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How it all began

In 2021 ETHOS Lab manager Henriette Friis was part of the organising team behind the Feminist Futures Helsinki hackathon. The event was prompted by the team’s interest in Our Feminist Futures, a feminist hackathon happening in May 2021 in the US, organised by a team of researchers at MIT: Alexis Hope, Catherine D’Ignazio, Melissa Teng, Josephine Hoy, Jennifer Roberts and Laura Yona Zittrain. The research and practice of this group through the years have been and continue to be, foundational for our work with feminist hackathons.

The Helsinki team, led by Eva Duran Sánchez and Henriette Friis, wanted to bring the feminist hackathon format to the Nordics, and thus Feminist Futures Helsinki was born. Building on research primarily from the US, a new format started taking shape: The shape on which the Feminist Futures Copenhagen builds.

In the summer of 2022, new ideas started to surface in ETHOS Lab, and it became clear that we wanted to try out this feminist hackathon format in Copenhagen. Our team was established through word-of-mouth, and before we knew it we had a team of organisers from across ITU and beyond.

We came together around a shared interest in feminism, social justice and community-building. We desired a space where people could come together to deeply engage with important issues, concepts and interventions. There is a tendency to try to fix big societal struggles with apps or other forms of technology, but we want to challenge this approach (#TechWontBuildIt), and instead centre long-term and community-led perspectives.

The hackathon is not an exclusive space for programmers and hackers. We know that hackathons often cater to a very narrow group of individuals with specific backgrounds. We want to counter this by applying a feminist lens in imagining a hackathon that caters to many different people with all their different experiences. This strives to be an inclusive space for anyone and everyone who wants to take part in shaping our collective future. A future where power is challenged (and redistributed), where multiple forms and sources of knowledge are recognised, and where culture is inclusive rather than exclusionary.

Feminism asks us to put a critical eye on institutionalised power, embrace emotion, and think beyond binary structures. It reminds us that we are not individuals moving through the world, but always entangled with other bodies, histories and the non-human world.

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