Libre Graphics Educators Meeting 2016

This is an archive of Those notes were collectively written during a meeting the Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM) 2016 in London.

Libre Graphics Educators Meeting / The folklore of teaching FLOSS ?
an 80 Columns meeting
Monday 18 April 2016

Former meetings:
*[FS will find back link soon] 2013 (Madrid)
* 2014 (Leipzig)
* 2015 (Toronto)

Present at the meeting:

brendan howell, teaching at Hochschule in braunschweig, near Hanover? « Visual COmmunication »… carte blanche to be « unconventional » with open source (aka non-Adobe)

Anja Groten, teaching at WdKa in Rotterdam, occasionally at Sandberg and Rietveld, Amsterdam … How to include different design approaches and still guarantee enough space within education for a critical examination of design tools – Diversity of commercial focus and more critical approaches

Julien Deswaef, BE now in New York… sharing recipes, empowering the distributed (energy source!)

Neil, Oxford, Artist to coder, work in past with Labour government

Mick, F/LOSS Manuals, lab based learning environments (at Manchester Metropolitan university)

Sam, not directly educator but often introducing others to free software, workshops in post-production with FLOSS, user of FLOSS manuals
Larissa, senior teacher at University of Westminster, introduce free/open source to the students.
Integration of staff students in the process of LGM! Support of 6/7? senior lectures from 5 different course

Alejandra, senior lecture at University of Westminster, join LGM because of Larissa. Interested on the collaboration part of LGM and interested in links with Colombia / South America

Raniere, Software Sustainability Institute and Software Carpentry Foundation. Interested in education practices for high education.

Femke Snelting, Libre graphics + education belong together; we organize summer schools called « Relearn » interest in the shift of relationship between tutors and students that libre tools often brings … relearn is a space to experiment with that.

Borko, first time at LGM, student at University of Westminster and student of Larissa.
Bulgarian, wants to promote FLOSS there too

Marta, introduced to open source software by Larissa.

Michael Murtaugh, (BE> NL) teaches with Andre Castro, Aymeric Mansoux (80c) at PZI Media Design (soon experimental publishing) in Rotterdam. Moved from networked media

Gijs De Heij (BE)- involved in workshops (and a designer / programmer too!)

Christoph Haag, (DE) trying to work as a designer and self-educatedor.
lurking on the 80c mailing list

Marc, Inskcape developer and PhD student in France. teaching linear algebra and graph algorithms, Inkscape support

Gottrfried H, .at living in NL. Web based tools part of an artistic practice. Designed the Hotglue tool with Danja V. … Has worked with processing foundation. Learned from Casey Reas approach to education;

Stephanie (BE)
Teaching at ecole de recherche graphique, Brussels. Shifting from teaching something what I know, to process and documentation.

Alexia de Visscher (BE)
La Cambre, erg (Brussels) teaching book-design and digital publishing. Co-inventor of Cultures Numeriques

Anne Laforet
Strasbourg (France), teaching in the art department, came to LGM with colleague Loic (graphic design) and students. Teaching FLOSS in class and push school to include FLOSS in general

Renata Ribeiro northeast brazil; 2 hrs from capital. Univ w/ courses on computer engineering, science but now also design. Focused on regional development.
Brazil expanded IT education into rural areas… part of a avanced technology campus, for 2yrs now w/ a digital design course.

HEAR Strasbourg France
sorry for not to be here
teaching interactive design in the Graphic design department. Try to animate what we call computer club with Anne Laforet

Rob Canning (UK/IE)(online) Lecturer in Connected Digital Media in Coventry University UK – Teaching BA Digital Media (with Adnan Hadzi) using FOSS tools where possible – sometimes GNU/Linux mostly OSX pulling FOSS CLI tools with homebrew. Creative Hacklab module in particular only *permits* FOSS tools – arduino pi processing blender git pd html css js owncloud etc. Previously lecturer in Digital Media Design Bournemouth Uni taking similar approach – some experience with navigating institutional infrastructures in UK HE

Natacha Roussel Following  online from Brussels………;
Pierre Huyghebaert (teacher La Cambre) following online from Brussels also

Topic ideas for discussion

  • Readers & Manuals
  • Infecting the institution
  • Software we need to fix
  • Open Curricula/Recipes

Readers & Manuals

Gather a body of references, texts and tactics to give thinking material for students and teacher.

