School of machines, making & make–believe

How can we use technology to investigate the world around us in the name of justice and human rights?

  • / 2. Sept. - 27. Sept., 2019

  • / four weeks, full-time in Berlin, Germany

  • / Small class of paricipants

  • / Based in ACUD


Course Description

This program delves into the topic of citizen forensics. We’ll take a deeper look into projects that have stemmed from a new movement of citizens taking action in the name of justice and human rights. From Forensic Architecture to VFRAME and Tactical Technology Collective, we’ll learn how to gather information, problem-solve with the latest tools, and use critical techniques for safely navigating and investigating the world as a means of bearing witness.

Note: We have some really exciting instructors and guest speakers for this program! Updates in the coming weeks!

Course Outline

Week 1:Introductions, crtiical discourse, view of landscape/current state of citizen investigation organisations

Week 2:How to gather information, investigate safely, ethical and legal issues

Week 3:Gain practical and hands-on understanding of computer vision/machine learning for investigative purposes

Week 4:Collecting/writing documentation, preparations for final talks and showcase open to the public


  • Artist / Student (Full Time)*

  • Women and persons from LGBTQ+ and other under-represented communities in the tech field highly encouraged to apply!

    *Includes in-class materials, use of space, and professional mentorship

    Note: If you'd like any assistance in finding housing, please let us know in your application. We suggest budgeting around €525 for a month room rental.

In this course, you will learn

- Citizen forensics movements and how they began
- How to gather information and investigate safely
- Ethical and legal issues surrounding this work
- Basics of working with various technologies including computer vision and machine learning for investigative purposes
- Basic coding with python
- An amazing network and community of like-minded creative beings and potential future collaborators
*No previous experience necessary*

Who is this program for?

This program is for jouralists, architects, researchers, artists and anyone interested to learn how technology is being used as an aid for critical analysis to help understand and report on the world around us.



  • Laura Ranca/

    Laura is a project coordinator with Tactical Tech’s Exposing the Invisible project. Before joining Tactical Tech in January 2018, she worked for two years as a program specialist with the investigative journalism portfolio of the Independent Journalism Program at Open Society Foundation in London. Prior to that, she was a reporter and researcher with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and with RISE Project - a community of investigative journalists, developers and activists in Romania.

    At RISE, among others, she coordinated the development of Visual Investigative Scenarios (VIS), a data visualization platform, which assists investigative journalists, activists and researchers in mapping complex organised crime networks. Earlier on, Laura also worked as a public information officer with the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo and as a program coordinator and reporter with the Center for Media, Data and Society at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.