Open Signal Oral History and Fall Events

Camera Training
Photo courtesy

Open Signal, located on MLK and Graham, has been producing community media content for cable access channels for the last 35 years. Their stated mission is, “With a commitment to creativity, technology and social change, Open Signal makes media production possible for everyone. We provide skills, equipment, inspiration, and we amplify local voices on five cable channels.”

At the beginning of 2017, Open Signal brought on new leadership and they began to invest more energy and resources into community outreach and the production of innovative experimental and artistic programming. Rebecca Burrell, Director of Strategy & Development at Open Signal, explained, “We want this to be a safe space for people to experiment with new modes of media production. We want them to come and learn animation and visual effects and experimental techniques. We’re now providing opportunities for people to learn how to use old school, analog equipment for creative purposes.”

On August 26th, Open Signal, along with neighborhood leaders, hosted a block party called NE Block Party: Bring that Beat Back! Live music, immersive media installations, and food booths filled Graham Street. The Airstream trailer that graces Open Signal’s parking lot is home to a project called Stream PDX, a community podcast and storytelling studio. During the Block Party, the Airstream functioned as a story collection booth. If a NE resident wanted to share a story about the neighborhood, they could step inside Stream PDX and record their story with long-time Open Signal producer Elijah Hasan.

The stories that Open Signal and Elijah Hasan gathered during the Block Party are the first pieces of a larger neighborhood oral history project. Rebecca Burrell mentioned, “We’re trying to dip ourselves into this slowly, partly because a lot of history that people have to share is painful. There’s baggage and emotion and stress associated with the way this neighborhood has changed.” If you are interested in recording a story about the neighborhood as part of this oral history project or want to know more about the project, contact Lindsay Kaplan, Community Engagement Director, at

This fall, Open Signal is ramping up their community outreach efforts and they are hosting numerous exciting events. One new event that Open Signal is putting on once a month from September through December is called A.V. Party. A.V. Party is a live performance and collaboration between media makers and musicians. There’s a small ticket fee of $8-10 to watch A.V. Party, but Rebecca Burrell mentioned that no one will ever be turned away due to funds. Below is a list of the other events that Open Signal is hosting this fall. Attend an event and familiarize yourself with all of the resources Open Signal offers to anyone who wants to create their own media!

Upcoming Events

A.V. Party: $8-$10
In an homage to the iconic Glenn O’Brien’s cable access variety show “TV Party,” Open Signal has launched “A.V. Party,” a series of experimental audio and visual performances by local talent, hosted in Studio A.
11/15, 12/13 7-9:30 pm

Night Lights at RACC: Free
Every First Thursday, Open Signal and the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) present Night Lights, a large-scale outdoor video projection series in the parking lot at RACC’s Pearl District office. After dusk, last two hours.
12/7 – Ezekiel Brown

New Media Fellow Artist Talk – $8-10
Meet our fall 2017 New Media Fellows and learn more about their artistic practices and future projects at Open Signal.
11/30, 7-9 pm