FabRiders was founded in 2012 by Dirk Slater, building on his experience supporting social justice movements. Dirk has spent the last two decades working with activists and advocates in over 30 countries. In the late 90’s, he ran one of the first circuit rider initiatives, the Low-Income Networking and Communication (LINC) Project, for the Welfare Law Center (now known as the National Center of Law and Economic Justice). Circuit Riding was an innovative model embedding technology consultants within an issue, helping progressive organisations understand how computers and the internet could make a difference in achieving their missions. LINC helped over 50 organisations across the United States mobilise low-income community members in combating welfare reform policies that were driving them more deeply into poverty. The LINC Project was seen as a circuit-riding ‘success story’, as it became an integral part of the welfare organising movement.
In 2005, Dirk broadened his focus to advocates in developing and transition countries by working with the Tactical Technology Collective. Dirk’s work with Tactical Tech focused on building the capacity of advocates working in marginalised communities to use technology and data, such as sex workers and people living with HIV/AIDS. Dirk also contributed to many of Tactical Tech’s materials, such as the Digital Survival Guide (survival.tacticaltech.org), 10 Tactics for Turning Information into Action (infoactivism.org) and Security in a box (security.ngoinabox.org). Dirk also acted as training lead for Tactical Tech’s initiatives, including large-scale trainings like the Info-Activism Camp in Bangalore, India in 2009.
Since establishing Fabriders, Dirk has worked on dozens of projects for a diverse range of clients, on a variety of social change issues including the empowerment of marginalised communities, defending the right to freedom of expression, and improving government transparency and accountability. Dirk co-chairs the Data Literacy Consortium, a network of Data Literacy Practitioners.