LGRU: Libre Graphics Research Unit

See chapter ‘resources’ at

repositories of open licensed texts, which we have already experienced
as source text ideally, but can be PDFs in the worst case
a fork of aaaarg ? ? interface not so clear
making a different platform and/or making a group in aaaarg

organisation, translations… booksprint?

Infrastructure « low tech »: markdown metadata
in case of PDF, a markdown text with the same name containing metadata and maybe a first-run OCR to get corrected?

problem of language/translation

– examples of what can be done with F/LOSS tools

*owncloud repository + temporary Gitlab

distributed sprint during summer
Last week-end of August or second week of july

Example of Markdown metadata (you can create them on the fly, it’s just plain text. You of course need to agree within the group. Uppercase/Lowercase doesn’t matter):

Beginning of example
Title: Le temps dans le Codex
Authors: Robertson, Lisa
Date: 2015-06-18
Language: fr
Translation: Camille Pageard
Licence: © Lisa Robertson & BookThug
ID: Le temps dans le Codex
Public: True
Colophon: Initialement publié sous le titre: Lisa Robertson, «Time in the Codex», in *Nilling. Prose Essays on Noise, Pornography, The Codex, Melancholy, Lucretius, Folds, Cities and Related Aporias*, Toronto, BookThug, 2012 (seconde édition), p.9–18.

Your body text here.
End of example

Half a day to prepare a model for metadata, file naming, folders structure, etc.
Then we invite people to contribute their texts.

Infecting the Institution

How to tap into:
for instance people with experience with letterpress already familiar with « non-adobe » workflows)
IT department
+Platform pragmatics [« How to work on linux when IT is not cooperative »]
How to deal with linux when you don’t have support from an IT department (virtual machines?)
(merge with recipes?)

Software we need to Fix  Code & Communities

(Video editing)
grow your own media lab open access space sheffield
Blender as video editing software

what are the mechanism
Neil: vendor-lockin argument is pointless (doesn’t work)… it’s about feature set and tools
it’s abou workflow s you can’t do any other way…
web workflows that are the best way (there’s no other way)
(let’s not fix vidoe editoing)

let’s not look at 1 to 1 replacement
Talking about formats / the actual material of digital media
Archives of mediaart…
80c ppl are tool makers (more than / along with educators)

what motivates developers is people using their tools!
How to be a « good citizen » as a teacher .. to connect back to the community.
(Why pay for buggy commercial software) (ie free software has bugs too but you don’t pay for them)

How do we include/support developers?
Inviting devlopers as guest lecturers [rather the quirky developer than the slick middle-man, or: go to LGM]

what motivates developers is people using their tools!
How to be a « good citizen » as a teacher .. to connect back to the community.
(Why pay for buggy commercial software) (ie free software has bugs too but you don’t pay for them)

Sense of develop community being quite stable
* Open source trend increasing with github
* Transmediale: slick academics talking about open source projects — er and desire to ELIMINVATE THE middleman (go to LGM!) bring on the bare foot crazy hat developers!

Marc: Inkscape is a community with 12

(« We take ideas from the mailing list mostly … for new features we don’t have any roadmap really; we wait for standardisation… for any tool development, it’s more about 1 developer has an idea and develops the tool and we integrated it. THere are no planned new features. )
The development happens with a single developer decides this is a good thing / is interested in doing.
UI people want to change the UI, but if there’s no one actually working on implementing it / dealing with the complexities of that, then it won’t happen).

The strength of communicating with Open Source developers is that if you talk about REAL NEED you will get attention (how to cut through the Hype of traditional design tools)…
The « amateur » as a strength.

* SUSTAINABILITY: focus on aspect of FLOSS tools that AREN’t going to go away (shift students concerns for « employability » … to consider the flip side of precarity of their employment and proprietary tools)
* Assignment for students to POST to a developer forum
* Hire developers as guest lecturers <!> Have learning both ways.
* ( Marc: I don’t mind going to a school for free, just need a space and time )
* Educators are toolmakers themselves

Open Curricula/Recipes


Forms of presentation and structrue

Cool assignments
Pedagogical tricks
ECTS hacking 🙂 YEAH
students teaching each other
Search for a form to share these kinds of things

What are you most enthusiastic about; things you would like to teach but haven’t found a chance?

