Hive NYC’s State of the Hive 2017, our annual meetup to celebrate and assess the network’s strategic direction, was held on Friday, May 12th at Center for Social Innovation with 76 attendees from 53 organizations, community allies, and field partners. In response to thoughtful feedback we heard from members last spring, Hive HQ has spent the past year with an intentional focus on creating a more inclusive network. This includes developing more opportunities to build trust and learn through critical and deep-dive conversations, and experimenting with participatory ways to foster engagement and collaboration for members across roles, professional experiences, learning styles, and programmatic areas. Some of our efforts in these veins have included:
- Collaborating with long-term members to create a more formal membership criteria that includes embedded values commitment to promoting digital equity and access for youth;
- Hosting a wider range of meetups, such as our November digital equity roundtable and January online privacy & security workshop, to support members in exploring and unpacking issues that impact the well-being of young people they serve;
- Piloting an evaluation cohort with members to measure the specific social emotional learning outcomes of youth digital learning programs. Our goal is to provide a resource to the field to improve pedagogy & program design and promote effective youth engagement practices in web literacy and digital learning; and
- Designing and launching a new grantmaking program that promotes innovation and leadership among Hive NYC members.
We dedicated this year’s State of the Hive to reflecting on the progress we’ve made across the network, sharing what we’ve learned, and identifying ways for Hive to continually connect to and support each other’s work.
At Hive HQ, we believe that taking time to show up for and honor each other’s achievements is as important to meeting ongoing deliverables and deadlines. So, to kick off the day, we asked each member to write down a few
accomplishments that they’ve been most proud of from the last year, and to plot these moments on a makeshift timeline we’d created along the wall. The result was a beautiful visual representation of Hive NYC’s diverse ecosystem. Some highlights include:
- NYC Salt students’ work featured in The New York Times
- Groundswell hiring its first African-American woman executive director, Robyne Walker Murphy
- A successful collaborative partnership among Education Video Center, NYC Parks & Rec, and NYC Writing Project
- Global Action Project’s participation in launch of community-organized Hate Free Zones
- 50% representation of girls -for the first time- in Mouse’s programming.
Check out the full timeline of Hive NYC achievements here.
City partnerships, youth pathways & quality learning
During the heart of our day, we lifted up the collaborative work that members have done in their working groups, inspired by members’ requests at State of the Hive 2016 to join in deeper conversations and more focused professional development and learning opportunities. To create an open learning space during this session, we asked active members of each working group to lead a table discussion about their group topic, and for the remaining meetup participants to freely join the discussions that most interested them at their own pace. The working group table discussions we hosted were:
Youth Digital Media Evaluation Cohort, facilitated by Laura from EVC: As mentioned above, this group is focused on evaluating the effectiveness of youth-focused digital learning programs on improving social and emotional learning outcomes for youth.
CS-Paths, facilitated by Rafi and Dixie from Hive Research Lab: A working group that’s part of an HRL-led research initiative to support the learning and identity-building trajectories of youth engaging in computing and digital making programs.
Building Connected Credentials, facilitated by John from ReelWorks: Launched with the support of a HASTAC-DML grant, this project has convened members to explore the power and potential of documenting youth learning–via such tools as digital portfolios or badges–that happens in one setting to unlock access to another learning opportunity, such as a job, academic credit, or program fee waiver.
City partnerships, facilitated by Brian from Beam Center and Zac from NYC Parks & Rec: This group has gathered throughout the year to explore strategies for organizations and networks like Hive to work more effectively together, and in partnership with city agencies, to provide higher quality and more efficient learning experiences for youth.
Wild Card, facilitated by Meghan from Mozilla Foundation and led by members: This table was left free for folks to meet and discuss whatever was on their minds.
While a range of ideas and recommendations emerged from these discussions, the strongest themes were:
- A call for Hive organizations to develop shared narratives and frameworks to more effectively demonstrate their impact;
- The need to identify more concrete outcomes and opportunities for improving youth learning, development, and pathways;
- The importance of Hive in facilitating spaces for honest conversations, working through challenges, and thinking about how to bring a stronger social and racial justice lens to the network.
These are important priorities that Hive HQ will keep in mind as we map out the year ahead. Some related events we already have in the works are a share-out of findings from our Youth Digital Media Evaluation Cohort at the July meetup and a workshop focused on racial equity in October. Stay tuned for more!
Strengthening the Mozilla Network
To close out the day, Chris Lawrence, a Vice President at Mozilla, shared a strategy update from the Foundation, highlighting Mozilla’s:
- Refined focus on 5 key issue areas–online privacy & security, open innovation, decentralization, web literacy, and digital inclusion–to promote internet health, and the importance of Hive NYC members’ leadership in driving this vision.
- Creating a unified Mozilla Network that brings together all of the initiatives and leaders Mozilla supports.
- New York City-focused partnerships with municipal agencies to provide digital security trainings to organizations serving vulnerable populations–with the aim of developing NYC as a digital sanctuary city–and other initiatives to decentralize the web.
Hive NYC’s expertise in developing emerging leaders, responding to needs of local communities, and working across sectors on a city level is essential to shaping Mozilla’s global strategy in advocating for an open, healthy internet. We look forward to continuing learning and building with you all as the Foundation works to strengthen the Mozilla Network.
As always, thank you to all who joined us both this year and years past at our annual State of the Hive.
All photos in this post were taken by Christian Rodriguez, a NYC Salt alumn.