Take Back the Tech! Feminist Learning Circles


For Take Back the Tech! the internet is a space for play, exploration, experimentation and learning, as well as a vital political space of free association and expression. That’s why we created a series of online sharing sessions so that TBTT campaigners and other curious cyberfeminists from all over the world can participate, create and put their knowledge into action to occupy the internet creatively.

Take Back the Tech! Feminist Learning Circles were conceived as spaces for playful, conspirational strategising and experimentation with tech in order to exploit the internet’s possibilities for activism.  The circles are open to all those people who collaborate directly or indirectly with the Take Back the Tech! goals. As such, anyone who’s questioning the platforms, tools and structures that make up today’s internet and who’d like to strengthen or discover new skills in building an internet and world free of violence - against women, against gender diverse people or against LGBTIQ+ communities - TBTT Feminist Learning Circles are for you!

The circles reflect the relaxed, playful and often rebellious style that has characterised TBTT capacity building for over 10 years, as well as our commitment to open knowledge and free and open source tools. Each circle features a live instruction session followed by the possibility to have asynchronous exchange with the instructor and each other as participants put learning into practice, in the open source discussion forum Mattermost hosted by Take Back the Tech. As part of our commitment to open knowledge sharing, the instruction sessions are recorded, notes and ideas documented, and available for anyone to access on the TBTT website.

Sessions take place in English, Spanish or French and this year’s series is focussed on creative discourse and expression, assessing risk and digital safety.

We’ve been honored and thrilled to have a distinguished group of outstanding activists-designers-writers-artists-programmers-trainers-technologists sharing their tools, work methodologies, web interventions and what most inspires them. The discussion forum space hopes to entice campaigners to put new knowledge into practice for their local organising, with no fears of making mistakes because participants and instructors have each others’ back. TBTT is all about learning by doing.

In July 2019, Steffania Paola, a Brazilian feminist activist who is also a web developer, designer, visual artist, and digital security trainer kicked off the series with “Even machines dream: Feminist robots on Twitter”, with one circle in English for participants from Asia, Africa Europe and North America, and one in Spanish for TBTT’s large Latin American community of campaigners and feminist activists.   

Find links and recordings for each session from the 2019 series below, as they become available.

This pilot activity is supported by OXFAM’s Enough Project against gender-based violence.

Join TBTT Feminist Learning Circles and help us create the #feministinternet we dream of, and smash patriarchy along the way!

Las máquinas también suenán: Robotas feministas para Twitter
(Even machines dream: Feminist robots on Twitter)
Video: Spanish| Blog: Spanish, French
18 July 2019
Description: Do you want to occupy social media in a creative and original way through bots programming? You are worried by hate speech fueling social media? You want to have a cyberfeminist experience? Let’s get to work! Let’s build feminist counter-narratives together!
Instructor: Steffania Paola, a Brazilian feminist activist who is also a web developer, designer, visual artist, and digital security trainer.

Even machines dream: Feminist robots on Twitter
Video: English | Blog: (coming soon)
22 August 2019
Description: Let's play with our feminist expression on the internet! In this session, we offer a short introduction to bots and afterward we kick off a hands-on session on how to design and give life to a feminist bot* (robot) on Twitter.
Instructor:  Steffania Paola is a Brazilian feminist activist; web developer, designer and visual artist, and digital security trainer.

Feminist Forwards: Creating content to make the internet work for you
Video: English | Blog: Spanish, English and French
23 September 2019
Description: How many of us are in WhatsApp groups that send endless rounds of good morning wishes, filling up your phone with perhaps well-meaning but meaningless messages and images? What if you could give back some creative, feminist messaging that questions online gender-based violence, gender stereotypes, or gives practical digital safety tips? Smita's "Feminist forwards" session is all about making creative content using images and text as counternarratives to the common "forwards" so many of us receive.
Instructor: Smita Vanniyar works with Point of View, a non-profit based in Bombay, India, at the intersection of gender, sexuality, and technology. They are interested in stories, books, history, tech, fandoms, art, and in queering all of it. She can be generally found wandering the cyberspace or hunting for good coffee.

¿Participar o no ¿y cómo? Análisis de conversación en las redes en tiempos de discurso de odio
(To participate or not - and how? Social media conversation analysis in times of online hating)
Video: Spanish (coming soon) | Blog: Spanish, French
27 September 2019
Description: In this session, we learn how to do conversation analysis for create/adapt our counter-narratives and campaigns.
Although doing conversation analysis in a professional manner can be complex; our instructors share the tools available to us to make a basic analysis, identifying points of view, communities and narratives that dominate - as well as examples of HOW to participate - in the conversations that matter to us in so many spaces on the Internet.

Instructors: Haydeé Quijano (@haydeki), from SocialTIC and Infoactivismo is a communicator for social change. Interests - Communicating complex issues in an understandable and accessible manner. Analysing narratives to design communication strategies.
Bet Quesadas, from SocialTIC and Infoactivismo, is an activist converted to Infoactivism, in search of dialogues, information and communication tactics for change. Interests - narratives, discourse strategies, combating hate speech.


Assessing risk in campaigns: Claim safer spaces
Video: English (coming soon) | Blog: (coming soon)
21 November 2019
Description: Do you want to make your next campaign safer? Do you want to know more about risk assessment in a safe feminist learning space? This FLC webinar will give you a light and jargon-free introduction to risk assessments - why they are important, how to do them, and what they might mean for you and your work!
Instructors: Paola Mosso is a feminist Chilean journalist who promotes responsible and effective engagement with tech and data. She is the Tech Team Lead at The Engine Room, and supports partners in designing and integrating healthy internal security practices.
Barbara is a Brazilian activist and researcher who is interested in exploring how technology and data can help us achieve social justice. She has worked defending the right to public information and transparency, advocating for open government, supporting women’s rights and mobilizing against racism and online abuse. Barbara co-founded Minas Programam, an initiative designed to share knowledge about technology with girls and women from Sao Paulo.