In 2012, the Allied Media Projects and the Open Technology Institute launched the first Digital Stewards Program, as part of the Detroit Future media training. The goal of the project was to support community organizers to design and build communications infrastructure that could be planned and governed by the community itself, and based on principles of community self-reliance and digital justice.
Digital Stewards learned to install and manage community wireless (mesh) networks in their own neighborhoods. The trainings gave rise to series of participatory education activities created with the help of the Detroit-based Work Department. The Red Hook Iniative partnered with the Open Technology Institute to train Digital Stewards in Red Hook, Brooklyn to grow and maintain the community wireless network in their neigborhood.
Over the last several years, we have co-organized workshops with community technologists. Networks such as Mesh Sayada and emerging networks in communities around the world grew out of these efforts. In each instance, we documented new shared learnings and developed new materials to help others and ourselves.
We have learned and been inspired by community technology projects around the world at events like the International Summit for Community Wireless Networks and at the Allied Media Conference.
These resources are the result of that work, and they will continue to grow over time as more people contribute.