When I was a little girl, I was told that a story should have a beginning, a middle and an end. Now I am 70 years old, I am still learning and thinking, currently about how posthumanism (where posthuman means more-than-human rather than after human) can help learning, thinking and acting via stories and made things.
Rosi Braidotti says “We are all in this together but we are not one and the same”. Exploring the FemEdTech-quilt assemblage of humans and non-humans has helped us uncover hidden and half-told stories of things that relate to FemEdTech and the quilt(s).
The story for you to finish:
Note – this story is a much shorter variation of a chapter in the HE4Good Edited Book, edited by Laura Czerniewicz and Catherine Cronin, due to be published in the next few months.
Bell, F., Campbell, L., Forsythe, G., Mycroft, L., Scott, A.-M.(forthcoming). HE4Good assemblages: FemEdTech Quilt of Care and Justice in Open Education. In L. Czerniewycz & C.Cronin (eds.), Higher Education for Good: Teaching and Learning Futures.
Listen or read
This is a posthuman tale of what? Of FemEdTech, of a quilt, and what are those? And who tells their stories? And how? And who will finish these stories? Read on, and contribute!
FemEdTech ( @femedtech #femedtech https://femedtech.net ) describes itself as “a reflexive, emergent network of people learning, practising and researching in educational technology”. Before and during OER19 in Galway (
the my* last face to face OER conference until OER23 in Inverness), there was talk of what it meant to be at a conference. Leo Havemann and I explored portals to participation and FemEdTech launched FemEdTech Open Space, a SPLOT web site where people can contribute (without the need to login) writings that comply with our Code of Conduct. Then at the conference, Kate Bowles gave a keynote A quilt of stars: time, work and open pedagogy that not only used quilt (product and process) as a metaphor for OER but also explored presence, virtual and physical, material and temporal. FemEdTech took a look at itself in “But what exactly is @FemEdTech?” Defining an open distributed network.
Kate’s keynote, the new FemEdTech Open Space, the analysis of Shared Curation of @femedtech, coming togethers at Galway and online were only some of the inspirations for the FemEdTech Quilt. FemEdTech achieved significant values development activities during 2019. Flowing from these inspirations were posts at FemEdTech Open Space ; and the FemEdTech Quilt project, launched in November 2019, with the finished quilt due to appear at OER20. This project offered anyone, whether they attended OER20 or not, the opportunity to participate via contribution of fabrics/ trimmings, made quilt squares, found objects, words, and significantly, stories. For Frances, the stories have been a very important part of FemEdTech Quilt of Care and Justice. From the launch, the project itself was seen as an activist process and the quilt (later quilts) as material tools of activism (like banners in a protest march). But our world was changing.
In January/February 2020, while makers were planning, stitching and sending their squares, travel restrictions to and from China began and cases of COVID-19 started to emerge. Media coverage in countries like China and Italy gave a sense of what might be coming across the globe. There was a stitching day on Feb 22 in Macclesfield UK where a group of sewists stitched together the squares into now 4 quilt tops. One almost 2.4 m square quilt would have been difficult and costly to post/ travel/ display so we went for the flexibility of four quilts that could be clipped together or displayed separately.
A Digital Quilt was always planned, and it grew along with, and sometimes ahead of, the material quilt, being another SPLOT that enables a maker to upload images of squares and their stories, without logging in. By Feb 10, Shawna Brandle was reacting on Twitter to several posted image/story contributions to #FemEdTechQuilt
before they were stitched together into quilts. There was a buzz online.
A maker could have posted their material square across the world to Frances who would receive it some time later, and meanwhile upload an image of their square and its story both of which would appear at the Digital Quilt as soon as they were checked and approved. Here’s a beautiful example from Anne-Marie Scott who implemented the SPLOT/ Digital Quilt. Visitors can navigate the Digital Quilt and look at the squares in situ in each of the four quilts with links to images and their stories where available.
In March 2020, as Frances was stitching, binding and quilting the four quilts alone, COVID lockdowns were increasing. The prospect of taking the quilt to OER20 faded rapidly as OER20 morphed and went online. The FemEdTech Quilt 60 minute hands-on session planned for OER20 changed into a 30 minute webinar session that included a 5 minute low-tech video of the process of the quilt project. This session appeared to be an emotional experience for participants, as though the quilts, or possibly the experiences of making a square or engaging with the Digital Quilt, were having a (material) presence at the online session.
During lockdown, learning technologists experienced an increased workload as education pivoted online. Despite this, activism persisted at FemEdTech with letters to journal editors, COVID stories, and work associated with a Special Issue on Feminist Perspectives on Learning, Media & Technology.
In September 2022, the four FemEdTech quilts had their first outing at ALTC22 displayed on tables and held by human hands from a balcony.
They attracted interest, especially from those at the conference who had contributed squares.
It was imagined that the quilts would contribute to activism, appearing separately and together at events across the world but the details were never elaborated. Conferences and events are changing since COVID and it is time for fresh thinking about the role the material and digital quilts can play, if any, in future activism in FemEdTech and elsewhere.
Now over to you! Please feel free to take the non-Italic text and use as-is or edited, supplying your own ending to this story. Be bold! Multiple endings are possible and welcome.
You can easily publish your version of the story at https://femedtech.net/write/ We suggest you write your story in a Word (or other) document then cut and paste into the Write form and complete the remaining information.
* Correction In my general distractedness, I completely forgot that there was a hybrid OER22. OER23 will be full cream hybrid (and not just because I am attending :). Catherine Cronin remarked yesterday on people coming from afar to gather in Inverness, rather as we did in Galway in 2019.