Proposal to make structures for discussions to continue beyond this meeting.
What’s the ML ?
Please subscribe to 80c mailinglist:

80c list is a « sleeping giant »
How to cross-fertilize between flossmanuals list and 80c

A short description: why, what, how.

Are there links from 80c to the developer community?
Should developers be invited in and how!

Proposal: WEBRING! A LIBRE GRAPHICS WEBRING, as a way to blend together institutional interests with
Yes seems really good way

Showcases for work to link between educational project / results back to tools / developer communities.

80c/LURK came from a decision that we want to use our own infrastructures, de-centralized collaboration (discussion on git-gitlab-github-git torrent)
FLOSS-manuals as an infrastructure for a reader? Markdown, html

Agreement for common ways of working
Tactical Tech kit for activists
Could we use Floss Manuals to start a manual?

« zero day » : sharing first class

GIMP : Gimp is my Photoshop

LGM 2014 education summit

This is an archive of the Etherpad notes hosted at

Free culture aware educators in art and design (not working) fixed
list :
Attending: Julien, Larissa, Olivier, Manuel, Pierre H, Alex Leray, Brendan, Christoph, ginger, Manuel, Ale, Cedric Gémy, Elisa de Castro Guerra,  Matthieu, Simon, Daviz Gómez, Myriam Cea, Ana Isabel, Ricardo Lafuente,…, Michael Murtaugh, Femke Snelting
Introduction by Larissa about last year meeting at LGM, Madrid, organized by Aymeric Mansoux.
David, (ES)
Open Univ Catalonia (UOC)
Inkscape, Blender slowly being introduced
Members of Wikimedia Spain & Amical Wikimedia
Graphica Libre
Ale (CH)
Interested in ideas for workshops
Julien (BE)
Graphic Design / Digital Arts
Python Blender Workshops with Python
Olivier (BE)
Digital artist using FLOSS 10 year+ Video, 3D
Pure-data patching circles
Simon (UK)
Hybrid publishing consortium
Open access
automation and skills in the new editing panorama and (related) workshop book scanning
Cedric (FR)
Teaching 15 years in 2 universities
Free software in enterprises
GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus, (prev Blender)
Has written 12-13 books
Private school wich teaches only free software. (fr only)
Elisa (FR)
Teaching in 2 Universities
Author, Inkscape in traditional editing
facilitator and manager of and part of the Floss Manuals Foundation
Matthieu (FR)
Teaching Blender for Architecture for 7 years
Blender, Written book on Blender (for architects)
Michael Murtaugh (US/BE/NL)
Teaching w/ Aymeric in Rotterdam
Media design program, studying free software in graphic design.
Myriam (ES)
Medialab Prado
Sense of leaning together through Libre tools
Manuel (CH)
Designer / Web Dev
Workshop in Fine arts School in Geneva
But no influence on school curriculum.
Claire, Gemma (UK)
Student of Larisa in London
ginger (CA)
Classes in Canada 
Mozilla Popcornmaker
Workshops for people like community organizers and anarchist zine makers
Libre Graphics magazine
Pierre H (BE)
Member of OSP, Brussels
Teaching at La Cambre, art school
Students has tried to use the problem of internet access to build a learning situation around mesh network – currently failed
Erasmus+ program possibilities for us teachers?
Teaching in engraving — maybe a strange context but comparison of the machine tool to the physical tool – bitmap/vector
Brendan (US/DE)
Artist, reluctant engineer
Has taught (in private university), 
Teaching workshops
Teaching programming to designers and architects, Communciaton design/Interaction design
Peter (BE)
Industrial designer, not teaching; curious about the state of education
Alex (BE)
Member of OSP, Brussels. Designer/programer
Teaching at La Cambre, art school
Interested in how FLOSS can change education.
2 hours a week quite constraining
Christoph H (DE)
gives workshop
Ana (PT) + Ricardo
Teaching informal / workshops where one has more freedom to define the rules
Teaching Porto Fine Arts
Apathy gives space
Femke (NL/BE)
Here representing Ludivine & Stephanie who couldn’t make it
The experience of bottom-up / network effects with students becoming teachers, circulation of ideas, change not top-down
shared wiki and mailing-list between students in different courses
While management might be « interested » — they don’t really understand the issue — so it’s brittle / weak
Network effect, Manuel, after  reporting about LGM13, got interest from the school he is working with  and got invitations for some OSP representatives for a « hacking epub »  workshop, which was well received by students and teachers alike.
Larisa: It’s not students we have to educate, it’s management we have to educate.
(Larisa mentions having invited the following to give workshops:
Dave Crossland: workshop for typography
Rob Canning, teaching Inkscape + Arduino)
Larisa: reviews notes from February meeting on open source learning
