Alumna Amelia Winger-Bearskin (MFA in Studio Art, 2008) has been named as the new Mozilla Fellow hosted at the Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab. The 2019-2020 fellowship program supports 29 global fellows, including artists, technologists, lawyers, activists and scientists, many hosted at international organizations dedicated to democracy, accountability and models in technology that help rather than harm.
From the Co-Creation Studio materials: "During her time at the Co-Creation Studio, Winger-Bearskin will develop a new project, entitled Wampum.codes, that brings greater accountability to tech with a new model for values-based dependencies in software projects. Her model is founded in Indigenous values and practices, specifically Hodenoshounee, or Iroquois, a Confederacy of six Indigenous Nations.
“Stories are the oldest technology we have as humans,” said Winger-Bearskin.
They help us to encode our values, technologies, teachings, survival strategies into various media. In Hodenoshounee culture, storytelling is a means of encoding the social values of the community. We believe contributions to the community should be made to last for seven generations. In my culture, ethics, technology, and storytelling are fused in a way that might seem foreign to the Western perspective. My goal in this project is to ask how my tribe’s way of sharing information could be applied to make software projects more ethically robust. The ethics in storytelling are pretty much the same as ethics we need for software development. The heart of the matter is: how to make explicit the values we are encoding into software?