Curation, Conversation and Criticality


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Some of you may have noticed that we haven’t yet got a Volunteers list up for 2020 but I promise that will happen by the end of my curation – hopefully by the middle of next week. If you would like to curate 17-27 Feb, please contact me by email frabell at gmail dotcom with your ideas for your curation, remembering that we also welcome paired curation.

A few of us previous curators have been reflecting on the experience of curation and I’d like to extend this reflection to past curators and followers of @femedtech and #femedtech.

Practices at @femedtech and #femedtech have emerged, and a New Year seems like a good time reflect on what we do and how we do it. We might find even better ways to do things.

In her curation, Lorna Campbell introduced us to the wonderful AO3 via this post AO3 – The mad woman in the open source attic? And in another post she says “Archive or Our Own is a unique example of a repository that has had a transformational effect on a community of content creators, and represents a design philosophy that could benefit other platforms as well.” I think we can look to AO3 for inspiration in design changes we make to our practices and spaces at FemEdTech.

We launched our Open Space in preparation for OER19, and I think it’s fair to say that our SPLOT (courtesy of the marvellous Alan Levine AKA @cogdog) has opened up many opportunities.

A pair of hands holding up femedtech, highlighting feminism, education and technology

FemEdTech Philosophy and Vision

This image presented in our Open Space presentation at #OER19 captures the meaning of Feminism, Education and Technology in our practice. As we said then:

“Our name femedtech points to three important threads: feminism, whose theories can speak so much to our lived experiences; education, the domain in which most of us work and a site of flux; and technology (yes it’s a little bit broken) that offers so much but brings its own problems.

We previously had a web site but it wasn’t sustainable. Femedtech people are very busy and time can be a scarce resource.”

We are hoping to make the FemEdTech Open Space our website and integrate it more closely with the other spaces. To enable anonymous posting at the Open Space, we developed a Code of Conduct. We also undertook several Values Building activities during 2019.

We are thinking about extending our Code of Conduct to cover Curation as well as posts to We will be inviting curators to contribute, if they wish, to rewriting the Code.

If you have not yet been a curator but have some views on this move, please share them at #femedtech on Twitter, or as a Writing at

We are also thinking about our conversational practices at FemEdTech.

How and where can we hold conversations on FemEdTech topics?

How can we disagree agreeably?

We’d love to know what you think.

There will be an activity about criticality next week.


Add yours →

  1. I’ve had only passing awareness of AO3 from quick web site fly bys- but from what Lorna described it is definitely worth looking out for learning how they have done this much over a long span of time.

    I would have no idea from what I saw there whether it was feminist or not, or even who is behind it. Maybe one attribute to try and infer is seeing that they are focused on something more than a platform or a technology, they are all about their fan culture.

    I so appreciate all you are doing with the SPLOTs here, so do not hesitate to ask for something new, maybe a new kind of communication / share space. I’m thinking too of whether this is a time of somewhat pulling back from an ideal of a working large open internet space to maybe other formulations, to ones a bit more bounded as Catherine Cronin frames it rather than just open/closed.

    It may not be a fit, but in the question about conversation practices I remembered one we made for participants in the Mural UDG project for a question and answer space that did not require people to use names/contact (unless they chose), no accounts (its anther WordPress thing, it uses comment fields to entry, but need not)

    I’ve also been wondering in planning for a new round of the Networked Narratives course with Mia Zamora, about the possibility of having a rich conversation layer in web annotation space. It reminds me of an approach of being somewhat private in public, not hidden, but not in spotlight. A group in Hypothesis could then even allow a more private layer too. I’d like students to learn/experience/question about how conversational practices differ in wide open internet spaces versus others.

    • Thanks for these very useful comments. When you say “they are focused on something more than a platform or a technology, they are all about their fan culture” that makes me think about some excellent advice I was given about discussion guidelines in the mid-2000s. The advice was to focus on what you are trying to do and that’s a very good question for #femedtech @femedtech – what are we trying to do. However, it can be useful to be intentional about what we do where eg what works better on Twitter or what works better on SPLOT Writings? Resource sharing and gathering is quick and easy on Twitter but how do we curate what’s found – this is something Louise Drumm, Martina Emke and others have been looking at. The Mural UDG example looks good – food for thought.
      I had already been thinking about, so it’s good to hear your ideas. Next task is to get previous curators to opt in to creating a revised Code of Conduct in a Curator-only space. Once we have that, we could open it for comment by all at Hypothesis.

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