Candy Rodríguez

Image via The Self-Training Guide: How can we carry-out cyberfeminst workshops?

Recently, I published, in Hiperderecho, The Self-Training Guide: How can we carry-out cyberfeminst workshops? This material is the result of the efforts, the learning and the sistematization of many Latin-American experiences. It includes the issues of care and digital security in the discussions for women and collectives, from a feminist, horizontal and human rights lens.

Throughout the process of implementing workshops and sharing knowledge, centred around digital security, we created methodologies, emerging from a political feminist positionality. And so there is a commitment to sharing, rather than teaching, for learning and understanding, centred around the issues of digital security and Information and Communication Technologies.

Using this logic, we Latin American cyberfeminists and feminist-hackers have created and shared knowledge through physical and virtual gatherings. We believe that active listening is necessary to build strategies of resistance and responses within the digital ecosystem, allowing us to use and appropriate these tools. More and more of us are opting to occupy spaces that, historically, were created from an andocentric, capitalist and patriarchal view.


What is this guide about and what will you find?

The proposal for this material emerges from a context, inspired by political and social movements such as Latin-American popular feminism, cyberfeminists, and feminist-hackers. We commit to them, so as to learn together and in the same way sustain ourselves through methodological proposals such as popular feminist education.

In this guide you will find three methodologies to implement workshops on digital security: how to do safe sexting, how to recognise forms of digital violence as well as some strategies in order to resist in the face of sexist violence in digital spaces. Two of these workshops share tools from and Campaña Alerta Machitroll.

The methodologies were considered on two levels: On one hand, I thought of workshops in which people, interested in the issue, could participate, without prior knowledge; on the other hand I thought it necessary to leave a record of available open workshops.

The objective of this material is to be able to create community with our friends, our neighbours, our classmates or our coworkers, and learn to look out for each other, collectively, in digital space, without the existence of mediators or facilitators” during this process. Nevertheless, it is important to highlight that this material is a brief introduction to the issue and that digital security processes are ones of gradual learning and happen bit by bit.


Where Do We Find Inspiration?

As we mentioned beforehand, this material emerged, inspired by the teaching processes in other spaces. One of them started with La Chinampa Hacklab, located in Mexico. The Colectiva Insubordinadas (Unruly Collective) gathered in this space, to share with groups of women on “learning and sharing from our different wisdoms. This space is feminist and we organise open workshops and collective work sessions. We promote a hacker ethic and the use of free software and hardware, as useful tools to develop – women’s and other corporal dissidents’- autonomy, with regards to technology, activism, the building of common projects, digital security, sharing knowledge and the creation of free media”. These are proposals coming from popular feminism and based in feminist pedagogies and well, it is the theoretical lifeblood of this Guide. But what do we mean by these concepts?


What is popular feminism and how do we incorparte/include it in our cyberfeminist workshops, through popular feminist pedagogies?

When we talk about popular feminist pedagogies, we refer to a teaching method that came from feminist practises, created through conversations, workshops, meetings, where active listening and reciprocity of the word exists, just like in in cyberfeminist events. This approach uses the framework of the learnings of liberating pedagogy1 and of Paolo Freire’s popular education, to aim at revising, criticising and appropriating the reading by different feminisms.

In relation to this, the guide, Popular Feminist Education Methodology for Women’s Empowerment, by Cantera, points out “that from the place of pedagogy one can reflect and act on the need and method of how oppressed people acquire critical consciousness about their own reality, through liberating educational processes. Accordingly, the existing continuum is devised so that one can move between one form of consciousness and another by means of an education that facilitates the problematization and critical analysis of one’s reality, rather than training and adapting a person to it (Centro de capacitación y educación popular (Training And Popular Education Centre)- Cantera: 9).

Popular feminist pedagogy is based on building, self-taught or facilitated, learning processes in which people reflect in order to transform their social reality. This is based in the conviction that all of us have something to offer: as such we all learn from one another –as women feminist hackers point out with their “let’s do it as a pack”. It’s worth noting that this method centres on people and their personal and collective processes. As well as on collective feedback, active listening and building collective endeavours.

And on the other hand...

As Claudia Korol pointed out in the book Popular Feminisms: Pedagogies and Politics “this proposal commits to living with dignity in a territory systematically violating women, seeking ways to disrupt capitalist, colonial and patriarchal violence, starting with our bodies, trained to resist, to care for, to embrace and when necessary fight.” (p.14). Moreover, Korol also points out that these feminisms look at reality and transform it from below. This allows us to name ourselves in a “we” and create contexts in which we can recognise ourselves as allies, founded through many events, marches, dialogues, tears, celebrations fiestas and hugs. Coming back to this idea is the reason we invite you to use the guide and replicate the workshops in the spaces you inhabit.

The concept of “popular feminism” speaks to us of the changes that are necessary to reconfigure the different systems like capitalism, colonialism and patriarchy that violate women and make them vulnerable. In other words, racialized and vulnerable women face engrained violence with greater frequency and intensity. It is precisely this approach that allows us to identify violences, acting together and strengthening. What popular feminism proclaims is a positionality visibilizing the fact that not all women have the same experiences concerning the gender violences, through which each of us lives.

And digital violence is one mode that strengthens, together with other forms of violence, reproducing in the physical space. For this reason we include the proposal of talking about how we inhabit the internet and what we can do to build a safer internet with our community.

We invite you to review this material, share it, and reflect on it with your friends, colleagues or anyone else.

Remember that the internet is built together and by networking.

1 The authors of this text did not use what is known as “popular pedagogy”, but rather approaches and reflections on liberating pedagogy, educational dialogue, conscientizing education, etc.