Candidate Statement: Liz Barry

This thread is for the candidate statement of 2021 GOSH Community Council Election candidate Liz Barry (@lizbarry). Liz, you can reply to this post with your candidate statement. I have included the candidate statement template below for your reference:

2021 GOSH Community Council Election Candidate Statement Template

Candidate Name:

Please provide a short biography, and describe some of your participation and contributions in the GOSH community (3-5 sentences):

Please provide a position statement (5-7 sentences), indicating why you are running for Community Council, your priorities for the community, and what you hope to achieve:

Candidate statements do not have to be in English. For more information on the Candidate Statement’s category, please read the about post pinned to this category.

Please provide a short biography, and describe some of your participation and contributions in the GOSH community (3-5 sentences):

Hi everyone, I’m Liz Barry (she/her), co-founder of Public Lab and on the founding board of the Computational Democracy Project. I am signatory #164 on the GOSH manifesto, and am honored to be a small part of GOSH’s lineage thanks to Public Lab and GOSH being two fabulous, “OG” open source orgs that share some very basic foundations (and organizational structures). Working with Chinese organizers, I co-coordinated the 2018 Guangzhou Barnraising to align with GOSH 2018 Shenzhen. With great interest, I participated in the summer 2020 GOSH Governance calls and since the establishment of the Governance Working Group have been avidly following developments on the forum. In a previous life, I spent years listening to strangers on sidewalks with a Talk To Me sign and then throwing parties for everyone we met to meet each other. I am told that I have a gift for listening, empathizing, and developing understandings, and for facilitating conversation among people…lots of people. Helping people self-organize around questions at scale is a hallmark of my professional practice.

I was surprised and humbled to learn that someone nominated me to run for GOSH Community Council. THANK YOU for this opportunity!

Please provide a position statement (5-7 sentences), indicating why you are running for Community Council, your priorities for the community, and what you hope to achieve:

I am running to contribute to the health of GOSH. A GOSH community that is powerful, inclusive, global, accessible, and committed to equity and diversity has the ability to shift the power of knowledge production to the people and equip humanity to better face the challenges of our time. This big vision of GOSH in the world needs to be accompanied by a big vision for GOSH as a community. To achieve equity in GOSH, voices that haven’t been heard before have to be invited and lifted up.

To make this work, my priority is to attend to the “governance build-out tasks” listed on page 9 of the 10 page GOSH Governance Plan for Seating A First GOSH Community Council. Establishing a representative council is a great start, and is not enough to ensure that the members of GOSH from every country and sector: A) are meaningfully involved in setting the agenda, B) can get to know each other better across the many divides, and C) as a diverse community develop the ability to manifest our many voices into harmonies. To make this work, I have two concrete and actionable proposals:

  • Proposal 1: in between elections, use our voting roll to draw random groups of 3-5 people into get-to-know-you conversations. While primarily aiming to bring the open science hardware world a little closer, these groups may also serve as small deliberative bodies engaging with topics being discussed on the Community Council. Small groups providing policy input is an OECD 2020 good practice principle for deliberative processes in public decision-making, and alleviates the issue articulated by philosopher of democracy Rousseau that people are “free only during the election.”

  • Proposal 2: for issues that are being discussed in the Community Council, use methods for “listening at scale,” a term coined by Taiwan’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang. Just as everyone at an unconference has the opportunity to offer their own ideas that together form the event, lightweight wiki-surveys enable a very large group to respond in their own words or voice, gain an understanding of the overall opinion space including and preserving minority positions, and ultimately shift how issues are framed. Output from this participation would serve as input to the Community Council.

I have stress-tested versions of these processes in various other contexts and they assist the development of individual and group self-awareness and the emergence of collective intelligence. And fun!

We are here today reading candidate statements and preparing to vote thanks to the big step that the GOSH Governance Working Group undertook to establish a representative structure. Up next: attending to the high-dimensional navigation required to be able to hear all voices… a problem which faces GOSH and indeed every democracy. I strive for a world where it’s safe to be an individual in all our diversities and particularities, where supportive communities mutualistically help its members reach their potential, and in doing so, make it possible for “everyone to change everything” — together. A coherent GOSH that can thrive thanks to its own internal diversity is a GOSH more capable of making a difference in a diverse world.

