Special thanks to the Institute for for Research on Women and & Gender, Lisa Nakamura, Heidi Bennett, and Stephanie Rosen for all of their support in organizing and documenting this conference.
Earlier this year, FemTechNet hosted its first ever conference. The conference was titled Signal/Noise: A FemTechNet Conference on Pedagogy, Technology, and Transdisciplinarity. On April 8th, 2016, members of FemTechNet and other interested parties gathered at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor for three days to explore, exchange, and develop ideas about transdisciplinary feminist pedagogy with/through/on technology. Participants included scholars, artists, makers, activists, and students from Asia, America, to Europe. Organized by Karen Keifer-Boyd and Marla Jaksch, this conference was made possible with the support from the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan and with the help of various committees members of FemTechNet, including the 2015-2016 co-facilitators Anne Cong-Huyen, T.L. Cowan, Paula Gardner, Veronica Paredes, and Jasmine Rault.
The three day conference was organized both by theme, as well as different formats of engagement. The first day featured panel presentations, these were livestreamed online, and are also documented here as videos below. The opening panel provided an introduction to FemTechNet, its DOCC (distributed open collaborative course) history and structure, along with an overview of the collective’s curricular materials and the conference program; presenters included Karen Keifer-Boyd, Marla Jaksch, Veronica Paredes, Karl Surkan, and T.L. Cowan.
In the panels that followed, scholars and practitioners across disciplines presented their research on the themes of labor, mapping, and activism as they intersected with feminism and technology. To conclude the first day of the conference, we had an official launch party for the publication signal/noise: collected student works from a feminist docc.
The second day was composed of workshops, where participants and presenters worked together to explore various themes and projects. That day’s schedule included: Feminist Wikipedia editing; playful engagement with data, rulesets and systems via games and haptic interfaces; feminist mapping exercises; explorations of feminist writing and scholarship. To conclude the second day, we had a full group gathering to highlight and share experiences from DOCC instructors teaching or facilitating this year, and to make connections to the concerns, rewards and challenges identified from previous iterations of the DOCC.
On the last day of the conference, we heard from DJ Lynnée Denise and Marla Jaksch in a Radnote Dialogue on “Organic Intellectualism: DJ Scholarship, Black Feminism and Erasure Resistance.” This Radnote Dialogue was documented in both video and podcast form. Find the video documentation below, as well as an amazing podcast episode produced by Sandra Gabriele and Michelle Macklem.
On the last day, besides the Radnote Dialogue, we also broke into smaller working groups to discuss various aspects of FemTechNet, including pedagogical experiments, privacy and transparency in the network, statements of solidarity, and video dialogues and themes. In one of these breakout sessions, the FemTechNet Statement in support of Melissa Click and Concerned Student 1950 was developed and published.