A while back I made a post about why I needed to leave tog. In the meantime, as I whined to anyone who would listen, people started making suggestions, and dropping hints. This coalesced into something. Something truly wonderful. A working group, of passionate, hard-working, truly kick-ass humans, to set up an intersectional feminist lgbtq+ inclusive secular space, for hackers, makers, educators, and feminists, in Dublin, Ireland. It's a massive undertaking, we know we're unlikely to get everything right, but we really, keenly, want to try.
Our first event was last month. A cross-stich event, held in a very congenial pub. We'd expected maybe 20 people, 30 people tops. Turnout was more like 65-75. Some people even dropped in just to pick up kits. We could barely cope with the volume. At the busiest we had taken over more than half the pub!
We can't take all the credit. The event was a charity fundraiser, a rather popular one, and it was just before International Women's Day, and the protests that were planned to coincide. We raised €360, which bowled us over. The money went to ARC, an organisation challenging the restrictive abortion laws in Ireland. They are just one of many groups campaigning for change, to Repeal the 8th Amendment.
Our event idea was simple, take the symbols of these organisations, this iconography of the movement, and create cross-stitch patterns that people could turn into pins/badges/anything they wanted. We just didn't realise it'd be so popular! We had people from the other ends of the country asking us to run the workshop down there too. We had people in England wanting in. The solidarity, the love, in these communities, is so strong, so raw. Especially coming from a mostly techie background, it was a surprise for me. It was beautiful.
Well, our next event is somewhat similar, but completely different. The Science Gallery have a 'Humans Need Not Apply' exhibition on at the moment. They have an AI, Hoopla, that designs embroidery patterns. They've asked us to run a workshop to show people how to turn these designs into actual physical objects. This event is free, but also much smaller. It should be fun.
From the organisational side, we have another meeting tomorrow. We're working on finalising our Code of Conduct, planning even more events, and trying to get our documentation in place so we can become a legal structure. And then, find a physical space so we can house this amazing community 24/7.
It's hard work. For a group of people who are already over-worked. But the need for this kind of space, the passion and dedication of the people we interact with. It's a tonic against so much going wrong all around us. It is my primary source of hope right now.