Thank you for reading my statement and considering my candidacy. I look forward to iterating with you!


As the election period comes to a close, the words shared by the candidates in the Town Halls have been echoing in my mind. I listened again to the recordings, transcribed another set of notes in order to read each candidate’s spoken words in one piece, and here’s what i heard:

s o m e - o f - o u r - i n d i v i d u a l - c o m p o n e n t s

Many languages
Learned from others
Figured it out
Created a tool
Planned ahead
Set up a school
Hosted a summit
Started a business
Left the business world
Gained local experience
Organized country-wide
Built a rogue organization
Leading design for a start-up
Translated the GOSH manifesto
Experienced firsthand my own transformation
Trying to bring as many geeks as possible along for the ride
Surprised and / or honored to have been nominated
Artist, educator, researcher, civic hacker,
Maker of strange and unusual things
Making alternative economies
Making maker spaces
Opening possibilities
On a continent
On an island

s o m e - o f - w h o - w e - a r e - t o g e t h e r

Vibe of openness as a default
in Santiago, Tanzania, Shenzhen
5 minutes in, i realized i was home
GOSH felt like coming home, like family immediately
We collaborate across national borders, under the influence of local realities

s o m e - c l o s e - o b s e r v a t i o n s

Having no high priests makes it hard to ask permission to do something,
…and offers no guidance for how to say Yes together
So many dimensions: power, representation, inclusiveness, how we listen, & organize ourselves
How will they, the “future we,” remember the lessons we are about to learn?
Will they benefit from collective knowledge we’ll attempt to pass on as accumulated wisdom?

s o m e - d e s i r e s

To harmonize our effects
Have a way to pull together toward our goals
Make open hardware ubiquitous by 2025
There are people who need to be seen, but who don’t yet know of GOSH as a portal to connections and opportunities
We need same equipment in different places in the world, & to get it, we need to do the logistics
In the transformation that is the 4th industrial revolution,
…we need to harness and impart the knowledge from global GOSH membership
…to help local small businesses get established in technology
Leverage connecting to people with disadvantaged backgrounds, look to equal inclusion
Many perspectives together enable right policy frameworks based on actual need cases, for the development and implementation of good programs to help overcome local challenges
Create and secure sustainable funding to achieve consistency in programming and our summit

s o m e - c l u s t e r s

Listening to perspectives, connecting to action: informed by Harry, Laura, Pen, Shams, Valerian

  • The council should listen. Listen especially to those who are shy, or less confident, to those who are not affiliated with any institutions. Lift up diverse voices of underrepresented and vulnerable groups. Leverage connecting to people with disadvantaged backgrounds; look to equal inclusion.
  • This brings a lot of perspectives, which enables right policy frameworks based on actual need cases, for the development and implementation of good programs to help overcome local challenges.
  • We have to listen and pay a lot of attention to what is happening in the forum, the community, and in the streets (argentinian lockdown). Use tools to enable dynamic relationships with the whole community, to find those who are hidden or too busy to participate. Empower the community by listening to them, and also by listening to ourselves, helping provide the best tools to connect ourselves.
  • In essence: sensing needs in the community and prioritizing collective actions

Emergent, focused creative activity: informed by Maria, Saad, Julian, Pen, Andy

  • I work a lot more when I’m collectively doing stuff with people, which GOSH does really well at in-person meetings, however, the lifeblood of GOSH when we’re not in person is the forum. Posting an idea that you’re incredibly excited about and waiting for others to read and respond can be excruciating. We aren’t getting enough out of the way we take notes in our Working Groups—we should double-down on the forum. To do more with our forum, let’s create brief synchronous events where people swarm on an issue and then that input is brought back to a thread. Use tools that facilitate collaboration, doing as well as talking. spaces where people can move across different rooms to ideate, visualize. For example, Miro gets people drawing and sketching, sharing their ideas. Able to go from A to Z so quickly, and it’s fun! A short focused time could enable us to get a lot out of our time together.
  • Fuse this with asynchronous options over a longer period of time to create more opportunities for participation.

