Jade Did Drumbeat: A Field Journal

It's Interactive and Ethnographic

The Opening

This video puts the opening speeches provided by Cathy Davidson and Mitchell Baker in conversation.  It was very empowering to start the first day of the festival with these two amazing women.  After this speech all the participating groups pitched their ideas.

The Closing

The Closing ceremony of the festival was very exciting.  I sat in the room during the prep for the “variety show” to go over the highlights, hiding in a little window seat as sound checks and script run throughs happened around me.  I was exhausted, but excited.  Since Cathy was part of the opening the organizers had her come back for a final run through.

She was very excited to see me because she had big news: Mozilla had decided to take on the Future Class tool as part of their on-going Drumbeat development projects!

And then the search for Whitney and Sam started.  Whitney had opted to go back to her room and take a nap.  Luckily we managed to call Sam back from his hotel for the big announcement.  Of course, the element of surprise was taken away since we had to tell him why we needed him back.  I was so excited for both Nick and Sam because we wouldn’t have been in such an amazing place had it not been for both of their efforts.

During the actual run through of the closing they asked Cathy what she was taking back with her from the festival.

Her reply was,

I’m taking back five wonderful students.

The audience laughed.  She asked us to stand up, and there was applause.


Gunner Speaking during the first Space Wrangler Meeting

November 3

Our official introduction in to the world of drumbeat was at the first “Space Wranglers” meeting, a meeting that just happened to be in the Future Class/Storming the Academy Tent.  During this meeting we learned that part of our travel scholarships from Mozilla meant we were volunteering to help guide people through the festival should they have questions.  We also needed to have a general sense of what was happening with the schedule.  This role allowed us to make sure we had any pre-event questions answered.

The Gunner Experience

Allen “Gunner” Gunn changed how everyone in Future Class views successful facilitation and collaboration within diverse groups (so much so that a blog post was written about his methods).  We started using his term, “love bomb” in our emails, almost immediately.

Hey guys,

Just a big “love bomb” (to use Gunner’s term) to FutureClass. I really, really enjoyed getting to know everyone better in Barcelona (and Mary Caton in Durham!)

-From Whitney’s first post-Drumbeat email to the listserv

The meeting was scheduled to last 4 hours, from 1pm-5pm with a regroup the next morning at 7:30AM.  I was too tired to note the time it actually ended but I know I managed to get lost in Barcelona catch a taxi to my hotel and take a 1.5 hour nap before the evening’s festivities.

Festival Map

Festival Map

The Science Fair took place that evening.  It was the opening event. We were “unveiled” as Future Class.  The Science Fair lasted quite late into the night (so late that an email was sent in the wee hours of the morning rescheduling the 7:30AM meeting to 8:00AM… I missed the email).

November 4

To see the full Storming the Academy Schedule Click Here (PDF) (or right click save as to download).

Thursday was the first day of the festival component of Drumbeat.  I was one of the two people from Future Class to see the opening speeches and activity pitches (the other members manned the tent while we were gone). I remain in awe that two amazing women were the featured speakers in the only organized component of the day.  I am humbled to be in a class “taught” by Cathy.

The festival was on.  Storming the Academy had multiple events with standing room only.  Future Class kind of let go of the idea of side table events, something I am convinced was for the best.  We always had someone at the tables and we interacted with people and explained who we are but we were very flexible with our programming.  Most of Future Class managed to explore that day. I stayed at my “field site”.

November 5

This was to be a day of misses for me. The final day of the festival started with a morning meeting that I missed.   I also missed a discussion/activity I wanted to attend that happened in the tent, facilitated by Whitney, a member of Future Class.  I had some time to wander around Drumbeat: another miss!  It was an awkward experience since so many of the tents/groups had already found their core teams and were well on their way to building.  After lunch, I  looked around a bit, but my jet lag hit me and I ended up back at the tent.

The day ended with the closing “variety show” performance Anya of DIY U.  It variety show was a selection of highlights and speakers from the various Festival tents and spaces.  Next steps for Drumbeat were also discussed.  We learned that one of the tools Future Class brought to Drumbeat had been chosen by Mozilla to be sent to their open source development community, if the class so wanted.

That night (at 11:30PM!) there was a closing party at a club called City Hall with live music, free drinks for name tags, and lots of dancing… there was also a thumb war.

The Science Fair

What was the Science Fair?

From https://wiki.mozilla.org/Drumbeat/events/Festival/program/sciencefair

Get a sense of the scope of the Festival and seek out collaborators for the next two days — in a casual setting with some of the smartest people working on open education on the web today.

Remember Science Fairs in grade school?  The Drumbeat version involves grown-ups and cocktails, but it’s pretty much the same concept.  Smart people who are passionate about their super-cool projects — research, learning models, web projects, software, experiments — want to show you what they’re working on and get your feedback and ideas. They’ll bring out their prototypes, wireframes, maps, charts, and crazy ideas while you explore and engage. The Science Fair will include tables for each of the official tents and spaces holding programming throughout the Festival, so you can learn what they’ve got planned.

There will be prizes for participants who interact with the most exhibits!

I and one other person arrived in Barcelona the morning of the Science fair.  The other attendees from Future Class had been there 1-3 days.  Despite the jetlag, it was a great opening experience.  The space was dynamic and energetic and I ended up staying until 11:30PM and taking a taxi back to my hotel despite the 6:45AM arrival.

The Acoustics of the room meant we were unable to comprehend the keynote speech due to an amazing amount of distortion.  However, there was live music, and from this live music I was able to create the loop that is used in my video project and featured on this page. (If anyone knows the name of the group that was playing, please let me know!)

Science Fair Audio Loop

The Science Fair & Side Table Sessions

HASTAC tent in the sqaure

HASTAC Tent in Plaça dels Angels



This was a First

None of us had attended a festival like Drumbeat before.  We went with a carefully crafted schedule that filled every time slot with a main tent event. For every tent event there was a complimentary side table event scheduled that a member of Future Class was in charge of.  Future Class also took the lead on planning the Science Fair table.  Like most well planned events, things did not work out quite as we had hoped.

The Science Fair

Sam's Tweet

Sam's Tweet on the Science Fair

At the Science Fair Future Class debuted the low tech social network. It was meant to map connections people made at the event.  We spent the entire night enticing people to place themselves on the canvas via self-designed post it type notes with tidibits of information.  It was our first opportunity to meet and observe who had come to this Drumbeat festival.  We were all left in awe. We were in a room full of so many fascinating people, and that the fascinating people were playing with our canvas! The empty space of our idea became a cluttered with little squares that represented all the people we were coming in to contact with. Our success at the Science Fair made us excited to take it to the side table as an ongoing activity.

The Downside =(

We could not hear the keynote speech from Joi Ito due to the acoustics of the room where the science fair was held. I am pretty sure that was the only downside to the Science Fair.

The Tent

We had a full schedule for both days we were there and a beautiful handout created with all the information about what would be going on in the tent. Rather than talk about everything we had planned, I will share the schedule:

Storming The Academy Tent Schedule

Storming The Academy Tent Schedule

Storming the Academy Tent

First Event at Storming the Academy

The Side Table

I think we learned that there is such a thing as over planning. The side table schedule was a bust. During the first event it was swallowed by everyone who wanted to participate in Anne Balsamo’s session on minority voices in tag clouds. This also made our low-tech social network inaccessible (can you find them, and us in the picture to the left?).

I will take responsibility and acknowledge that my actions, insisting that the table stay inside the tent so our technology wasn’t an easy target for pick pockets (there were a couple of big robberies at the event) might have had something to do with this failure. At the same time, allowing Future Class students the ability to freely participate in the Storming the Academy events added a unique voice. Cathy pointed out on numerous occasions that “our tent was the only tent with actual students”.  Had we been outside we literally would not have been part of the tent.  We were more engaged as participants by giving our input than we would have been had we stuck with the rigid structured schedule we set up.

Solution and Outcome for a Failed Plan

Anything that needed to be covered by the side table was incorporated into the main tent events. Everyone who was supposed to present and engage an audience had the opportunity to do so. The solution, incorporating the class fullt in to the tent, was a positive thing because it also meant that Future class members who presented also had the main tent activity leaders as part their audience to provide feedback and mentor in real time.

The side table ended up downgraded (or upgraded) to an information post about Future Class and HASTAC.