Over the last few decades, many aspects of our lives have been digitised – our communications systems, our memories and our entertainment, but also the global economy, surveillance, targeted marketing, and weaponry. Power and control have moved into the digital space, democracy less so.
Tech has become increasingly inaccessible to tech outsiders. Women wrote the first software, but are now massively under-represented both in the mainstream tech industry, and in the movements challenging the ways tech is being used to control and exploit.
Taking back control isn’t easy. There are some great organisations and networks in the tech world that seek to promote diversity, inclusion and fairer ways of organizing society, but they are little known by activists working outside of tech.
The Digital Democracy strand will look at ways of connecting with local networks and some of the global movements currently seeking to build a fairer and more inclusive digital world, and at ways of using online software as a tool in grassroots activism – for existing and potential projects.
- Day-long workshops and online tutorials will look at the benefits of using self-hosted, free and open source software and at practical ways of getting started and taking direct action.
- Online systems will be used for ongoing conversations and to provide opportunities for shared exploration of existing collaborative platforms.
- A resource library will be built, wiki style, throughout the project to make it easy to find information that inspires and informs.
- All participants will be encouraged to document their experiences and share them on the project website – either publicly, or privately with the online Hatpins to Hashtags community.
Most importantly, the Digital Democracy strand is about being able to share a journey into unfamiliar digital spaces, about developing a route map for ongoing experimentation at both political and personal levels, and about leaving the widest possible trail of breadcrumbs for others to follow.