Call for Artists, Technologists + Curators: Mozfest 2014, London
Exciting news today — we’ve just launched a Public Call to bring artists, curators and creatives together in London for the first-ever “Art & Culture of the Web" track at the Mozilla Festival this October — and you are invited!
Each year, MozFest is built around a set of core tracks featuring topics that have the greatest potential for innovation and empowerment with the Web, bringing in 1,000+ innovators to the shores of the Thames to build and make together. And this year, my co-conspirator Paula le Dieu and I will be bringing together a brand new topic, “Art & Culture of the Web”, to explore the ways millions of users around the world are making the transition from consumers to creators, merging art, technology and networks to build new forms with unprecedented results.
We are especially interested in finding out what the combination of these experiments in theory, code and creativity — a practice we refer to as "networked art" — might mean for cultural heritage organizations, artists, technologists and curators? And how might creative works inform our understandings of the open web’s key challenges, from privacy to ownership, and from identity to governance?
From the launch of OPEN STUDIO, a groundbreaking site where participatory artworks will be created live, to a youth-led gallery curated by Hive Learning Networks, and from a global GLAM (Gallery, Library, Archive and Museum) skill-shares, this track is already shaping up to be the most creative experiment Mozfest has ever seen. And as you may have seen from my experience wrangling the Build and Teach the Web track at last year’s Mozfest, it will also be a massive — and very inspiring — party.
Come and make with us by submitting an idea to the Call for Artists, Technologists + Curators by August 22, 2014. We welcome your craziest and most audacious dreams and brainstorms. In return, we’ll leave you with hands covered in electronic paint. Already excited for the creative moments yet to come.
Lo-Fi, No-Fi Teaching Kit v1…
After a few months of hacking and building, we are happy to ship v1 of the Lo-Fi, No-Fi! Teaching Kit. This kit, built entirely in HTML and CSS to help educators teach the web offline in their own ways, was started in partnership with the community this April and involved the work of more than 15 authors in a variety of different regions…
Community Literacies: A new creative series
Today I had the honour of publishing Webmaker’s first-ever issue of COMMUNITY LITERACIES, a new series I’ve been working on to highlight inspiring user stories and educational content built by a series of talented webmakers around the world who are teaching the web through creative, open and participatory methods.
I really enjoyed the process of curating and sharing this work. A snapshot of some of the activities highlighted in the first issue:
Let’s teach the web, offline! A design canvas and a new kit.
At Webmaker, we’ve been scheming and discussing potential solutions to a key challenge for a while — how can we empower educators to teach the web using peer-to-peer methods in regions where computers and web connectivity aren’t a given?
Enter this Design Canvas, an analog effort to help makers prototype Webmaker Teaching Kits together on paper before going online. I situate this Canvas within a larger hands-on prototyping exercise which implements some pretty radical participatory design methods, in the hope that it can improve the in-person experiences of mentors and participants alike…
A Mozilla winter: Web-makers, co-designers and curriculum-bakers…
Since moving back to Vancouver and taking on a role as Curation and Co-Design Lead on Mozilla’s ultra-talented #TeachTheWeb team, I’ve been doing a lot of exactly that — co-designing — and while such a job brief might not be about the type of design you’re thinking of, it’s been equally wonderful in its grey-area fluidity. The term co-design comes from an approach out of 1970s Scandinavia called Participatory Design, which starts from the premise that all people are inherently creative, and therefore able to play an *active* role in a design and development arc. In Norway, this manifested in a revolutionary movement of trade unionists and academics at the Norwegian Iron and Metal Workers Union to directly involve factory workers in the design of computer technologies imposed on them by employers, empowering them to become stakeholders who were directly involved in the research process…
Well, London - this is it.
4 years, 2 visas, 84 passport stamps, 5 million bus rides, 1 master’s degree, 2 jobs, 7 Kieran Hebden sets, 9 superior flatmates, 2 stolen phones, 8 wonderful best friends and 1 great love later, I’ve had to leave you for the green shores of Vancouver [and a new Mozilla office!]. This isn’t the end though. It’s another beginning. And I’ll be back. With massive amounts of gratitude, I now look towards the trees.
*[With one more very big hug to the many beautiful folk who left wonderful messages of support, encouragement and love on Facebook, Twitter and email over the transition. You have honoured me beyond words.]
Building Cultural Heritage: A RemixJam with Tate Britain
The open web has presented cultural heritage institutions with big opportunities to engage global audiences and make their collections more discoverable (and shareable!) than ever before. A few weeks ago I headed to the Tate Britain to deliver a skills-sharing workshop (at Mozilla, we call this method Train the Trainer) to prepare their Gallery Collectives on the use of digital remix tools ahead of the Tate’s public housewarming party.
Our goal? Use Webmaker's open source webpage remix tool XRay Goggles to engage makers of all ages with the process of digital curation and licensing for cultural heritage institutions. During the session, sitting in the Tate’s brand new ‘digital studio’, the group realised there was a real need to create a public, remixable curriculum kit that other heritage institutions could use to engage audiences critically with their digital collections (and importantly, with the open web and the cultural commons). The result? This Cultural Remixjam Teaching Kit.
#Mozfest 2013: Teaching and making a DIY web, together.
A few weeks ago, after 6 months of planning and late-night Skype conversations, 2,100 technologists from 50 nations descended on the checkered monolith of Ravensbourne College along the Thames in London, facilitating 250 sessions, drinking 7,650 cups of coffee and spawning an infinite number of new ideas. Weeks later, I’m still reeling!
