June 20, 2014 jmoro

Introduction to the AIRLab: 17 June, 2014

Welcome to the AIRLab Process Blog! I’m Jeffrey Moro, 5CollDH Post-Bac and one of three intrepid PIs for the AIRLab. In this blog, you’ll find write-ups of each of our working group meetings, as well as other reflective output as we develop the AIRLab. Given that our meetings are necessarily discursive, and our working group represents a wide variety of viewpoints, I will try to keep notes as objective and reported as possible—while making sure they’re not just bullet-pointed lists! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop us a line over at the People page.

Meeting Notes

We met in Bass 105, future site of the AIRLab. There’s a lot of work to do to transform this space, but we’re excited to help it along once the fall semester starts up. We’ll be clearing most of the tables and work spaces out and off to the sides of the room so that we can set up long work tables through the center of the space. We’re particularly excited about the large, bright windows that line the far wall, and which provide an impressive view of one of Smith College’s quads.

We spent most of this first meeting getting ourselves oriented for the summer to come. We’re meeting four times over the next three months, and each of our meetings has a particular theme:

  • Introduction to the AIRLab (June 17th, 2014): An introduction to the project, to the current landscape of drones, and imagining future possibilities and projects that could emerge from the AIRLab.
  • Privacy and Surveillance (July 8th, 2014): Why do drones exacerbate concerns over privacy? How do current practitioners, from hobbyists to corporations to governments, use drones to reconfigure our spatial boundaries and relationships? How can we develop responsible practices for drone use?
  • The Politics of Aviation and Public Space (July 29th, 2014): Who owns the sky? What is a person’s right to airspace, and how is the sky public or private in equal measure? How are these issues complicated by larger socioeconomic conditions restricting or augmenting certain populations’ rights to air ownership? And what are the responsibilities and stakes of academic within these frameworks?
  • Engaging the AIRLab (August 26th, 2014): How might professors and staff members use the AIRLab in their research and pedagogy? How can we use drones to teach other aspects of creative engineering? How would we want to stock the AIRLab and run its programming?

We closed our meeting with a general discussion of some of the aspirations and concerns we had for the program as a whole, as well as outlining the technological systems (like this very website!) that we will use to collocate our research and make it public.


Each AIRLab meeting has associated readings that frame our discussion. For our first meeting, we looked at: