This is part of a series of blog posts written by the MozFest staff that provides a glimpse behind the scenes of planning and executing the world's leading festival for the open internet health movement.
MozFest needs our community! Our beloved festival would not take place without our loyal and dedicated global community. To keep growing and developing our mission, we welcome participation in different ways, from attending the festival, facilitating sessions, Wrangling Spaces, becoming a Sponsor, or holding the important role of Partner.
Since 2017, I have been fortunate to be part of this ongoing growth with our trusted Partners - finding individuals and organisations who share their work with us at the festival to bring their own content and like-minded friends and contacts to join us. I’m thrilled to share a bit about the history with our partners, the process we go through to ensure success, and how you can get involved!
Our Partners are our friends and allies, both local to our host city and across the globe who share our mission to make the internet a healthier place for all. As well as our community sessions, these external organisations bring their own curated content to the festival to share their work, issues and stories, all of which align with our mission and, for 2021, our theme of Trustworthy AI. In return, you have access to our diverse global audience, creating further opportunities for collaboration after the festival. You will gain new connections and throughout the year be able to strengthen these relationships from your work at MozFest, something we strongly encourage.
Our Partner relationships have developed and strengthened over the years at MozFest. In 2017, the volume of sessions resulted in a need to create a programme of external events prior to the festival weekend, as a “pre-week” which continued to grow over the next 2 years.
Taking place at the Royal Society of Arts, “MozFest House” enabled our Partners to bring their own curated workshops, conferences, hackathons, and meetups into a single venue. This beautiful setting allowed for further impromptu cross-audience gatherings and discussions from attendees. The last live festival in London, 2019, saw over 50 Partner events in the run-up to the weekend festival.
For 2021, we welcomed back some existing Partners as well as some new relationships. With no physical space possible to host their events, we made these external sessions part of our 12-day virtual program, intertwining them with our community sessions. Partner sessions could be searched for in the schedule, many of which were also recorded for on-demand viewing.
We had some truly inspiring content. We saw the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights, UN Habitat, and BetaNYC run a session on their Digital Rights Helpdesk connecting officials and workers in city governments with expert advisors on ethical AI and digital rights. Our long term partner, Grant for the Web, shared a simulation game to strategize, brainstorm, build worlds, and act in-character to explore emerging methods of monetization. This was organised in collaboration with Mike Masnick and Leigh Beadon from the Copia Institute & Randy Lubin from Leveraged Play.
Raven Martin, a practitioner with Healing By Choice, a sponsored project of Allied Media Projects, bought us the Joy Sanctuary, an intentionally cultivated space for those who identify as BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color) to practice, celebrate, collaborate, and lean into joy. Attendees left with a toolkit built from collaboration within the session to build joy and safety into their everyday.
We were unable to be in our host city, Amsterdam, but we worked closely with local partners in The Netherlands and will continue to do so into 2022. Partners in this region included a range of local organisations, from the University of Amsterdam, the SIDN Fund, and ECNL (European Center for Not-for-Profit Law ).
Working with our Partners is a 2-way process – we establish that our work is aligned, then we look at topics of discussion that would be of interest to our audiences. We then get planning; looking at ways to integrate your session with the festival – finding the right day, the best time, the correct length for delivering your content, and allowing time for collaboration and group work.
Do you want a small workshop, a hackathon, or a large interactive conference? What is the best format to support your content? When in-perso, we’d look at the room configuration to maximise participation - tables for discussion, ability to move chairs to encourage a good flow of conversations with different groups. In a virtual setting, we’d make sure the platform you use has tools for collaboration and essential group work.
We look at who your session is for and who is your ideal target audience. We then provide you with tools to share your sessions on social media effectively and ways to market your session to a wider audience beyond the existing MozFest community.
The planning is fun and open, resulting in some great work that meets your goals and complements the MozFest programming. I love to see how initial conversations turn into amazing sessions!
We want to work closely with you, and create long lasting relationships – it has been a genuine pleasure to welcome back past partners and see what they have been doing over the last 12 month as well as welcoming new ones to start our MozFest journey together.
First and foremost MozFest is an exciting, ever-evolving, and a rich and vibrant community to be part of. We mix serious issues around Trustworthy AI with fun social sessions – we want you to leave feeling educated, inspired, and empowered and to continue to share your work across the year with us. We have loved meeting you all and have even managed to have a coffee and a chat at times!
For all our Partners, we provide:
- a platform to host your sessions.
- access to our engaged audience of 10,000 MozFest attendees.
- outreach support to promote your event on our website, emails, tweets and blogs.
- tools and resources to support you in reaching out to your own networks.
- interactive training on how to facilitate your session and get to know your fellow partners!
- support from our team to discuss ideas as well as logistics to ensure you have a smooth-running event.
We are so grateful to our Partners for sharing their work, expanding our community, and bringing their perspectives and experiences to MozFest.
If you’d like to become a MozFest Partner and bring your session to our festival in 2022 and feel your content and mission aligns with ours, then we’d love to hear from you! Send an email to Sarah Allen at [email protected]