DWeb for Creators

DWeb for Creators

Decentralized Web (DWeb) for Creators empowers next-generation artists, archivists, gallerists, activists, and others with the knowledge and tools necessary for exploring the decentralized web. From curation to publishing, to community building and data privacy, this new online course provides the necessary background, skills, and support to adopt decentralized technology into every creative practice. 

Artists and Cultural Producers are vital to shaping the future of the DWeb movement. From blockchain and data sovereignty to decolonization and everything in between, the DWeb for Creators online course helps artists, archivists, and activists apply the principles of decentralized technologies into every aspect of their practice. This live online version of the course offers eight core knowledge sessions and six optional praxis sessions, providing participants with options to customize their learning adventure.  

The DWeb for Creators curriculum and its interface will be presented live in this 8 week facilitated intensive. This curriculum offers theoretical frameworks, perspectives, tools, and other resources to the initial cohort of participants. After its completion, there will be a secondary release of all materials earmarked to be published open source in the summer of 2024. This distribution mode is intended to provide a foundation for the creation and preservation of many groundbreaking artworks and creative interventions that will serve as genre-defining examples for other creators as well as engage the public and institutions involved in exhibiting and preserving DWeb projects.

This course is led by a team of several instructors working at multiple intersections of the decentralized web. They represent the leading-edge of global organizing and studio art practices involving DWeb technologies. 

DWeb for Creators is made possible by the support of Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web.


Course and Scholarship Application Dates: Apply by March 4

Course Dates: March 6 – April 24, 2024 | Wednesdays, 10:30am – 1pm PT
*Please Note: Week 3 “The Evolution of DWeb Art, Activism and History” is rescheduled to Wednesday, May 1, from⋅10:30am – 1:00pm*

Optional Praxis Sessions: March 10 – Apr 28, 2024 | Sundays, 10:00am – 1:00pm PT
*Please Note: Praxis 4 has now been moved to Saturday, April 13, from 10:00am – 1:00pm PT*

Knowledge = facts, information, theoretical understanding

Praxis = the blending of theory and practice

Course Logistics

Eight Weeks ONLINE: March 6 – April 28, 2024

  • Learn in 8 Knowledge Sessions:
    Wednesdays, 10:30am –1pm PT
  • Gain hands-on experience in 6 optional Praxis Sessions:
    Sundays, 10:00am –1:00pm PT

Cost: $2500 for 20 hours of live online video instruction (2.5 hours every Wednesday) + 18 hours of optional live online workshops (3 hours every Sunday).

We also offer Scholarships, find out more here.

Experience Level: This course welcomes all who have basic computer proficiency, no coding or other technical knowledge required.

Course Requirements:

  • Computer with an internet connection, microphone, and camera for all sessions. Some optional hands-on sessions will require special materials.
  • Praxis 1: Command Line for Creatives requires a laptop running Linux or macOS X. 
  • Praxis 5: Setting up a Mesh Network requires: Raspberry Pi 3+ with an SD card already flashed with Rapbian Lite, ethernet cable and adapter for connecting our Pi to our computer, a WiFi radio that supports “mesh” mode, a simple website to share over the network.

Course Outline

  • Week 1 • Introduction to DWeb 
  • Week 2 • Exploring an Ecosystem of Sovereignty
  • Week 3 • The Evolution of DWeb through Art and Culture 
  • Week 4 • DWeb Values and Their Underpinnings
  • Week 5 • Critical Practice, Power, and DWeb
  • Week 6 • Data Care and Preservation in Building DWeb Archives
  • Week 7 • Cooperative Ownership, Governance and Collaboration
  • Week 8 • Mesh Networks for Resilience
  • Closing • Worldbuilding for the Future of DWeb

Learning Outcomessee the expanded list under each session for a detailed view

  • Understand an overview of the DWeb system, and how to become a creative contributor to its evolution.
  • Participants will gain practical hands-on experience with the essentials for navigating a command line.
  • Acquire technical skills related to organizing, encrypting, verifying, and archiving and preservation of digital files over decentralized networks.
  • Learn how to create and manage mesh networks.

DWeb Course FAQ

We held an info session on 2/26, you can find the FAQs derived from it here.

