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)

The Practice of Digital Infrastructure: Cohort Presentations

What does it look like to build digital infrastructure?

In this event, the projects hosted in the Digital Infrastructure Incubator reflect on the work of governance, community engagement, and cultural infrastructure.

Check out the cohort here.

April 27, 2022 1:30-3:00PM ET

Register here.

Past Events

Coloniality of 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?

February 23, 2022 1:30-3:00PM ET

Speakers

Chao Tayiana Maina is a Kenyan digital heritage specialist and digital humanities scholar working at the intersection of culture and technology. She is a computer scientist by profession and a historian by passion. Her work primarily focuses on the application of technology in the preservation, engagement and dissemination of African heritage. She is the founder of African Digital Heritage, a co-founder of the Museum of British Colonialism and a co-founder of the Open Restitution Africa project.

Luis Tayori is the director of the ECA Amarakaeri (The Executor of the Administration Contract of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve), an Indigenous organization that co-manages, together with the National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (SERNANP), the area that is part of the ancestral territory of the native Harakbut people. Since 2006, the collaboration between Indigenous peoples and the Peruvian state to monitor the reserve includes the use of new technologies (such as the Mapeo application and drones) by community guards, park rangers, and technicians to protect their ancestral forests from illegal mining and logging. Previously, Luis was president of the Indigenous organization COHARYIMA (Harakbut, Yine, Matsiguenka Council).

Rocío Amorozo Coba is a freelance conference interpreter and translator based in Quito and an active member of AIIC, the International Association of Conference Interpreters. Since 2006, she has provided professional interpreting services in Spanish, English, and French to a myriad of entities, international organizations, and government agencies. She has helped breach language barriers in small peer-to-peer discussions as well as in high profile international conferences in different countries.

Collected resources from this event can be found here.

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.

Join us for a conversation that explores the link between project governance and the horizons towards which digital infrastructure projects strive. As conversations deepen around implementing distributed and transparent governance models towards more sustainable futures for open source projects, we zoom out to ask what visions drive efforts building and maintaining digital public infrastructures? How can work around project governance reflect and inform larger goals around resource redistribution, equality, and transformation of the commons? How to build power laterally towards a sustainability that coheres beyond grant seasons, beyond crisis response, beyond burnout?

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

Panel

Camille Acey is an unschooling mother, a tech worker, public speaker, podcaster, and an activist/organizer. She is a founding member of CoLET (the Collective for Liberation, Ecology, and Technology), a radical woman-run tech collective in Brooklyn, NYC promoting the adoption of free and open software for the solidarity economy. Camille is an advisor to The Maintainers, a global network of people promoting care for our physical and digital commons, and she is also a board chair for Whose Knowledge?, a global campaign to center marginalized voices on the internet.

Liz Barry works on collaboration at scale. She is co-founder of PublicLab.org and Talk To Me, and an elected Councilor of the Gathering for Open Science Hardware. She is a founding board member of The Computational Democracy Project, advisor to Extinction Rebellion’s Future Democracy Hub, and nobody at g0v. She studied landscape architecture, then taught for a decade in Columbia University’s graduate urban design program and Parsons the New School for Design. She has worked for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), land artist Mary Miss, and Durham Inner-city Gardeners (DIG). She likes to play outside.

Njera Keith is a practicing, Black revolutionary, whose focus is Black vanguardism, destabilization of Black relationships to oppressive systems, and the development of equitable and alternative economies. She is the co-founder of 400+1, a cooperative federation that re-imagines Marxism-Leninism, Black collective power, and solidarity politics.

Collected resources from this event can be found here.

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

Panel

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

Panel:

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 aerica.co.

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.