Julia Vallera
Nov 28, 2016 · 5 min read
Mozilla Clubs Leaders outside of the entrance to the Demystify the Web space at Mozfest.

The Mozilla Clubs presence and involvement at Mozfest this year left me feeling proud, motivated and inspired. 16 Club Leaders (Regional Coordinators and Club Captains) from across the world came together for one of Mozilla’s largest networking opportunities of the year. They joined more than 1800 people in a three day extravaganza of interactive sessions, hands-on activities and engaging talks. As a growing network (averaging one new club a day) of individuals from 48+ countries around the globe the diversity of Mozilla Clubs was well represented with Club Leaders from Mexico, India, South Africa, Kenya, Brazil, Italy, Philippines, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Canada and Greece.

On Friday, October 28 Club Leaders were invited to participate in two pre-Mozfest kick off gatherings. The first was a morning training that introduced best practices and tips for facilitating engaging sessions. The second was an afternoon meet-up that brought Club Leaders together to connect in person before going to a science fair where festival visitors explored new projects and networked with peers.

Saturday’s opening ceremony introduced space themes, logistics and what to expect during the festival. A DJ performance and brief talk from the Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation got everyone energized for an exciting weekend filled with sharing and learning. Over the next two days Club Leaders facilitated sessions, explored projects, organized spaces, curated media channels, connected with new people and much more. Here are few examples of how:

  • Regional Coordinator Hilda Nyakwakwa and Club Captain Maryann Wangari held a session on developing solutions that address societal issues affecting women from all over the globe. Their session used storytelling to talk about creating safe spaces for women to practice reading, writing and participating on the web.
  • Club Captain Edoardo Viola and Club Captain Faye Tandog co-lead a session that introduced several ways to collaborate on projects through the Open Leadership Training Series (OLTS). These included a guide to fuel open practices in Universities, apps for community empowerment and resources for Mozilla Campus Clubs.
  • Regional Coordinator, Su Adams was a key organizer for the Demystify the Web space and had multiple roles throughout the festival, including designing the floor layout, building props, managing logistics and directing visitors. She participated in multiple sessions and facilitated an ongoing drop-in station for interactive gaming, circuit building and hacking.

Club Leaders were encouraged to discover everything Mozfest had to offer. In addition to meeting each other and learning about each other’s work, they networked with peers and gathered knowledge to share back with their communities. Regional Coordinator, Mmaki Jantjies reflected on her experience in a blog post calling Mozfest “a candy store that allowed anyone to put technology and science back into the hands of everyday human beings, allowing them to address everyday issues through technology platforms.”

Mozilla Clubs Session at Mozfest 2016 — photo by Geraldo Barros

On Sunday the Mozilla Club session brought people together to focus on Clubs and it’s growing network of global community members. Of the thirty session participants, sixteen were currently involved in Clubs, and the remainder came to learn about our network.

The main goal of the session was to introduce new people to the Clubs model and give Club members an opportunity to develop ideas, plan,network and peer assist. We started by breaking into pairs to learn about each other’s work and interests. Non-Clubbers were paired with current Clubbers so they could hear examples of how Clubs function directly from the people that facilitate them.

After this initial discussion, we came back together for a deeper dive into the Clubs program. Participants broke into two large groups based on their current involvement in Clubs. People new to Clubs formed a group to learn more about what they are and how to start them. People already involved in Clubs formed a group to explore successes, challenges and solutions for their individual Clubs. The conversation continued well beyond the end of the session and resulted in this collection of ideas we will utilize in club planning for 2017:

Following the session Club leaders from South Africa, Mexico and Kenya joined a Mozilla Learning Curriculum Workshop to discuss various ways learning and making was happening at the festival. They drew comparisons between the learning they saw taking place at the festival and the learning they cultivate in their local communities. Everyone brought a different area of expertise to the discussion creating an informative dialogue about how to teach Digital Literacy through Clubs, after school programs, maker spaces, community centers and more.

Festival participants celebrate at the closing ceremony for Mozfest 2016

Mozilla Festival concluded with a celebration and demo fair. Projects that were created and/or presented during the festival were put on display, “Thank you’s” were exchanged and dancing filled the floor. Club Leaders left with a better understanding of each other’s work and how it connects to the larger Mozilla mission.

For the next couple of weeks following Mozfest Club Leaders reflected on their time and how it will impact them moving forward. Their images and words do a great job at capturing the one of a kind experience Mozfest truly is. Some of them are featured below.

I am grateful for the unique perspective and dedication Club Leaders brought to Mozfest this year and I look forward to our continued work together. A huge thanks to everyone who was able to join us and for those who were not, there will be more!

“…this experience was not only an exercise to open the mind and heart to OpenSource, it was an innovative way to make technology in an Open way.” Club Captain, Edoardo Viola

“Eu conheci novas tecnologias na feira de ciência, conheci muitas pessoas e coloquei a mão na massa aprendendo a trabalhar de forma prática com muitos projetos e sessões, além de me apaixonar pelas sessões de artes.” Club Captain, Geraldo Barros

“…decision systems becomes a part of our life and we need to make sure that things are decentralized and power is in the hand of the user.” — Club Captain, Vigneshwer Dhinakaran

“…many root causes and symptoms are common throughout the world, but the solutions to address these issues most often need to be context-specific.” Space Wrangler and Club Captain, Kim Wilkens

“Conocer las similitudes entre México y Kenia, fue un parte aguas para mi, ya que el conocer contextos sociales parecidos me ha otorgado una gran pauta para trabajar en equipo.” Club Captain, Liza Durón.

Mozilla Festival

MozFest is an annual, hands-on festival for and by the open Internet movement. Every year, bright minds from around the world build, debate, and explore the future of our lives online. In this publication, we invite everyone to share their thoughts and start conversations.

Julia Vallera

Written by

Knowledge seeker, open webber, collaborator, Mozilla alum, professor, artist, mountain biker, animal fanatic.

Mozilla Festival

MozFest is an annual, hands-on festival for and by the open Internet movement. Every year, bright minds from around the world build, debate, and explore the future of our lives online. In this publication, we invite everyone to share their thoughts and start conversations.

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