces in your community.FAQ’s about the template:1. Why do we filter our group membership?
Allowing everyone and anyone into the space runs the possibility of misuse and disappointment but being selective limits perspectives and diversity. It’s your decision if you want to control who comes in or not.
2. Why should our group establish values and learn to address them? The values are designed for the people in the group. Overtime they may change depending on the social climate of the space. Debate them, challenge them and have the difficult conversations.
3. What kind of structure do you need in your fugitive space? Your space doesn’t need to be democratic; everyone can pull their equal load or not. If a leader emerges, so be it, but there can be possibilities. It does not subscribe to the system our society has. “A non-utopian utopia” — Moten and Harney
4. How can we reaffirm each others humanity in an age of distrust?
Discussions in the space will get difficult but it’s important to find joy and laughter together. To aspire to lift the shared power of the group.
Use this template as a tool for creating your own fugitive space: