Introduction to Wrangling

While Mozilla provides a basic structure, resources, and support, the festival is essentially designed and produced by volunteers — teams of educators, activists, engineers, artists, and researchers who care about the open web and a healthy internet.

Building Spaces and Experiences for MozFest

One of the first tasks in the co-design process is to identify an idea or topic, or a mode of participation that focuses a Wrangler team’s work for the duration of the Wrangling process. These are called “Spaces” or “Experiences.” Wranglers can dream up any topics or modes that they like, as long as they fall under that year’s overarching festival theme. In 2023, the overarching festival theme is Trustworthy AI. We’ve chosen to continue this theme in response to ubiquitous artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that are changing how we live and work worldwide.

Spaces are the core building blocks of the festival: thematically-related collections of sessions and activities designed to spur collaboration, engagement, and action.

The action happens at the festival, but the work begins far in advance. A space is defined by a “narrative” drafted by a wrangler team, written to spark questions, ideas, and participation around that topic. We use these Space narratives on the MozFest website, as the basis for our open Call for Proposals (CFP), and to structure the work for the duration of the experience.

Once the narrative is finalized, Space Wranglers:

  • Share the Space narrative and CFP throughout their communities and beyond.
  • Spark or convene conversations around the Space topic, in chat channels or virtual meetings during the CFP period.
  • Encourage session proposal submissions to the Festival, across several possible formats, typically: discussion, workshop, lightning talk/skill share, and social moments.
  • Curate about 20 to 30 sessions that best represent or expand or unpack their Space idea.
  • Support facilitators in developing a participatory session plan for the virtual format in advance of the event
  • Share the Space program, news, and updates about the festival as it approaches.
  • Provide on-site support for facilitators at the event.
  • Help promote Space activities during the festival.
  • Find ways to recap and document their Space post-festival.

For example, here is a list of session and events titles curated in the Rethinking Power & Ethics Space in 2022.

Click to view all of the 2022 Space narratives.

Experiences are driven by a more focused concept, or defined around narrow field of practice or community audience, or a specific mode of interaction.

Here are a few examples of Experiences from previous festivals, both in person and virtual:

  • 2016-2018 Artist Open Studio - a gallery space bringing together artistic responses to internet health issues, at the event and on the web
  • 2018 Queering Experience - a collection of opportunities for exploration, celebration, tension and disorientation around what happens when queer meets tech!
  • 2021 Cultural Party- an informal, interactive, and community-based event for MozFest participants to share their local and traditional digital experiences with other participants, featuring virtual artistic performances, cooking, games, films, music and more.
  • 2022 Zine Fair - workshops, an online gallery and a virtual synchronous fair to create, share and explore together how zines can help connect diverse communities and share perspectives from around the globe about trustworthy AI and digital rights.

Experience differ from Spaces in that they may be curated outside of the Call for Proposals, or rely on submissions in a more tailored or streamlined process. They contain far fewer community led-sessions-- no more than 5 community led sessions in support of an convening, interactive experience. And they have a strong interactive element that allows participants to do something new and unexpected in the virtual setting. Because of the more limited focus and volume, Experience teams may be smaller than Space teams, and work on slightly different challenges along the way. Experience teams may

  • Collaborate to create a virtual environment for participation
  • Work with artists or game designers to bring interactive or collaborative experiences to the festival
  • Develop and launch a hands-on co-creation offering, like a hackathon or contribute-a-thon

While the outcome may be different, the overall arc of the Wrangler process is similar to that of Spaces (listed above). Wranglers will:

  • Share the Experience narrative throughout their communities and beyond
  • Spark or convene conversations around the Experience topic, in chat channels or virtual meetings during the CFP period
  • Solicit proposals or contributions from community creators or facilitators
  • Curate and develop the set of activities that will comprise the Experience
  • Work closely with community collaborators to prepare the best offerings possible in alignment with the Experience goals
  • Share the Experience program, news, and updates about the festival as it approaches
  • Provide on-site support for creators and contributors at the event
  • Help promote Experience activities during the festival
  • Find ways to recap and document their Experience post-festival.

For 2023, due to the limitations and requirements of our production cycle, we’re aiming to produce 2 to 3 experiences, and 5 to 6 Spaces. During the retreat/onboarding and in the week or so following, with support from the MozFest team, Wranglers build out a final list of 2023 Spaces and Experiences… and the adventure begins!.