Some possible starting topics (and related working groups)
  • [80c] Public Presence (website, communication, 80c, content)
  • Curriculum Development (actual content, modules)
  • Business of F/L/OS: How to make this a professional skill
  • Pedagogy (method)
  • Resisting classical models, Teacher/Student.
  • Distance Learning / Connection to how people are learning themselves already
  • What really worked, best practices
  • Tactics (a cookbook of teaching/learning tactics)
  • How to avoid the « it doesn’t work » situation?
[80c] Public Presence (website, communication, 80c, content)
Michael : not how we do things  like wiki, ML, …but. Need to feel federated but bring resources together.
Do we need to crystallize further.
Julien: Labels but how to do this. Federated wiki … but let’s think about social federation.
Michael:  don’t wait for some hypothetical future federated tool. federation from  a social perspective is more interesting. Webring is a simple,  effective way to do this.
Stéphanie: I agree with Michael, let’s start simple
Pedagogy (method)
Best practices:
Pierre  H + Alex: workshop for colleague teachers, using a rasperry pi sever.  Revisiting the basics of command line and unix from the 60’s together  (makes it clear that the computer haven’t started in 1984). The common  machine in the center of the setup permit to overcome the difference  between participant’s machines.
Oli: revisiting the history of computing. What a computer is? What is a byte, a bit etc. Workshop in two times: 
To understand how it is so related with free software
Ricardo: Virtualmachine (OS in OS) avoid the hassle of installing, configuring, incompatibilities… Include learning material, scripts etc.
Oli : or use live usb key
Gemma, about VMs: it can solve the question of the ‘do not work’
→ Stéphanie: I’m not sure, usually it works worse than a dual boot
Brendan: demystifing. reversing the « start with complicate professional software » situation. Starting from scratch: write an SVG, write a bitmap image with 0s and 1s
it’s empowering immediately
ginger : arduino blinking lights is great, it’s empowering the people who consider themselves « non technical people » by demystifying.
it makes code stop looking scary
Matthieu : start with hardware basic coding things.
experimenting  with open hardware makes it easier for students to understand the  value; it’s a part of the brain that is not contaminated, unlike  software
Pierre H: Start with something students (or colleague teachers) can not compare
David : using stock content but respecting the licence 
Introduce and discuss the idea of ownership first
Myriam : using the game (playing)
Gemma : experiment with tools, a sense of ownership; school fees are high in the UK and in ths context FLOSS tools are very appealing
Brendan: some students expect structure, can feel disoriented if open-ended
Matthieu: students don’t grasp the value being able to access source code, being able to modify
step by step to show that it’s possible to code simple things.
Matthieu + Alex : Without a pratical example/use the four freedoms are not understandable/graspable.Students don’t feel concerned.
Oli : putting things in the right order : explain where it come from (it takes time)
In pratical terms maybe the 4 freedoms are hard to understand but the philosophical side of Free Software they do get
Peter : having practical exemples of things the students already use every day (internet, wikipedia, …)
Pierre h : Typography is a field in which you are standing on the shoulders of the giants.
ginger: having students contributing to Wikipedia; they talk about how to do it, best pratices and then put it into practice. Gives students ownership of a public outcome.
David : using Remix game to understand/experiment compatibility between licenses
Matthieu : Asking students: Do you care if I use your images on a talk? My slides will be under creative commons licence. What does it mean? (losing control over your work but in a positive way: give your work a lot of different possible lifes)
Alex:  install party divided in parts, don’t do it for 5 hours in a row but  interpolate installing with discussions and pratical exercises
Myriam:  first contact was a workshop « Put this there »; confusing — what is a  terminal? do I have one? — until you start seeing results. Like doing poetry with the terminal
Starting with games, a way to introduce to free-software and the openess of modifying
Ricardo : picking a creative commons picture, it insert a constrain – restriction
and public domain ones
Peter : do they understand at the end
Ricardo : images have different degrees of existence, different status
include  in the curriculum the goal of understanding licenses; how to work wiith  images in legal terms; as something students should to take care
