IMP Labs’ Community Hours and Workshop Program
An integral component of my CRC program of research, was to create a place for community members to come and play, to make accessible the technologies and knowledge sharing that is critical to overcoming all kinds of barriers associated with interactive media and performance, as well as popular music technologies and the industry. In the early years of my research career, I spent a lot of time thinking and writing about the kinds of barriers that persist for marginalized people. When it came time to apply for the creation of the IMP Labs, a major element was to have the IMP Labs open to the public. Although this is much more common practice now, at that time it was almost taboo, and caused all kinds of concerns. Right from its early years, I began two major initiatives to move in the direction of community-based research and reciprocity that I believe in: The Flatland Scratch Seminar and Workshop Series and the IMP Labs’ Community Hours and Workshop Programs.
For the Community Hours Program, the IMP Labs are open to the public for three to five hours on two to three evenings a week. During these times, often two IMP Labs’ assistants are on hand to help facilitate knowledge on all the tech, software, and gear we have in the labs. What we have witnessed over the years, is the evolution of a place where play, improvisation, and learning occur among diverse groups of people, some who are successful musicians and audio experts to those who are raw beginniners.
The workshop program has developed over the years from basic beatmaking, DJing, audio production, VJing, etc. workshops occurring in the designated community hours, to facilitating all kinds of interactive media and popular music workshops for high schools, elementary schools, non-profit organizations, children’s and youth camps, peer development programs, orientation events, conferences, symposia, festivals, undergraduate and graduate classes, etc. Since 2007 I, along with my IMP Labs’ research teams, have facilitated hundreds of workshops.