Teaching Portfolio

Drone Hackademy

Drone Hackademy was a ground breaking temporary hacktivist school and citizen science laboratory for the use and discussion of unmanned aerial vehicles as a social technology that took place in June 2015 in Rio de Janeiro. The project is a collaboration between computer engineer & artist Lot Amorós and architect & researcher Pablo DeSoto. It had the support of the MediaLab_UFRJ and LAVITS (Latino-American Network of Surveillance, Technology and Society).

The objective of Drone Hackademy is therefore to provide this technology to those places and situations where its use is ethically justified in order to counterpower social/spatial/environmental injustice. Drone hackademy collaborates with these communities and territories contributing the capacity of action in the airspace. It aims to create a community of learning, “situated knowledge” exchanges and action.

Ten participants (aged between 19 and 49) were chosen through a open public call with the objective of bringing together people of different backgrounds and knowledge fields: filmmakers, mediactivists, artists, architects, researchers, geographers, biologists, hackers, software developers, etc. We practised positive discrimination welcoming people from low income classes, limited access to technology and also those how represent activist groups.

Drone Hackademy lasted for a week combining theory and practical application. Participants learnt both how to build unmanned aerial vehicles and how and why to protect themselves and their communities against them. The final activity consisted in the realization of a operation where drones were employed in a socially beneficial function.


The results: the first ever construction of do-it-yourself Drones in public university in Brazil. Two open source UAVS were built, a FLONE with cell phone control and a FLONE with arducopter control. The “situated” operation consisted of an aerial mapping of Vila Autodromo, the local community resisting eviction from the real state project conceived at the site of the Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca.

A website, and critical theory platform was created as result of the event: website.

Drone Hackademy has been presented at several conferences and events: including LAVITS Rio de Janeiro,  The Launch of Alternative Schools, Civic University, Tate Modern, London, febraury 10, 2017, Citizen Science Conference University of Sao Paulo, UTREF Buenos Aires.

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