The FabBlog

The FabBlog contains posts about learnings we’ve made through our work.


If you are considering working for a social change organisation, it is unlikely that you are doing it for the money. It is more likely that you are following a sense of purpose to make the world a better place. And you are likely a hard worker willing to put […]

Questions to ask before taking that job at a social ...


FabRiders’ Network-Centric Resources supports the development of participatory resources, building assets for networks and communities that share ownership, enable contribution and support collaboration. In this online discussion, Adam Hyde shared his lessons learned in enabling collaborative content creation. Note that this is a redo of an online recording which we […]

Enabling Collaborative Content Creation with Adam Hyde, Online Discussion Notes


FabRiders’ Network-Centric Resources project helps resource developers understand how to develop people-powered and participatory resources and establish assets for networks and communities that share ownership, enable contribution and support collaboration. In this online discussion, Amnesty International’s Milena Marin shared wisdom and lessons learned about enabling thousands of digital volunteers to […]

Crowdsourcing Human Rights Research with Amnesty’s Decoder Project, Online Discussion ...



FabRiders’ Network-Centric Resources project helps resource developers understand how to develop people-powered and participatory resources and establish assets for networks and communities that share ownership, enable contribution and support collaboration. What’s critical to grow a community around a resource is to understand the barriers to broader participation. To help exemplify […]

Redesigning for the Responsible Data Community, Online Discussion Notes


FabRiders’ Network-Centric Resources project helps resource developers understand how to develop people-powered and participatory resources and establish assets for networks and communities that share ownership, enable contribution and support collaboration.  A ‘build it and they will come’ approach is likely to end up with unused and unloved content. Being deliberate […]

Designing EFF’s Security Education Companion, Online Discussion Notes


In the last half of 2017, we ran several workshops in places like MozFest and Aspiration’s NPDev Summit to get better insights into the steps needed to develop Network-Centric Resources. Initially, we discussed it regarding ‘workflows’ but realised we needed a better metaphor to get people to understand the complexities […]

Network-Centric Resources LifeCycles Draft



We spent most of July working in California and wanted to give a quick report back on what I learned during the trip. It gave me an opportunity to get some insights from people that are focusing on developing network-centric resources in a couple of different contexts.  A quick summary: […]

Network-Centric Resources: August Update


The discipline of iteration and testing have been the most important processes to our work at FabRiders. A final product is never produced, whether it’s a how-to guide or a project plan, without distributing lots of drafts and incorporating lots of feedback. All our work is a prototype, as even […]

What We’ve Learned by Prototyping Workshops


For the last couple of months, FabRiders has been working with School of Data on the creation of a podcast series called ‘Data is a Team Sport’ and thought it would be worth sharing what we’ve learned. Why a podcast? The word podcast combines ‘iPod’ with ‘Broadcast’. Podcasts were initially […]

What we’ve learned about creating podcasts



On June 12th and June 13th, FabRiders collaborated with two doctoral researchers, Lydia Medland and Maria-Teresa Pinto, to design and deliver a workshop at the University of Bristol aimed at helping doctoral researchers strengthen their fieldwork practices and protect themselves and their research participants. To develop this participatory workshop, we […]

QAF’s and Resources to Mitigate Risks in Academic Research


We’re starting a new project that looks at developing network centric resources.  Resources are assets that are drawn on by an individual or groups in order to function more effectively. Network-centric resources are living resources that aim to build capacity in networks and communities to share and disperse knowledge. They […]

We’re developing a network-centric resource on how to develop network-centric ...


From March 6th to 10th, over 1400 individuals will converge in Valencia, Spain for what is being billed as the ‘Global Unconference of the Internet Freedom Communities.’ In our humble opinion, we think calling a participatory event at this scale an ‘unconference’ is a huge disservice as the format is […]

Why We’re Excited About The Internet Freedom Festival



2016 wasn’t all bad. Here at FabRiders, 2016 was a great year of learning. Every event and project that goes by we find ourselves building and sharing on a body of knowledge that is contributed to and enabled by a fantastic set of partners and allies. Despite all the setbacks faced last year, we are […]

Building a Better 2017


This was our fifth year attending Aspiration’s NonProfit Developer Summit (NPDev) and it remains the most important event in the FabRiders’ calendar. There are so many reasons why we love this event: the radical techie community that surrounds it, the way Aspiration lays down a foundation to support meaningful knowledge […]

What we learned at NPDev 2016


This upcoming event, which is one of many being held in Madrid prior to the International Open Data Conference, is an opportunity for those of us involved in the open data movement to come together to focus on the change and impact we are trying to create. FabRiders is honoured […]