Design Parameters

Decentralized / Non-linear

This course will be provided live for two years and published as a non-linear learning journey, with curated pathway options. Facilitated co-learning opportunities hosted by Gray Area in these first two years will provide responsive design opportunities, further refining the possibilities of a non-linear, decentralized classroom experience.

Self-modifying / Adaptive

We are aiming to design for the curriculum to have adaptive and self-modifying properties, enabling it to evolve over time in response to internal and external feedback. 

Through a collaborative process we will apply DWeb principles, best practices, tools and methodologies to this course, ensuring the adaptability of the curriculum in all its aspects and forms. 


We will publish an open-source version of this course, its supporting materials and other supporting documentation, allowing anyone, anywhere with online access to utilize, modify, adapt and distribute the curriculum globally.

Choose your own adventure

Each session opens onto pathways, unveiling numerous resources put together by the instructors. Share your learnings, discuss your visions and collaborate with fellow adventurers exploring the creative possibilities of decentralization in theory and practice.

Who this is for:

  • Artists
  • Artivists
  • Archivists
  • Gallerists
  • Arts Professionals
  • Artist Rights Advocates
  • Creative Professionals


  • Case studies
  • Hands on project opportunities
  • Command line literacy
  • Shared channel for communication (Matrix) to build community around DWeb art discussion and critique
  • Self-organized co-learning spaces

About Scholarships

Achieving our goal of true antidisciplinary collaboration is impossible without enabling individuals with a broad range of backgrounds and perspectives to join our community. To further this goal, we offer NOTAFLOF (No One Turned Away For Lack of Funds) scholarships in line with our values, so that anyone interested and committed can join this course, no matter their financial situation. 

Scholarships are awarded based on available capacity, and a review process overseen by the Gray Area team. This approach makes sure everyone who is passionate, curious, and dedicated to the values of the Decentralized Web can join these courses.

Our Financial Model: 

Tuition fees (alongside ticket sales, grants, donations, and memberships) constitute a major portion of the financial support for our organization. These contributions enable us to compensate our artists and instructors who are essential to our programs. 

We strongly encourage those who can afford the tuition to do so as your support is crucial. By enrolling, you’re not just investing in your education—you’re supporting the broader Gray Area ecosystem, and enabling us to offer more scholarships and reduce barriers to entry. 

Tuition Structure: 

$2500 for 20 hours of live online video instruction (2.5 hours every Wednesday) + 18 hours of optional live online workshops (3 hours every Sunday) over the course of 8 weeks. We offer options for one-time payment or flexible payment plans.

We hope you join us! For more information on the DWeb for Creators course, payment plans, or scholarships please reach out at [email protected].

Curriculum: Knowledge + Praxis Sessions

Week 1 • Introduction to Decentralized Web (DWeb)

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Session 1: Wed, March 6: 10:30am – 1pm PT

Introduction to Decentralized Web and Its Cultural Foundations w/ Sarah Grant & Regina Harsanyi

Since Sir Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989 as a “universal linked information system” the web has grown to become the world’s dominant interface with the Internet. This session will explore the history of the World Wide Web while analyzing the technologies, organizations, legislations, and ideologies that shaped the web over the past three and a half decades. It will lend a particular focus on the colonial legacies that are embedded in the web and its underlying network technologies.

Praxis 1: Sun, March 10: 10:00am – 1:00pm PT

Command Line for Creatives (pair with Session 1) w/ Sarah Friend & Sarah Grant

To get up and running with various DWeb tools often involves using the command line interface, or cli, but they rarely actually teach cli itself. This session will focus on cli exclusively, looking at foundational skills that will make all other explorations of software development and DWeb more approachable.

Week 2 • Exploring An Ecosystem of Sovereignty

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Session 2: Wed, March 13: 10:30am – 1pm PT

DWeb Lexicon and Ecosystem w/ Regina, ngọc, Sarah Grant

The session serves as a valuable resource for anyone seeking the knowledge necessary to confidently engage in conversations about decentralization. We will delve into the lexicon of the decentralized web and unlearn prevailing misconceptions regarding what it means. By mapping out its intricate ecosystem, we will explore fundamental concepts integral to the DWeb—such as decentralized, distributed, and federated principles. We will consider DWeb’s ecosystem and key events and players in its evolution from multiple perspectives laying the groundwork necessary for meaningful engagement, and informed decision-making.

