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Mozilla Makes Makers at MozFest

Mozilla Makes Makers at MozFest

I've been trying to figure out how to sum up the 2012 Mozilla Festival. It's difficult because the event was much more than the sum of a schedule of panels and workshops that you can see on a page. The whole weekend was infused with a maker ethos. From software to society, we were given tools and inspiration to go beyond being consumers and become makers of our own world.

From the opening Science Fair - where I signed up to play Badge Bingo, made music with bananas, and tried a "search-based cocktail maker" that turned web page elements into different liquid ingredients resulting in some barely drinkable beverages - it was clear that every participant was expected to bring our creative ideas and energy to this 1,000-person-strong hackerspace. This was underscored in welcoming remarks from Mozilla Foundation Exectuve Director Mark Surman. He shared the Mozilla vision and encouraged us to just "ship it" (ie: get the code out the door without fussing over perfection), and let us loose. 

The festival was more focused on topical themes than on following a rigid schedule. With an entire floor fo Ravensbourne College for each theme - including like learning and digital badges (with our friends from the Open Badges team), game making, journalism (with the Mozilla-Knight News Partnership), youth programming, webmaking, and more - particpants could dig in deep within one domain or float around and cross-pollinate. Many sessions included hands-on workshops and small groups where we forged personal and digital connctions, and came up with some wonderful ideas (like, more BOOM).  Everything was enabled by smart and creative "human APIs" (a.k.a. Mozilla staff) who wore their specialties on white lab coats (photo). We were treated to a keynote from Joi Ito (video), which made clear that it should be both our duty and our pleasure to use our geek power to change the world.  The final event was an incredible Demo Party in which dozens of particpants displayed programs, games, tools, videos, and more that were made that weekend. 

The diversity of ideas and experiences was so broad I simply can't do it justice. below are links to some of the wonderfully-rich digital documentation of the festival. I encourage you to explore and learn more. I hope to return to the Mozilla Festival next year, join us and we'll build a great HASTAC posse in London!

4-minute video from MozFest:

Flickr photos tagged MOZFEST:

More personal reflections:

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