Last weekend was MozFest, which is easily my favourite tech event. This is the second year I’ve attended, and although it was different from last year’s experience it was just as exciting. At the end of the festival I always feel so energised and inspired.
As with last year, the most exciting part was the people I met and the conversations I had. As Lai Yi mentions, it is so incredible to go to a conference about the Internet and speak to so many women. The direction that the Internet is heading these days can feel pretty bleak, so it is wonderful to spend a weekend with so many people who are trying their hardest to change its trajectory.
I’ve written up some more thoughts as Common Knowledge on our blog.
I recently did a remote lecture for the Transformation Design course at HBK Braunschweig.
The students are currently doing a subject on operating systems, looking at the frameworks and structures that surround design: established and experimental ways of working, cooperation, organisation and solidarity.
It made me so happy that this course exists! I spoke about my own practice as a digital designer, the different studios I’ve worked for, collectives I’m part of and the different tools, structures and processes that I’ve learnt about and found useful in my work.
I also went on for quite a while about how great I think worker cooperatives are — planning to write this bit up in more detail soon.
View the presentation
Some of my notes from the Dissenting Ephemera workshop at MayDay Rooms a few weeks ago:
leftove.rs is an online archive of radical political ephemera, built in collaboration between MayDay Rooms and 0x2620 Berlin.
They’ve spent the last year digitising the MayDay Rooms archive and scraping other archives and now have a substantial body of material to work with. They’ve been experimenting with different ways of structuring, distributing and expanding upon this archive. For this workshop, they invited a range of people working in similar areas to share their experiences and contribute to the development of the platform.
One of my favourite quotes from Bianca Elzenbaumer of Brave New Alps comes from her 2014 thesis, Designing Economic Cultures:
Aiming to produce critically-engaged content whilst practicing in conventional ways underestimates the substantial potential designers have to contribute to social change not only through the content of their work, but also through their ways of doing and being.
The origin of the word radical is from the root: fundamental, structural. The way that we practice, support ourselves and collaborate with each other hugely impacts the work that we make. If we want to enable radical change, we need to begin by questioning the entire structure of our work.
I think that forming a worker cooperative is one way of prefiguring an alternative vision of the future of work. It recognises that we exist within capitalism, that we need to sustain ourselves within this system, but it also offers an alternative model of working: one based on solidarity, interdependence, self-determination and sustainability, rather than profit, growth and individual success.
Alex and I recently spoke to Shane and Kyle from the General Intellect Unit podcast.
We spoke about our work, grassroots organising, and practical details around how to start and run a worker co-op.
(I haven’t actually been able to listen to it yet as listening to my own voice makes me cringe.)