Why We’re Excited About The Open Exchange for Social Change



During this webinar which took place on April 28th, 2016, and was cohosted by Dirk Slater, FabRiders and Nic Sera-Leyva, Internews, we discussed: Step Zero, what to consider before you even start planning a digital security training Setting Expectations, both with participants but also with organisers. Learn About Your Participants […]

LevelUp Webinar Notes: Preparing Your Digital Security Training


This article will help people working on social change efforts understand what they need to know before undertaking a technology project and how to communicate that to internal technology related staff or a potential external developer/consultant hire. This document was created with the input of several colleagues, including Tin Geber, […]

Tech Project Specifications and Social Change Efforts


Here at FabRiders, we benefit greatly from our ability to share expertise with a network of technology capacity builders through which we have developed solidarity and close friendships. Recently, LevelUp asked us to help them think about how to improve engagement with the people who are interacting with their resource […]

What are we building: communities or networks?



Introduction In 2015, FabRiders helped School of Data undertake its first research project to understand data literacy efforts around the world.  We published a series of blog posts on the School of Data website to share our findings. This is a repost of the Introduction, the links below will take you […]

Data Literacy Research Findings


During this webinar taking place on February 23rd, We: Looked at the key challenges we face in evaluating digital security trainings Explored how we measure our effectiveness according to what our beneficiaries are trying to achieve Heard from our guest speakers: Natasha and Tawanda from Digital Society of Zimbabwe, and Erin from […]

LevelUp Webinar Notes: Evaluating DigiSec Trainings for Effectiveness


In this talk I gave at TEDXEastEnd Salon on December 10th, 2015, I explore how my understanding of anonymity and privacy was formed during the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980’s and how since that time our sense of privacy has been manipulated by our use of new technologies. I also look at how […]

Privacy, new technologies and turning the tables on the state



2015 was a banner year for FabRiders. Here is what our current projects have us positioned to learn in 2016: We’ve explored hacking user centred design for social change efforts with the help of Aspiration and the International Budget Partnership.  Look for our next post in the FabBlog on designing tech projects that will engage your stakeholders. We’ve been […]

What We Will Learn in 2016


Our learnings never happen in isolation and we are always grateful to those who have helped inform us along the way. We learned a hell of a lot from Misty Avila and Allen Gunn (Gunner) at Aspiration, who shared their methodologies to get tool developers to focus on users’ needs.  We […]

Hacking user centred design for social change efforts.


FabRiders is teaming up with Kristin Antin of the engine room to learn about what makes communities of practice work. We’re hoping you can help us out by taking this survey. We are using this information to help projects who are trying to build or improve their community of practice and […]

Help Us Learn about Communities of Practice



Anybody that gets within earshot of me during the months of October and November will hear me wax lyrical about this event (the only one I’ll cross the pond for!). Lasting three days during the third week of November, The NonProfit Developer (#npdev) Summit is Aspiration’s annual gathering that brings […]

What I learned at NPDev Summit 2015


This was originally posted in the School of Data blog and was written by Mariel Garcia As we shared a few months back, School of Data is working on a research project to understand data literacy efforts around the world. We are using a framework which is informed by the principles of […]

Data Literacy Research Update


FabRiders finally has its own logo and social media icon!  Since 2012 we’ve been busy establishing FabRiders and building up a substantial body of work. Though we have put it off, what surprised us is how quick the process of the development of the logo actually turned out to be.  Working […]

What We’ve Learned About Logos



What are effective ways of achieving data literacy in social change? Who is doing what and how? How is this work being sustained? How is impact being determined? FabRiders is pleased to announce a new research project we are implementing for School of Data, exploring the intersection of data literacy and social […]

We are learning about ‘data literacy’


This blog post is a collaboration amongst ‘technology capacity building’ practitioners, namely: Misty Avila, Beatrice Martini and Dirk Slater. We are thankful for comments and feedback from our gracious colleagues, including: Kristin Antin, Allen Gunn (Gunner), and Tom Longley. Over the last couple of decades there has been various efforts […]

What We’ve Learned About Tech Capacity Building


The Transparency and Accountability Initiative have published a guide to running technology mentorships, with the aim of improving an organisation’s impact and effectiveness.  FabRiders’ Dirk Slater was honoured to be able to act as a ‘Tech Mentor’ for the project, along with fellow mentors: Lucy Chambers, Sarah Schacht, Tunji Eleso, […]

Tech Mentorship Guide