Terms That Serve Us (The Bentway x From Later)
May 2021 

In May 2021, we undertook a research residency with The Bentway Conservancy and foresight studio From Later, on the theme of “Spatial and Access Intimacy” in digital public spaces. 

We developed a collectively-generated “terms of service” through an experimental, collective research process – a free, public series of discussions, gatherings, and online portals, open to anyone to participate. We also invited reflections from previous collaborators and participants of the many creative gatherings and projects we have organized in virtual space over the past year. Ultimately, we generated a set of terms that have challenged us, as we build a practice on a basic respect for humanity within a corporatized digital landscape, and offer our reflections on how we have engaged with them in our work.

“Terms That Serve Us” has become an ongoing project of virtual care lab, tended through public and community activities, a growing list of related resources, and the co-creation and redefining of the Terms themselves.  

Call for Conspirators ︎
The Bentway x From Later Micro-residency
April – May 2021

virtual care lab is undertaking a research-based micro-residency with The Bentway Conservancy, in partnership with the foresight studio From Later, to collect grassroots needs and perspectives around care, and techniques of access and intimacy in hybrid digital/physical spaces. We are developing strategies and prompts that explore alternative sensing and access, hybrid placemaking, and collective action. Through intimate gatherings and discussions, we are gathering reflections to be shared with the broader public.

Our research process is open to public participation, and it will be imaginative, messy, thoughtful, brave, collective, and fun. If you’d like to participate, sign up for a welcome session and join the #research-residency channel in our Discord.

We welcome diverse, curious, thoughtful humans to join this initiative. You could be a healer, sex worker, writer, doula, gardener, researcher, community organizer, artist, technologist, disabled, neurodiverse, miscategorized or overly tracked by algorithms, frustrated by today’s internet — please help shape our shared process. If you face financial, technical, time zone, physical, or other realities that make it hard to participate, let us know and we will work with you to enable access.

What we’re exploring:
  • How do our embodied experiences inform digital placemaking and community engagement? 
  • How can we use sensory attunement in digital contexts to promote interpersonal care and collaboration? 
  • What tools for consent and protection — such as collective agreements, transparent language, or decentralization – can make public exchanges feel safe, protected, intimate, and respected, in both digital and physical dimensions? 
  • What are our current fears, frustrations, and unmet needs from spaces that lack consent and care? 
  • How can we learn from community organizing strategies, disability justice, alternative technologies, methods of encryption, and somatic healing practices to shape better online spaces? 

We will explore these topics through a fluid and experimental range of formats, such as focused discussion groups, asynchronous communication, and creative activities or workshops. Toward May, we will develop techniques, tools, considerations, and a collective “terms of service” for digital/physical spaces to be published by The Bentway and From Later.

Read our full research statement here.