MozFest 2013: should you go?


MozFest 2013 is back in London (Ravensbourne) in ten days time (25th-27th of October). Why should we care?

I used to think this was a place for coders only. I was wrong. Or maybe what was wrong was to think that the clear distinctions between coder and non-coder was a way to position ourselves in the professional world. Wrong again; the world is changing, the boundaries are getting blurred, and we all have to learn to speak each other languages if we want to “make together”. And this is where Mozilla comes into the equation… Mozilla is all about “make the web” and “make it together”, and MozFest is an occasion where this vision can be tried, it is a “happening” of digital culture.

Interestingly enough this year’s themes are incredibly diverse… an indication, maybe, that the “doing together” is spreading in numerous directions… Just to give you an idea, here are the themes proposed on their website:

  • Build and Teach the Web. Keep the web wild through hands-on making with innovative tools and teaching the web as a community.
  • Connect Your City. Kickstart the creation of interactive tools for connected learning and help people explore, make and share.
  • Look Who’s Watching. Learn who follows your data trail. Friends, corporations, criminals and law enforcement: who has access and is this ok?
  • Make the Web Physical. Escape the limitations of your computer and build the web using sensors, circuits and good old paper and scissors.
  • Open Games: Ready, Set, Go! Play, imagine and create the next generation of games with innovative makers who are re-inventing the web as a platform for open games.
  • Science and the Web. Examine the potential of the open web to re-define how we experiment, analyze and share scientific knowledge.
  • Skills and Badges. Challenge the conventional system of recognizing skills and learning.
  • Source Code for Journalism. Design next-generation web solutions to solve critical issues facing news organizations and help journalism thrive on the open web.
  • Webmaking for Mobile. Explore opportunities in the booming world of the open web on mobile. How can we experiment & tinker to customize our own phones?

I think that in most of these I can see how someone interested in i-docs would benefit from being there. Are we not constantly playing with new types of journalism, thinking of how to deliver content to our mobiles, or even thinking of ways to make  our stories tangible and personal? But even if that was not enough you will be pleased to know that there are a few sessions directly linked to storytelling and i-docs.

1. A hands-on Popathon session

This is a 3hrs long (not sure about the length actually) hands-on participatory hack jam bringing together different skills to collaborate on web-native story prototypes. This session is hosted by our i-Docs community members Gil Pradeau and Philo van Kemenade.

2. A participatory discussion about “How to grow a community of web-native storytellers?”

This session will be one hour long and you are all welcomed to chip in with ideas and propositions. I will be co-hosting the session with  Gil and Philo.

3. A session about “mobile storytelling with hard to reach communities”

This session will be hosted by the members of Chaka Films (currently developing a project for REACT’s Future of Documentary Sandbox) and it is directly related to the challenges that they are facing with their project. Their description of the session is “What happens when stories meet mobile media? In the booming world of the mobile web, this session is dedicated to develop interactive storytelling through mobile interfaces.”

I am sure that there will be plenty of other sessions directly related to i-docs production, but since MozFest doesn’t have its programme online yet… it is difficult to tell.

One thing is sure: for £40 for two full days (and with an super good free lunch included in the ticket)… I think this is a great way to spend your week-end of the 26th of October! If you do decide not to miss out, then please do join us during our sessions… your input is what makes the sessions a success!