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Structure and Feeling

The new year is speeding ahead in the Incubator! Participant teams have been thinking about upskilling and hiring; building out onboarding and other documentation for their projects; and thinking about how to curate meaningful events and hold accessible space. ​In February, projects began 1:1 mentoring calls at a rate that will speed up through the next few months.

Structures of Feeling

The second module of the curricular skeleton invited projects to consider feeling as structure, building from sociologist Raymond William's foundational work. Indeed, focus group calls surfaced how project leaders are feeling about the work to be done, surfacing guilt, shame, anxiety, and questions of trust and control. These reflections are informing how we're asking a slate of invited mentors to engage the how-to's of building community and reflections on building sustainable open projects. These felt orientations to the work are fundamentally different from what Williams had in mind when he used the phrase "structures of feeling" as a way to understand social and cultural change. Nonetheless, we've been thinking about how affective orientations to the work of building governance, community, and access inform how existing tools and resources are used and their efficacy.



Many teams read or were pointed to the first chapter of The Art of Gathering "Decide Why You are Really Gathering." Teams also perused a a range of resources around building open events and launching code including on engaging open communities.

Teams across focus groups expressed some ambivalence about the social obligation around introducing new team members and ice breaking in synchronous meetings, often reflected in anxiety about taking up time. We return to this question in March in focused conversations around engaging volunteer labor.


Teams continued to tweak and edit visioning statements, some turning to strategic planning models, or drafting fundraising 1-pagers. Others explored best practices in meeting documentation beyond Robert's Rules and policy drafting (resources here and here). In an especially productive turn, invited guest Mallory Knodel invited Solar Protocol to consider adult learning models like ADIDS (activity & discussion - input - deepening - synthesis) as they work on public and on boarding documentation of their project.

Community conversations

  • Council Data Project, based in Seattle, has been approaching other municipalities about the possibility of deploying there.
  • Open Science Community Saudi Arabia met with the Jordanian Open Source Association for a conversation about licensing and open data portals across the region
  • The Building Community around R Development Guide team held a "community champions" call with representatives from different R user groups to advise on the programming of the forthcoming collaboration campfires. They have also been collecting models towards their own Code of Conduct for those events.

Project Updates

  • Citation File Format won 2nd prize in the CampusSource award, given by the the German Society of Research Software Engineers to projects that help researchers with their software work, sustainability and reproducibility.
  • Open Science Community Saudi Arabia website is now live. Help appreciated reaching data science researchers in Arabic-speaking countries with this survey collecting data about the experiences of using repositories in the MENA region and working with metadata in Arabic. (Arabic English)
  • The first collaboration campfire, put together by Saranjeet Kaur Bhogal and Heather Turner of the R Development Guide is coming up this coming Tuesday, February 22. The goal of these sessions is to open new pathways to the R project for underrepresented groups. Follow them on Twitter @R_Contributors
  • Ersilia and Solar Protocol have exciting announcements that will be made public soon.

Building Laterally Event Series

Visions of Mutual Power

Our public discussion in January brought together technologists and activists who have experimented with different infrastructures for building, sharing, and transferring power both within organizations and beyond. We have been moved by the urgency of reactions to this event and encouraged to pick up threads from this conversation in the future. If you missed it, we're happy to share the recording of that event and the collected resources gathered from speaker remarks. Check out recordings and resources from the whole series here.

Coloniality of Digital Infrastructure

Our next event, coming up on Wednesday, February 23 13:30-15:00 UTC-5(ET) promises an exciting, interdisciplinary investigation of (digital) infrastructure and power. Speakers address the question of the structures of knowledge and information, who stewards and curates those precious resources, and what is available to communities and states as a result. Rooted in the experience of curation of art and archives in Kenya (via speaker Chao Tayiana Maina) and in the protection of Indigenous lands from illegal mining and logging in Peru (via speaker Luis Tayori), we're continuing our commitment to understanding large, structural questions through the actual experiences of communities and technologists. Many thanks to our translator, Rocío Amorozo Coba, who will permit us to host this event in English and Spanish. Join us! Register in advance.