Archive: informed by Pen

  • Look-back: For lessons learned from iterating on governance. conduct a complete post-mortem, deep reflection, on the governance process so far, especially voices from people who feel that they’ve been excluded from this process and people who have problems with this process. Starting with this attitude will help us learn from the problems that are already out there.
  • Look-forward: Knowledge transfer to our future selves.

Culture of bi-directional learning: informed by Gameli

  • Promote a culture of learning that is bidirectional from different parts of the word to mainstream GOSH as well as from GOSH back out to different parts of the world.
    • Pairing 1: Put more emphasis on regional events to help GOSH as a whole capture all the issues raised, and help GOSH focus on how the knowledge can be brought back to local communities.
    • Pairing 1: Support other communities locally, national, regionally to deploy open hardware beyond the experimentations and demonstrations to real use cases on the ground; Capture the experiences of innovators on the ground, so GOSH can understand what actions to take.

Further distribute in-person event organizing: informed by Harry

  • Focus on the capacity of smaller groups that make up our network overall to host events. Investing in the local composition of our network leads to a stronger base, reducing the burden on any one group or set of people to organize events while at the same time that the network reaches more people overall.

Network of networks: informed by Shams

  • So that other OSH networks see GOSH as a useful force multiplier, and join in;
  • To connect with networks who would use OSH in real use cases on the ground.

How to say YES together: informed by Julian, Marina

  • “While we create a structure to handle power and make decisions, let’s think through this example. Last year I realized that GOSH didn’t really have a logo…we had something on the website that was a bit of a picture. While it’s great having no highpriests, you also don’t really know who to ask for permission to do something. And so I just sort of started asking “well should we have a logo?” and then some people said “yes,” and so I sort of made a poll on the forum. I felt bad the whole time that I was taking on this sort of power to myself. I didn’t want power; we just needed to get something done.
  • I think one thing we should be conscious of as a council is not that we are making decisions, or even telling people who can make decisions, but there’s at least someone so that if someone has a great idea and says "we should do this, there’s somewhere to go and start the discussion. This will take pressure off people in the community that there’s a process to start doing something [together].”
  • [To know how we can say Yes together.]
  • “I’ve felt this too - I think we have a community that is very aware and wants to be collaborative. And that’s so strong, that people won’t do stuff because they don’t want to act alone. I really want to set an environment, or help set, or have an environment set where people feel that they can propose [action]. But we also have to have a community engaged also to answer— so that the proposer feels that people are listening and knows that they are either OK with it or are not OK with it. Because maybe someone wants to change the logo! Can someone change the logo? I expect the council to somehow figure out over time to give the sense of autonomy—collaborative autonomy. This is something that we build and have to keep building, to understand how we are going to deal with this power. Even though no one here wants the power of being on the council, which is shown by few people nominating themselves (seems like most people felt “I don’t’ deserve [this position]” or “i’m not part of this place,” then others nominated them and then suddenly a bunch of people felt: “YES—I could be part of this place!”). I think this also happens with community participation.
  • So here’s the challenge: how can we set governance that doesn’t make things harder, but easier. Where people don’t feel powerless, but feel more power. Not: “OK, now I’ll ask the council if I can make a logo,” because not everything should require permission. Yet I understand that generally, of course not all of us, but generally everyone comes from a reality and culture that is based on hierarchy, in which we know how to deal with someone who has more power by either A) I will take this power, or B) I will ask permission. As a result, we don’t really know what to do in situations when we don’t have this power already set…and this is OK — let us try a council that can try to do something different. We can build community power. Set instruments that in the future enable us to use our collective power on behalf of the community.”
  • “I hope everyone from the community will have a chance to be on the council eventually”

@lizbarry, this is such an amazing compilation ! Thanks so much for having listening so well and so wide!


So who won now? What about this special reserved seats? Who announces and when are winners announced?

Hi @Ruediger,

We are finalizing the election results process (you can read more on this here) and look forward to announcing the community council soon.


1 Like

Indeed what a splendid and thoughtful summary, insightful rather than a regurgitation of what was said. The meeting notes I take are so boring :sweat_smile:. @lizbarry I’d be curious if there’s a particular methodology that you employed?