Heather Ford has worked as a researcher, activist, journalist, educator and strategist in the fields of online collaboration, intellectual property reform, information privacy and open source software in South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.
She is currently a DPhil student at the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University where she is studying how Wikipedia editors write history as it happens in a format that is unprecedented in the history of encyclopedias. Before this, she worked as an ethnographer for Ushahidi, the Kenyan-based non-profit technology company that develops free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping where she studied how Wikipedia and Ushahidi communities work together to verify information collected from social media sources.
In 2011, she graduated from the UC Berkeley iSchool Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS) program. She is a former Wikimedia Foundation Advisory Board member and the former Executive Director of iCommons – an international organisation started by Creative Commons to connect the open education, access to knowledge, free software, open access publishing and free culture communities around the world. She was a co-founder of Creative Commons South Africa and of the South African non-profit, The African Commons Project and worked as an activist and program manager in Johannesburg and London for the Association for Progressive Communications in the time leading up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
At night she dreams about writing books and finding time to draw.
Online collaboration, Middle East media, conflict in online communities, ethnography, media objectivity and bias, open access, online identity, reputation, privacy, epistemology.