Unlock Everything: Mycelium Hackathon One – Unlock Employment

talking at Pitt Rivers Museum on World Mental Health Day with (l-r) (me), Marie Tidball, Miranda Relliy, Sonia Boué, Philip Bullock

The Mycelium project is now well underway. You can learn all about Mycelium, the creative thinking training tool that mixes mediaeval alchemy and neuroscience, on this website. A key part of the project is empowering people to innovate and tackle the challenges facing the world. And a key part of that is innovating through hackathons and other events aimed at tackling small problems offering achievable goals that will make a genuine difference.

The first hackathon ties into this wider project on unlocking access to the platforms that will enable neurodivergent people and those with mental health conditions to help shape the world of the century to come.

It will be open from 7pm UK time on November 4th to 7pm UK time on November 5th. The dates are deliberately set to coincide with Aaron Swartz Day, a day of global hackathon events all of which are aimed at furthering social justice digitally.

The goal is simple, but may need some really innovative angles to produce something that has a hope of working – to create a package for prospective employers that opens will open the door for neurodivergent people so that they can flourish in roles that use their full skills, by explaining:
1 – what skills neurodivergent people can bring, and how those skills can be used to great benefit in the workplace
2 – what barriers exist *in the recruitment process* that mean people with those skills are denied access to the recruitment process (from job specifications to interview methods and everything else)
3 – what barriers exist in workplaces that stop people doing the jobs they could do even if they got through recruitment
4 – *what steps employers can take to make both recruitment and the workplace accessible* so that they benefit from people’s skills

Our job here is mainly to come up with a great format to answer 4

Obviously any and all contributions received in advance are welcome. It will be my job to pull together as wide a pool of resources as possible, which I will make available from the previous Saturday. And to produce the final product – be that a document, a book, a film, or a combination – by Sunday 7pm.

I will be seeking input on 1-3 from outside this group to get the widest set of data possible.

For 1-3 especially a starting point might be what we could call the “Citroen dilemma” – i.e. “I have 2CVs” – that is “here’s a list of the shit ton of cool stuff I can do” and “here’s a list of the categories employers want to know about”. In essence one thing this might be about doing is making these two the same by getting employers to see that only the first CV is something they need to bother with.

The only rules of engagement are
– do not gaslight. If someone says something is a problem for them, it is a problem for them. Our job is to figure out how to deproblem it if it can be deproblemed
– following the “nothing about us without us” principle strictly, for 1-3 I am only seeking input from neurodivergent people. If you are a carer or a friend, and if the need for a carer itself is part of the barrier or strength by all means state that, and links to blogs are great but please no assumptions about someone else’s needs.
– comments that do not respect these rules will be deleted.

Also wanted:
Links to any organizations we can send the final product to, and suggestions for formatting/approach/strategy

Feel free to contribute in the comments, or to email stuff you might not want to share or might want to share anonymously to rogueinterrobang@gmail.com Contributions and discussion on the day will be via an online forum and potentially an in-person event in Oxford that will be linked to online discussion and that will be completely neurodivergent-accessible.

Happy hacking

Data Stuff

We take your privacy seriously. All comments through this site, the online hackathon discussion, and made by email to rogueinterrobang@gmail.com are collected solely for use in connection with the project outlined in this post. Suggestions and ideas made may be quoted in the final object and associated materials and publicity unless you tell us otherwise, but will only be attributed if you give permission to do so. Your email or other contact details will not be stored after the event, and all comments will be deleted on December 5th (kept for one month after the project is completed in case final edits need to be made with reference to them). All contributors who give their permission will be listed as co-authors of this project.

If you would like to be on an email list for information on future hackathons or events organised by Mycelium, please state this in your comment/submission.

When making your first submission, please state:

  • Whether you would like to be attributed with your comments/ideas including information about your circumstances relevant to the project. If you would like to be attributed and/or listed as a co-author, please let us know the name you would like attributed.
  • If you are happy to receive updates about the project’s progress and the day of the hackathon – this will not place you on any other mailing list and your details will be deleted at the end of the event.
  • Your pronouns so that we may address you as you would wish. This is really important if you want to be attributed.
  • If you are happy for your neurodivergence to be referred to it is important to us that we use language you are comfortable, even if we do so anonymously. Many people, for example, call themselves autistic, others a person with autism, others something else; likewise some people say they are disabled, others that they have a condition or an impairment. Please let us know which you prefer so that any language used is something you’re happy with.
  • Please note that because this is a 24 hour event, there will not be time to get everyone’s sign-off on the final object produced. If you would like to withdraw your words you may do so at any time up until 6pm Greenwich Mean Time on November 6th.
  • For points 1-3 as listed above we are looking for contributions from neurodivergent participants only, with the exceptions listed there in relation to carers talking about care (carers talking about the needs of those they care for is only OK if they include explicit permission). For hacking the issues identified there we are looking for anyone who wants to help, but of course we especially value neurodivergent voices.
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