Rikers Story Bot is a coding workshop and an algorithmic storytelling project set in and about Rikers Island correctional facility, New York city’s main jail complex.

In the spring of 2015, the Center for Justice approached the Experimental Methods Group with an idea of running an “Intro to Python” workshop for the young people incarcerated at Rikers and for Columbia University students interested in digital literacy. It was important for us to set up the encounter in a way that moves past one way conversation with effects that persist beyond the one time event.

In teaching programming through digital storytelling, it is our hope to encourage a dialog between the youth at Rikers, Columbia faculty and students, and the community at large.

The RikersBot project gives all participants a chance to have their voices heard, to learn to code, and to gain real-world experience in writing, editing, and producing a project. Together, we are building a Twitter bot that will tell our story.

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