April 11, 2014

The NannyVan

Marisa Jahn, The NannyVan, 2014. Variable media. Courtesy of Studio REV-. Photos: Marc Shavitz.

When New Deal Labor Laws passed in the 1930s, Southern congressmen intentionally excluded domestic workers from receiving basic labor protections. Domestic workers were first granted minimum wage and overtime pay in the 1970s. Now, after protections for domestic workers did not improve for over 30 years, the tide is finally turning! New York passed the first landmark Bill of Rights in 2010 with other states soon to follow. Now, nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers across the country—along with employers and allies—are rallying for respect, recognition, and basic labor protections. Responding to this context, the NannyVan helps accelerate the movement for domestic workers’ rights.

A public art + interactive media project created by Studio REV- (lead artist: Marisa Jahn) in collaboration with The National Domestic Workers Alliance, The NannyVan is a bright orange mobile design lab and sound studio that “accelerates the movement for domestic workers’ rights.” With its pull-out table, colorful design, bum-shaking NannyVan jams, and carpeted walls/sound booth, The NannyVan convenes workers and allies alike. The goal? To create enlivening and informative resources, from multilingual flyers to interactive mobile media such as Domestic Worker App, a public art and know-your-rights app (think Click and Clack on NPR’s “Car Talk” but for nannies) accessible by any kind of phone—even a pre-paid cell phone.

After an inaugural journey through Arizona and California, The NannyVan makes its East Coast debut this spring with stops at worker centers and family-friendly cultural venues in NYC, Boston, and DC.

NYC Launch Party at Downtown Community Television
87 Lafayette Street, NYC 10013
April 24, 2014, 7–10pm

Featuring The NannyVan + Domestic Worker App alongside two other interactive media projects that draw attention to different facets of immigration: Immigrant Nation (director: Theo Rigby) and Who is Dayani Cristal? (director: Marc Silver; featuring Gael García Bernal).
Event co-presenters: StoryCode and
Partners: The National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Street Vendor Project of the Urban Justice Center.

NannyVan at Tribeca Film Institute Interactive
April 26

Creative organizing workshop with The NannyVan at Rising Voices for a New Economy, the annual assembly of the National Domestic Workers Alliance in Washington, DC
April 27

Boston launch at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
May 8, 5–7pm followed by party
Featuring three interactive media projects: The NannyVan + Domestic Worker App, Immigrant Nation, and Who is Dayani Cristal?
Event co-presenters: MIT Open Doc Lab, MIT Center for Civic Media, StoryCode, and NuLawLab at Northeastern University School of Law
Partner: The National Domestic Workers Alliance

NannyVan workshop at Open Engagement
Queens Museum, NYC
May 16–18

The NannyVan + Domestic Worker App builds off of the success of a New York version of the app called New Day New Standard, which launched in May 2012 as part of a citywide campaign led by domestic worker groups following the passage of the state’s landmark Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. Each month since then, the hotline has received from 400 to 1,200 calls each month, and has been featured in BBC, GOOD Magazine, and parenting blogs; and presented at the White House, universities, and film festivals such as Tribeca Film.


REV- (as in to rev an engine) is a nonprofit studio whose public art projects combine creativity, bold ideas, and sound research to address critical issues. We are a women and minority-led team of artists, techies, media makers, low-wage workers, immigrants, and teens producing work to impact the issues we face.

Additional partners: Brazilian Immigration Center, Arizona State University Art Museum, Hand in Hand: Domestic Employer Association, National Employment Law Project, Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center, The California and Massachusetts Coalitions of Domestic Workers

Supporters: Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund and the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Funding Exchange, North Star Fund, Franklin Furnace, MIT Community Service Fund, and MIT Council for the Arts


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