Domains 19: Part 2

If you missed Domains 19: Part 1, feel free to read that post first for an overview of the first day of the conference!

Day two of Domains19 was just as great if not better than day one. Martin Hawksey kicked off the day with his first-ever keynote entitled Minority Report: One Nation Under CCTV. The eerie talk was a great bookend to Chris and sava’s talk that we had just listened to the previous day. sava and Chris told futuristic sci-fi stories of surveillance, discriminatory practices, disruptions of privacy, etc. that could/would embed themselves into the world we live in. The following morning, Martin rounded out those discussions by pulling up specific, very real examples of those discriminatory practices and disruptions of privacy happening in the world today. His shared his personal experiences with Google Analytics and facial recognition in real-time on stage, played clips from Minority Report and They Live, and referenced article after article of facial recognition in 2019. A quote from Martin that has resonated with me: “Your face has become a service.”

Similar to day one, I had to do a bit of running around and prepping for the next phase of the day so I missed a large chunk of the presentations that followed Martin’s talk. (I’m planning on watching their recordings over the next several days/weeks!) That said, I did have a chance to pop into a few presentations to take pictures for the @domainsconf twitter page, and enjoyed the above scenes.

During lunch, part of the Reclaim crew briefed the audience (most of whom are DoOO/Managed Hosting institutions) with a “here’s what we’re working on” chat. This included an overview of our journey with making our site/products more accessible (Justin), custom installers and new tools that we’re adding (Tim), how we’re working to organize our support team (Meredith), and the work we’d like to do over the coming months to showcase community work (Jim).

When recapping with the team after the conference, we talked about whether or not a 10-min lunch session was the best format for something like this. In the future, I’d love to offer a dedicated Q&A session where those that want to attend can interact a little more by offering feedback, communicating concerns, and asking targeted questions to the entire Reclaim crew. I attended a session like this at a cPanel conference in 2016 and really appreciated the opportunity to be heard by cPanel developers. If there was a way at the Domains Conference to pull this off, I’d love to make it happen. The other side of that though is that time is so limited during a packed two-day event, and I wouldn’t want a Reclaim session to interfere with or compete with the well-earned time of other concurrent sessions. This is definitely something I want to continue thinking through, and if you have any suggestions I’m all ears. :)

It was an absolute pleasure to hear from Amy Collier after lunch during her keynote, Ambitious Futures for (Digital) Education: Perspectives from Tropicalia. (Her transcript is available here & here.) While our first two keynotes called to light the harsh realities that we currently face regarding surveillance and privacy, Amy explored questions of creative resistance, agency, literacy, and solidarity through the lens of Brazilian music and artwork. She ended the keynote with a strong call to action: 1) be intentionally and extraordinarily cross-disciplinary, 2) make space for students to take risks & be willing to explore one’s freedoms and demolish one’s restrictions, 3) embrace open practices that make anthroprophagia possible, and 4) invert colonizer/colonized relationships in education. It’s not every day that you see the Tropicália Movement pulled into an edtech conference, and I’m forever grateful to Amy for having the courage to speak on a topic so close to home.

All in all, this was an awesome conference and a great “round 2” of Domains. It was hardly perfect, and there’s always room for improvement, but overall I’m proud of the event that we put together. I’m proud that we were able to create a space that allowed 80+ attendees to share their stories, hear new perspectives, and foster important conversations about the higher educational world we live in and beyond.

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