During the week-long inaugural Feminist Technology Network (FemTechNet, FTN) Summer Workshop in mid-July 2013, the primary activated nodes in the networked feminist collective were located in Los Angeles (at the home of Alex Juhasz) and New York City (at Macaulay Honors College). The workshop was part of a series of ongoing conversations about FemTechNet that had been unfolding on several different platforms — in email threads, as well as through in-person and virtual meetings — over the previous fifteen months. Uniquely this was the collective’s largest experiment in connecting instructors synchronously in time, across geography, to co-work and prepare for the first official semester of FemTechNet’s key project, the DOCC (distributed open collaborative course). In addition to the nodes in Los Angeles and New York City during the 2013 summer workshop, at-large participants joined virtually from their homes, offices, wherever. All joined together for committee meetings throughout the week as committee configurations and location bases emerged by need in sessions. The Commons / Tech and Communication Committees became the focuses for New York participants; while Pedagogy, Video and the White Paper Committees were based in Los Angeles.
While the formation for what is now called SCRAM (Situated Critical Race and Media) did not begin until the 2014 FTN Summer Workshop, the need was already present. Just the weekend before the workshop started on July 15, 2013, George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the murder of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. Nationwide protests proceeded, but little mention of the incident was made during the FemTechNet workshop itself. The network’s struggle to address pressing contemporary issues relevant to womanism, Black feminism, and intersectional feminism continue to recur.
Also present on this workshop was a platform. In the video screenshot affiliated with this post, CUNY faculty and FemTechNet member Lisa Brundage demonstrates the basics of using FemTechNet’s beta use of the platform Commons in a Box. Commons In A Box is a project of the City University of New York and the Graduate Center, CUNY. It is the platform that FemTechNet used from around FemTechNet’s launch (in summer of 2013) until about October 2014.