Following Mozilla’s decision to sunset stewardship of its digital learning programs, we gathered at our November 9th Meetup hosted at the bright offices of Girls Write Now to process this news for Hive NYC, be in community, and to plan forward. After an honest check in that illustrated the deep connections and commitment of the network to continue on as a nexus of peer learning and support, Chris Lawrence, VP Leadership, shared more context for Mozilla’s strategy. Chris articulated that Mozilla’s move to focus on the movement for internet health overall has “meant a step away from ground game to policy, and a new priority — away from our traditional community granting strategy to a fellowship model, one that is embedded in organizations, governments, and think tanks in order to advance our internet health agenda.” While noting that there will be new pathways to reconnect with Mozilla in the future, Chris reflected on the resilience of the network, from its inaugural stewardship by the Social Science Research Council to MacArthur and then Mozilla.
Transitions have been a core design challenge for Hive NYC, constantly reshaping from steward to steward. But surfacing it helped us pose the question, “to what end?” As part of this discussion, attendees explored the possibility and power of continuing the network through a member-led effort. We held space for members to reflect on what they’ve gained from participating in Hive NYC, what they believe could be lost from its sunset, what needs to be preserved, and what values they would like to see carried forward. Here’s what we heard:
What have you gained the most from being part of Hive NYC?
- Collaborations: Through face-to-face relationship building and partnership development, Hive NYC has successfully facilitated a shared learning community dedicated to equity that sparks richer partnerships and builds momentum through collaborative projects.
- Peer Learning: An opportunity for collective growth. An environment to explore a variety of youth development approaches that expand and improve our work to serve diverse youth communities.
- Agency & Support: A safe space to discuss struggles and celebrate accomplishments. A supportive place to experiment with innovative ideas and to challenge ourselves to think deeply about the impacts of our work.
What are you most worried about losing from Hive NYC’s sunset?
- A shared community of thought partners and an in-person space with shared values like collaboration, solidarity, and equity.
- Funding and experimental grants that foster innovative youth programming. Allies that help find and leveraging connections with foundations, corporations, and city-wide institutions.
- Mozilla, Hive NYC leaders: dedicated staff that facilitate activities of the network. Important advocates in the field of digital/web literacy and youth development.
What elements of Hive NYC needs to be preserved the most?
- Systems for maintaining connectivity across member organizations. Providing platforms for reporting to peers and elevating our work.
- Access to tools and resources, like the Hive NYC website, so like-minded digital educators and allies can learn from others via best practices.
- The practice and professionalism of youth development across informal learning and out of school time spaces. Essential to provides opportunities that push the boundaries of learning.
What 3 values do you want to see carried forward?
- Equity: High quality youth development; youth in positions of leadership in digital media and learning; youth-centered ethos.
- Innovation: Safe space to experiment; critical discourse; different opinions welcome; energy and inspiration; intellectual engagement.
- Solidarity: Collaboration, openness, judgement-free, welcoming and horizontal leaderships.
Members feel that the community fostered by the Hive NYC Learning Network must continue to live on in some capacity, beyond Mozilla’s stewardship. Members discussed and offered opportunities to continue forward aspects of Hive NYC; through maintaining communications via listerves to hosting informal gatherings at their organizations and institutions. As a follow up to this gathering, Hive NYC will be convening a Stakeholders Meeting on December 11th to discuss further.
We invite members who were unable to attend the last meetup to share their reflections on the questions above. You can follow this link to share your answers. We also invite you to share writings, to be posted on the Hive NYC and Mozilla blogs, about the learning network: what it means to you, your work, and anything you’d like to celebrate. Interested in contributing a blogpost? Please reach out to Chrystian Rodriguez directly <firstname.lastname@example.org>. We greatly appreciate your time and thoughts, and will bring the many reflections we collect to the upcoming Stakeholders meeting. Join us in this conversation!
Finally, please calendar in the following Hive NYC Network gatherings to continue network discussions, build stronger connections, be in community, and to celebrate our work together. Dates are below:
- (NOV 29) Connected Credentials Meeting: 9am at The Graduate Center, CUNY – 365 5th Avenue – Skylight Room
- (DEC 7) Hive NYC Party Like it’s 1999 Celebration!: 4:30-7:30pm at the Girls Write Now office – 247 West 37th Street, Suite 1000, New York, NY 10018
- (DEC 11) Hive NYC Stakeholders Meeting: 1-4pm at Mouse – 55 Broad St 16th Fl, New York, NY 10004
You can expect more important updates from the Hive NYC team as we come to closer to sunset, so please read the emails. Reach out directly if you’d like to discuss this transition further, if you have any questions, or just want to show some love.
Chrystian, Hana, Amy, Meghan, and Chris