Praxis 2: Sun, March 17: 10:00am – 1:00pm PT

Data Sovereignty and Storage (pair with Session 2) w/ Kelani Nichole

Hegemonies have benefited from extracting our personal data: reducing our most precious resource –our relationships – into the basis of surveillance capitalism. This session starts with a brief history of the infrastructure of the world wide web, specifically with the lens of a user’s relationship to their own data. In the workshop following, we’ll cooperatively map the data we are generating and examine how that data can be leveraged as intellectual property. Re-imagining ways to take back ownership of our data we will collaboratively engage in exercises of preserving value, longevity, privacy, and rights regarding where our data is stored and how it is monetized.

Week 3 • The Evolution of DWeb Practice and Principles

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Session 3: RESCHEDULED TO: Wed, May 1:
10:30am – 1pm PT

The Evolution of DWeb Art, Activism and History w/ Regina Harsanyi & Sarah Grant

Despite popular belief, the history of artists working in DWeb does not begin in 2018 or even 2009. In this session, we will examine decentralization in the context of the arts from the 1970s to the present moment. Participants will learn why artists have been drawn to making work with and about decentralized networks and who helped to shape the evolving aesthetics and discourse around artwork related to these systems. Finally, participants will learn how artists have used decentralized tooling for autonomy and why it may or may not have been successful.

Praxis 3: Sun, March 24: 10:00am – 1:00pm PT

Critical DWeb Art Projects + Practices (pair with Session 3) w/ Sarah Friend & Ayana Zaire Cotton

Critics have cited a lack of distrust in institutions as the impetus for the rise in decentralized web technologies. How might centering collective ownership and collective imagination allow us to seed ways of working and being on a decentralized web so that we reinforce care instead of conspiracy? This session will look in-depth at approaches to integrating DWeb tools into art practice from curation, to publishing, to studio practice and community building. We will kick the session off by engaging with case studies of art practices and projects that leverage decentralization as a method of community building followed by an open discussion to critique, synthesize, and imagine alongside these case studies. Next up, we will explore artist DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations), as ways to hold assets in common, and discuss experimental voting and coordinating tools.

Week 4 • DWeb Values and Their Underpinnings

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Session 4: Wed, March 27: 10:30am – 1pm PT

Values and Philosophical Underpinnings of DWeb w/ mai ishikawa sutton

This session will engage in a critical analysis of the DWeb Principles as a case study, examining one approach taken by a community to crystallize a shared vision for distributed network infrastructure. Since 2016, the Internet Archive has convened a global community to share ideas and approaches to building a decentralized web. Members of this DWeb community decided to collaborate and develop a set of principles to define their shared values. What resulted was a document that has guided the community since 2021. We will compare the document to other principles and statements around “internet freedom,” “digital rights”, and “decolonized technology,” and explore the purpose that such declarations serve for their communities. We will analyze technologies and organizations from both the World Wide Web and the Decentralized Web through the lens of the DWeb Principles and students’ personal values.

Week 5 • Critical Practice, Power, and DWeb

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Session 5: Wed, April 3: 10:30am – 1pm PT

Decentralization: Sovereignty, Power, and Critical Practice in DWeb w/ Ayana Zaire Cotton & ngọc triệu

Our individual cultural background and knowledge influence how we define decentralization and perceive its impact on our society. In this session, we will examine various facets of DWeb through the critical lens of decoloniality. We’ll also explore how DWeb technologies — as a mode of being, thinking, and creating — enable us to co-design more just and better digital futures. Participants will acquire insights into the neo-colonialist implication within the realm of technology in general and in DWeb in particular. The discussion will include whether technological decentralization leads to power decentralization, examining sovereignty and decolonization in relation to DWeb.

Week 6 • Data Care and Preservation in Building DWeb Archives

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Session 6: Wed, April 10: 10:30am – 1pm PT

Diversification of Storage Practices w/ Regina Harsanyi & Kelani Nichole

Stanford University articulated one of the most important tenets of digital preservation, LOCKSS or “Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe,” but keeping many copies of a file in the same location can have dire consequences. Diversifying where our cultural heritage, personal and otherwise, is kept is just as important as making copies of it all. We will cover tools in hardware and software that exist to help keep our files safe. We will also explore ways to network them together for the purpose of community archiving. We’ll learn about the pros and cons of running your own server, maintaining your own preservation hardware, offline storage, online storage, and security.

