Building Laterally

Building Laterally

Building Laterally: Political Imagination to Support and Sustain Digital Infrastructure is a series of public, virtual events that open conversations inside the Incubator to a larger community. These discussions connect conversations on sustainability, governance, and community health in digital public infrastructure to wider political horizons. Invited panelists draw from their experiences in unionization drives, climate actions, abolition movements, among others. Together these events draw out interdisciplinary resonances and invite participants to make connections to neighborhoods and communities on and off line.

Upcoming Events

(archive of past events follows)

Visions of Mutual Power

Many open source public interest projects identify as do-ocracies - where contribution and participation guides a project’s trajectory. For many, this structure holds a liberatory potential where seemingly low barriers to entry promise a future of diverse contributors working collaboratively to build open solutions. This panel asks: what kinds of power can do-ocracies build and hold? Panelists offer examples from other movements that have mobilized the structure of mutual aid towards radical solutions to questions of community health, safety and inclusion, and sustainable work.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022 1:30-3:00PM EST.

Register here.


Decolonizing Digital Infrastructure

We know that infrastructure is the stuff our lives run on - the roads and bridges of contemporary life. But digital infrastructure, like its material forebears, enables domination at the same time that it offers speed, efficacy, development. How does recent attention to digital infrastructure cover for imperial domination, neocolonialism, and other forms of extractivism?

Date and Time (February) TBD

The Practice of Digital Infrastructure: Cohort Presentations

Incubator cohort in discussion sharing out results.

Date and Time (April/May) TBD

Past Events

Anti-Oppression Frameworks in F/LOSS

We are increasingly seeing social justice language in mission statements, codes of conduct, grant proposals, and more in open source software and digital public infrastructure. The incorporation of anti-oppression frameworks into organizational governance and policies begs a reflection on the political processes behind this shift. As open source digital public infrastructure embraces anti-racist, anti-ableist, anti-colonial, and gender-affirming values and commitments, how can project leaders and community managers critically assess this work and the tools relied on to do it? Join a panel discussion with open source leaders, anarchist organizers, and community managers that explores the building of resilient community structures. Explore with them their experiences addressing harm and creating safety and revisit with them the radical roots underpinning today’s social justice discourse.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021 1:30-3:00 PM EST


Coraline Ada Ehmke is at the forefront of the debate on ethics in open source. She is the creator of Contributor Covenant, the first and most popular code of conduct for open source communities, and the Hippocratic License, an innovative open source license designed to promote and protect human rights. Coraline co-founded the Organization for Ethical Source and currently serves as its Executive Director.

Sydette Harry is always a Far Rock 1st generation Guyanese. She loves to ask questions that help us be as kind or as forceful as possible around media. She is slightly obsessed with information architecture, design, the difference between bias and context, AI, history and performance studies. Previously Community Lead, Editor at Large at the Coral Project, she was most recently Editor at the Mozilla Foundation. She is Blackamazon online.

David Ryan Barcega Castro-Harris (all five names for the ancestors) is the founder of Amplify RJ, a digital platform built to share the philosophy, practices, and values of restorative justice. In his work, he leans on the training from his elders and his experiences working in Chicago schools, communities, and criminal legal settings to help folks understand Restorative Justice as a relationship centered-way of being, not merely a program for addressing harm.

Collected resources from this event can be found here.

Labor across the Tech Ecosystem

The last few years have seen an uptick in unionizing among tech workers writ large. What can efforts to increase the sustainability of digital infrastructure learn from these movements? How do ideas of work and labor in our space intersect with those in other parts of the tech landscape? As workers, how do OS-DPI contributors relate to employees of big tech, gig workers, or startups? What paths of solidarity are available? Which feel untread and unfamiliar?

Join a panel discussion with labor organizers from across the tech ecosystem. Workers and organizers at start-ups, in the gig economy, and in big tech reflect on the resources and networks they draw on as they plan collective actions built on worker solidarity. Together their reflections offer new directions to push on and expand what "sustainability" means across the tech ecosystem.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 1:30-3:00 PM EST


Aerica Shimizu Banks is a tech policy expert and inclusion innovator. After experiencing the triumphs and trials of tech – building successful DEI programs at Google and then holding Pinterest accountable for its racism and sexism – she now creates systems and frameworks to elevate and restore equity in our institutions. To learn more about Aerica, visit

Clarissa Redwine explores community-driven progress. While working at Kickstarter, she joined the union drive as a member of the Organizing Committee and later produced the oral history of Kickstarter United as a Fellow at NYU Law. Currently she is a core contributor to Collective Action in Tech, a platform for tech workers organizing for change.

Jennifer Scott is a gig worker who has been delivering food by bicycle in downtown Toronto for 4 years. She is the president of Gig Workers United CUPW, the Toronto based community union organizing to win labour protections and workers rights for gig workers. Follow her on twitter @PalimpsestJenn.

Nataliya Nedzhvetskaya (moderator) is a doctoral student in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and a fellow in Digital Ethics & Governance at the Jain Family Institute. Her research looks at the emergence of employee activism in the workplace and its effects on corporations.

Collected resources from this event can be found here.