Dirk Slater founded FabRiders in 2012, building on his experience supporting social justice movement building by activists and advocates in over 30 countries. Throughout his professional career, he has explored adult learning theories, along with methodologies to tap collective knowledge, in a quest to create effective workshop sessions.
In the late ’90s, 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 impact their abilities to achieve 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, such as sex workers and people living with HIV/AIDS, to use technology and data in their fights for justice and rights. Dirk also contributed to many of Tactical Tech’s groundbreaking resources, such as 10 Tactics for Turning Information into Action and Security in a Box. Dirk also acted as training lead for Tactical Tech’s initiatives, including large-scale training like 2009’s Info-Activism Camp in Bangalore, India.
Since establishing FabRiders, Dirk has worked on over a hundred projects for a diverse range of clients on various social change issues, including the empowerment of marginalised communities, defending the right to freedom of expression, and improving government transparency and accountability. FabRiders runs two-self funded projects, Network-Centric Resources and the Data Literacy Consortium. He has also coached over a thousand trainers and facilitators to integrate adult learning methodologies in their session design and implement practical workshop sessions at significant events like RightsCon and MozFest. Since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, he has run over 100 virtual sessions and supported half a dozen events, like RightsCon, Mozfest, Climate:Red Summit and AbreLatam, transition from face to face to virtual.