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…

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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…

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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.]

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.

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#Mozfest 2013: Teaching and making a DIY web, together.

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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

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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. Open BookIt 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.

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

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

Farewell Open Knowledge Fdn, Hello Mozilla!

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I have some exciting news today - after two years building global communities with the Open Knowledge Foundation, I’m moving on to join Mozilla today as their new Hacking Popular Culture Liaison…

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LibreGraphics 2013 Madrid: A Keynote about Open Design

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I’m honoured to announce that I’ll be delivering a keynote presentation ominously entitled “The Seven Faces of Open Design” at this year’s LibreGraphics meeting in Madrid on April 12th. The talk will focus on the creative ideas of Mozilla’s webmaker as well as my extracurricular work with the Open Design working group and our ideas about the future of collaborative design technologies. I’m a bit nervous (as I always am before speaking!) but I’m looking forward to meeting other designers interested in this emergent field. I suspect I’ll leave feeling quite inspired! 

Summary from the event programmeThe past decade has seen an amazing amount of unexpected collaborations between artists working with open hardware, open design and public domain reinterpretation for intriguing results…

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The Vibrant + Colourful Lives of Paper

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Lately, my life is illustrated through paper.

In the space of a few weeks, I lost an amazing best friend to a great new project in a Polish city while getting best friends back from an Open Source farm and the forests of Finland; during this time, I cut things out of Adbusters and drew worms and inserted smudged booklets and received joyful photographs of sun-kissed German Shepherds in orange envelopes.

I was then given inspiration via package from a maker friend at one of the world’s most innovative medialabs in a Hungarian city and a zine about Fun and Death from a well-read Englishman in a well-known English city; during this time, I read the stories of Londoners while helping build a book about the stories of open knowledge advocates. I also found myself unable to stop cutting up more pieces of paper for more people in even more cities.

Why the need to continue? I think it’s because for those of us who work in predominantly virtual environments, there’s a quiet sort of analog beauty in the process of learning new things and building new things with paper - and once you start, it’s hard to stop.


WHAT IS THIS RABBIT HOLE?


this is a scroll of machines bits, drawings + words from a desert grown she-wolf at mozilla spawned in las vegas, vancouver and london.

SPEAKING APPEARANCES:


+ 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"

OTHER IDEAS, ALL THRASHING ABOUT


as kaibray, i explore intersections between open technologies, creativities + communities - and how they can change our world.

MAKING, HACKING AND i-TROLLING


in 2011, i released a MSc digital anthropology thesis on the role of gender embodiment and identity amongst F/LOSS hackers in Europe with university college london...

DESIGNS, EMOJIS and DOGES


i also keep a jumbled assortment of design inspirations + web crazy on neon lobsters. comments, ideas, trolling? find me on twitter ;)