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Image: Andrija Kovac

Applications are open for a 10-day working residency in Montenegro from 1-11 July to create the first ever Citizen Investigation Toolkit.

We are living in a world saturated with information, data and evidence. With this residency, we want to explore, collect, develop, test and document open source investigation tools and techniques anyone can use to help uncover corruption and abuses of power online and off.

The outcomes of the residency will be developed into The Citizen Investigation Toolkit, the first in a series dedicated to making investigations in digital and analogue environments accessible to everyone.

In a nutshell

What?: A 10-day event to produce the first Citizen Investigation Toolkit focused on evidence-gathering for those passionate about digital and non-digital investigations.
Who?: Experienced evidence explorers, citizen investigators, journalists, researchers, developers, activists, artists and others working to uncover social and political issues such as corruption, environmental and social injustice, conflicts, human rights violations and abuse of power. Please note: This working residency is not open to applicants wishing to learn tools and techniques from scratch. We are looking for participants with advanced skills and past experience in evidence gathering to be able to build an effective resource for others (more details about participation requirements below).
When?: 1-11 July 2018
Where?: Montenegro, in a beautiful medieval location by the sea
Application deadline: Thursday, May 17 2018 (23:59 CET)
Organizer: Tactical Technology Collective

To apply, please fill in this Application Form.

What we want:

Since 2013, at Tactical Tech’s Exposing the Invisible project, we have been researching, featuring and experimenting with innovative ways to investigate and uncover wrongdoing, in all its forms. We looked at the different digital and non-digital techniques, tools and methods along with the individual practices of those working at the new frontiers of investigation.

We want to build on this past work and collaborate with similar-minded investigators in compiling a toolkit of digital and non-digital investigative resources to make it easier for people to understand and apply these tactics. We also want to fill a gap in the area of investigative, open-source, do-it-yourself guides by making this a resource that anyone, literally anyone, with a keen interest but not enough experience, can successfully use to kick-start their own investigative project.

The Citizen Investigation Toolkit will aim to answer questions beyond simply how to use tools and techniques to browse the Internet. It will try to tackle questions such as: What do I do if the search term does not bring about results in search engines? Is that a dead end? What more can images and maps tell me beyond what I see? How do I find evidence of wrongdoing when data has been erased? Which platforms or online databases do I need to use in order to uncover links between people, companies and corruption cases?

This residency aims to bring together experienced people to share, collect, test and document the most effective and innovative digital and non-digital tools and techniques we can use to safely research, understand and expose misconduct and abuses of power within a human rights, investigative research and anti-corruption framework. We will then take these resources and present them in a format that is easy to understand and use by those with less experience.

For our part, we will offer a unique environment where you can share, create and get inspired with the latest, best practices on effective research and investigations.

What we will do:

Over the 10 days, we will be developing guides of proven tools and methods to identify, collect and expose evidence.

We will look at experiences that can be replicated in other similar - or very different – circumstances to uncover evidence, validate and aggregate data and information. We also want to explore completely new ways of using already documented tools and techniques, trying to push boundaries and innovate. Because evidence gathering often places investigators, data and sources at risk, we will incorporate overviews of digital (and related physical) security risks and recommended safeguards for each set of tools and techniques.

The aim of this event is to work together, share each other’s knowledge and skills and produce material that can be used by a larger community, while giving authorship credits to all contributors. Expect a collaborative, result-oriented experience full of exciting participatory sessions and deliverables.


The residency will be split into workshops, skill-shares and content production sessions to document various evidence collection and investigation processes in multiple contexts. We will further structure the schedule and sessions based on participants’ skill sets and experience. For example, ‘investigating with digital objects’ such as images, videos and maps could be a working group; ‘sonic investigations’ could be another; ‘collecting data and creating comprehensive profiles of people and companies’ can be another; ‘collecting offline evidence and processing it digitally’ another one.

We will have a day of introductions, diving into the working methodology and purpose of the entire process. We will also introduce participants to the detailed plan and give them a complete overview of the process ahead of the residency, as soon as we make a final selection of attendees. We will work with everyone directly to make sure that all participants will equally gain and share expertise that is of value for future work.

Because this will be a special format of workshops with a clear end-result and a tangible, collaborative product, we will work hard to provide the maximum possible comfort and an engaging atmosphere where sharing, learning and creating will be matched with the experience of amazing natural surroundings.

Time commitment: We will be working for 7-8 hours a day. You will need to be free for the entire period between 1-11 July in order to attend (including travel days). It is not possible to come for a portion of it.

Who should apply and why:

We are looking for 12 people from across the world with different backgrounds and skills who are interested in documenting their experience using tools and techniques to carry out investigations. We need experienced data handlers, technologists, investigators, activists, artists, and researchers who have a proven track record of finding and collecting digital and non-digital evidence in innovative ways.

The Montenegro residency will be a great chance to exchange ideas with peers and work on a high quality guide, which will credit your contribution and will be shared with a wide audience. At Tactical Tech we have over a decade of experience with producing cutting-edge, widely circulated guides and toolkits.

As we are planning to develop comprehensive resources for wider use, this event will not be open to those wishing to learn from scratch.

Consider applying if you are:

  • a citizen journalist, activist, researcher, campaigner, data journalist, investigative journalist, developer, artist or rights advocate using digital and non-digital means to uncover, collect, verify and aggregate data and information for social change. This means that you are already working on (or in the past have worked on) such processes and are mastering open-source tools and innovative techniques. You can be independent or affiliated with a group or organization
  • working with evidence collection with NGOs, advocacy groups, lawyers, activists, or would like to combine your skills with input from such groups
  • a developer or technologist working with journalists, citizen journalists, NGOs, advocacy groups, activists with experience in digital and non-digital investigations
  • an information designer, graphic designer, filmmaker, artist, story teller or other digital and non-digital media practitioner already working on investigations from a social justice and rights issue perspective
  • able to provide verifiable track record on any of the above.

Your information and privacy

We will use information only for the process of selecting participants and for our evaluation requirements. We will not give it to any external services or organisations. It will be handled and stored securely. All data collected through the webform is safely transmitted and stored using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and AES-256 bit encryption on our own servers.

Additional information

Selection: We have a limited number of places. Tactical Tech will conduct the selection of applicants. We will choose participants based on overall diversity, skill-base and experience. We will also make the selection on the basis of everyone’s ability to both gain from and contribute to the residency.
Language: Please note that the residency will be held in English.
Accessibility: The venue is not wheelchair accessible.
Cost: We will cover travel, accommodation and visa costs for selected participants.
Contact: If you have any questions, please contact us at GPG key / fingerprint: 7395 BE2E 4AFE 77CA 784F FA54 23CF B48E 2878 0680