Only a week until MozFest?

Wow… nearly a year since my first MozFest already? And another one in a week? A lot has happened since then, and it’s all gone so fast.

Last year, I was invited to MozFest by Andrew and the other amazing people in the Youth Zone. I said yes, because it was a new opportunity, a great chance to meet more people and also to develop my computing and presenting skills. I’m so glad I said yes, I got so much out of the whole festival that I’m incredibly pleased to be going again.

But first, let me explain what MozFest is. It’s a brilliant event run by the Mozilla Foundation where hundreds of technology enthusiasts come together from all over the world. Last year there were over 1600 participants from over 50 countries! Its true aim is to diversify the open internet, and while that aim was definitely achieved, I feel that everybody got so much more out of the experience, not just me, as a facilitator, but every participant, from all of those 50 parts of the world. It felt as if the geographical and political boundaries between everyone were broken down, and we were all brought together through a series of workshops, interactive sessions and lectures.

I ran two Sonic Pi workshops last year, based on a spooky theme. Sonic Pi is a programming language built by Sam Aaron (@SamAaron) so that people can create and code music in a friendly and accessible environment. I’ll be doing another one this year, called ‘A Musical Magical Mystery Tour with Sonic Pi’. In this workshop, participants can choose from four different well-known songs to code and edit as they please, making a complete remix, then sharing their work with others. I can’t wait to see what ideas participants will come up with!

As well as this, I’ll be trying something new by running a Processing (@ProcessingOrg) workshop. This is a programming language I’ve been experimenting with recently, and I’ve come to love its easy-to-use interface and helpful syntax reminders. In my workshop (‘Creating MozFest Monsters With Processing’), members will be taught how to create a mythical beast using Processing, which is a language used to create art through a variety of shapes, inputs, colours and co-ordinates. They’ll create a passport-photo-sized monster, which will be printed out and put into a scrapbook celebrating their work across the weekend. Everybody’s ideas will be different, and I hope that they can embrace their imagination and put it into use during this session.

I’m setting off on the train from Preston to London on Thursday night, and I can’t wait! I’m so excited to see everyone again, like Aoibheann (@FarmSafety4Kid), and Cerys (@RPi_Stuff). I hope their workshops are as entertaining and interactive as they were last year!

Last of all, I must say thank you to all of the Youth Zone team, especially Andrew and Dorine. Everyone plays such a huge part in making our corner of MozFest work, and introducing younger programmers into the community. I also need to say thank you to my school, All Hallows Catholic High, for all of their support and the opportunities they give me, and to everybody who has helped me over the last few weeks writing and testing my workshops.

To anybody who is reading this, I hope to see you there!



By Elise Ainsworth @Girls2Geeks


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