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July 2018: This summer we are gathering for three days in Newark, part of the NJ/NY metropolitan region with coastal neighborhoods & infrastructure vulnerable to storm surges and flooding. On Day One, we will focus on the Crisis Convening topic. On Day Two & Three, the agenda-setting power moves to the participants for the Barnraising.

  • Crisis Convening: Friday, July 13, 2018
  • Barnraising: Saturday, July 14 - Sunday, July 15, 2018



Register by Friday July 6th, 2018:

Register on Eventbrite

We have travel support and fee waivers available: please get in touch with shannon @

Location: New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark. Central King Building "CKB" Room 116 (seats 80), and two additional breakout classrooms (seats 30-45).
Transportation: local public transit, or, if coming in from Newark Airport, take this bus. Visitor Parking is available and free of charge.
Lodging: On campus housing is available in two person, shared dormrooms
Food: All meals are provided from Friday breakfast to Sunday lunch, including snacks and coffee.
Translation: A Spanish / English translator will be participating during all sessions.
Child care: Provided on-site free of charge based on the information you submit during registration.
Bathrooms: During our event, the existing bathrooms on the floor will be re-labelled Gender Neutral.
Pets: TBD

Detailed Schedule:

  • Crisis Convening attendees should plan to arrive Thursday evening for an all-day Friday worksession, and are encouraged to stay on for the Saturday / Sunday Barnraising.
  • Public Lab Barnraisers are welcome to arrive as early as Thursday evening in order to attend Friday's Crisis Convening, but must arrive by Friday evening for a 9AM Saturday start to the Barnraising.
  • The event will end Sunday afternoon at 4PM.
  • "Day tripper" tickets are available (just keep in mind it may be more difficult to get your agenda onto the schedule if you are not there Saturday at 9AM).


See pictures of 1) room 116 in Central King Building where we will be meeting, 2) the breakout classroom 114, and 3) the adjacent student lounge:





  • FunCom: Salome, Ufuoma, Reverend James, Jessica Santos, Salvatore
  • DocCom: Jeff, Shannon, Willow, Devin, Far, Ashley W, Wendy, Jessica Serrante, Leslie, Christina, Molly, Will
  • DotCom: Rachel, Leslie, Shannon, Salvatore
  • FoodCom: James, Sarah, Tenali, Ann, Christina, Tyler, Jeff, Jessica Santos, Victoria, Howie, Will
  • CleanCom: Shannon, Salome, Jessica Santos, Salvatore
  • ConductCom: Shannon, Willow, Jeff
  • BeerCom: Devin
  • KidCom: Far (however no kids have registered yet!)

What do we mean by Crisis Convening?

Hurricane season 2017: Harvey, Irma, and Maria—each storm spreading more devastation across the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. Many months later, communities are still recovering—especially Puerto Rico, where our government has outright failed its citizens. Our climate is obviously changing, and the resulting storms are intensifying: tornadoes, floods, even earthquakes (probably unrelated to climate, but now a new threat in areas with heavy fracking). We do not seem to be particularly well-prepared. There are official response agencies with mandates to rescue, feed, heal, and rebuild; however, the true first responders are always people who live in the affected regions: neighbors and community leaders. After 2017’s hurricane season, a network of people formed with interest in improving the capacity for disaster response to more effectively support local priorities and leadership in times of crisis. Together, this network and Public Lab are now calling for the convening of people who have worked together through crises such as Sandy, Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the like. Together, we will share experiences and skills, explore ways to promote equity and justice through modern crisis response, and build resources for community-first response on Friday, June 13, and then continue the conversation over the weekend of Barnraising: Saturday, July 14, and Sunday, July 15. Read more in this blog post:

Also see:

Additional Barnraising activities

During the Barnraising we will have a Saturday 5pm timeslot (just before dinner) where anyone can make a 5 minute "lightning" presentation on any topic! Look for the sign-up sheet in the main room. Note: All other timeslots are dedicated to interactive formats, not one-directional presentations. Reporters are needed to take notes on activities, to be written up into a newspaper each evening.

One page flyer (PDF, good for email/print): 2018_Newark_Barnraising_Announcement.pdf.

Click on the Trello board below to see progress on organizing!

Trello Board

Below image of the main room in NJIT's Central King Building Room 116 where we will gather for all three days; it has two projectors, projector screen, wired mics, and a monitor: ckb116_with_rounds.jpg

Below image of Occupy Sandy, Rockaways, NYC:


About the Barnraising

Barnraisings are the closest thing we have to a Public Lab conference -- but with an emphasis on "doing stuff together." At these events, people come together to exchange field-tested technical knowledge, compare advocacy tactics, and share stories in person. On the first morning of the event, we make our own schedule using an "Open Space Technology" approach; this ensures that the agenda speaks directly to the interests of the people present. Our Code of Conduct applies here as in all other Public Lab spaces. At a Barnraising, people may:

  • Connect with people from other regions who are working on similar issues
  • Exchange advocacy strategies
  • Build and modify tools for collecting data
  • Learn about local environmental health concerns, perhaps through a field trip
  • Improve social ties through in-person collaboration
  • Learn how to collaborate with the broader Public Lab community

Every Fall since 2012, Public Lab hosts a Gulf Coast Barnraising, also referred to as the Annual Barnraising. Additionally, since 2014, we host a Regional Barnraising every summer through partnerships with local groups working on place-specific issues such as restoring wetlands on depleted farmland, monitoring the largest landfill in LA County, assessing petcoke pollution in Southeast Chicago, and timelapse imaging mountain top removal explosions in West Virginia.

Browse more about Barnraisings here:

Host your own barnraising

Thinking about hosting a Barnraising? Check out the resources on this page

Past Barnraisings:


conferences registration barnraising

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