“Excuses will always be there for you. Opportunity won’t.”
Instead of making excuses, Mozilla Fellow Amelia Winger-Bearskin turned the face-to-face isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic into an incredible collaborative online opportunity to support indigenous voices.
Here’s her story:
My first MozFest was at the last in person festival in the UK – 2019. I went to the festival as a Mozilla Fellow embedded with the MIT Co-Creation Studio. I got to meet other fellows, staff, and community. Unfortunately, the global pandemic started shortly after that and restricted my travel and opportunity to meet folks. It wasn’t ideal for the fellowship and work. I turned my isolation into an opportunity and the idea to do a podcast with indigenous peoples was born.
I created Wampum.Codes, a podcast as part of my Mozilla Fellowship, it was later hosted by the Global Culture & Heritage Space at the first virtual MozFest in 2021. In the podcast, I explore the intersection of ethical values, culture, and internet technology with native and indigenous game designers, comedians, artists and more!
MozFest really served as the catalyst to launch Wampum.Codes towards success. I saw boosts in podcast listens after blog posts were published with the festival and after our MozFest sessions. Wampum.Codes has evolved since that initial launch and was featured at the Imagine Native and Sundance festivals.
The next steps for this project were to develop a toolkit to help folks express their values in their coding projects. A Wampum.Codes workshop has also been created to work with participants so they can build ways to be held accountable to values into their projects. Contact me if you are interested in me leading a workshop for your group. There are also more test groups coming this fall!
I’m hoping to also bring Wampum.Codes 2.0 to MozFest 2023! Sign Up To Be A MozFest Insider so that you can participate when the time comes.
And last but not least, I also have a great group I started to keep conversations going, it is a weekly zoom conversation artist/support group called no-funding.com anyone can join!
Since Wampum.Codes was born, I’ve founded the AI Climate Justice Lab at University of Florida’s Digital Workd Institute. I also write regularly for Medium and am working on various projects as part of SkyWorld/CloudWorld.
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.