Praxis 4: Sat, April 13: 10:00am – 1:00pm PT

Diversification of Storage Practices (pair with Session 6) w/ Regina Harsanyi

Decentralized tooling may appear to be a useful evolution in archiving, preservation, and conservation of born-digital and digitized material but what you put into a decentralized system is what you get out of it. This course will teach you how to prepare files for decentralized archiving, including file organization, naming, telling the difference between archival and non-archival files, and encryption methods. Learn what metadata to include and how to write a checksum that verifies your files haven’t changed. You will then learn to tell the difference between good decentralized resources for storing files versus not so useful choices. We’ll also discuss why decentralized practices in archiving at large have not been adopted.

Week 7 • Cooperative Ownership, Governance, and Collaboration

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Session 7: Wed, April 17: 10:30am – 1pm PT

Governance, Cooperative Ownership, and Intra-institutional Collaboration w/ Kelani Nichole

Cooperative forms of resilience are emerging, powered by decentralized principles of transparency, solidarity, and adaptability. In this session, we will share case studies from across the cultural sector shining on artists, organizations, and institutions exploring decentralized principles and cooperative structures. We’ll discuss governance models and the patterns of human coordination that underlie cooperative efforts. Participants will be invited to contribute their experiences with solidarity economies surrounding their practice, which powers much of the emerging cultural sector. Together we’ll create a generative model for building new forms of cooperation and resilience as a blueprint to deploy in your own work.

Week 8 • Mesh Networks for Resilient Communities

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Session 8: Wed, April 24: 10:30am – 1pm PT

DWeb’s Social and Community Impact w/ Sarah Grant

In this session, we will begin by analyzing DWeb’s impact from community, non-technical, and social perspectives. We will discuss mesh networks, examining their emergent potential. We will engage with world-building, speculative design, and futurism through exercises that visualize future scenarios enabled by DWeb.

Learning Outcomes →
  • How to define the criteria against which one would design a community network
  • How to organize a community network and define roles
  • How to begin designing a community network taking technical and social requirements into consideration.

Praxis 5: Sun, April 21: 10:00am-1:00pm PT

Setting up a Mesh Network (pair with Session 8) w/ Sarah Grant

In this hands-on session, you will be guided through the installation, configuration, and deployment of a basic mesh network. As we build, we will consider questions around the control of data and network infrastructure tied to the larger themes of access, power, resilience, and sustainability. Participants will be introduced to many practical concepts, including the basic building blocks of the command Line interface, computer networking, configuring a server for hosting websites, ‘captive portals’, and peer-to-peer file sharing. By the end of the session, we will leave with a functional mesh network ready to be deployed in the world!

Materials needed to participate in this session →
  • Raspberry Pi 3+ with an SD card already flashed with Raspbian Lite
  • Ethernet cable and adapter for connecting our Pi to our computer
  • A WiFi radio that supports “mesh” mode
  • A simple website to share over the network

Closing Session • World-building for the Future

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Praxis 6: Sun, April 28: 10:00am – 1:00pm PT

Dweb Worldbuilding + Speculative Design (Closing Session) w/ Ayana Zaire Cotton

Synthesizing the concepts learned over this series of DWeb sessions Ayana invites you to leverage the power of Worldbuilding. Now that we know the critiques and the possibilities of DWeb, what world do we want to build in response? Come along to Cykofa, a speculative world of decolonial aesthetics, a parallel universe suspended among past and future. Visit Cykofa and learn to imagine, speculate, and design your own parallel universe, one where decentralization is an ancient reality. Explore expansive modes of decentralization that might have nothing to do with hardware or computer interfaces as we know them.


Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web

Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (FFDW) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to ensure the permanent preservation of humanity’s most important information by stewarding the development of open-source software and open protocols for decentralized data storage and retrieval networks.


Roxi Shohadaee is the Creative Producer at Gray Area, producing the Decentralized Web Curriculum for Creators, the Criptech Metaverse Lab VR prototypes and other special projects. Roxi has been collaborating and partnering with Gray Area since 2012, including Urban Prototyping Festival, End of You and the Gray Area Festival. She is also the Executive Director, ARTchitect and Co-Founder of the Design Science Studio, a regenerative cultural incubator for artists founded to build capacity of the creative community to propel the design science (r)Evolution. She is also the Founder + CEO of habRitual: an experiential production, interdisciplinary design and immersive art studio creating for 100% of life. Roxi is a regenerative artivist, protopian futurist, ontological designer, experiential producer, transdisciplinary social sculptor and creative doula. She is a student of living systems, regenerative design and decolonial sustainability. She has over 17 years of experience working at the intersection of art, science, experience and technology. Her quest is to harness this intersectional approach to catalyze social and systemic change through inclusive, transdisciplinary collaborations for the regeneration of our planet and culture.