The reason for such a multicoloured flurry of activity around the e-globe, you ask? Mozfest, the world’s most “fiercely unconventional” 2-day open technology festival. Focused on learning, making and co-creation, Mozfest is the open web geek’s utopia, resulting each year in a vast and impressive list of insane new projects. This year was our biggest yet, with 12 themed tracks ranging from Open Privacy to Open Badges to Open Games. And this year, the equally insane Laura Hilliger and I decided to jump in and wrangle an entire floor of crazy at the event entitled Build and Teach the Web…
Where 'Open' Is the New Digital ...
Above is the recording of a conversation I had with JISC for INFORM magazine about The Open Book, a crowdsourced experiment in open knowledge I put together earlier this year with co-editors Jussi Nissilä and Timo Vuorikivi, the help of The Finnish Institute and the Open Knowledge Foundation, and the words of 30 talented leaders in the field who wrote an amazing series of unique, heartfelt pieces that made this project come alive. It has been deeply humbling to be a part of this project, inspired by last year’s Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki and the 1,000 wonderful, passionate people who helped made it happen — and it’s been even more amazing to be able to release all content in an open format so that anyone can read and share it. More details about the Open Book’s process can be found here - and for those interested in the MOOC mentioned in the interview, here is Mozilla’s #TeachTheWeb.
I found myself really blown away by this set of hand-written musings on creativity and taking risk by artist/strategist Debbie McMillman today. She cuts right to the quick of what those of us in our late twenties discuss daily, and find an endless variety of solutions for, none of which are quite right. The question: Does one take a massive, frightening risk in career, personal life or location that might lead to failure? Or does one take the easier, more ‘responsible’ path, the avenue of least resistance? I know what I try to choose - and it’s nice to see that explained so well.
Find the full text over at Brainpicker.
Received a beautiful gift from a dear friend in the form of a little limited edition book by Hoxton Mini-Press entitled “I’ve Lived in East London for 85 1/2 Years”. Its subject is Joseph, a man who has lived in Hoxton through the neighbourhood’s many phases of war, urban sprawl and gentrification.
His reflections depict a quiet life well-lived, and the photographs of him around town — standing dignified in his suit juxtaposed against graffiti, council flats and youthful crowds — could not be more time-salient in a city that is constantly going through reinventions of itself.
"When I was a kid here," Joseph muses, "everyone was a cockney. Now it’s a real mix. You never know who you’ll meet. I think it’s great that people are all mixed up."
I do, too.
Make Things Do Stuff to Mobilise 100,000 Young UK Makers
Web literacy is an increasingly important issue.I’ve written about it. Many others have written about it. But what are we all doing about it? One of the campaigns I’m proud to be involved with in London is Make Things Do Stuff, a UK-wide network of like-minded organisations including Freeformers, Technology Will Save Us, Mozilla, NESTA and the Nominet Trust who are committed to mobilize the next generation to create the many technologies that surround us, not just consume them…
I live with six flatmates — and their various entourages, depending on the moment. Our communal kitchen has been known to inspire some colourfully odd moments. Here’s a “Ladyplant” I sketched on our blackboard which may be the first specimen of its kind seen in Hackney. The inspiration? Faded, fluorescent 1960s science fiction book covers, weathered and much-loved. There’s something wonderfully visceral about working with chalk and scrubbing blue off hands afterwards.
Brussels, Web, Futures.
On Monday, I jumped on the Eurostar for a last-minute trip to a 'deep dive' roundtable session in Brussels held by the Lisbon Council and Telefonica Europe. The intent? To explore the potential for policies that promote digital literacy for young people, or “youth” as we’re apparently referred to by people who hang out in Brussels. After a keynote by Mozilla’s own Mark Surman, a debate concept was posed: How can European policymakers engender a situation where young people are inspired to learn more digital skills to help solve Europe’s existing unemployment crisis? And these discussions couldn’t come at a more salient time.
Open Design, Year One: Hardware, Ideas and Community |
It’s been a great first year for the precocious Open Design collective that a few of us started around a table at a community event in Helsinki last year. Somehow, against all odds we hit the 100 mark on our discussion list, delivered a keynote lecture at LibreGraphics and many Github workshops around the world, launched v0.1 of the Open Design Definition, planned a new design + hardware challenge in France and helped run the world’s first Open Knowledge Festival in Finland. We even got flamed by Bruce Sterling in WIRED magazine. In summary: It’s been a really wonderful run. Above, post summarising some of the craziness, and an invitation to get involved.
UPCOMING TALKS + LECTURES:
+ GUEST LECTURE: UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA
"art of the web #makerparty"
+ LIBRE GRAPHICS 2013 / 12 april / madrid
"keynote: the future of open design"
+ NEXTGEN WEB BROADBAND / 9 oct / london
"panel: transparency & inclusion"
+ CAMPUS PARTY / 23 august / berlin
"panel: role of women in EU politics"
+ FAB*MANCH / 19 may / manchester, uk
"the open design definition"
+ RE:PUBLICA / 2 may / berlin, germany
"hacking open data for communities"
+ FREE CITY / 26 april / tallinn, estonia
"open knowledge & OKFestival"
+ PUBLIC MEETUP / 6 april / thessaloniki
"open data and OKFN chapters"
PROJECTS, INITIATIVES, IDEAS
find my online portfolio and more details about the things i am working on at codekat.net.
MAKING, HACKING, i-TROLLING
in 2011, i published a postgraduate thesis in digital anthropology for UCL (university of london) about my ethnographic identity study of female F/LOSS hackers across europe. find it here.