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Building Laterally: Anti-Oppression Frameworks in Open Source

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The increase of social justice language in open source digital infrastructure begs reflection on the political processes behind this shift.

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We are increasingly seeing social justice language in mission statements, codes of conduct, grant proposals, and more in open source software and digital public infrastructure. The incorporation of anti-oppression frameworks into organizational governance and policies begs a reflection on the political processes behind this shift. As we have seen in other sectors at different points in history, radical frameworks born out of specific political contexts can become sanitized and depoliticized as they are applied more widely. As open source digital public infrastructure embraces anti-racist, anti-ablest, anti-colonial, and gender-affirming values and commitments, how can project leaders and community managers critically assess this work and the tools we rely on to do it?

As the urgency shifts in many organizations from the documentation of anti-oppressive values to considerations of their implementation or “enforcement,” the question of the political trajectories we are on becomes more salient. Join a panel discussion with open source leaders, anarchist organizers, and community managers that explores the building of resilient community structures. Explore with them their experiences addressing harm and creating safety and revisit with them the radical roots underpinning today’s social justice discourse.

Panel to include:

Coraline Ada Ehmke is at the forefront of the debate on ethics in open source. She is the creator of Contributor Covenant, the first and most popular code of conduct for open source communities, and the Hippocratic License, an innovative open source license designed to promote and protect human rights. Coraline co-founded the Organization for Ethical Source and currently serves as its Executive Director.Coraline Ada Ehmke is at the forefront of the debate on ethics in open source. She is the creator of Contributor Covenant, the first and most popular code of conduct for open source communities, and the Hippocratic License, an innovative open source license designed to promote and protect human rights. Coraline co-founded the Organization for Ethical Source and currently serves as its Executive Director.

Caroline Sinders is a critical designer, researcher, and artist. For the past few years, she has been examining the intersections of artificial intelligence, intersectional justice, systems design, harm, and politics in digital conversational spaces and technology platforms. She has worked with the United Nations, Amnesty International, IBM Watson, the Wikimedia Foundation, and others. In addition, Sinders has held fellowships with the Harvard Kennedy School, Google’s PAIR (People and Artificial Intelligence Research group), Ars Electronica’s AI Lab, the Weizenbaum Institute, the Mozilla Foundation, Pioneer Works, Eyebeam, Ars Electronica, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Sci Art Resonances program with the European Commission, and the International Center of Photography.

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The event is free, open to the public, and will be recorded. Advanced registration is required. Zoom link will be shared closer to the date.

Series Description

Building Laterally: Political Imagination to Support and Sustain Digital Infrastructure is a series of virtual events open to the public hosted by the Digital Infrastructure Incubator at Code for Science and Society. The series connects the discourse on sustainability, governance, and community health in open source and digital public infrastructure to wider political horizons. Together these events draw out interdisciplinary resonances and invite participants to invest in the crafting of a political imagination to support and sustain digital infrastructure.

About the Digital Infrastructure Incubator

The Digital Infrastructure Incubator hosts a cohort of open source project leaders as they work to address a single human infrastructure challenge their projects face. Participants iterate solutions around governance models, community engagement and participation, and the building of cultural foundations to support the growth of dynamic open source across the globe. The program is part of a cohort of grant funding provided by the Ford Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Open Society Foundation, Omidyar Network and the Mozilla Open Source Support Program in collaboration with the Open Collective Foundation.

About Code for Science and Society

CS&S is a US-based non profit whose mission is to build community and pathways to sustainability in open source in the public interest. Join our mailing list and follow us on Twitter @codeforsociety

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Organizer of Building Laterally: Anti-Oppression Frameworks in Open Source

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