Sarah Grant is an American artist and professor of media art based in Berlin at the Weise7 studio. Her teaching and art practice engages with the electromagnetic spectrum and computer networks as artistic material, social habitat, and political landscape. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Fine Art from UC Davis and a Masters in Media Arts from New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program. Since 2015, she has organized the Radical Networks conference in New York and Berlin, a community event and arts festival for critical investigations and creative experiments in telecommunications.

Sarah Friend is an artist and software developer from Canada and currently based in Berlin, Germany. She is an alumni in the Berlin Program for Artists, a founder and co-curator of Ender Gallery, an artist residency taking place inside the game Minecraft, and an organiser of Our Networks, a conference on all aspects of the distributed web. Recent solo exhibitions include Off: Endgame, curated by Rhizome, Refraction and Fingerprints at Public Works Administration, New York, USA and Terraforming at Galerie Nagel Draxler in Berlin, Germany. She is on the advisory board and was formerly the smart contract lead for Circles UBI, a blockchain-based community currency that aims to lead to a more equal distribution of wealth. She was also the technical lead for Culturestake, a project that uses quadratic voting to lead to better decisions about arts funding. She was a co-founder of bitspossessed, a software development consultancy that operates as a coop, and in 2022 was a visiting Professor of blockchain art at The Cooper Union.

Kelani Nichole is a technologist and founder of an experimental media art gallery called TRANSFER. She has been exploring decentralized networks and virtual worlds in contemporary art since 2013. Nichole's focus is supporting artists with critical technology practice, and exploring alternative models of cultural infrastructure. Currently she is building the TRANSFER Archive, a decentralized data trust and cooperative model for cultural value exchange, and producing a generative documentary film 'Almost in Real Time'.

Mai is an organizer and writer focused on the digital commons and other intersections between network technologies and the solidarity economy. They are a co-founder and editor of COMPOST, an online magazine about and for the digital commons, project manager of Distributed Press, and a contributor to Hypha Worker Co-operative. They are also the Director of Fellowships of DWeb Camp, and a Digital Commons Fellow with Commons Network.

Regina Harsanyi is a Time-Based Media specialist who has been assisting Museum of the Moving Image with born-digital art and artifacts since 2017. A graduate of New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, Harsanyi has worked on major time-based media conservation projects for artist studios, galleries, museums, auction houses, and private collectors such as bitforms, Jenny Holzer, Sotheby’s, and Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. From 2017-2020 Harsanyi also facilitated over 200 exhibitions across 26 locations under Wallplay as Director of Programming.

ngọc triệu (b. 1994, Vietnam) is a design researcher who practices design and research as interventions to address and reform asymmetrical power relations through the lenses of decoloniality and decentralization. She's lived in Vietnam, Japan, the UK, and Germany where she's worked in open-source and public-interest technology, international development, humanitarian aid, pedagogical design, documentary photography, and film-making. When ngọc isn't busy distilling data into insights or contemplating ways of decolonial being, she enjoys working with clay, doing Kendo (Japanese sword-fighting), and taking long walks in the mountains.

Ayana Zaire Cotton (she/they) is an interdisciplinary artist and cultural worker from Prince George’s County, Maryland. Braiding code, performance, and abstraction Ayana speculates and worldbuilds alongside science and technology. Sankofa is a word and symbol of the Akan Twi and Fante languages of Ghana which translates to, "go back and get". Centering a sankofa sensibility, they build databases as vessels holding seed data and experiment with shuffling algorithms to spin non-linear narratives. Ayana calls this methodology “Cykofa Narration”, generating new worlds using the digital and social detritus of our existing world — resulting in a storytelling aesthetic that embodies circular time and troubles human authorship. Through engaging with language, technology, and ecology, Ayana is cultivating a practice of remembering and imagining alternative modes of being and interspecies belonging.