Brendan:  teaching using restriction as a strategy. One example assignment was to  ask the students to make a drawing using only a paper and a bicycle
Stéphanie (remote participation): I have introduced command line in several workshops, and it was quite fruitful even with students already programming as it is a complete different paradigm
Now  I have a course on Libre graphics, but it seems that because command  line is the core of the course, that it is perceived as an mandatory  boring technical knowledge to acquire.
I  also realized how typography is indeed a powelful object to study in  this context. I am no type designer at all, but I ended up, and not on  purpose, to have a lot of typography making involved to talk about file  formats, digital drawings, algorithms…
Tactics :
  • Starting from another point, like hardware – using VM or in terminal mode on the local wiki with a raspberry
  • The question of ownership, licence, derivative works, sharing source files
  • Starting with small concepts and building up, making the LED blink, writing a plugin, etc.
  • Wikipedia + fonts could be interesting cases, also movies + music, vjing
  • historics of IT and free software to understand what code is.
  • teacher leaves the class or change role.
  • reading text as pictures or sounds
  • Placing constraints
  • building  values into grading: make it clear to students what kinds of things  they should be prioritizing by making those elements of the  grading/evaluation
Curriculum Development
Larisa shows the formal docs for university course development
Share the documents, for inspiration and maybe reuse
Question: would university want to keep and not share its curriculum
There is a decade long movement of Open Education Resources, similar to Open Access Publishing but for educational material.
The learning registry
Stanford Research Institute – eductation resources search facility
Cedric: Use of flossmanuals
Digital Toolsets
Blended Learning (online and f2f, a post MOOC model)
Breaking the 9 – 5 
Publically available 
Post MOOC – book. Gary Hall, Pauline van Mourik Broekman and Simon Worthington, with others‘We’re%20All%20Game%20Changers%20Now’%3A%20Open%20Education%20-%20A%20Study%20in%20Disruption  
Summer School (OSP/
Week long, any longer would be harder
Modular system (ECTS?) of curriculum – the modules could be for other courses and full MAs
This could be for a whole masters course
We  should write a formal curriculum for course approval in a formal  university setting, up to a level that another person could pick it up  and use to get a course approved and started.
Larisa shows off an example course based on the ‘Open Video’ FLOSS manuals book.
Also  mentioned an example Adobe book that was made under and open licence so  people rewrote if for a FLOSS context. The book covers some digital  basics. 
F/L/OS  as a way of (re)expanding the boundaries of a (professional) practice  to embrace the variety of processes / complexity / diversity of work —  rather than product a software
Tension of theory vs. practice: Schools always want to use software to each a concept, but in the end if often becomes
Build up an ability to learn.
*  Can we make a sharable document / template for Writing Curricula,  comparing existing criteria, use as a template to design one’s own  critera
* Can existing Open Education (Open Access) protocols be used to support releasing / sharing curricula documents
* Can we connect to existing projects
  • Edit the minutes of this meeting
  • Post to 80c mailinglist
  • Plan next actions to work towards an outcome (get people to commit time / take roles in the plan)
pierre wrapping up pedagogy group:
focus on positive experiences (imporance of that)
fruitful constraints
historics of IT
relearn school, teacher leaving class
reading chains of text as pictures / sound: feeling the poetry of the terminal (even if you don’t speak english)
building  values into grading: if you do an assignment on wikipedia, you grade  according to how one actually works collaboratively
raspberry pi: environment to start quickly / get hands on
(eric: also important to bridge to their existing space, find the command line in windows / os x)
3 entry points : Institutions, People, Curriculum
Resist a hierarchy between these (people often cross boundaries)
Important to connect to people regardless of their relationship
Craft the website to be agile 🙂
(fix the disappearning page)
Hotlinking a png / svg (place on wikimedia commons)
removed the other links — too confusing for now — need to figure it out
femke + manuel will  make it happen
Michael M
Git style way to see how other teachers are building curricula
Describing modules
Can we feed into initiatives like OER (Open Educational Resources)