Person sitting at a desk with a laptop, smiling at the laptop
Philo van Kemenade at MozFest 2021

My MozFest story begins in 2011. I had just moved to London to study a master’s degree in Cognitive Computing and was keen to combine my background in Artificial Intelligence with my passion for filmmaking. I remember receiving an invitation to a festival dedicated to Media, Freedom and the Web, and signing up for a ticket right away.

While I knew I wanted to combine video and interactive technology in creative ways, the medium of the web was new to me. Seeing the premiere of Kat Cizek’s One Millionth Tower, powered by web technologies like popcorn.js got me excited about the capabilities of the web as a storytelling medium. Brainstorming the intersection of journalism and the web and connecting with people behind projects that inspired me, helped me realise that this was an open and friendly space I could actively participate in.

Bringing Web-native Storytelling, Art, and Peer-to-Peer Learning to MozFest

Excited about the potential of web-native storytelling, I teamed up with the French filmmaker Gilles Pradeau to kickstart an international series of storytelling hackathons. At these events, media makers, web developers and designers come together to work on multidisciplinary stories that can only be told on the web. Throughout the years at MozFest, we’ve brainstormed community needs, showcased projects and held meetups for a community of innovative storytellers which is alive and kicking till this day!

While working at the R&D lab of the Slovak National Gallery, I felt a great opportunity for MozFest as a platform to bring the worlds of Open Web and Open GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) closer together. In 2019, I joined MozFest as a Wrangler and, together with Dan Pett, organised the Arts and Culture Salon. Over the weekend, GLAM practitioners showcased their digital heritage work, artists exhibited works reflecting critically on the practice of collecting and together we hosted inspiring sessions on the intersection of arts, culture, technology and openness.

That same year, Gunnar de Jong and I had just started working on an idea for a skill sharing tool and we decided to bring it to the MozFest Science Fair, to gather feedback from the community. At the time, our project Gradual took the form of an early Slack bot prototype, which we used to gather input from participants on what they were excited to learn and share with others at the festival. Besides countless insights about the power of social learning, this resulted in amazing encounters such as one over the shared joy of handstands! Fast forward to 2022, where Gradual has partnered with MozFest to map the community’s interest and turn ideas into emergent sessions!

a drawing with various works and lines outlining skills with purple MozFest in bold in the center
Gradual Skillsharing Spatial Chat background at MozFest 2021

Connect, Learn And Participate

If you’re excited about peer-to-peer learning, either in the context of the MozFest community or in a context of your own, let’s connect!

With Storytellers United, I continue to look for ways to bring storytellers from different backgrounds into conversation.

Will you join us?

What I’m Currently Working On

I am working on the design and development of Gradual, to make it easy and fun for communities, companies and organisations to see what feels most alive and take action on shared interests. Gradual is part of the current Grant for the Web cohort, where we are empowering members of the Web Monetization community with a safe and accessible space to learn with others.

At Storytellers United we are working together with the Netherlands Film Festival and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision on an exciting event in September. At the New Neighbours Story Jam, teams of storytellers will collaborate on innovative, intercultural stories that celebrate social and cultural riches originating from people who recently started living in the Netherlands.

MozFest Movers: Where Are They Now?

This story is part of the Where Are They Now series, spotlighting ‘MozFest Movers,’ the amazing people and projects that have used MozFest as a catalyst for their ongoing work. The series uplifts opportunities for the internet health movement to be a part of the exciting solutions coming out of this work.

MozFest is part art, tech and society convening, part maker festival, and the premiere gathering for activists in diverse global movements fighting for a more humane digital world. To learn more, visit

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